Homemade Multipurpose Cleaner

Yesterday I finally made a homemade green cleaner, other than just vinegar and water. I got the recipe from the book Homemade. I made this as an attempt to have a multipurpose cleaner that Jer can use because he *hates* the smell of vinegar and refuses to use the vinegar and water cleaner. I used apple cider vinegar in attempt to make it as “un-vinegary” as possible.

Fresh Smelling Multipurpose Cleaner

3 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup white or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Borax
1 teaspoon washing soda
1 teaspoon liquid castile soap
1 32 oz. spray bottle

Fill spray bottle with hot water first, then add vinegar, borax, washing soda and castile soap. Shake well to mix ingredients and then shake well before using each time.

I’m not sure it is really “fresh smelling”, although it doesn’t smell like vinegar at all. In fact, it got Jer’s approval!! I sprayed it all around on the kitchen countertops and stovetop last night and had Jer come in and smell it. He said it smelled like a science experiment (not sure exactly what that means), but he agreed that he didn’t smell any vinegar, and agreed that he would be willing to use it as a cleaner. My counters were not that dirty, so I can’t really attest to how much cleaning power this has, but I am excited to have a cheap, homemade, green cleaner that doesn’t smell like vinegar and that my hubby will actually use!

The directions in the book say to spray on countertops, kitchen appliances and fixtures, and tile or painted surfaces. I’m sure you could use it in the bathroom too.

I’d love to hear if you have recipes for homemade cleaners that you use.
Happy “frugally green” cleaning!

For more thrifty ideas visit Tightwad Tuesdays at BeingFrugal.net!


  1. says

    I just tried this today and I am really impressed! I used lavendar scented castille soap so my cleaner had absolutely no vinegar scent at all!

    • Kari says

      I know it’s time consuming but a nice orange smell is left behind. I put white vinegar in mason jars with orange peels already stuffed in it. I allow it to sit for 2-3 weeks in the jars before I use them.

  2. Brittany says

    Can I use baking soda if I don’t have washing soda? I’m not sure what the difference is (other than they are different!)

    If I go buy washing soda, what else can it be used for?

    • Emily says

      Hi Brittany,

      I’m not sure about substituting baking soda for washing soda. You could always try it and see how it works, but actually, I’ve now found a homemade multipurpose cleaner that works just as well, if not better, and is our new favorite. Just fill a spray bottle with water and add a few squirts (probably a Tablespoon or so) of castile soap and a few drops of tee tree oil. It works great!
      Hope that helps,

  3. Vicky says

    I found you on Pinterest and I made this all purpose cleaner this morning. I was a little hesitant since my own concoction of castile soap and water left streaks everywhere. YOURS IS AWESOME! I tried it first on my glass top stove. Then I moved to the counters, then the chairs (I have very messy boys) then the bathroom, mirror, walls, all over! I couldn’t stop! And the dirt and food was just wiping off! I will be making this from now on, and I had all the ingredients on hand already! Thanks. I love your cleaning tips.

  4. Tamara says

    This is a great idea….. even to spray on clothes to help remove stains! One thing though, make sure that you don’t use this on marble or other stone surfaces. Vinegar is an acid and will cause acid erosion on the surface, eating the seal on it and eventually the stone itself.

  5. Lisa says

    If you are using just vinegar and water, as I do or any other vinegar based cleaner, just add a few drops of you favorite essential oil and let it sit for a while. Shortly, you will smell no vinegar at all. I like tea tree, lavender, or orange oil!

  6. says

    I just attempted to make this cleaner and the moment I added the washing soda I got the ‘volcano’ effect.

    Did anyone else have that happen? Do the continue to add ingredients and just use what’s left?



  7. Rachel says

    I love this cleaner. I add about 10 drops of orange essential oil to mine to cover the vinegar smell. Thank you for posting this.


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