Natural Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner (That Works!)

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Once upon a time I was a single college student in a one-room dorm and it didn’t take much to keep it clean. Fast forward a few years and I was married to an amazing (but super neat and orderly) guy and had a couple of kids who weren’t so neat and orderly! I needed an all-purpose cleaner that worked stat!

(Psssstttt… Click here to see how to get the bottle and some of the ingredients for free this week only!)

A Natural Way to Clean

As a mom, I soon learned that child is a synonym for “maker-of-dirt-and-messes-while-being-absolutely-adorable” and was amazed at the messes my toddlers could make.

I also realized that kids put everything in their mouths, so I started looking for natural cleaning options that could stand up to toddler messes but without accidentally poisoning them if (when) they licked the floor or counter.

Boy- noise with dirt on it

I learned about all the chemicals that are contained in most commercial household cleaning products and found that I could make healthier ones at home. One of the hardest ones to create was a homemade all-purpose cleaner, but I finally found one that works well (and my kids have tested it hard!). In fact, I’ve calculated that over the years, I’ve saved over $200 making this myself!

Why Make Your Own Natural Cleaner?

Short answer:

It takes literally 30 seconds, saves money and works better!

Longer answer:

This all-purpose cleaner is so simple to make that those first couple of toddlers are now older kids who can make and use this cleaner on their own! And their younger siblings have happily filled the toddler mess-making shoes for them.

Also, it is free from the more toxic chemicals found in many cleaners and completely customizable to your taste. Plus, until Monday, you can get the glass spray bottle cleaning caddy, essential oil and cleaning powder for free! (Click here to find out how!)

Important note: There is some debate about borax and if it is safe to use in homemade cleaners or not. I personally feel it is safe to use and much safer than most cleaning products, but this article has a good breakdown of the information and my thoughts on it. Don’t agree? Just leave it out.

All Purpose Cleaner Ingredients

All-Purpose Cleaner Instructions

  1. Place borax, washing soda and soap in a spray bottle (preferably glass).
  2. Add 2 cups of warm water. Distilled is best, but any water that has been boiled will work. Cover bottle and shake well. Use as needed. I use as bathroom cleaner, floor pre-treater, kitchen cleaner and on toys to disinfect.

All-Purpose Cleaner FAQs:

Worried about the chemistry of making your own cleaners? Want to make a substitution? These are the most commonly asked questions about my homemade all-purpose cleaner:

Is Washing Soda the Same as Baking Soda?

No, They are similar but with some important differences. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and washing soda is just sodium carbonate. Washing soda is stronger and more effective in this recipe (but still non-toxic). Don’t have it? Make your own with baking soda using this tutorial.

Is This a Disinfectant?

Technically no, but most home messes don’t need a disinfectant and using too many disinfectants can cause problems as well. I wouldn’t use this on food related messes, especially raw meat, but it works really well for other hard household surfaces like counters, floors and cabinets. The essential oils do have mild disinfectant properties in some studies, but I personally would stick to hydrogen peroxide or food grade alcohol and soap/water to disinfect raw meat messes.

Why Isn’t There Vinegar in this Recipe?

Vinegar actually isn’t the cleaning powerhouse it is made out to be. It does have its uses and shining moments, like cleaning windows, but isn’t an effective degreaser or disinfectant. Also, vinegar and washing soda (Acid and base) will cancel each other out and this whole recipe would be less effective if vinegar was added. Want to use vinegar in natural cleaning? Save your fresh lemon and orange peels, pour white vinegar over them and leave for a few weeks. This makes a great citrus-infused vinegar that cleans windows and most smooth surfaces.

Vinegar also un-saponifies the soap in this recipe, leaving a nasty stringy mess. Use vinegar if you want to, just don’t use it in this recipe!

Is Borax Dangerous?

There is a lot of debate about this. I talked about my opinion here, but I generally feel safe using it on non food surfaces. If you aren’t comfortable using it, just omit or use witch hazel or food grade alcohol in its place.

Does This Actually Work?

Yep. it works really well. But don’t take my word for it… a reader Anne, commented:

Ok, I’m a little slow, just found this. Good news – the gunk on the bathroom floor that no other cleaner in the world could get rid of (I have tried at least a dozen over the years) is now gone. I sprayed this, let it soak about 5 minutes and wiped it up with a microfiber cloth. I am astounded! Thanks so much for this!

Best Place to Get the Ingredients?

