Green Monday How-To: DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

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DIY All-Purpose Cleaner photos: katie for we heart this

There are lots of reasons one would rather make an all-purpose cleaner than buy a bottle. It will be:

1. Cheaper
2. Less-toxic
3. Eco-friendly
4. Customizable.

I must admit, it’s reason number 4 that did it for me. I didn’t want to create a DIY cleaner just because it is good for my health and the environment, although that is a huge plus. But I really wanted to clean with the exact scent that I love, you know what I mean?

I am a big fan of minty scents but they don’t sell those in the cleaning aisle. So I thought, if I make my own wintergreen scented cleaner, my life will be complete (well, close to complete, I really need a new external hard drive). Let’s hop to it!

Materials for DIY All-Purpose CleanerSupplies:
• 10-20 drops of Essential Oil (I recommend using essential oils- they mix well and are more potent)
• 1/2 cup or so of Potpourri Oil (use your judgment based on the potency)

• 4 tablespoons Vinegar
• 2 teaspoons Baking Soda (or Borax)
• HOT water (enough to fill your bottle)
• Spray bottle

Preparation: If you want to recycle an old spray bottle: pour the vinegar, baking soda and hot water in the bottle, shake well and let sit for 1-2 days. Then rinse and begin the recipe!

Step One:
Mixing vinegar, baking soda and essential oils in a bowl

Mix vinegar, baking soda and essential oils in a bowl. I wasn’t at home for this, where my minty oils are – so I used Black Cherry & Plum (from the dollar store!).

You’ll see the baking soda fizz a lot so make sure your bowl has enough depth to handle the bubbles. At this point, if the baking soda isn’t dissolving – don’t worry!

Step Two:
Stirring ingredient in the bowl

Add hot water and stir. usually, I do not measure this part, I just use my judgement. If you have a 16 oz bottle, you need just a little less than that (about 15 oz.) to mix (and so on).

Step Three:
Sniff your cleaning solution a bit. Is it strong enough for you? If not, just add more oil. Too strong? Dilute with more water.

Step Four:
Pour or funnel into your spray bottle. Shake well.

Step Five:
Clean something!

Tip: If you can heat your bottle up in the microwave anytime you clean, I recommend it. As we all know, hot water helps stomp out bacteria.

I’ve been using this solution like crazy this week. I stand by, sprayer in hand, just hoping someone spills something so I can smell this pretty scent!

Disclaimer– there are many ways to make DIY cleaners. I’m not claiming to have the best out there, but this works for me. If you have a better idea or formula, please let us know in the comments! We can collaborate together and maybe stumble on something amazing, right?


  • Katie

    Frugal. Jewelry maker. Hard worker. Creative crafter. Coca-cola addict. Reader. Curly-haired. Over-analytical. Open-minded.


  1. This is ingenious, @katieg! I so admire your cleverness. I would even try an unscented version of your potion. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I have been using vinegar for some time now as a precaution for my kitties- a healthier counter cleaner.
    As long as you can get past your house smelling like a salad, you are ok! I love the idea of mixing in essential oils to mask the vinegar scent!

  3. @glamazon56 – this really does mask the vinegar scent completely! But it’s not the oils that mask the scent: diluted vinegar + the baking soda = very mild scent. So you could totally go unscented as @turboterp suggested.

  4. Hi Katie! I use something similar to clean my Pergo floors. My floors used to look filmy and dirty until I was told by the manufacture that I should use a vinegar and water solution. It is works much better than the expensive cleaner I was using. The downside is that it does smell a bit like pickle but, the smell dissipates fairly quickly. It also works for cleaning windows and glasses.

    ** Fellow gardeners, you can make vinegar, water solution and add a couple drops of dish soap to kill weeds. This does take a couple days to work but, it won’t harm your pets or any backyard wildlife.

  5. What a great post! I use vinegar on windows to clean them.. Endless uses for all of these products..

  6. I love these DIY cleaner ideas … esp the fact that you can add your own special scents. I have a sensitive nose so this appeals to me. Also, health-wise there are so many toxins out there in store bought products, if we can cut down in this area I think it is a great idea.

  7. I am always wanting to make my own cleaning products. Perhaps you have inspired me Katie! Thanks!!!

  8. I highly recommend this! I’ve been using something similar and add lavender oil. For some reason the scent mixes pretty well with the vinegar, as do citrus oils. I never thought to use potpourri oils, though, what a great idea!
    I suggest when using essential oils, to work WITH the scent and not against it, I tried using a more flowery essential oil and it was NOT okay. :-)

  9. This may be my fave How To yet, Katie! I’m just about done with a bottle of (expensive!) all natural cleaner. I can’t wait to finish it, clean the spray bottle and make this DIY cleaner!

    I want to make all sorts of “flavors” – lemony for the kitchen, minty for the bathroom and some sort of soft flower like lavender for my bedroom, etc.

  10. Cleaning products are expensive too! How clever to make your own. Love this @katieg – you clever girl you!

  11. Ah! This is such a great recipe! I’ve always wanted to switch to natural cleaning products around the apartment, but for some reason I haven’t yet. But now that I got a job where I have to clean and I’m around chemicals all day, I’m even more motivated to make the switch! I assume this concoction can be used to scrub the toilet too, right?

  12. So glad you ladies like this! @friendofpyrex – this same idea applies to toilet cleaning but you’ll need larger portions. Amp up the baking soda (or borax) to 1/4 or 1/2 a cup. Then do about 1/2 a cup of vinegar. And your water is already prepped for you. ;) Although I don’t have this problem, I’ve heard this won’t work if you have hard water stains.

    Oh, just make sure you mix slowly with the larger amounts or you’ll have a mess on your hands!

  13. @katieg -I’m so going to try this in our toilets! I never thought to to use baking soda and vinegar for cleaning toilets, but why not!!

  14. This is amazing – I can’t wait to try it out! I’m very interested in saving money and using non-toxic products. Thanks for sharing!

  15. @Katie — Lemon juice works on hard water stains. I have taken lemon juice concentrate and soaked it on a cotton ball. The juice disolved it. It worked great at cleaning up my bathroom faucets.

  16. Hydrogen Peroxide in a spray bottle is all you need.

  17. What a great post! I use vinegar on windows to clean them.. Endless uses for all of these products..

  18. Thanks for the inspiration. I already use straight vinegar for disinfecting the sink and counters in the kitchen. But I know I don’t need it full strength for general cleaning. I just need to get out and buy a spray bottle and a pretty essential oil.

  19. The topic is quite trendy on the Internet at the moment and one of my goals till the end of this year is to switch all of my normal household cleaning products to more eco-friendly options!Superb post!These are simply easy things to do.Thank you for listing them out!

  20. Stephanie B says:

    The one thing that I like about these home made DIy Cleaners is that they are made with “food items” ( accept the scents) so even people who dont have alot of money and are on Food stamps they can buy the stuff with their stamps and feel good about being able to make sure their home is clean on limited $$$

  21. Vinegar is my new best friend. My glasses actually sparkle with this stuff. It is amazing, and since I’m a shop-a-holic, this DIY deal is making me save sooooo much money, it’s not even funny :0)..

  22. Loved this stuff!! Thanku

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