“If your house is really a mess and a stranger comes to the door, greet him with, ‘Who could have done this? We have no enemies.”‘ – Phyllis Diller- That’s my Plan B.
Plan A, of course, is to stay on top of the thousand fingerprints that appear on my fridge and the thin layer of who-knows-what on bathroom counter with this all-purpose cleaner. Mood lifting, stress-busting essential oils are the superstars of this recipe, but the cheap-yet-effective white vinegar is a close second. Contrary to its humble reputation, vinegar has been found to be effective against a variety of bacteria, viruses and mold. (source 1, source 2)
Quick note: Almost any cleaning project can be tackled with either vinegar or baking soda, which has 20+ cleaning, personal care, and natural remedy applications. However, this dynamic duo needs to be used separately, because they cancel each other out.
Vinegar is an acid, while baking soda is a base, so when you mix them together they neutralize each other. They do fizz up when mixed which kids tend to think is pretty cool, but it’s not so great if you actually want to clean things. So, when using this recipe to clean counters, don’t use a powdered scrubbing powder that contains baking soda along with it.
This all-purpose cleaner makes a great housewarming gift, especially when paired with wool dryer balls, homemade beeswax candles, and/or homemade soft scrub.
When bottling my DIY cleaners, I use these labels and this 8 ounce spray bottle or this 16 ounce spray bottle.
What to buy if you don’t want to DIY
When life gets busy and you don’t want to DIY, here are two of the best store-bought options I know of:
Meliora All-Purpose Cleaner uses the absolute purest ingredients. When you buy the glass spray bottle found here it comes pre-loaded with one batch of powder, so all you have to do is add warm water and shake until dissolved. You can order 18 refills on the same page for the cost of about $0.71 per 16 ounce bottle including shipping.
Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegar – like Meliora, this cleaner earns an A from the Environmental Working Group. It’s made from food-based ingredients and comes in four scents: Sweet Mandarin, Lavender, Fresh Lime Mint, and Eucalyptus
DIY All-Purpose Cleaner With Lemon & Lavender
This recipe will make one 16 ounce bottle or two 8 ounce bottles of spray cleaner.
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 cup distilled water
- 30 drops lemon essential oil (where to buy lemon essential oil)
- 10 drops lavender essential oil (where to buy lavender essential oil)
Add essential oils and vinegar to a glass spray bottle and shake well. Add water and shake again.
Shake before using, then spray on surface and wipe clean with a soft cloth.
Dark amber or cobalt blue glass spray bottles are ideal because they filter out UV light, which can damage essential oils.
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Can I ask which type of vinegar you use, for cooking or something else? I often see DIY articles to make eco cleaning product with vinegar. For the first time I see someone to use lemon and lavender in it, I think it will leave a much fresher smell in my house. Thanks!
I use white vinegar 🙂
Could you replace any of the two oils with teatree oil?
Yes, you could replace either one with tea tree. 🙂
Great job making a beautiful, useful item for your house! I love how versatile essential oils are. Do you have a white vinegar brand you recommend?
Do you have to use distilled water? Can I just boil filtered water and use that once it has cooled?
I have heard rather conflicting information on the use of vinegar as a successful cleaning agent. I understand that EOs are great for certain things but have you actually done a true test of whether or not this kills the germs? I read that vinegar & baking soda though they do create a reaction, do not indeed end up with a superb outcome. Meaning that you have a bit of vinegar with a bit of active baking soda left after the reaction takes place. I have read many other posts about how vinegar has been ditched for other, better options. I feel unsure if this is a good option. Could you clarify some of this for me?
Yes, vinegar kills germs, Alexis. Google it.
I love the container! Where can i purchase it??
There is a link, I believe in the body to find the oils, and bottle…”perfectly with these labels and this 8 ounce spray bottle or this 16 ounce spray bottle”.
Would you use this to “sanitize” your under 2 year old child’s toys? If not, what recipe would you recommend? Thank you.
Diane S Farias
Probably not. I would worry about any lingering eo on the toy they might ingest. You could try spraying them with hydrgen peroxide as long as they are color safe. Some plastic toys that don’t trap water in them may even be top rack dishwasher safe. Them again soap and hot water
How long will this last? (Does it lose effectiveness after a certain amount of time?)
Nothing in this recipe will spoil, but the essential oils will lose effectiveness if exposed to light/heat.
This is an older post, but where did you get the label? I noted it is handmade…..
Oh, my, I gained 20 lbs just looking at the peanut butter cups homemade-style. Delic. Winderful cleaning recipes but don’t forget to mention whether an ingredient is toxic or not so goid for dogs, cats, birds, etc. as no one wants a sickened or passed pet. I know but others that don’t are out there, yet. Anyway, love this site and think the author (s) is just dandy and handy.
So I LOVE your blog and tried many recipes already. I started switching to natural cleaner/beauty products during this last year but there are some things I still dont understand. I know watery products are susceptible to spoilage and therefore it’s recommended using a preservative/ use within a short amount of time. I’ve seen this many times when it comes to beauty and skin products but almost never when it comes to cleaning products. So my question is- is it ok to make this cleaner without any preservative? Should I be concerned about shel life?
I’ve used this recipe in my home and in a couple of Airbnb’s that I clean. It’s saving us so much money!
I like it except I can’t seem to overcome the vinegar smell. In spite of adding more lemon EO it still reminds me of rotten rags. So, I’m soaking citrus rinds (organic grapefruit, lemon and mandarin) in white vinegar before I mix it with the water in the spray bottle. The infused vinegar already smells amazing so I probably won’t need to add any EO’s and that will save me even more money. 😀
Thank you for sharing all of your tips!!!