Like I said, I get all of the supplies for this recipe and the glass bottle to make it in from Grove Collaborative. Use this link and you can get the bottle, cleaning caddy and essential oil for free this week!

I Don’t Like Lemon/Lavender/Orange Oil. Can I Use a Different One?

No way. Just kidding!

Use whatever scent you like in this recipe. Mint is lovely too and Geranium has a mild bug-repelling property if you have flies in the kitchen. You can even omit the oils entirely for an unscented version.

How Long Does This Last?

I haven’t personally had this last longer than 3 months because I use it up in less time than that. I can personally vouch for its shelf life of at least three months though.

Does this Need To Be Stored in Glass?

I always prefer glass personally. If you use the citrus essential oils, it is important to store in glass, as it can break down a plastic bottle over time, but glass is always a good idea!

DIY Natural All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Do you make any DIY cleaners? Share your favorite below!

This homemade all-purpose cleaner is natural and much less expensive than conventional cleaners. All natural and it works!

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Reader Comments

  1. I love this stuff! It works just as well as the store bought stuff at a fraction of the cost!

    • For the DIY laundry detergent, what essential oils would you reccomend to use with your recipe and how many drops?

      • For me it depends on what i’m washing, some I use a germ killing blend, others a more refreshing blends, sheets lavender, just my preferences.

  2. Does this work with semi-hard water? (I mean, I hope it does not leave a deposit… and I hope I used the right word, as English is not my first language 🙂 )

    • It does, I’ve used it when we lived in places with hard water and it
      worked just fine.

  3. what is “washing soda?”

    • It is sodium carbonate and you can find it in most laundry aisles in
      grocery stores. Arm and Hammer makes the most popular one and it is
      just called “washing soda”

      • So it’s different from their baking soda.

        • Yes, it’s baking soda that has been baked. If you can’t find it in the laundry section, you can make it yourself. I found the instructions by googling but it isn’t expensive, so I wound up buying it.

          • To get washing soda, take baking sodaI have baking soda & just bake it 400degrees for 2 hrs. I used this method to make my own laundry detergent:-)

        • There are two things:

          Sodium bicarbonate and baking powder.

          Sodium bicarbonate is also known as “baking soda” or “washing soda” or whatever. The bottomline is that it is pure.

          Baking powder on the other hand contains aluminium and is not safe to ingest.


          • Baking Soda = sodium bicarbonate and is different from Washing Soda
            Washing Soda = sodium carbonate

          • There are some aluminum free baking powders out there. Rumford brand is one. Keep reading those labels!

  4. Hi, is Vitamin E a safe oil to use in homemade cosmetics? It uses wheat germ I believe…

    • Unless you are officially a celiac, you shouldn’t have any trouble
      with it, especially just topically.

    • Unless you are officially a celiac, you shouldn’t have any trouble
      with it, especially just topically.

    • I am having trouble finding washing soda. Can i use baking soda?

      • You can make washing soda with baking soda. There are lots of links you can ‘Google’ that show you how to do that. All it is, is baking the baking soda in the oven until the consistency changes.

        • Every Walmart carries washing soda.

          • Can not buy Washing soda in Canada at all. Two years ago i bought Procyon Dye from a fella in Colorado – and he wanted to save me cost (nice guy) and recommended i buy washing soda to set the dye. I could not find it at all. So i bought it from him. Then i found out that my “supposed to be safe laundry soap’ had bleach in it – and i’m seriously allergic to bleach. I was nervous about trying the baking soda in the oven thing. But again- the fella in Colorado said it was totally safe – he tried it out with a class of school kids when i told him about it. So -ever since then i’ve been making my own washing soda. 400F in the oven in a glass casserole dish – – – only one hour is needed – stir it around with a fork half way through – – -when it looks “soft’ and smooth – instead of ‘grainy’ like baking soda does – it’s done it’s transformation.

          • If you are on the west coast of Canada, London Drugs has washing soda under the Arm & Hammer brand in the laundry aisle! Even my husband found it when I sent him out looking.

  5. Hi, is Vitamin E a safe oil to use in homemade cosmetics? It uses wheat germ I believe…

  6. Hi! Wonderful blog with great tips.

    One thing I worry about is the disinfectant capacity of this mixture. Is this really effective in killing germs in kitchen/bathroom areas? Thanks!

