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Homemade All Purpose Cleaner Recipes

It is easy to make your own all purpose cleaners, and they can be just as effective as the store bought cleaners. This page contains homemade all-purpose cleaner recipes.
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December 6, 20115 found this helpful

When you make your own cleaning products, you avoid exposing yourself and your family to hundreds of harsh chemicals. You also protect the environment, and save money, too! The following all-purpose cleaner recipes contain simple, ordinary ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. You probably already have most of these ingredients on hand. If you don't, they are inexpensive and easy-to-find at your local supermarket. Best of all-they really work!
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Test First!

With the exception of the laundry detergents, these cleaning recipes should be used immediately (not stored), as some of the ingredients will become inactive after standing for a period a few hours. Although the ingredients are mild, some may stain or scratch certain surfaces, so always test them out before applying them to a large area. Any ingredients known to harm certain materials are marked with an *asterisk.

All-Purpose Household Cleaner

Mix one teaspoon of liquid soap or borax with a gallon of hot water. Lemon juice or vinegar added to the mix will cut grease and leave a fresh scent. Vinegar is a great deodorizer.

In the Kitchen

All-Purpose Fruit and Veggie Wash

In a bowl or spray bottle, mix together 3 cups filtered water, 3 tablespoons of white distilled or apple cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Spray on veggies, scrub gently, and then rinse them under cold water.

Note: Do not use this solution on mushrooms as they will absorb the flavor.

Cutting Board Sanitizer

Apply with a spray bottle, scrub with a sponge, and then rinse clean.

Coffee Maker Cleaner

Pour 1 cup of white distilled vinegar into the water reservoir (use ¼ cup for smaller coffee makers). Fill the rest of the reservoir with water. Turn the coffee maker on, and without adding coffee or a filter, let it run through a cycle. Empty the pot. Run it through another cycle using plain water only to get rid of any remaining vinegar residue. Repeat a third time (water only again) if necessary.

Glass Cleaner

Mix ingredients together and pour into a clean spray bottle. Once mixed, this solution can be stored for later use, just make sure you label the bottle and keep it out of reach of children.

Oven Cleaner

Place baking soda in a bowl. Add water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a spreadable paste. Spread the paste evenly over the bottom of the oven and let it sit overnight. If necessary, spritz the paste with water the next morning to dampen it and make it easier to wipe clean. Wipe away the baked on residue using a damp sponge and follow with a damp cloth to remove any remaining baking soda. For really tough baked on spots, try sprinkling the damp sponge with salt for a little extra scouring power.

Pots and Pans Cleaner

Sprinkle two tablespoons of baking soda into dirty pots and pans. Add 2 to 3 inches of hot water and a little squirt of dish soap. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes (preferably on still warm burner) before scrubbing. For extra tough stains, add 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar (it will foam!). Most baked on food can be easily removed from pots and pans if you act quickly.

When you're done cooking, immediately squirt a little hot water and dish soap into the empty pan and leave it site on a warm (turned off) burner. By the time you're finished eating, the dish soap and water will have worked its magic and the stuck on food should come off easily.

Note: Do not use baking soda solutions on non-stick pots and pans, as it may scratch the coating, which may then leach into your food. This solution should also not be used on aluminum pots and pans as it may discolor them.

Porcelain Whitener

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon each of oxygen bleach powder and baking soda in the porcelain dish (2 teaspoons for a larger dish). Fill the dish with hot water and swirl to dissolve the powders. Let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes before scrubbing.

All-Purpose Stainless Steel Cleaner

Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Use a soft damp cloth or non-abrasive sponge to rub the mixture onto the stainless steel surface. Wipe clean (no rinsing necessary) and polish with a soft cloth.

In the Bathroom

All-Purpose Anti-Bacterial Cleaner

Using a wooden spoon, mix the baking soda and detergent in a bowl until it is the consistency of frosting. Stir in essential oils. Slather some of the mixture onto a soft sponge and scrub. Rinse well. Use this recipe to clean glass, porcelain, ceramic, and most plastic surfaces. It's abrasive enough to clean without scratching. You can find essential oils at health food store.

Porcelain Tub and Sink Brightener

Apply to a sponge. Scrub thoroughly and rinse. For stubborn stains, allow to stand for 15 minutes before scrubbing.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Squirt liquid soap into the toilet bowl, followed by a sprinkle of oxygen bleach powder and baking soda. Add essential oils (optional). Scrub with a toilet brush. For tough stains, let the solution stand for 10 to 15 minutes and scrub a second time. Flush when finished.

