Monday, February 16, 2009

Homemade all-purpose cleaner

For the past 6 months or so, we've been making our own all-purpose cleaner. It's been wonderful not to have that chemical smell in the house, and it's a lot cheaper, too. Here's the recipe:
  • 1 qt (1 l) hot water
  • 1 qt (1 l) white vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp castile soap
  • 20 drops tea tree oil
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil
Mix everything together in a big container with a lid (we use an old 1 gallon vinegar bottle), and shake. It may be a bit cloudy as the castille soap tends to clot up a bit, but it works very well. The tea tree oil and lavender oil are both natural disinfectants and good at fighting mold. The lavender also makes it smell nice in a natural way. You should be able to find castile soap, tea tree oil, and lavender oil in most health food stores (or online).

Pour some of the mixture into a spray bottle and use for all-purpose cleaning.


Olivia said...


great post. I've been looking for recipes on-line for homemade all-purpose cleaners and yours came straight to the top of the list.

I have a few questions I'm hoping you can answer:

1. Do I need to use the lavender essential oil, or can I just get away with the tea tree oil?
2. I'm concerned about using a plastic bottle to store the cleaner, as I've read that tea tree oil, being the potent little thing it is, can degrade the plastic bottle. I'd really like to use a spray bottle for convenience. So I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on this.


Jakob said...

Olivia: No, lavender essential oil isn't necessary. We just like how it smells. You should just substitute tea tree oil instead of lavender.

We've reused some Method spray bottles we used before switching to homemade. They've been fine for probably around 6 months now where we haven't seen any problems with the tea tree oil attacking the plastic. But we haven't researched it any further.

Olivia said...

Thanks for the quick response. I'm definitely going to give your cleaner a try.
I hope you don't mind if I pose another related question. Do you have a recipe for dishwashing liquid? I have something I'm going to try with my dishwasher, but am looking for something to use when I hand wash.

Jakob said...

Olivia: We haven't tried making our own dishwashing soap. We use one from Seventh Generation. I would suspect you could make your own based on castile soap, though. But I'd love to hear what you come up with.

Olivia said...

Castile soap is definitely the direction I'm headed. I will definitely let you know what I come up with. As soon as I do, I will post it on my blog:

Thanks, again!

Ex-Navy said...

Great recipe. It works too

Toronto House Cleaning

Darren Olson said...

Hi Jakob, Olivia,

I think it is pretty neat that you share your ideas on eco friendly recipes, etc.
We have tried your homemade all purpose cleaning soap and it works like a charm.
We even added diatomaceous earth to it and used it as a pet shampoo. The DE was referred to us by our VET. I guess it kills fleas.
Do you know what the differences is with Castile soap? I hear this term a lot now and wonder what it is made of?

Thanks and keep up the great articles