DIY Citrus Splash All–Purpose Cleaner

Heather Dessinger

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DIY Citrus Splash All–Purpose Cleaner

Hawaiian Breeze Paint Thinner doesn’t quite have the right ring to it, does it? And yet when several top laundry products/ air fresheners were tested they were found to contain at least one chemical labeled as toxic or hazardous by federal law, including the active ingredient in paint thinner. (source)

Interestingly, none of the chemicals were listed on the label, and five of the six products emitted chemicals which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to have no safe exposure level.

Take a deep breath and smell the irony with me.

Unfortunately “green” and “organic” options are not always what they seem, either. One company exec called his company’s cleaning products so safe “you can even drink them,” then he did on camera!

While it was a great marketing technique, analysis by the EWG revealed that 10 of the 18 products they tested in the baby care line contained an ingredient that released formaldehyde during use.3

Now For The GOOD News

There are good store bought options out there, but you can also make your own without any fancy ingredients.

Though most homemade formulas use the same basic ingredients, there’s often a trick to getting them to work. At the bottom of this post you can pick up my free ebook – 7 Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes That Really Work – for a breakdown of some of the most common mistakes and how to fix them.

All-Purpose Spray Cleaner Recipe - Costs approximately 50% less than store bought "green" cleaners!

DIY Citrus Splash All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Mood lifting, stress-busting citrus essential oils are the superstars of this formula, but the cheap- yet-effective white vinegar is a close second. Why? Because contrary to what chemical companies might like you to believe, humble vinegar has been proven to be effective against a variety of bacteria, viruses and mold, including E. coli and the flu virus.

Cost Savings Analysis

Store-bought “eco-friendly” cleaners – which sometimes contain questionable ingredients – cost an average of $0.12 per ounce.

Here’s the breakdown for this recipe:

  • Water – Cost varies, but roughly $0.01 for the total recipe
  • Vinegar – About $0.05 per ounce
  • Essential oil – Prices will vary depending on brand and type, but mine came to about $0.01 total for the recipe

Total store bought cost – About $3.84 for 32 ounces

Total homemade cost – About $1.62 for 32 ounces

That’s a savings of 50%, and no questionable ingredients!


  • 1 1⁄2 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar or citrus infused white vinegar
  • 20-40 drops citrus essential oil (sweet orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit)

To Make: Combine all ingredients in spray bottle.

To Use: Shake before using, then spray on surface and wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Storage: Store away from heat and sunlight.

Want a FREE ebook of non-toxic cleaning recipes that WORK?

I’ve created a free ebook for you as a gift for signing up for my newsletter. 7 Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes That Really Work covers seven recipes that you can make in just a few minutes each for squeaky clean windows, sparkling dinnerware, lemon-fresh countertops, and more. Subscribe to my newsletter below and you’ll be redirected to a download page for immediate access to this PDF ebook.

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

Leave a Comment

38 thoughts on “DIY Citrus Splash All–Purpose Cleaner”

  1. Love this! I try to go natural whenever I can. I generally just use water and vinegar, but I love the idea of using some citrus to brighten it up a bit. After all, it would remind me that warmer weather is coming! Do you have any suggestions for affordable essential oils available online?

  2. I’ve used something similar for the past couple years, but instead of adding essential oils, I put citrus peels in a half-gallon mason jar, cover with vinegar, soak for 2-4 weeks, then strain the peels out. This concentrate can be diluted for a variety of uses. For all-purpose cleaning, I usually use 4 parts water to 1 part concentrate.

  3. Hey Heather, just a heads up that the link connected to the big pink text ‘click here to buy the book’ starts a download of the sample, it doesn’t take you to a page to buy the book. Have a great weekend!

  4. Hi Heather, I love your website.
    Do you use a glass spray bottle? I have heard that essential oils shouldn’t be used in plastic bottles. Is that right?


    • Hi Deirda, yes I do use a glass spray bottle. It’s actually an old apple cider vinegar bottle with a plastic nozzle on top. The tubing inside is plastic but it’s such a small amount comparatively I don’t worry about it.