Drain Opener

A plumber's drain snake can be used to manually clear a clogged drain. You can find both professional grade and inexpensive plastic versions at most big-box home stores. As a preventative measure, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white distilled vinegar (it will foam!). Do this once every two weeks to help prevent future clogs.

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Soap Scum Cleaner

Use the all-purpose cleaner (see above) plus add 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar. It will foam up when the vinegar is added to the baking soda, so don't be alarmed. Use an old toothbrush to clean hard to reach places and rinse with warm water. Soap scum build-up is easy to prevent just by wiping down wet surfaces regularly after bathing.

For Clean Laundry

All-Purpose Liquid Laundry Detergent

Place the grated soap in a small saucepan and cover with water. Dissolve over low heat. Fill the bucket with water, and add the dissolved soap. Stir in 1 cup of washing soap and mix well. As the solution cools, the liquid should start to thicken up. Store soap in covered bucket. Use 1-2 cups per load. Fels-Naptha® bar soap and washing soda (usually Arm & Hammer® brand) can both be found in the laundry aisle of most supermarkets.

All-Purpose Powdered Laundry Detergent

Combine all ingredients and store in a covered container. Use 1 TBSP for light loads, and 2 TBSPs for large or heavily-soiled loads.

Fabric Softener

Add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle.

Stain Remover

Spot-treat stains with a solution of 3 tablespoons borax and 2 cups of room temperature water. Test on a concealed piece of fabric first, before using on a large area.

Bleaching

Use a clothesline and some sunshine as a natural way to bleach!

Floors & Furniture

Tile/linoleum Floor Cleaner

Dissolve 1-2 teaspoons of dishwashing soap in 3 gallons of warm water. Mop the floor with this solution. To rinse, follow with 1 cup of white vinegar in 3 gallons of cool water and dry with towels.

Wood Floor Cleaner

Dissolve 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar in 3 gallons of warm water. After mopping, wipe floor dry with a clean towel.

Rug/Carpet Spot Remover

Blot immediately with a soft, dry towel. Sprinkle with baking soda, cornstarch or borax and let dry. Wash with club soda, let dry and vacuum.

Furniture Polish

Test in an inconspicuous area first.

Rust Remover

Sprinkle a small amount of salt on the rusted area. Soak the area with the juice of one lime, saving the rind. Let stand for about three hours. Use the leftover rind to scrub the surface clean.

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Comment Was this helpful? 5
December 7, 20110 found this helpful
Top Comment

I don't know whether these work or not, however, I do know that whenever you mix vinegar and baking soda; one is an acid and the other a base, you will get salt, water, and carbon dioxide. This is why it bubbles. Bubbles, in my experience, are not great cleaners. Neither is salt water.

Vinegar by itself does some jobs. Baking soda by itself does some jobs. But when you mix them, they neutralize each other, and all you have is salt water. Any recipe that contains both can not be more effective than salt water. The floor cleaner, for instance, is nothing more than salt water. It can't work any better than plain water. I'm sorry. It's basic chemistry.

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By 9 found this helpful
October 13, 2011

This is the best all-purpose household cleaner I know of. I make a batch and put it in an old spray bottle that once held a commercial cleaner. I keep the extra in an old gallon sized vinegar bottle.

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By 17 found this helpful
October 20, 2011

Making a paste out of whitening toothpaste and baking soda is an easy, wonderful way to tackle some of the things that were hard to clean before I started using it. I get the cheaper whitening paste (or gel).

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April 10, 20170 found this helpful

Lavender Scented All-Purpose Cleaner - Ingredients.

CommentPin It! Was this helpful? Yes

Reduce the chemicals you use to clean your home by making your own inexpensive all purpose lavender scented cleaner. This is a guide about lavender scented all-purpose cleaner.

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January 12, 2011

For a good all purpose cleaner, you need water and Ivory liquid dish soap. Fill a 32 ounce spray bottle nearly full with water. Add a squirt or two of Ivory Liquid Dish soap. Put the sprayer back on and gently shake the bottle until the soap has been evenly distributed.

Comment Was this helpful? 6
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June 9, 20050 found this helpful

After buying bleach cleaners at the dollar store and still feeling I was spending too much I went to the Clorox web site and found this. It is much cheaper too.

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By 3 found this helpful
April 6, 2012

Add citrus peels to vinegar

CommentPin It! Was this helpful? 3

Plain, old vinegar is still one of the best and thriftiest cleaning products going. But the smell can put some people off and keep them from using it more often, even though it dissipates quickly after use.

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April 20, 20050 found this helpful

I don't know where I got this recipe but it works great on almost anything.

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January 24, 2011

For a good all-purpose liquid cleanser, combine 1 teaspoon borax, 2 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon washing soda, 1/2 teaspoon vegetable-based detergent and 2 cups very hot water.

