A friend recently told me that he doesn’t like his house cleaning service because when he comes home his house doesn’t smell clean. I asked him what he meant, he said it doesn’t smell like cleaning products. I told him… you are crazy dude!… this is a good thing! But, it is funny how we have come to associate the smell of clean with the smell of commercial cleaning products.
Although your house may look clean, these commercial cleaning products are actually making it dirtier by covering your home with all kinds of chemicals. Many commercial disinfectants include formaldehyde and other toxic chemical ingredients that can cause serious health problems.
Now that I have a toddler roaming the house and basically licking the floors, I really don’t want nasty chemicals in my house. Their little bodies have an even harder time with toxins.
I have been making this super simple all purpose cleaner for the last couple of years. I use it for everything… counters, tables, sinks, bathrooms, the kitchen, etc. It is cheap, safe and works well!
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. I even read here that it can be used to remove flame retardants. I haven’t been able to verify this claim yet, but I’ve been looking into it because if this is true, that would be freaking awesome!
Don’t worry about your house smelling like vinegar. When the vinegar is completely dry, you will not be able to smell it at all and it will actually work to deodorize and remove household odors.
AVOID GMO VINEGAR
A quick note about vinegar… in most countries the starting ingredient is usually malt. However, in the US, the starter is usually corn. We know what that means… if corn isn’t organic, it is likely GMO. We obviously don’t want to be spraying GMOs all over our homes.
The best thing to do is to either by organic corn vinegar, or find a corn-free brand. I am not sure what the Whole Foods brand vinegar is made from, but it is labeled as GMO-free. That is the most cost effective options that I have found.
Use glass containers when working with essential oils. The essential oils will eat at the plastic and increase the chance that chemicals will leech from the plastic and into your product.
Save your 32 ounce glass containers, like the Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar containers. Standard size sprayers fit these perfectly! If you want to be really careful, you can use the cap the ACV came with to close your all purpose cleaner and just insert your sprayer when you are actually using it. I save my sprayers from any store-bought cleaning products to use with these jars.
Chalk Paint. You obviously don’t have to do this one, but I am chalk paint obsessed! I use it to label everything. It has made my life much more organized. I use this one, but there is also this VOC-free brand. And if you use chalk paint, I highly recommend using a chalk paint pen, instead of basic chalk – so much easier to work with!
Add tea tree or rosemary essential oils, for their strong antiseptic properties. Find high quality essential oils here!
If you use Young Living essential oils, try swapping out orange for the Thieves or Purification blend!
16 ounces distilled white vinegar (I use this GMO-free one or the Whole Foods brand)
16 ounces water
30 drops orange essential oil (Where to find high quality essential oils)
Mix ingredients in a spray bottle!
C S says
The vinegar you recommended has rye in it. Is that gluten free?
Great Question! Rye does have gluten in it. Since I am cleaning with it and not cooking with it, it hasn’t been a problem for us. I am very sensitive to gluten. I cook with apple cider vinegar.
Also, the vinegar distillation process breaks down and reduces the gluten proteins. Vinegar tests significantly below the 20 parts per million gluten threshold that is considered “gluten-free” in the United States. Very few people react to vinegar, but it can happen!
I think it is a better option than GMO corn, but if I find a different alternative – grain-free and GMO-free, I will add it to the post.
Simple, but very useful tips. You are right, 100-percent pure, distilled white vinegar can be used as an effective non-toxic, all-natural cleaning solution. But vinegar isn\’t a good idea to use on marble surfaces.
That is very true! Thank you for adding that, I forgot to mention it.
Can you switch out the essential oils? If I feel like using peppermint or lavender will it still clean?
Absolutely! You could use whichever scents you like! I should have mentioned that in my post
apparently it can damage wood flooring and take off the varnish.
I actually use a similar solution with much more water and less vinegar on my hardwood floors and I have never had a problem. The eBook, DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes from Mommypotamus also gives a specific water/vinegar solution recipe for cleaning wood floors.
Susan Fuller says
Thanks for this DIY cleaner recipe! I recall a cleaning service we had where we actually had to stay away from our house for the evening due to strong chemical smells. I am going to use my ACV bottle too! Perfect timing as it is nearly empty. Thanks again, great post, great site!
I am so glad to hear that you found this post helpful!
Nicole Stanley says
I prefer using natural cleaning products .Vinegar is one of my favorite and is used for multiple cleaning purpose.These natural products smells really good plus we can prepare them our own at home .Thanks for the recipe..
Completely agree with you! 🙂
I also make my own cleaners. Sometimes I use essential oils but sometimes I use the actual peelings off fruit. For example, I will fill a mason jar with orange peels and vinegar then let it sit for a couple weeks. After that I strain out the peelings and mix the orange scented vinegar with water.
That’s a fantastic idea!
Wow, thanks for the DIY all-purpose cleaner. I\’m definitely going to give this a try, with Orange peels that Fiona suggests to get a critic smell.
FYI, Whole Foods 365 brand has a non gmo distilled white vinegar.Do you know of a natural granite cleaner? Or does this work well for that too? Thanks!
Hi Fiorela! Thank you so much for the tip! I will update the post to reflect. We have a local health food chain in Santa Cruz, so I rarely go to Whole Foods. This actually shouldn’t be used on granite. Acidic cleaning products like vinegar and lemon juice can damage granite. I have never tried it, but I have heard that you can use diluted rubbing alcohol for granite.
Jen B. says
I’m going to make up a batch today. Do you use it on windows? Thanks for the recipe.
I do use this on windows! But, some people add rubbing alcohol and cornstarch too for a streak free window cleaner. I haven’t had time to make that yet though.