  5. Heather,

    I always love it when you post your natural solutions. Yours was the very first ebook I bought for DIY cleaners and it’s still the one I go back to. I am now teaching my (adult) children and their spouses/roommates/SO’s how to live non-toxically and rescue the monthly budget! You have helped make a difference in our household. Thank you!

  6. I really want to use a cleaner like this, but my husband and my kids gag when they smell the vinegar. Wish there were something else I could use in place of the vinegar.

    • Thank goodness someone else hates VINEGAR!!!! Nearly all the DIYs I find use it. Still trying for a different solution. Good luck to you too.

  7. Just tried this and it was wonderful, cleaned up so well. I have done just vinegar and water and was over the smell to be honest but this has revived my love of vinegar and water. Going to try the one with lemon soon.

  8. What kind of essential oils do you recommend for cleaning? There are so many different brands out there. Thank you!

  9. Hi! I was wondering if your book on non-toxic cleaning is also available in print? I like the old fashioned way 🙂

  10. Just read your lists on cleaning and bug sprays. These sound so simple. Can’t wait to try them. With summer almost here (2014) need to get ready for all the critters! Marty Hawthorne

  11. What is an alternative for the vinegar? I have marble in the kitchen & it will etch if I clean it with vinegar. Thanks!

    • Hi Beth, rubbing alcohol can be used on granite countertops. You might want to research and see if the same is true for marble.

      • Side Effects of Inhaling Isopropyl Alcohol. … However, if isopropyl alcohol is inhaled there can be serious side effects. Inhalation can cause a number of symptoms, including headaches, nausea, vomiting, irritation of the nose and mucous membranes, throat irritations, and even difficulty with breathing

  12. Hi,
    I always loved your recipes and have been making them for my baby. Just had a clarification with the recipe. Does water and essential oil blend together? Whenever I try to mix them together the essential oil floats on top. Am I doing something wrong?

  13. Hi,

    Do you offer any current discount codes for your ebook? I tried a couple I found on other blogs, but they have all expired. I really want to purchase this book, but funds are limited right now. Thank you for all you do!

  14. Hi!
    I really want to purchase this ebook along with your beauty products ebook. With the holidays coming, any chance you will offer them in a holiday bundle? Please oh Please!? I want these so bad!!

  15. After reading this post, I bought the book – totally worth every cent – and more 🙂
    Thanks for making natural cleaning so accessible and affordable; left to my own devices there would be too many experiments … I especially love the liquid dish soap… Thanks Heather!

  16. Hi!
    This book sounds amazing! Is there a change you may offer a book bundle with your other ebook for the upcoming holiday? I would love to purchase them!

  17. Heather

    Hi, I have your book and it’s great! I did the liquid dish soap and it was clear but then it formed these white beads of soap. I used bonner’s soap. Any suggestions? Thanks much,


  18. Hi Heather

    I absolutely love your cleaning ideas.
    My husband is allergic to Sulfur Dioxide witch is in vinegar.
    I dissolve citric acid in water and get the same results.

    • I divided the total cost of the ingredients I used by a designated volume (ounces for the vinegar and drops for the essential oil), then multiplied the number of ounces/drops to find the total cost of that ingredient in the recipe.

  19. Being new to removing ‘traditional cleaners’ from my house just a few questions/comments:

    – we obviously not sure which germs we are removing from our households and it seems like the essential oils are specific to certain germs. How do we make a broad spectrum essential oil cleaner that covers a large spectrum of germs?
    Is it the oils that are eliminating the germs or the vinegar/ castille soap mix?

    (i guess we also don’t know with chemical cleaners which germs are eliminated – maybe its just my impression that germs will probably not live in most chemicals. )

  20. Hi,
    I am a newbie at all homemade cleaning products. I have a question that might sound stupid! What kind of white vinegar do you use in your products (distilled, undiluted….or it depends)?
    Many thanks for all your recipes and help,
    All the best for the future!

  21. Hi Heather, I would like to know how long does the DIY Splash All-Purpose Cleaner keep. Is it necessary to add any preservatives to the mixture?