Homemade and Inexpensive (Healthy) Household Cleaner for Any Surface–It Takes a Minute to Make!

If you are tired of spending money on expensive and unhealthy household cleaners, there’s an inexpensive, healthier alternative that takes seconds to make. 

cleaning solution ingredients
Bottle, vinegar, essential oils (I like orange and lemon mixed together) plus water, shake, and you have instant all-purpose cleaner.

Though I couldn’t resist using coupons to get three bottles of Fantastic spray cleaner for .49 cents each at ShopRite one week, I typically don’t buy much, if any, harsh household cleaners. For years my husband wanted me to use a vinegar concoction to save money, but I resisted until now.  Here’s the recipe:

  • large and durable spray bottle ($3.00 at Home Depot)
  • fill 1/3 of bottle with inexpensive white vinegar
  • fill rest of bottle with tap water
  • for fragrance, use lots of essential oils (lemon, orange, peppermint, anything you like), or lemon juice in a pinch
  • shake bottle to mix
  • (Some people like to add baking soda to this mixture, others like to add ammonia to this vinegar mixture. I like my vinegar straight, cut with oil/lemon juice.)

I spray this mixture liberally everywhere–tile, Silestone, walls, painted doors, appliances, fixtures–anything. (I read somewhere not to use vinegar on Silestone, but in its diluted form, it’s safe). The cost for all of this is so low, it’s hard to track. Each bottle I have of essential oils from Whole Foods Market was between $3 to $5 and lasts forever. Vinegar, well we all know that’s cheap.

Not everyone tolerates the smell of vinegar. It does dissipate quickly after it’s sprayed. My kids used to complain, but no longer because I think they are used to it.  The important thing is this: it works, it’s healthy, it’s cheap. What more can you ask for?

By the way, we still use Windex for glass and windows–the vinegar just didn’t work that well even without oils, and for wood, we use diluted Murphy’s Oil to clean and my furniture polish recipe for shine and conditioning, and sometimes I use baking soda as a paste to clean various other surfaces (and the toilet bowl).

eraser blocks for cleaning
Here’s my box of generic eraser blocks, cut up, from Home Depot. I can’t live without this product in the house! This box lasted me about six months because I cut the blocks even smaller every time I need one.

For very tough stains on walls and other surfaces (not stone), I use Mr. Clean’s Eraser or any generic kind (hands down my favorite household product of all times, and yes, I know it can be problematic if you rub too hard on any surface). Just be sure to cut the eraser blocks in small chunks so you don’t waste big eraser bars on small jobs.

~Marilyn, TFF

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