There are a slew of cleaning recipes out there, and yet almost all of them lack the ability to be used on all surfaces. If you’re trying to find one simple recipe that you can use to clean your life top-to-bottom…this is it. Super cheap. Shockingly simple. Wondrously effective. Read on to get my simple recipe for the best all purpose DIY cleaner without vinegar.
For myself, the purpose of an eco friendly, all natural and all purpose cleaning product is not only to save money, but also to protect my body (my sacred vessel) from harmful chemicals, and also to honour the earth by not using products that will harm her in the water run off.
In this process, I think I’ve met the holy grail of cleaning products. Over the years I’ve tried So. Many. different commercial products and commercial cleaners. As my life gets more complicated with motherhood, I really need it to get more simple with everything else.
In order for a product to become my “go to”, it needs to meet the following criteria:
-Smell good or neutral (I prefer a natural scent over a vinegar smell)
-Be inexpensive to make
-Have ingredients that are easy to procure
-Have a simple making process (easy recipe)
-Be easy to use
-Must reduce waste (green cleaning with natural ingredients)
-Must be safe for children and pets (not contain toxic chemicals)
-Safe to be used on a daily basis for my whole house
-give a streak free shine
In order for the product to become my “All Purpose Cleaner” it needs to be useable on these items:
-stainless steel appliances
-counters (including marble countertops and granite countertops)
-suitable as a bathroom cleaner
-to clean trash cans
For the longest time, I steeped cleaning vinegar (this one is my fave) on my windowsill with citrus in it. It smelled alright (the citrus, not the vinegar), but can’t be used on everything, which meant that I’d have to have more than 1 cleaning product under my sink. Because I know my 2 year old twins are Houdinis who can break into most places and will not refrain from eating most things….having something super safe and easy was really important to me.
So I ventured out. I researched. I asked questions. And I found out that actually, the best all purpose cleaner has been hiding under my nose all these years, and will cost me literally nothing, because I keep the ingredients at my house at all times anyways.
Here are a list of the diy cleaner ingredients that most homemade products are made of, and why they are not ideal for an “all purpose” situation.
-Vinegar: Can’t be used on marble or granite or hardwood floors.
-Rubbing alcohol: Can’t be used on wood floors. Not kid or pet friendly.
-Baking soda: Must be rinsed off because it can leave a white residue. The grainy texture can also cause scratches on surfaces.
-Lemon juice: It’s acidity can leave marks on marble, and can tarnish finishes
-Borax: Must be rinsed off because it can leave a white residue. Not kid or pet friendly.
-Hydrogen Peroxide: Can lighten dark marble, and not safe for kids and pets
-Liquid Castile soap (such as this one made by Dr. Bronner) : Safe and works well, but is expensive and harder to come by
So, as you can see, I have gone through the whole gamete of popular ingredients for homemade cleaners. None of them pass through all of my requirements, disappointingly.
So, I had to do some more research about the actual process of cleaning in order to understand what other options were available. But first, before I share my research, let me tell you about WHY the recipe I came up with is incredible.
I love this DIY recipe because it makes up in less than a minute in a glass spray bottle or a plastic one, using natural products and with NO extra cost! For me, the special good news is that I don’t have to deal with the terrible smell of vinegar (I know, I know, it disappears once it dries but I don’t want to have that vinegar scent all through my house while I wait…), and I can use it on all of my household surfaces (except as a glass cleaner. That’s where a cleaning white vinegar solution comes in, I use this one diluted 50% with water. Done.)
I can use it on natural stone surfaces without worry, I just spritz some of this onto a paper towel or microfibre cloth and we’re good to go. Also, this all purpose cleaner recipe can be tweaked scent wise using a few drops of your favourite essential oil (My favourite, for a bright clean smell is lemon essential oil mixed with tea tree oil).
Alright, for the grand reveal, how do you make this magical, use-on-everything, all purpose household cleaner?
- Procure a glass bottle (with a spray) nozzle (these are so lovely!), or grab a plastic spray bottle and unscrew the lid.
- Fill the bottle 3/4 of the way full with warm water (you can use however many cups of water you need, and it’s up to you to use distilled water or not)
- Add in a few squirts of liquid soap (blue Dawn dish soap is great because it’s gentle and known for its effectiveness). You don’t need to measure, and approximately 1 tbsp per full bottle is good.
- Place the lid back on the bottle, then give the bottle a good shake. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
- Spray your all purpose cleaning spray on the surface that you need to clean.
- Use a soft cloth or paper towels to remove the dirt and grime from the surface you just sprayed.
So how does this work then? Is a few drops of dish soap all that is needed the next time you go to clean your tub or counter? Can simple, natural homemade cleaners like this one be effective, even without the strong chemical ingredients?
All of the cleaners and ingredients listed above do not kill germs… they help remove germs. It is the removing of the germs, debris and dirt (that can host germs) that makes a surface clean. So the detergent aspect (found in the dish soap), paired with the friction (the friction that is caused by the rubbing of the surface done by the cleaner) removes up to 98% of bacteria, and 93% of germs! (source)
So, as far as everyday cleaning, and living a normal life goes, a simple detergent containing non-toxic ingredients, with a bit of elbow grease will absolutely do the trick!
(The Dawn company also works hard to make products that are eco- friendly, which is important for me. Read more about that here.)
In the event of a flu or illness going through the house, a disinfectant (like chlorine bleach) that will kill those specific pathogens would be a good option (only AFTER cleaning) for the high traffic surfaces where those germs are likely to be in wait.
The runner up to this super simple recipe would definitely be to replace the dawn dish soap with a splash of Dr. Bronner’s sal suds. You can buy this product already scented with a nice fresh scent, and it can be used the same as the recipe below. (That is, paired with a clean cloth and some friction to get everything clean)
Sometimes it’s nice to pair down our supplies inventory, and this natural cleaning recipe is a great way to do just that! This has become one of my favourite cleaning solutions, and on top of that, even my kiddos can whip up a batch of this all purpose diy cleaner by themselves. If you don’t love the smell of vinegar cascading through your house, give this a try instead.
Having a home that is clean and smells good is not just about living hygienically, but it is also one of the ways that you can bring dignity to your earth existence, and organize your days so that you can focus your money and energy on the things that matter most to you.
You know, that Zoi Life.
Wishing you a beautiful time of both inner and outer cleansing,
Aja Celeste is a mom to 6 beautiful children and a twin mom! She is also creator and writer of That Zoi Life and a professionally trained Evolutionary Astrologer who has been doing astrology for 7 years. She is also a health care assistant, has a Bachelor of Ministry Degree, and is passionate about supporting people in conscious parenting. She also does Psychosomatics using Recall Healing.
Please contact her at [info@ThatZoiLife.com] if you would like to find out more about working with her.