    • The essential oils are effective in killing germs, though you could always up the amount if you were especially worried about the germs. In my own opinion, we focus to much on killing germs rather than just having a strong immune system to be able to resist them. At least for kids, it seems that a lot of the recent research is showing that exposure to some germs can actually help prevent allergies and such.

  7. Made this today (after months of thinking about it) and so far very pleased.  Thank you Wellness Mama

  8. Is there a reason your recipe does not use white vinegar? I noticed that most other recipe’s call for it. I still have not made my own cleaner and am looking for input from several sources before I do.  Thanks! Amanda

    • I’ve found it isn’t needed in this one, and while it does clean very well, I’m not a huge fan of the house smelling like pickles all day 🙂

      • If I don’t have essential oils, could vinegar be used in place of them in this recipe? If so, how much would you suggest to put? Thank you!!

      • Wellness Mama,

        Can you share with me on your discovery that White Distilled Vinegar is not a disinfectant?

        Thank you!

    • You don’t use vinegar with this recipe because you are using castile soap. if you use the vinegar it will cancel out the effects of the castile soap because one is a base and one is an acid. The vinegar “unsaponifies” the soap, by which I mean that the vinegar takes the soap and reduces it back out to its original oils. So you end up with an oily, curdled, whitish mess. And this would be all over whatever it was you were trying to clean – your laundry or counters or dishes or whatever. Also what is great about this recipe is that you have the same strong cleaning power as vinegar without the smell. 🙂

    • The answer about vinegar is in the article.

  9. I have heard recently about how borax isn’t good to use. Is this true? I love this all purpose cleaner but wanted to ask you. I will try to find the article someone sent me.

    • A lof of the research on this looks at boric acix and in a different concentration than what is used in borax. Borax is sodium tetraborate, which is a different chemical structure. In general, i don’t use borax on areas where food will be directly prepared and consider it safe everywhere else…

    • You could always try witch hazel instead of borax… I use the one with Alcohol in my cleaner and it seems to work a treat? Just add a few teaspoons. Beats the vinegar smell. And we still seem to be living well after using it on all counters 🙂

    • The answer to this is in the article

  10. Doesn’t vinegar natural antibacterial properties? Can you use delisted vinegar as a cleaning agent?

    • You can and it works great. I’ve just gotten out of the habit since we have granite countertops and you aren’t supposed to use vinegar on them. A 50/50 vinegar and water mix will clean most hard surfaces though.

      • What do you use on your granite? We have granite and I had no idea that I should not be using vinegar. Thanks!

        • I believe this (recipe) is what she uses on her granite 🙂

        • For my natural cleaner, I shred my own Castile soap (liquid form is expensive) and dissolve that and then put some of that in a spray bottle with water and some drops of tea tree oil. That is safe on granite.

      • My vinegar has a 10% concentration of acetic acid. Can I use it in the 50/50 cleaning recipe?

        Thank you.


  11. I take my lemon peels and soak them in vinegar for a few weeks and use this liquid to clean with. It really extracts the oils from the lemon peels. You can also use orange and grapefruit peels. I also add a couple of drops of tea tree oil to disinfect. 

    • I’ve actually got some of this on my counter right now too 🙂


      • No, I’m afraid it’s still vinegar smelling – just a very lemony vinegar. I like it, but my husband gives me a bit of stinkface when I use it. I’ll be trying this cleanser out!

        • I’m having the same problem with my I have a new homemade vinegar cleaner that I’ve been using and I love because I use it in just about everything and it leaves a nice streak-free residue free surface and does a super great job cleaning. But the hubs gets really annoyed with me when I use it. I think it smells fine after I add my essential oils and the vinegar smell goes away in just a few hours. But I guess I need to find some sort of compromise, maybe just using it on the glass surfaces. Or just not spraying it while he is home.

  12. Can you use it on granite?

  13. Ok, I’m a little slow, just found this.  Good news – the gunk on the bathroom floor that no other cleaner in the world could get rid of (I have tried at least a dozen over the years) is now gone.  I sprayed this, let it soak about 5 minutes and wiped it up with a microfiber cloth.  I am astounded!!! Thanks so much for this!!

  14. Do I need to rinse surfaces after I use this?

  15. Just wondering how good this is at disinfecting cooking surfaces? I;’m excited about trying it 🙂

    • If you need an actual, natural disinfectant may I suggest Hydrogen Peroxide? Just the stuff in the brown bottle.

