How To Make Natural Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Commercial cleaning solutions are highly effective but so is this homemade all-purpose cleaner we will talk about today. Most importantly, it is natural and it doesn’t contain any synthetic and toxic chemicals that can be found in commercial cleaners.

This vinegar-based homemade cleaner is very easy to make, it has a pleasant smell, nothing like the strong chemical smell of commercial cleaners, and is absolutely safe to use. More often than not, commercial cleaners pose a health risk, especially for people with allergies or skin sensitivities. On the other hand, this cleaner you can make at home is safe for everyone. Moreover, you can use it effectively on many different surfaces including your floors, kitchen countertops, bathroom, windows, and mirrors. Commercial cleaners are rarely this versatile.

Let’s dive in and see how you can make this eco-friendly, affordable, and natural cleaner. And, of course, how to effectively use it.

How Do You Make A Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

Before we get into the whys and the tips for using this homemade all-purpose cleaner, let’s see how easy it is to make it. You only need two ingredients, a spray bottle, and your multi-purpose homemade cleaner is ready to use.

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe

  • 1 part citrus-infused white vinegar
  • 2 parts of water

Mix water and vinegar together in a spray bottle. That’s it!
This is a good ratio for a wide range of cleaning projects but if you want to use the water-vinegar mixture for tougher jobs, you can use a 1:1 ratio or increase the potency even more by using a 2:1 ratio.

How to Infuse Vinegar

The homemade cleaner recipe requires citrus-infused vinegar. If you never infused vinegar before, here’s how to do it:
  • Peel lemons and/or oranges and add the peels to a mason jar.
  • Add white vinegar to the jar until the peels are fully submerged.
  • Let the infusion sit at room temperature in a dark place for six weeks.

If you’re in a hurry and you don’t want to wait six weeks to make the natural all-purpose cleaner, you can use regular white vinegar instead of infused-vinegar. While the cleaner will be just as effective, the smell won’t be as pleasant. The citrus peels take some of the vinegar scent out and make the cleaner more pleasant scent-wise.

We really recommend making infused-vinegar any time you use lemons instead of throwing the peels away. It takes only a minute or two to do it and you will always have citrus-infused vinegar around when you want to make the cleaner.  Once it’s infused, you can store the vinegar in your pantry for months on end.

Alternative All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Do you want the citrus smell without waiting six weeks for the vinegar to be properly infused? You can replace the lemon peels with lemon essential oil. Add 12 to 24 drops of lemon essential oil to a spray bottle. Mix the oil with water and vinegar based on the recommended ratios we mentioned earlier then pour the mixture over the essential oil. Shake so the essential oil combines with the water-vinegar mixture.

Make sure you store the spray bottle in a cool, dark place because heat and sunlight can change the essential oil’s chemical constituents.

Why Vinegar?

You can change the water to vinegar ratio and use essential oils instead of lemon peels but something that never changes in this recipe is the use of vinegar. Have you ever wondered why is vinegar good for cleaning?

It’s because the chemistry of vinegar can break down grease, mold, and even bacteria. Vinegar contains acetic acid that hinders the growth of bacteria. The acidity of vinegar also makes it perfect for dissolving food residue and mineral-based deposits that are typically alkaline in composition.

How To Use It

Since it contains acetic acid and has a low pH, the homemade all-purpose cleaner acts as a mild antiseptic. Moreover, the lemon peels or essential oils that are mixed with the vinegar enhance the antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties of the solution.

To use the cleaner, spray the areas you want to clean, rinse with water, and wipe dry with paper or kitchen towels. This method works well for all kinds pretty much all surfaces but you should check the section below for even more tips.

Tips for Using Vinegar Cleaner

  • For grout, grime or hardened food residue, spray the surface and let the solution sit for a few minutes. Then scrub it clean with a brush.
  • For shower mildew or mineral build-up around furniture or other fixtures, spray the surface, allow the cleaner a few minutes to break down the deposit then use a soft-bristled brush to clean. For small spaces, you can use a toothbrush with soft bristles. After the scrubbing is done, rinse well. You can dry the surface with kitchen towels if you want.
  • For disinfecting kitchen surfaces, let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes then rinse with water.
  • For bathroom cleaning, you can sprinkle some baking soda and after spray the surface with the homemade cleaner. This will create a paste that will easily break down stubborn build-up as well as removing odor, dirt or soap build-up. This method is very efficient for cleaning the shower, bathtub, toilet, and bathroom sink.
  • For windows and mirrors, spray the vinegar cleaner and, with a soft cloth (preferably a lint-free one), buff the surface dry. You can also use an old t-shirt, paper towels or a soft kitchen towel.
  • For eliminating odors, you can use the all-purpose cleaner as you would an air freshener. Vinegar is a great natural deodorizer and, since the solution is citrus-scented, your home will smell lemony and fresh.

Cautions and Warnings

This homemade multi-purpose cleaner is pretty much good for anything. However, natural or not, no cleaner can safely clean all surfaces. Despite being so amazing, the vinegar cleaner is no exception.


If you want to clean a latex surface, you should be fast because vinegar can break down latex if left on for too long.

This natural homemade cleaner, or any other vinegar-based cleaner for that matter, shouldn’t be used on natural stone surfaces, such as marble and granite. If you have marble or granite floors and countertops, you should use a different cleaner because this one can stain, dull, and even scrape the surfaces.

You should also pay close attention when using the cleaner on hardwood floors. Some hardwood floors are safe to clean with this cleaner while others aren’t. To be sure, you should do a test in a discreet area first because some wood finishes can be damaged by vinegar.

Lastly, don’t clean raw eggs with this or any other vinegar cleaner because you’ll only make the eggs coagulate and they will be hard to remove from the surface.

General Precautions

Since it’s so good at removing mineral build-up many people use vinegar to clean the surface or the inside of their clothes iron. However, most clothes iron manufacturers advise against this cleaning method.

The most important thing to remember is that you should never mix vinegar with bleach because the mixture creates chlorine gas that’s very toxic. Make sure you don’t use bleach on any of the surfaces you want to clean with the homemade vinegar cleaner. Since combining these two cleaning products can be really dangerous, you should check if the drop-in toilet cleaners you use contain bleach or not. If they do, don’t use the vinegar cleaner.