How To: Make Your Own All-Purpose Cleaner

As a kid, I always wondered why the women in commercials wore gloves while washing dishes [my grandma used to explain that people on the mainland liked their hands to be soft].  It completely confused me because I was definitely one of those kids who used to scrub the tub with bleach, comet, and basin-tub-and-tile cleaner barefoot and gloveless [this may explain a lot].  I remember having to run outside to stop the world from spinning afterwards, but I never imagined those experiences being harmful to me.

As an adult, I have made it my utmost priority to live a life that is both simple and significant, and a large part of that is being responsible for my health and body.  Together, Ben and I work hard to create a home that is both functional and conscious, which is why I’ve started really paying attention to the products we purchase and bring into our home.

I started researching the effects of chemicals on the human body a while back.  I was shocked to learn that many every day products contain unnecessary hazardous chemicals that have extremely harmful effects.  It was then that Ben and I decided to start using more naturally-derived products.


[Random fact: Ben + I have two different hand soaps because it is one of the only cleaning products we have opposing opinions about.  Ben needs his soap to be anti-bacterial while I would rather not become immune to super-viruses.]

While it is important to me to have products be both environmentally friendly and non-toxic, it is also important to me that these products actually work, especially when it comes to cleaners.  This all-purpose cleaner is all of the above, with the added benefit of being cheap and all-natural!  I use this on our counters, floors, and walls, as well as in the bathroom.  Of course, another option for an all-purpose cleaner is the simple 1:1 ratio of vinegar : baking soda, but the following recipe has a few added benefits.


All-Purpose Cleaner


  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar – cleanser, deodorizer + grease-cutter
  • 1 tsp liquid castile soap – basic gentle, non-toxic, cruelty-free soap that’s great for cleaning
  • 1 tsp borax – natural mineral disinfectant + cleanser
  • 2 c hot water
  • 1/4 tsp essential oil [Optional] – Eucalyptus, lavender + tea tree are all antibacterial, antimocrobial + antiviral

[*I found borax in my local drugstore’s laundry soap aisle, and both the castile soap and essential oils at my local health food store.]IMG_7374

Mix everything in a spray container [I reused an old container].

Spray onto surface [this is good for all surfaces except glass], scrub, and wipe off with a cloth or rag.

No more headaches!  I actually love using this to clean, as the oils smell so good!  Smile

Do you make your own cleaning products?  What works for you?

Have a great Tuesday, friends!  I’m off to get more studying done [save me, please!].

Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!


3 thoughts on “How To: Make Your Own All-Purpose Cleaner

  1. Therese says:

    When I finally moved into my own apartment for the first time one of my first “adult” decisions was to ban ALL toxic chemicals from the house. I haven’t used conventional cleaning solutions in years and am slowly teaching Alan not to get them either (he tends to forget when he buys hand and dish soap). I think vinegar is the best thing EVER, that being said, I absolutely canNOT find anything natural so far to get the soap scum off of our shower tiles. I even heard just to douse it in undiluted vinegar and it didn’t work. Baking soda hasn’t worked either. I do NOT want to go to toxic chemicals but our tiles are black so soap scum is way noticeable! Any suggestions?!

    I have another suggestion for those who have ceramic or porcelain stoves. Food can bake on them very easy but I discovered through experimentation that plain old salt works amazing (so much so that Alan likes to tell everyone about it). I just buy cheap salt from the dollar store to be honest but I use it only for that, I just pour some onto the stove and use a damp sponge and put some elbow grease into it. But you don’t need much, it really works well and doesn’t scuff my stovetop!

    • greenplatedinners says:

      Awesome, Therese! Thanks!

      Geez, I donno how to get rid of soap scum on tiles… we haven’t found a good way yet either. What I do know is good for sterlizing is hydrogen peroxide, which I might try on the tiles. I’ll let you know if it works!

  2. Angela says:

    Thanks for this!!! I have switched to buying “green” products but I’m sure they are excessively expensive. At least they make my windows sparkle! LoL, I will tuck this “Recipe” away for more elbow grease type cleaning though!

    Oh and you can get Borax at Home Depot too in the insect killer area (it is a natural and pet safe alternative for killing fleas around the house, but don’t use it directly on the pet – safe is relative)

    And its so hard to find soap at the regular grocery store that isn’t anti-bacterial!!! So annoying because I’m on your side with this one!

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