      If you can’t find it in a spray bottle, try fitting a sprayer to the top of the brown bottle. Keep it in the opaque bottle (light will break it down and make it ineffective fairly quickly). Works better than lysol but with no toxic chemicals. Spray the surfaces down, give it a minute and wipe it up!

  16. Alright, I have all the ingredients on my shopping list for this week!  I’ve checked our local store and I can for sure get the Borax  & Washing Soda.  Just wanted to know about the Liquid Castille Soap…when I search for it on google, I get lots of hits on dishwashing soaps and hand soap.  Are those what you mean by liquid castille soap?  Or is there a more natural form I should be looking for that doesn’t have scents/extra chemicals added?

    • Dr. Bronners is a good brand and usually the easiest to find

  17. When you say the lemon and lavender and orange, is that all together, or just for scent??

  18. Good morning. I have a question. Yesterday I put some water, rosemary, and orange peels in a little crock pot to simmer all day (plan to do the same today). I was thinking that somewhere I read that the rosemary would be good at disinfecting the air, anyhow, I was wondering if the strained out liquid at the end of the day would make a good kitchen counter cleaner? Maybe just in small batches that get used up before it would spoil? Do you think it would clean? Be safe? Just seems like a waste to pour out the liquid. Thank you!

    • IT would work and be safe, but it might leave some discoloration if you have light colored counters…

      • Thank you. 🙂

  19. Hi I can’t find Dr bronners Castille soap(liquid or bar for your detergent)…just wondering could I use seventh generation dish soap?

    • Gnc carris dr bronnes castille soap

      • So does Target, although it is expensive.

    • Bed Bath and Beyond has the cheapest price that I’ve seen!

      • I found Dr, Bonners at Kroger. It was in the health food section. It was much cheaper than our health food store by several dollars.

    • Look on Swanson Vitamins they have Dr Bronners. Every kind, bar and liquid.

      • Kirk’s Castille Soap would probably work just as well as Dr. Bronner’s soap, is less expensive, and gets excellent reviews. The best price for Kirk’s that I’ve found is at Swanson Vitamins. (I have no affiliation with Swanson’s other than being a long-time customer.)

  20. Hi. I have citronella, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, tea tree, clove, and pine needle essential oils on hand. Can you recommend a good mixture of those for the cleaner?

    • Lemon and Pine are great together, so are peppermint and tea tree.

  21. I’m wondering if this is the best option to clean my granite countertops. I’ve been looking for a natural granite cleaner. What do you use?

    • I use HOT water for simple wipe downs and add a little castile soap for tougher stuff (spaghetti sauce, natural bug spray spill, etc). Anything else seems to strip the coating or leave a residue.

  22. Hi! I love this cleaner! I use it for everything and it works great! I’m expecting my first child in May and am looking for a natural toy cleaner/disinfectant? Would this recipe work if I added some Tea Tree oil?


    • It would… you can also use hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle…

  23. Does this work on glass and mirrors, as well? What about wood?

  24. whats the shelf life on this cleaner?
    Also we dont have a dishwasher…what is the best thing to use to disinfect our dishes other than bleach?

    Thanks so much I love this blog and have created my House Playbook today!

    • several months… we use vinegar for most disinfecting or hydrogen peroxide…

  25. I am extremely sensitive to scents. Can I leave the essential oils out or will it compromise with it’s effectiveness?

  26. You mentioned you dont use borax where you prepare food. So is this not safe to use on my granite in my kitchen?

  27. Hi Katie,
    I was wondering how long the shelf life is for the All purpose cleaner once it has been mixed? I have a home daycare and am looking for more natural ways to disinfect/clean toys and surfaces. Thanks

  28. Hi Wellness Mama,
    I LOVE the powdered laundry detergent, and find that it cleans as well as Rock in Green, my formerly favorite detergent. I realize I’d love to have a natural stain pre-treatment too, when I saw your cute little bottle up in the photo. I thought I saw the recipe earlier, but I can’t find it now. Do you mind directing me to the recipe? THANKS!

  29. ok so, how much water do you put in there with it all?

    • never mind….

  30. Can you make without the oils? Does that have any benefit other than scent?

  31. I have to ask, why do you say distilled or boiled? They’re not similar.

  32. A friend of mine directed me to your site because of the homemade baby wipes and I was looking for a natural cleaner as well. I just made this one today and loved it on my counters but when I used it on my wood table it left a slight haze. Any thoughts on how I should modify it? I would love your feedback because I am really trying to go natural with all my cleaners and things but I want to make sure I am still getting things clean! Thanks!

