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Homemade All Purpose Cleaner Recipes

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Someone cleaning a kitchen counter with cleaner.

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.


Solutions: Homemade All Purpose Cleaner Recipes

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: "If Nothing Else Works" Cleaning Paste

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).

You use equal amounts of baking soda to tooth paste. If you put it in a container that seals tight you can use it over and over again till finished. This is so much easier than trying to decide how much you need for each project. An empty yogurt container is great for storing it. Scuffs on baseboard, cleaning sneakers or heels of shoes, even hard to remove hard water stains come off easily with this mixture.

Make sure not to use too much pressure that scraps off the paint. It wasn't the paste in my case, but it was my choice of sponges. Now I use microfiber on everything and it works great with this paste.

I think this works on more things than I have tried it on. So far if my regular vinegar-lemon spray doesn't work easily, my paste does. Using it on base board marks to black streaks on tennis shoes sounds broad, but I like cutting my cleaning products down to a few things, including one that even shows off the white smile I have when seeing a clean sparkling job when finished.

Source: I had heard of making cream of tartar paste but was out. This works so well it's now all I use. It doesn't need any special care except storing it so no air dries it up.

By Luana M. from San Diego, CA

Tip: Homemade Household Cleaner

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.


  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup ammonia (not the sudsy kind)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup washing soda


Mix the ingredients until dissolved. You may want to test it on painted surfaces before using. I've never had it fade any paint, but you never know.

By Copasetic 1 from North Royalton, OH

Tip: Frugal All Purpose Cleaner

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. Use Ivory because most other dish soaps leave behind a filmy residue. Ivory is especially safe for Corian, marble, and wood counter tops and butcher blocks. It's also safe to use on brass or gold plated faucets.

By Jodi from Aurora , CO

Article: All-Purpose Cleaner Recipes

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner RecipesWhen 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!

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

  • 1/4 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 4 drops grapefruit seed extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

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

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 cup water

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

  • 16 ounces of baking soda
  • Enough water to make a paste

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

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup club soda

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

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid detergent or Castile soap
  • 15 to 20 drops of your favorite antibacterial essential oil (e.g. lemon, lavender, tea tree oil).

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

  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons 3% hydrogen peroxide

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

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • 1 tablespoon of liquid soap
  • 2 tablespoons of oxygen bleach powder
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 10 drops of essential oils (optional)

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.

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

  • Water
  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha® soap, grated
  • 1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda)
  • 4 1/2 gallons of water
  • 5 gallon bucket with cover

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

  • 1 cup grated Fels Naptha® soap
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax®

Combine all ingredients and store in a covered container. Use 1 cup for light loads, and 2 cups 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.


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

  • 1 part distilled white vinegar
  • 3 parts olive oil
  • 1 to 2 drop of natural lemon oil (not synthetic)

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.

Tip: Add Citrus Peels To Vinegar

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. I came upon this tip online and thought it was worth a try.

Peel an orange, a couple tangerines, or any citrus fruit you like. (And yes, I did it in one continuous cut :-)

Citrus peels to add to vinegar.

Put the rind twist into a jar. Add just enough vinegar to cover it. Let it sit and infuse on a sunny window for a few days.

Then pour into a spray bottle. The vinegar smell should be cut quite a bit. This makes a good cleaner for most any situation.

Add citrus peels to vinegar

A side benefit: When I was a kid, we never bought conditioner (did they have it in the 50 and 60s?), we always rinsed our hair with straight vinegar mixed with a big cup of water. Had the shiniest, tangle-free hair. But I never cared for the smell while using it, even though the smell went away after use. I'm going to give this citrus-infused vinegar a try instead of conditioner.

Source: posted by Somewhiteguy @ comments @ The Kitchen

By June from upstate NY

Tip: All-Purpose Cleaner

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. Combine in a plastic spray bottle.

By Jodi from Aurora, CO

Tip: Homemade General Cleaner

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

2 tablespoons ammonia
2 tablespoons liquid laundry detergent (Not one with bleach!)

Put this in a spray bottle and add 2 cups of hot water from the tap, mix gently and use. I use it on almost everything.

