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homemade all purpose cleaner

Now that I use this homemade all-purpose cleaner, I wouldn’t go back to commercial cleaners if you paid me. Especially those containing harsh chemicals and weird smells. Making your own natural cleaner from the vinegar is dead easy, economical, and a favor to the environment. Also, for wannabe chemists like myself, it is fun.

A Little About Vinegar

Vinegar has been known to be an antiseptic since ancient times. Its antibacterial qualities have been proven in scientific studies*, although it can not be depended upon to render an environment sterile. It is completely non-toxic to humans and has little impact on the ecosystem. One may be tempted to say no effect, but since it’s knocking out germs, that just isn’t true.

You can always learn more about cleaning with vinegar, but let’s look more at this particular cleaner recipe.

Uses for Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

I use this cleaner on surfaces throughout the house, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom.

Grease cutter. Just spray on surfaces throughout the kitchen (counters, stove top, appliances) and let sit for a few minutes. Wipe up with a damp microfiber cloth and the mess is gone.

Disinfectant. It can be used as a toilet cleaner and sanitizer, both in the bowl and on the outside of the toilet. Learn how to clean a toilet correctly, then arm yourself with your all-purpose cleaner and you’re ready to take on the challenge.

Deodorizer. An added bonus of this cleaner is that it is going to remove unpleasant odors. Although a strong smell itself, vinegar whisks away odors and evaporates into no smell at all.

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Hard Water Stains. By spraying this regularly on surfaces that are exposed to water, you will prevent hard water stains from building up. Let the cleaner act for a few minutes, then wipe up with a clean, damp cloth.

Carpet Cleaner: For some stains, this cleaner can be sprayed on and allowed to sit for a bit. Be sure to read more about carpet stain removal before giving this a try.

To remove permanent marker. Take a clean cloth and dampen it with vinegar. Apply to the edge of a clean rag. Rub the permanent marker stain until it is mostly or completely separated once your rag is damp enough

All-Purpose Vinegar Cleaner

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
  • 15 drops or so of essential oil (optional)

Mix all the ingredients in a good quality, clean spray bottle.

Recipe Notes

  • Spray Bottles. Use a high-quality spray bottle for your cleaner. You will be grabbing it all the time and you don’t want to wear out your hand on a lousy spray lever.
  • Essential Oils. For essential oil many people like sweet orange oil. This is what I usually use, but you might like to explore grapefruit or lemon oil. The citrus oils seem to marry well with the vinegar, cutting way back on the potency of its aroma.
  • Marble. Don’t use this homemade all-purpose cleaner on marble floors or counters. Because it is acidic, it will damage the marble.
  • Caution. Although this cleaner is not poisonous, you still don’t want anyone drinking it. Keep it out of children’s reach and in a marked bottle.
  • More Caution. Don’t mix this with bleach. Actually, you probably shouldn’t mix anything with bleach. Please learn more about cleaning with bleach if you plan on having it in your house.
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I really encourage you to give this homemade all-purpose cleaner a try. I was a bit skeptical about the virtues of vinegar until I started trying it out. Now I’m hooked. It’s even a bit eerie how I look forward to grabbing my spray bottle!

*For further investigation, see Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect.

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Mary Ann

I'm a mom of 3 and spend a good chunk of my time cleaning and organizing our crazy home. My goal is to help people keep their homes tidy in a way that saves them time and money! I hope the resources on this site are a help to you and your family.

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