  33. Could you also add some Vinegar of the Four Thieves to this, and if so, how much would you recommend?

    • Vinegar is not recommended as stated in the article.

  34. Hi, I have old formica countertops that are off white. House was built in the 80’s. Today, I cleaned them with hot water and baking soda. Had to wipe them down 3-4 Times then dry and they really look good. Getting tired of so many products that really don’t do a good job. Am going to try this and will this bring any shine to them. If not can u give me any suggestions if there is something that can bring the shine back. Thank you.

  35. I’ve used this cleaner before and love it but we recently moved and found out we have mice. My husbands first reaction was bleach spray. Will this cleaner be enough to disinfect the counters or what do you recommend to clean my countertops?

    • I’ve read that peppermin EO is a mice/mouse repellant 🙂

      • Yes, peppermint EO put on cotton balls works quite well at repelling mice. I place them in various spots in my RV and the mouse problem disappears quickly. RVs seem to be natural attractants for mice.

  36. Lavender oil is a natural disinfectant–you could leave out the castille soap in this recipe if you wanted to.

  37. Hi, love your site! Just wondering why distiller water is important? I could only find demineralised water in our supermarket. Will that do?

    • IT just helps preserve it longer but you can even just boil water if you need to and use it once it cools

  38. I take lot of receipes from your site. I want to know whether this multipurpose cleaner can be used for toilets, showers and tubs also?

    • I want to know the same thing:-)

  39. I’m looking for something that I can use on wood furniture in place of Pledge. Does this damage wood surfaces?

    • I found a recipe somewhere that was basically vinegar, olive oil and lemon oil, they used it to polish the wood and then wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. I am sure there are actual recipes out there that are similar, but this one looked very easy.

  40. I’m super excited to make this. The hubby and I are Paleo and try to buy natural products as much as we can. I try my best to buy “natural” cleaners but after much research was disappointed to find things that are still toxic in the products I was buying. Slowly but surely I will be making all of our products, including beauty/personal products. Thank you for making this journey so much easier! We do not have children but do have a dog, and I worry about exposure to chemicals when it comes to her health as well as ours. You are awesome!

  41. I do not like the idea of using Borax. Can I use something else or just omit it?

  42. Hi Just curious with the washing soda and borax is it necessary to wear gloves for everyday cleaning? Do you need to rinse countertops after use? If I wanted to use only a single essential oil( lavender) how many drops would you recommend to increase disinfecting capabilities. Thanks so much- I love this site!

  43. A friend of mine told me about your blog and I’ve been hooked for about a week straight now. Thanks for everything!

    I have one question about storing this multipurpose cleaner. Should this be stored in a glass container because of the citrus oils?

      • If I’m concerned and want to use a glass container, what do you do about the plastic tube in the bottle attached to the sprayer?


  45. Have you had any trouble with this molding?

  46. Anyone try thieves oil? That’s what I use.

  47. I have made many of my own cleaning products for awhile now, but just ran out of my all-purpose and looking to try another one. I’ll be whipping up a batch of this tonight and testing it in the bathroom. I always use a mixture of lavender, lemon & orange as my signature scent, just vary the ratio depending on the product. it’s my favorite & other people rave about it! good taste, or should I say smell! 😉

  48. I too make an all purpose spray with white vinegar and citrus peel. I use very tall mason jars and fill them with citrus peel and vinegar. I allow it to steep for a few weeks until the oils permeate through. Sometimes I add lavender or rosemary sprigs to the jar or simply add tea tree oil to my spray bottle before use. I add a teaspoon of dish liquid to the mix and it works beautifully on everything. It cleans grout like nobody’s business and the vinegar aroma dissipates soon enough. I’ve also done this using cheap vodka and it also worked really well. The beauty of homemade is not only the affordability but you can individualise the fragrance according the Season or the room.

  49. LOVE THIS STUFF! Been using it for quite a while now!

  50. Just made this. Absolutely love it and the scent is great! I was using vinegar and water before but love something that smells refreshing! Thanks! 😀

  51. you said not to used it on countertops where foods are prepere what can i used insted? thanks! can i used it on my wood table?

      • What is tsp; teaspoon or table spoon?

