Easy chemical free all purpose cleaner

When I began looking for alternative spray cleaners I noticed a lot of them were made with a vinegar base. I started experimenting with store bought vinegar based cleaners and I must say there are a lot of good options out there.  However most of them smelled too strong for me.  Let’s face it, I’m not really a fan of the way vinegar smells.  But once I tried using vinegar for cleaning I realized how well it actually works.  So I decided that I can put up with the vinegar smell in the name of chemical free cleaning  😉 .

Confession time:

The real reason why I eventually gave making my own cleaner a whirl was because we were completely out of spray cleaner and I was too lazy to drive 30 minutes to the store to buy more.  Yes we live about 30 minutes from a town where there are multiple reasonably priced stores.  There is a small grocery store in my town but since we are in the middle of nowhere I find it to be way too overpriced and only go there in a PINCH if I have to.  This causes me to be pretty crafty at times and then I feel like a real homesteader. LOL.

So what’s so good about vinegar?

Vinegar is a weak acid made up of a dilute solution of acetic acid and water, made by fermentation of alcohol.  It has natural antimicrobial properties due to it’s acidic nature.  If you have read my post about water bath canning , I explain why food that is canned in that manner must be slightly acidic or in an acid solution (i.e. vinegar) as the acid environment keeps bacteria from growing.  Another thing the acid does is dissolve mineral deposits which is why vinegar is recommended in the use of de-scaling a keurig, or soaking a shower head.  It is generally good at cleaning glass and stainless steel, and it’s my favorite thing for washing store bought produce. [source]  It is also good for refreshing the washing machine, removing stains from clothing, and is a good degreaser. If you add some to the rinse cycle of your dishwasher it helps keeps water spots from forming on glasses.  While vinegar has a ton of great properties, there are also things it is not so great at.

What vinegar is not good for

Vinegar is not good for use on marble, natural stone, or pearls as the acid can damage the surface or the finish or even start dissolving pearls.  It is not recommended to use vinegar for cleaning cell phone screens, or computer monitors as apparently there is some sort of coating on these screens to help diminish finger print marks (I just learned something new!).  I probably would not clean my TV screen with it either. Use caution on wood surfaces or any surface with a wax coating as it can dissolve the wax.  We have wood counters in our house and I’ve used it to wipe down wood furniture without any issues.  Do not use to wash cars.

I’ve also read that vinegar is not good for use on any surface that is visibly soiled.  I usually wipe down my counters first with some soapy water and then use my vinegar cleaner for the disinfecting properties. [source] I always add tea tree oil into my cleaning solution because it has antifungal, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties among others.  I also like the way it smells.

Make it yourself!

Take an empty spray cleaner bottle, I think I used an empty windex bottle and:

  • Fill halfway with distilled white vinegar
  • Fill the rest of the way with water
  • Add 20-30 drops tea tree oil
  • Add 20 drops of any essential oil you like the scent of (I tend to use grapefruit a lot)
  • Add 1 tsp of washing soda

That’s it! Sometimes the washing soda makes it fizz up a bit.  I just let it settle before putting on the spray cap.

To be honest,

I do still buy some conventional “green” cleaners and find there are a lot of great options out there as well.  But it is nice to be able to make my own cleaner and scent it the way I want it scented.  Plus I just feel cool making my own hah.

So don’t feel bad if you can’t or don’t want to make your own.  Just know that you CAN make your own and it works pretty well!

If you don’t want to make your own you can check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of safe cleaners here.

Here are two of my favorites that I usually have on hand.

Nature’s Promise in Driftwood Breeze scent all purpose cleaner.  I love this stuff. It smells amazing, it works well, and only has a few ingredients.



If I want to really go commercial: Lysol’s Power and Free all purpose spray.



It smells nice, but is not too overpowering and scores a B on EWG’s list so I feel okay about using it. Buy it here on amazon! {amazon affiliate link} They also have this at my local Bj’s in bulk, which I have purchased before!  I’m all about bulk buys sometimes 🙂 .  So be sure to check yours out if you like to have a stash of products in your closets like I do.

So give up the chemicals and switch to something safer!

You’ll be glad you did 🙂



Affiliate disclosure:  If you purchase products through my amazon affiliate link I will get a small compensation from amazon with no cost to you.  I truly thank you if you do so because I shop on amazon almost daily.  Please note I will only post affiliate links of products I personally use or love.

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