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September 13, 20040 found this helpful

Fill a glass quart jar with the peelings (remove any of the white pulp) of any citrus fruit-grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, etc. Cover the peelings with white vinegar, cover and allow it to sit for about 2 weeks, occasionally shaking the jar.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

November 25, 20110 found this helpful

I am looking for recipe for a general cleaner (mainly kitchen), strong enough to clean off my stove.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
November 29, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Half vinegar-half water solution cuts grease, disinfects, and removes kitchen odor. It's environmentally safe (for you and the planet-no dangerous fumes or chemicals in the drains) and frugal.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 30, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have good luck in cleaning my stove top and the inside of my oven with a paste made from water and baking soda. If the spots are a little stubborn, repeat the process using a green 3M pad. It is abrasive, but does not scratch the surface.

Harlean from Arkansas

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By 0 found this helpful
June 5, 2008

Looking for recipes for homemade household cleaners.

Debby from London, Ont. Canada

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
June 8, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I NEVER, EVER buy household cleaners. Vinegar and newspaper to clean mirrors and windows. Vinegar in the washing machine rinse cycle softens the clothes as well as help to clean the skum from the washing machine. Don't buy fabric softners. If I'm washing dishes by hand I sometimes pore a little vinegar in the dishwater. Nothing cuts the grease as well as vinegar. I don't buy prewashes either. I use dishwash detergent and rub in it the spot. I clean my comodes with vinegar. I clean the tub and sinks with baking soda. It's a little abrasive but not like Comet, etc.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
July 1, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

To clean my microwave I squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a small bowl of water set the microwave for 5 minutes and let it sit for 5 minutes. The steam loosens the grime so it wipes right off and the lemon gives it a fresh scent!

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By 6 found this helpful
March 29, 2011

I am looking for "recipes" for all purpose liquid solutions cleaner for general bathroom, kitchen, etc. Please help.

By "Sweet Pea" from Nevada City, CA

Answer Was this helpful? 6
Anonymous
March 31, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

NEVER EVER mix ammonia or chlorine bleach with dishsoap because there can be serious chemical reactions that can cause several types of diseases and even death :-o Here are some natural recipes that are safe for living beings and the environment:

All-Purpose Cleaner:

Equal parts white distilled vinegar and water

Soft Scrub:

Baking soda mixed with a bit of water to make a paste

Furniture Polish:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white distilled vinegar

Shake well before using

Toilet Bowl Cleaner:

Sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda, drizzle with vinegar, let soak for 30 minutes and scrub with toilet brush.

Drain Opener:

1/2 cup baking soda

1/2 cup vinegar

Pour baking soda down the drain and follow with vinegar. Cover and let sit 30 minutes. Flush with boiling water.

Daily Shower Spray:

1/3 cup rubbing alcohol

1 cup water

Mix in a spray bottle and shake. Spray on, no rinsing is require

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 2, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Put 2 cups rubbing alcohol & 1/2 cup white vinegar in a clean, empty 1 gal. milk jug. Fill the rest of the way with water, squeeze (approximately 1 tsp.) dawn dish soap in. Put top on and give it a light shake. Fill a spray bottle. Use in the bathroom anywhere, kitchen counters, windows, mirrors, anywhere. Safe and super cheap. Never leaves a residue.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 8, 2011

Can you make a cleaner from bad or over ripe oranges? I get a lot of these free from local grocery stores that I get bad produce from to feed my chickens and pigs, but none likes citrus. Thanks.

By Bryan from WV

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 10, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use peels for a variety of uses. Never the actual orange though. You can make a homemade citrus vinegar cleaner. Fill a wide mouth jar with peels and cover with vinegar. Let steep for 3-4 weeks (a month is recommended but I get a bit impatient haha) shake the mixture up from time to time. After a month has passed strain the mixture and you are left with a great all purpose cleaner. I use as a laundry booster when I wash whites, to clean floors, windows, counter tops, cut grease in the stove, clean off soap scum in the shower, etc etc. Basically you use it just like you would straight vinegar but instead of that vat of french fries odor you have an amazing light citrus scent. I also throw peels in my water crock that I keep on my wood stove. Orange, lemon, and apple peels all give the house a nice scent.

As an aside, if I cut oranges, melons, etc. in half and toss out for the chickens they will happily peck away right down to the rind. Are you cutting them for them? Maybe I just have lazy chickens.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
February 11, 20110 found this helpful

Pigs don't eat citrus for a reason, it's bad for them. Don't even offer it to them. I think it's something in the peel.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 29, 20110 found this helpful

Here's a homemade cleaning recipe for people with allergies, asthma, or who just want to make something homemade and earth friendly.