          • Back oh so many years ago, when American school districts actually taught HOME ECONOMICS {Home Ec.}, these were common vocabulary terms that were REQUIRED to be known. I miss the good old days. They wonder why the population has gotten fat, they don’t teach how to cook so everyone eats crappy fast food all the time! Here are a few:



  52. Hi Katie,
    What do you use to polish and dust wood furniture?

    • I’ve used olive oil and lemon oil in a spray bottle, works really well.

  53. Hey, QUESTION! I don’t have washing soda right now. I have made this cleaner before and I loved the original recipe. Will it work the same is I omit the washing soda? Or use baking soda in its place? Thank you. You are such a beacon for me!

    • The washing soda helps with the suds action, so I don’t it will be quite the same. You could certainly try it, but I don’t think it would work.

  54. Sorry to bang on about Borax, but given the fact it has been

    “added to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list on 16 December 2010. Substances and mixtures imported into the EU which contain Borax are now required to be labelled with the warnings “May damage fertility” and “May damage the unborn child””

    would you not recommend using a borax substitute instead? they are widely available. Or would this not work?

    • If you are at all concerned, you can use a substitute, but this cleaner recipe is what I use. I don’t know it would work with the different ingredient.

  55. My all natural cleaner, which I have used for years, is white vinegar and water in a bucket. I use straight vinegar for sanitizing. I learned many years ago that white vinegar in water makes everything you use it on smell fresh and clean.

    • Where do you find organic non GMO white vinegar? Almost ALL white vinegar is made with corn, (grain; mostly GMO) or with petroleum products. (if it doesn’t say grain based) I have found organic without the GMO corn, but it is prohibitively expensive.

  56. Popped over from your Lemon, Basil, natural cleaner, besides the ingredients, what are the big differences, also aside you don’t want to use borax on cleaning surfaces. Thinking this might be good for floors or maybe stoves and such, but the other seems like it would be better for glass and things like that, wondering if just the vinegar one could be used on everything or better to make both, just wondering what the different uses for each would be used for.

  57. what is washing soda? I’m new to all of this and don’t want to buy the incorrect product. 🙂

  58. What are your thoughts on making disinfecting wipes with this solution, as you would baby wipes? Could I fill a container with paper towels and pour this solution over it?

  59. What do you use on stainless steel? Also,what do you use for granite? I’m reading a few of your blog posts and am getting confused which to use.
    love your stuff!

  60. I use peroxide & water mostly. I also use dawn water… I know dawn isn’t natural per say but the original blue dawn is great for cleaning the stove & works great on mirrors & glass…

  61. Also for the best stain remover ever…. peroxide & dawn equal parts in a spray bottle will get any stain out of clothes, furniture, carpet, car upholstery etc… amazing stuff!!!

  62. Don’t judge me but the first thing when came to my mind when I read this article, and that was a week ago, was that this cleaner is impossible to clean my windows. Well, I was so wrong! I bought all of the ingredients and just mix them and now my windows are so clean! Thank you so much for your incredible idea and for that you shared it here!

  63. What is castille soap?? Where do I get it? Thanks!

  64. Do I need to store this in an amber or cobalt glass bottle since it contains essential oils?

  65. I half fill a mason jar with citrus peel. Then fill with white vinegar and leav for two weeks. Then after two weeks discard peel and put liquid into a spray bottle. It cuts through grease and grime effortlessly and smells divine! Cost so little to make and a small amount goes a long way. In asda the vinegar is 40 pence and the citrus fruits are £1.00. With the juice from the lemons and limes I just pour into ice cube trays for when I need them in cooking etc….

  66. I recently received my first order of Branch Basics. Yay!!! Do you use this as a disinfectant?(Let’s say….for things like potty chairs and changing tables.)

  67. Does this mixture leave a residue at all with using the washing soda and borax? Do you use this on windows too like a saw one of the posts mention?
    I am really enjoying all your posts. You are changing the way I do things.

    • I haven’t had trouble with this leaving residue at all, but for windows I usually just use a clean microfiber or a diluted white vinegar spray…

  68. Hi Katie,

    Now that they discontinued Branch Basics Soap (at least for the moment).. I would like to ask you what is that you use to clean your granite kitchen counters? You mentioned you don’t use this All purpose cleaner where food is around.

    Thank you for EVERYTHING you do to all of us to make us healthier! 🙂

      • Thank you so much for your reply!

        Do you use 1 tablespoon in a quart of water?

