DIY Homemade Cleaners {All-Purpose Cleaner}

Making your own cleaners can be fun and economical.  Through the last week or so I’ve talked about must-have ingredients, recipes {free printable}, and labels {free printable} for homemade cleaners.

Let’s get started today with the all-purpose cleaner.   What’s makes a cleaner all-purpose?  An all-purpose cleaner is meant to be used for just about any surface and any mess.  This all-purpose cleaner works great on counters, tables, sinks, bathrooms, kitchens….

This all-purpose cleaner recipe is great because the vinegar and lemon combo has some germ-killing properties in addition to just being a great all-around cleaner.  {Like the spray bottle with the built-in juicer?  Me too!  You can find them here and here.}

Here are the simple ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. castile soap (optional)

Mix, spray, and wipe clean.

A couple notes on homemade cleaners:

Generally, homemade cleaners are not meant to be mixed up in large quantities because they don’t have stabilizers.  This recipe has fresh lemon juice in it – I’d recommend using it within a few days of making it and/or storing in the refrigerator.  Castile soap and vinegar generally aren’t compatible – feel free to leave the castile soap out of this recipe, but I have found that the very small amount of soap to vinegar ratio has no effect on the cleaning ability of this all-purpose cleaner.  It’s a good idea to test any homemade cleaners in an inconspicuous spot to make sure that it’s safe on the surface you are intending to use it on.  Vinegar and granite and/or marble don’t mix – the acid in the vinegar will eat away at your granite and marble.

Click here to see all the posts in this series.



  1. Is vinegar okay to use on granite?

  2. My favorite all-purpose cleaner is orange infused vinegar mixed with equal parts water. I just steep orange peels in vinegar in a mason jar for 4 weeks to infuse the vinegar. Works great! I’ve heard you can do this with any citrus peel. I just happen to have an orange loving family so we always have plenty of orange peels! I’ll have to try this recipe, though. I keep hearing how castile soap is great for making you own cleansers and have been wanting to try it out.

  3. Castille soap can also be used in making shampoo, hand soap, and laundry detergent. Many, many uses!!! Thanks, Becky. Love your site!

  4. This is actually one of my most favorite cleaner recipes. Vinegar is FANTASTIC at getting out smells. I never used castile soap though, I never saw a need for it. Does anyone know the difference in adding and not adding the castile?

  5. Hi Becky,

    Your series on DIY cleaning supplies is great! Vinegar and lemons goes such a long way.

  6. I keep getting thick, greasy, orange clumps in my cleaner when I add the castille soap – and I’m only using 1/4 tsp! I’ve been using the tea tree ‘flavor’ which looks orange, so I’m sure that’s where the color comes from. Do people have better results (less clumping, rather than different colors) with different flavors?

  7. I’m so happy to have come upon your website. I’m getting ready to throw out (sorry, take to my city’s hazardous household waste collection…) a bunch of products with nasty ingredients that I just don’t want to use in my home anymore. You say to not use vinegar on granite and marble. I have both in my kitchen and bathrooms, and I’m pretty sure they are sealed. Any product recommendations?

    • Check into using hydrogen peroxide instead of the vinegar in the recipe. I use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, water, essential oils and a touch of dish soap as my all purpose cleaner and I’ve never had a problem with it on my marble vanity. Not sure about granite, you’d have to check into that. There’s no vinegar-y smell either, which my husband is very sensitive to.

  8. Where did you get the spray bottle in the picture??

  9. Love the recipe (and bottle) but suggest not using the Castile soap. Vinager neutralizes Castile soap and curdles it, rendering it to fat (no longer a a soap). Vinager in combination with soaps like Dawn.

  10. Just came across this one – been looking for an all purpose cleaner! Do you think lemon essential oils will accomplish the same as the fresh lemon?

  11. Michelle Harden says:

    Just wondering if the All-purpose cleaner would be safe to use on Travertine?

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