I’ve been making some of my own cleaning and beauty products for years now, including my all purpose cleaner. I’ve shared the recipe on my Instagram, but it’s time to share my homemade all purpose cleaner recipe here that you can come back to and find easily whenever you want to make your own! So, read on to find out why you may want to consider making your own all purpose cleaner in the first place, what to avoid in store-bought cleaners, the recipe, as well as some great store-bought alternatives to consider when you’re short on time.
Why Make Your Own Homemade All Purpose Cleaner?
I started making my own cleaning products for these reasons:
First of all, homemade cleaning products can be made at fraction of the price of buying conventional cleaning products. The main ingredient in cleaning products is water and I hate the fact that you pay close to $4 for a bottle of mostly water. You can buy all the ingredients you need in bulk and use a little of each whenever you need to refill your cleaner, and it ends up costing MUCH less money! It costs LESS THAN $1 to make a refill of this all purpose cleaner.
Another reason to make your own all purpose cleaner is for convenience. Okay, actually making the cleaning product isn’t SUPER convenient. It does take a few minutes to make. BUT, whenever you run out of your cleaner, you’ll already have the ingredients on hand and can whip up a refill whenever you need. No need to make a trip to the store or wait a few days for an Amazon delivery.
Also, I switched to homemade cleaner for health reasons. This is the MAIN reason I started making cleaning products. Most store-bought cleaning products out there are loaded with harmful chemicals. I suffered with eczema for several years, which you can read here how I healed it (it’s completely gone now – YAY!), and eczema is aggravated by harmful chemicals in cleaning products. I also am currently dealing with hormonal imbalance. That is a MAJOR problem home and body products today can cause.
For me, it was a non-negotiable to get rid of the toxic products I was using and make my own clean, non-toxic products. Even if you don’t currently have a health problem, I would still consider switching to either this homemade all purpose cleaner or a non-toxic alternative, like the ones I’m about to share, to avoid developing a health problem in the future.
The great thing about making your own cleaning products, is that it saves plastic and is, therefor, better than for the environment. Instead of buying a new plastic bottle of all purpose cleaner every month or two, I bought one glass spray bottle and buy the ingredients to make my own cleaner once or twice A YEAR. It takes A LONG time for plastic to break down – around 450 years for plastic bottles. So instead of buying plastic bottle after plastic bottle that will end up being in a landfill for years, go homemade and cut down on the one-time-use plastic you’re using.
What To Avoid In All Purpose Cleaners
Like I said, most cleaning products are full of harmful ingredients that you need to look out for. Always, always, always, look at the ingredients on products before you buy them. Don’t just trust whatever the front of the bottle says or the claims the company makes. Look at the ingredients, watch out for these things, and research the product on sites/apps like EWG or Think Dirty.
So, here’s some ingredients to avoid when you buy products and why you should avoid them:
- Phthalates: Chemicals that are usually used in fragrance (so you may not see the word “phthalates” on the ingredient list!), as well as in plastic and vinyl. They are major endocrine disruptors – meaning they can cause an imbalance of your hormones, reduce sperm count, and cause birth defects. Phthalates can also cause asthma and allergies.
- Fragrance/Parfum: Used in almost EVERY conventional cleaning product out there. The bad thing about fragrance is – you don’t know what it is! It could be a combination of thousands of chemicals. The fragrance is the company’s propriety blend of ingredients that they don’t have to disclose. It usually contains phthalates; so it can lead to lots of problems!
- Polyethylene Glycols/Polypropylene Glycols: Used as thickeners. They can cause irritation when in contact with the eyes or skin.
- Preservatives (like Methylisothiazolinone): Can trigger eczema and can cause irritation, itchiness, and redness when it comes in contact with the skin or the eyes.
- Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach): An oxidizer. Can cause allergies, asthma, skin irritation and burns, and organ toxicity.
- Ethanolamine (also called Monoethanolamine or MEA): A pH adjustor. Can cause immune system toxicity, allergies, organ toxicity, and skin irritation.
- Ammonia: Used in fragrance, as a pH adjustor, and as a polishing agent. Can cause allergies, immune toxicity, skin irritation, and organ toxicity,
- Sodium Hydroxide (lye): A pH adjustor. Can cause organ toxicity and skin irritation.
- Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate: A cleansing and foaming agent that can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.
- Butoxyethanol: An ingredient usually found in fragrance. Can can irritation and lead to cancer and organ toxicity.