        Thank you again..

        Congratulations on your new baby!! :):)

        • Anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon depending on how tough the area is to clean…

          • Thank you very much for your reply!! I appreciate them-all of them- very much!

            I’ll do that. I’ll let you know how it works. 🙂

            At the moment, I am using a cleaner I made from water, vodka, essential oil (lavender) and a little bit of dishwashing liquid. I honestly don’t like it. I really liked how Branch Basics works.

            Thank you again,
            Angelica 🙂

      • Sal Suds contains SLS… a toxic ingredient. check this post for information regarding it.

        In part:” So why is a dangerous chemical like sodium lauryl sulfate used in our soaps and shampoos?

        The answer is simple – it is cheap. The sodium lauryl sulfate found in our soaps is exactly the same as you would find in a car wash or even a garage, where it is used to degrease car engines.

        In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, sodium lauryl sulfate also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. It is also well documented that it denatures skin proteins, which causes not only irritation, but also allows environmental contaminants easier access to the lower, sensitive layers of the skin.

        Perhaps most worryingly, SLS is also absorbed into the body from skin application. Once it has been absorbed, one of the main effects of sodium lauryl sulfate is to mimic the activity of the hormone Oestrogen. This has many health implications and may be responsible for a variety of health problems from PMS and Menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and increasing female cancers such as breast cancer, where oestrogen levels are known to be involved.

        I try not to use ANYthing containing SLS’s or SLES, both of which give lathering properties and are toxic.

  69. Do you use a regular plastic spray bottle for the cleaning solution? I’ve experienced with oils that they tend to eat through some materials.

  70. I’ve been looking for a glass spray bottle for a while now and cant find anywhere. Anyone know where to buy one or even how to make one at home? I live in Canada so I don’t generally buy on because some things do not ship to Canada. I use but I didn’t find glass spray bottles there.

    • Amazon has them, and not expensive. Search cobalt glass spray bottles.

      • Great if you live in the US cuz it’s only $5.99 on but for the same bottle on it’s $82.00!!!! No bargain there!

    • I use an empty vinegar glass bottle. Then use a sprayer from an old cleaning product. It fits perfectly !

      • What a great idea. I think I can make that work! Thanks!

  71. You’re welcome. I have two .one in my kitchen and the other in my bathroom. They work well and look really cute.x

  72. Have you made your own wet “Swifter” pads? Do you think Sal Suds, water & inexpensive cotton wash cloths would be a good choice?

  73. Do you need to rinse the cleaner out once you’ve cleaned whatever surface you used it on?

  74. Awesome! I haven’t heard of Grove, but I just got your email and placed my first order! Thanks!!!

  75. Does this cleaner require rinsing or wiping? I plan to use it on play area surfaces, as well as the kitchen counter, bathroom counters and dining room table after meals or crafts. With two little ones I would rather not have to wipe each surface twice!

  76. Could I use sal suds instead of soap?
    Also do you notice any residue with using sal suds on your granite?

  77. Hi Katie,
    I’m looking for something to use on grouting in showers and bathrooms – would this be suitable? I don’t want to use bleach but haven’t found anything else that will get rid of mould in an older bathroom…..would love your help !!!!
    Thanks 🙂

  78. I read your post and the comments, but found nothing that gave me any idea what to use in toilets.

    Up to now I have been using Borax, but the Canadian government has now listed it as a toxic substance. I am not sure how much longer it might be available here. What do you use that is effective & DIY? I cannot get Groves products here. Thanks!

  79. Does this work on wood floors and furniture?

  80. Are preservatives necessary in homemade cleaners, especially those made with water? I always use distilled or boiled water. Most of what I make is in batches of 32oz or less but my laundry detergent and fabric softener are made in batches of 1 gallon. I want to make sure my products are actually safe and are cleaning instead of spreading germs or bacteria. Thank you!

  81. All ingredients are NOT available on Grove Collaborative, and when I followed the link to their site it wasn’t that easy to look around. So why link to them? They don’t have the things you say they do. Borax for one, they have no Borax. The Washing Soda is half as much at Wal-mart. And Costco now sells large Castille soap containers. All of which I can get in one day.

    • Sorry you didn’t have a good experience with Grove. I’ve always had great experiences with them. That’s great that you can get everything locally too… we don’t have a Costco where I love and it can be tough to find things. After getting asked where to find the ingredients online for years, I stared linking to them.