By Nan from Iowa

Tip: Citrus Vinegar Cleaning Recipes

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. Remove the peels, and you can strain it as well. Use this vinegar in any of the following ways:

  • Pour into a small dish, and set in a room to absorb odors.
  • Make an all-purpose floor cleaner by mixing 1/2 cup to 1 gallon of water.
  • Glass Cleaner: Combine a quart of water with 1/2 cup of the vinegar and add it to a spray bottle. Use as you would glass cleaner.
  • Linoleum Floor Cleaner: Add 1 cup citrus vinegar with two gallons water of water and mop as usual.
  • To Clean Ovens: Spray or pour the vinegar on burned or soiled areas. Close the oven door and allow it to sit for 2 hours. Wipe clean with a sponge or rag that has been moistened with warm water. You may need to repeat.
By Lisa

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Here are questions related to Homemade All Purpose Cleaner Recipes.

Question: Homemade Household Cleaner Recipes

Looking for recipes for homemade household cleaners.

Debby from London, Ont. Canada


Most Recent Answer

By garry09/05/2008

i am looking for a safe homemade cleaner for my walls and painted woodwork

Question: General Cleaner Recipe

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


Most Recent Answer

By mklema [1]12/09/2011

1 cup each of 70% alcohol, ammonia and water into a spray bottle.

Question: Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

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

Most Recent Answer

By Letha04/02/2011

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.

Question: Can I Make a Cleaner Using Spoiled or Over Ripe Oranges?

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

Most Recent Answer

By Joan [2]02/11/2011

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.

Question: Homemade Fragrance Cleaners

What can I use for homemade fragrance cleaners?

By Betty E.


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Best All Purpose Cleaning Recipe

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. I have just found the BEST all purpose cleaning mixture ever! It cleans appliances to a sparkle, windows, wood, counter tops, bathroom surfaces, etc It is a disinfectant and anti mildew cleaner as well - and it is cheap, cheap, cheap!

Here is what you need:

  • 1 tsp. borax (buy a box, it will last you forever!)
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. Murphy's Oil Soap (or generic)
  • 2 cups hot water
Put all in a spray bottle and shake it up! The other thing I like about this is the smell. While vinegar is a great cleaner, I don't enjoy the house smelling like pickles. The Murphy's oil soap is really all you smell (which I like). I used this on my white painted wood cabinets and it cut right through fossilized drips :)

By Carol from Landisville, PA

RE: Best All Purpose Cleaning Recipe

Make sure you store the borax in a safe place away from children and animals. It can be used to kill cockroaches and I ended up killing my pet tortoise because he ate a very small crumb of it. It dehydrates. Harriet (10/09/2008)


RE: Best All Purpose Cleaning Recipe

If there are left-overs, can it be saved? Does it have to be HOT water? (10/10/2008)

By Teri

RE: Best All Purpose Cleaning Recipe

Thanks so much. I have been looking for a simple to make and good cleaning recipe. (10/10/2008)

By mulberry204

RE: Best All Purpose Cleaning Recipe

Do you have to rinse after using this cleaner? Thanks! (10/11/2008)

By DownSouth

RE: Best All Purpose Cleaning Recipe

Thanks for the recipe, this stuff works great. I did leave out the borax because I wanted it to be non-toxic. It worked great on my black stove which is always a pain to clean. No residue. I also used it on my laminate and tile floors with my star fiber mop. Before I just used vinegar and water for all these things but this spray works even better. Especially on my black stove which is such a pain to keep looking clean. Thanks. (10/17/2008)

By Mel

RE: Best All Purpose Cleaning Recipe

(submitted via email) The poster said the Murphy's Oil Soap was all you could smell. Is it really 1/4 tsp. of Murphy's, not 1/4 cup? I can't imaging 1/4 tsp. overpowering the vinegar smell! Thanks in advance!

Mary (01/30/2009)

Archive: Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

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

RE: 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

Archive: All-purpose Cleaners

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.

RE: 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)


RE: 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

RE: 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

Archive: Frugal All Purpose Cleaner

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.


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


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.

RE: 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

Archive: All-Purpose Cleaner


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


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

By Robin from Washington, IA