*This Information came from EWG Skin Deep.
These are just SOME ingredients to look out for. And these words may not actually be on the bottle. Which is why it’s a good idea to look the product you’re considering buying up on the apps I mentioned and see what score it’s given. Think Dirty and EWG both rank products on a numerical scale (0 being the safest and 10 being the most toxic). Choose products that are as close to 0 as possible.
My Homemade All Purpose Cleaner Recipe
But you came here for a recipe to make your own homemade all purpose cleaner; so here it is!
- 1 amber glass spray bottle
- 2 Tablespoon Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap (I’m currently using Peppermint, but I also LOVE the Lavender one!)
- 1 Tablespoon pure baking soda
- 2 Cups HOT water
- 15 drops lemon essential oil – a natural disinfectant and degreaser (I’m currently using DoTerrra essential oils, but I recently discovered and read lots of reviews on Plant Therapy essential oils. They are 100% pure, they have organic options, and they cost much less than some other essential oil companies.
- 10 drops On Guard essential oil (a DoTerra blend), Germ Fighter blend (Plant Therapy’s version), or Thieves blend (Young Living’s version) – anti-microbial and supports the immune system
- 10 drops tea tree oil (also called melaleuca) – anti-bacterial and anti-septic
What To Do
Add the baking soda and the Castile soap to the spray bottle first. I use a funnel to add the ingredients without making a mess everywhere. Then add the HOT water. It’s important that the water is hot so that it can dissolve the baking soda and it doesn’t clog up the nozzle. Then add the nozzle and shake it up to help the baking soda dissolve well.
Let the cleaner sit for a few minutes to come down in temperature. Then add the essential oils. to the cleaner and shake again to mix everything together. That’s it!
So why do you need an amber bottle?
Glad you asked! Whenever you’re using essential oils, whether it’s in a homemade cleaning product, a beauty product, a rollerball, or whatever, it’s always a good idea to use an amber container. When essential oils or products containing essential oils are in a clear container, Ultra Violet rays in sunlight are able to seep into it, and the oils oxidize and degrade. When that happens, the oils are not as effective or as aromatic.
Why essential oils?
The great thing about using essential oils is that they smell amazing! Dr. Bronner’s is great! I love how well it cleans and how natural and safe it is. But I like to add essential oils to it to boost the effectiveness and the smell. The On Guard oil has clove and cinnamon in it and is the strongest of all the oils in this cleaner. So whenever I clean the kitchen countertops, the bathrooms, or whatever else I’m using it for, it makes it smell like Christmas! I don’t mind cleaning when it makes the house smell amazing, without the harmful chemicals that are in most fragrances.
Essential oils have other benefits too. Besides just cleaning surfaces, when the oils used in this recipe are added to the all purpose cleaner, it adds disinfecting and sanitizing power. Not only do the surfaces you’re cleaning benefit, but inhaling the essential oils adds benefits to you too. Lemon energizes and can help relieve anxiety and depression. On guard (or an alternative) helps boost your mood and purify the air.
Why the baking soda?
Baking soda is mildly abrasive. So adding it to the all purpose cleaner gives it a boost and helps it lift off stuff on grime. It works great for cleaning messes on the stove or for cleaning the oven. Baking soda is also a natural deodorizer. So, not only do the essential oils help give the room a nice scent, the baking soda actually takes away any bad odors.
If you have any other questions that I’m missing, ask away in the comments, and I’ll get back to you!
Great Store-Bought All Purpose Cleaner Options
If you’re short on time or just don’t feel like making your own cleaning products, here are some great, non-toxic options to check out:
- Branch Basics – I recently started using this as well, and I love it. It’s the same concept as my homemade all purpose cleaner as far as the eco-friendliness and the convenience. You can purchase their concentrate and just refill your glass bottle with mostly water and a little of the concentrate. You could even use their concentrate in this recipe in place of Dr. Bronner’s if you want to give it a boost of effectiveness and scent.
- Mama Suds All Purpose Cleaner Spray (very similar to this recipe!)
- Aunt Fannie’s All Purpose Cleaning Vinegar
- Counter Culture Probiotic All Purpose Cleaner
- Three Main Multi-Surface Cleaner
I hope you got some useful information here! Let me know if you try out my homemade all purpose cleaner recipe and what you think!
Stay healthy and happy cleaning!