In a large bowl place 2 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar. Let it fizz and stir. Add 1 tsp. of environmentally friendly dish soap and stir. Pour this mixture through a funnel into a plastic spray bottle, and fill the remainder of the bottle with water.

I use this spray for counters, stove, appliances, bathroom, mirrors, glass, electronics, everything. When I'm wiping something like electronics I spray a paper towel or dust cloth to saturate with cleaner and then wipe. I do not spray directly onto electronics or fine furniture.

By Carly34 from Lynnwood, WA

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

January 24, 20110 found this helpful

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar

Directions:

Combine together. This is window cleaner and can be used on stoves and refrigerators. Surface really shines!

By Robin from Washington, IA

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

January 9, 20110 found this helpful

You know how you pick up a hint somewhere and it sits around for a year before you get around to trying it? Well here's one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 gal. warm water
  • 1 Tbsp.baking soda
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I used white)
  • 1/4 cup sudsy ammonia

Directions:

Mix well and put some in a spray bottle. I tested in an out of the way spot first. It worked. Floor, sink, bathroom & painted wall.

By Great Granny Vi

Editor's Note: Make sure this solution never comes into contact with bleach. When bleach and ammonia are mixed it creates a gas that is extremely dangerous to inhale.

Answers:

Frugal All Purpose Cleaner

Thanks! You just saved me a trip to the store (and some money), because I had all the ingredients on hand.
(12/21/2004)

By Judy in Tulsa

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November 2, 20100 found this helpful

I was doing a site search for this cleaner that I have heard so much about and I cannot find it.

Editor's Note: Here's the recipe we have. Please everyone, if you have others, post them here.

All Purpose Cleaner

A good cleaner for spills and general, light cleaning.

  • 1 spray bottle
  • 1 tsp. borax
  • 1/2 tsp. washing soda
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. dishwashing liquid
  • 2 cups hot water

Mix all ingredients and put solution in a spray bottle. Use
on stains or quick clean ups in the kitchen.

Like most cleaning solutions, this might irritate some
people?s skin. Use with rubber gloves.

Answers:

All-purpose cleaner

I use a solution my MIL suggested.

  • Spray Bottle
  • a couple of good squirts of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (regular blue color)
  • 1/4 cup Clorox
Add ingredients. Fill remainder of bottle with water and shake good before each use.

I use on my shower tile and never have to scrub or even wipe down. I also use in the toilet, bathroom sink, kitchen sink and counters.

A word of warning: I only use Dawn, some other dish washing cleaners have warning labels not to mix with bleach but Dawn doesn't. It does get fumey smelling so make sure to leave doors open or a window for a few minutes.

(07/24/2003)

By OSI1

All-purpose Cleaners

  • squirt bottle
  • 1 Tbsp.Ammonia
  • 1 Tbsp. Liquid Laundry Detergent (I use regular Tide)
  • 2 cups water
This is the best cleaner I have ever used! You do not have to rinse when you are done and it doesn't leave a sticky residue. My MIL tried it recently and has made the switch. It got all the hair-spray residue off her floor and counter the first time. And the smell is not over-powering; always a plus! (04/04/2005)

By April

All-purpose Cleaners

I just tried the Dawn, bleach and water mix and am thrilled with the results. There is no scrubbing or rinsing required and it works better then any other store bought cleaner I've tried. It also leaves a nice clean smell from the bleach. I also used it to wipe down a wall and light switches. I'm hooked. Thank you so much for posting this. (05/21/2007)

By CoCo 007

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

May 19, 20100 found this helpful

The best grease-cutting all purpose cleaner I have ever used is a mixture of water, a little bit of dish detergent (I use Dawn) and some vinegar in a spray bottle. This cuts through absolutely everything. I especially like to use it on the stove to both cut through the grease and clean at the same time.

My aunt told me the idea of mixing the soap and water, so I added some vinegar to it. Its also great for spraying on dishes to start breaking up the scum before you wash them.

And, the vinegar makes the blue Dawn a really pretty color of blue, so it could be something fun to show the kids when it happens.

Source: My Aunt Linda.

By Dorinmoz from Sugar Land, TX

Answers:

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

This is the absolute best cleaner for ceramic stove tops or anything glass. I spray it on my wood floors and use a Swiffer mop...excellent. What proportions do you use? (09/23/2009)

By SusanMarie

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

September 22, 20090 found this helpful

I have mixed just about every homemade cleaner "recipe" known to man. It is satisfying and I like knowing I am not putting pollutants and irritants in our home.

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