Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

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Wiping up spills is a daily, hourly chore for me as it is for many of you. Although I am not married to any particular household cleaners, I do gravitate towards natural, non-toxic choices, and I am even more partial to ones I can make myself using inexpensive household ingredients.

This cleaning formula is one I learned to make a few years ago, and I credit Design*Sponge for posting this back in 2009. I was a little doubtful that a household cleaner I made would really be good, but it really works, so I have just been making more ever since.

For anyone interested, here are the ingredients.

You’ll need:
A 24 oz spray bottle
3/4 cup of white vinegar
3/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide
A few drops of liquid castille soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
Essential Oils
Funnel + Measuring cup

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How-To:
Measure your 3/4 cup of vinegar and your 3/4 cup of peroxide and funnel them into your empty spray bottle (make sure you’re not re-suing one that may have had other chemicals in it!)

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Carefully add about two or three drops of liquid castille soap to this mixture. I’m not sure what this does, and it could possibly be left out if you don’t have any on hand, but I’m sure it is in there for a reason. Dr. Bronner’s is worth having around the house, in any case, as you can use it for many purposes. Just be careful not to add too much or you’ll get a soapy mixture, not a wipe-off spray cleaner.

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Next, add your choice of essential oils. I use about 10-20 drops of each oil. This step isn’t necessary, but it does make your spray smell prettier and less vinegar-y. Keep in mind that some essential oils are reported to have cleansing or anti-bacterial properties of their own such as Tea Tree oil or Lavender.

*If you use essential oils, make sure you exercise caution when using them around pets or children, as the oils — if swallowed — would definitely be toxic, and some may cause allergic or other reactions for some people. Use what you are comfortable with for your family.

I experiment with different oils for different effects, but right now I like the combination of this Lemon Eucalyptus and some Tea Tree oil from Aura Cacia. It gives off a slight ‘Mrs. Myer’s-ish’ scent.

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Fill the rest of your bottle with plain tap water and shake well.

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I use this spray on counters (laminate) and it is great for faucets, appliances, bathrooms and even windows (although too much soap in it could cloud your glass). I also use it to clean off my wooden kitchen table, but I would advise caution and test it first on your own counter and wood surfaces, as the peroxide could have a slight bleaching effect (although I haven’t noticed any). I use it all over — since I don’t have very fine materials in my home — but I would be careful and not use it on new items without testing.

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Just add a label and you’re ready to go!

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