  82. Mountian Rose Herbs sells both sweet orange essential oil and bitter orange, which one do you recommend for this cleaning recipe?

    • Either will work but I prefer the sweet orange for this recipe 🙂

  83. After a couple of weeks of use I can attest that this cleanser is great!! Thanks so much!

  84. Hi, I was wondering if you had any issues with this taking the finish off wood floors (if it accidentally splashes or my toddler wants to “help”). Thanks!

  85. Love this multi purpose cleaner! ALTHOUGH, when using it to wash floors, it leaves a I stick to vinegar and water for the floor. My floors are dark so it’s quite visible. Anyone else have this issue?

  86. I finally made this, without the borax and it is still amazing! I sprayed just about everything in my house and I love it! It works wonders on soap scum! Thank you!

  87. I was wondering if you knew the amounts to mix into a gallon of water for mopping?

  88. I know you have stated that glass bottles are best and won’t break down while using citrus based essential oils but I was wondering un aluminium bottles would work as well or if you think it might corrode the aluminium?

  89. Thank you so much for your blog. I started (in earnest) the journey to more natural living about 2 years ago. I’m trying to take it a step at a time and not be too hard on myself. Your blog has been God-given in helping me on my way. Simple, easy to follow directions and practical solutions. Thank you and please keep it up!

  90. I am wondering how you store or organize all your supplies for making all your homemade products. I looked on your site but wasn’t sure if you had posted anything like this. I am just looking for ways to stay organized with all this. Thanks

  91. what is ‘washing soda’???

  92. I was reading somewhere that citrus essential oils are really toxic to cats? Have you come across this in any of your research? I worry because I have three cats and wouldn’t want to be using anything that would be harmful to them. I am sure they are still much less harmful than conventional cleaners…Thanks for much for all you do! Love your site!

  93. You recommend witch hazel as a Borax alternative. In your experience, is it as effective? What ratio would you use in the above recipe? Thank you!

  94. Someone recently suggested “Borax Substitute” to me. Apparently it is a popular alternative in the UK. Wondering if anyone has tried as part of their all purpose cleanser.

  95. Hello, Katie. Do you use another recipe to disinfect kitchen surfaces, considering this is not a disinfectant? Thanks.

  96. I left out the Borax so I could use this in the kitchen, but I had to add about 2 Tbsp. of rubbing alcohol to get rid of the residue it left on my counters. I really didn’t want to have to wipe my kitchen twice every time I cleaned it, so I tried adding the alcohol and it worked! No more residue.

    Just an FYI: This recipe is basically a homemade degreaser (seriously, on the rag it smells exactly like the nasty purple stuff we used at Little Caesar’s when I worked there), so it is very effective at lifting dirt and grease off surfaces. Maybe it’s because I left out the Borax, but this cleaner left a tacky residue of dirt and cleaner on my counters, which I am pretty sure are quartz (we are renting, and the owner never told us).

  97. What about adding hydrogen proxide for the benefit of a disinfectant?

  98. Just discovered and made this fantastic recipe! Vinegar is too strong for me, the odor causing my chest to constrict, and natural products from the grocery store bother my husband. This is perfect for all our needs and the scent does not hang around. I used straight orange oil…18 drops. Is this too much? My husband is grateful to you! ?

  99. I just made this recipe and used it. It left grittiness on the surfaces I used it on. Am I doing something wrong? Should the water be hotter(I used warm) in order for the particles to dissolve? If I can’t solve the grittiness issue, I’ll probably continue to use it in my kitchen sink and bathtubs and then just wipe down afterwards. Happy with the cleaning power for tough spots and soap scum but may not be for everyday cleaning.

  100. Hi there!

    New to the blog and love it! What do you mean by “floor pre-treated”? Will it work if added to water to wash floors? Does it need to be rinsed after? Any particular concentration you suggest?

  101. I know lemon is naturally antibacterial, but you use this as a bathroom cleaner as well & it kills germs? I have always used bleach cleaners ? and I am recently replacing all my cleaning products with natural ones. Thank you!

  102. Can i swap the borax with : witch hazel astringent original (contains alchahol)? If i can how much do I add? Will this be safe for food surfaces? I just purchased dr Bronners as well.

  103. If one wished to use witch hazel instead of borax in this recipe, what amount would one use? I’m not anti-borax, I would just like an all-purpose cleaner that is good for food surfaces as well. Thank you in advance!

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