Have you ever wandered down the cleaning supplies aisle to grab a simple spray for your counters or bathroom and been overwhelmed by the number of options? There seems to be an endless supply of colorful bottles, all claiming to be the best at killing the germs in your home. Do you ever stop to read the ingredients in those colorful bottles? And if you do check the labels, do you know what the impact of those chemicals are on your family?
I write in more detail on how some cleaners are making us sick here. But today I want to ask you, why do you need a different spray for your tables, sinks, counters, bathrooms and floors? Is there really that big of a difference in the sprays, or is it just marketing to get us to spend more money? While there may be some differences, I suspect we are being duped by marketing into thinking we need 17 different cleaners in our home.
What if I were to tell you that I only use one spray to clean my entire home? It’s true. I have found a simple cleaning spray recipe that is gentle enough for my daughters to use without gloves and a face mask, but powerful enough to clean up sticky counters, muddy floors, and dirty bathrooms. The best part is that there are only 3 ingredients, and they are crazy inexpensive!
The basic ingredients used for the spray cleaner are distilled water, white vinegar, and essential oils.
Water is the carrier for the other two ingredients. It is important to start with clean, distilled water to reduce the risk of bacteria in your cleaning spray.
Vinegar is an acidic liquid produced by fermenting alcohol. The combination of 5% Acetic acid and 95% water is the most common composition of vinegar. With a PH around 2.0, vinegar is a natural disinfectant that inhibits the growth of bacteria and viruses.
It is very safe to use on many surfaces, easily biodegradable, and inexpensive. I dilute it to 25% for this spray, but you can increase the ratio up to 50% if you want a stronger cleaner. It does have a strong scent, but it dissipates once the spray dries.
Essential oils are powerful ingredients that can be used to safely disinfect your home. It is important to remember that essential oils are super concentrated and need to be properly diluted. For example, one drop of peppermint oil is equivalent potency as 30 cups of peppermint herbal tea. Citrus oils are great for cleaning, as are lavender, tea tree peppermint, cinnamon and clove.
Take caution when using essential oils around children or pets. Do your research on each oil before use. Even though essential oils are natural and generally safe, they can cause allergic reactions or sensitivities.
Recipe for All-Purpose Cleaning Spray
In a 16 oz. spray bottle
4 ounces White Vinegar and 12 ounces Distilled Water
16-20 drops essential oils.
My current favorite essential oil blend is Germ Ease by Edens Garden
Other options: Thieves blend (cinnamon, clove, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus), or a combination of single oils like sweet orange and rosemary, lemon and lavender, and grapefruit and basil.
If you don’t want to use essential oils, you can still get a great smelling spray by infusing the vinegar with citrus peels or herbs for a few weeks. In a glass container, fill halfway with citrus peels, and/or herbs. Pour vinegar to the top and cover. Store in a dark place for at least 2 weeks, and up to one month. Strain the infused vinegar and use in your favorite cleaning recipes. Orange peels are especially good for kitchen cleaning as citrus oil cuts through grease. Rosemary is known to have powerful antibacterial properties, and peppermint deters pests and naturally deodorizes.
Looking for a great spray bottle? Grove has these glass bottles that are adorable and work well!
How to Use All Purpose Cleaning Spray
This spray has so many uses! Here are just a few ways to clean with it around the house:
- Wipe down Counters and Tables (I use on our quartz, porcelain, and butcher block with no problem. If you have a porous surface such as granite, marble or soapstone, vinegar may need to be further diluted so it doesn’t erode the surface.)
- Clean appliances
- Spot clean floors: either in a mop or with a rag
- Bathroom mirrors and sinks
- General household cleaning and deodorizing
How many cleaners can you replace in your home with the All-Purpose Cleaning Spray?