Homemade All Purpose Cleaner: A Simple DIY Recipe That Really Works

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Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

A homemade all purpose cleaner works well on all cleaning surfaces. This DIY all purpose cleaner is simple, natural, and it smells great!

“But do they really work?”

This is the question we most often hear from skeptics on the topic of DIY cleaning products. And it’s a tough one to answer. Some will be effective and some won’t because it comes down to the knowledge of the DIY-er.

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner That Works

While the process of making your own natural cleaners isn’t an exact science, there is some science to it. We recommend doing the following things to make sure you have cleaners that are really fighting germs, lifting stains, and getting things clean.

1) Begin with the proper ingredients.

Whether or not a natural DIY cleaner works effectively is dependent on how much you know about the ingredients you’re mixing together. Did you know that mixing vinegar with liquid castile soap causes a reaction that unsaponifies the soap, breaking it down into its original oils? You end up with a curdled, oily substance that looks like goopy cottage cheese. Instead of boosting your cleaning experience, this acid and base actually cancel each other out.

So how do you know what the right ingredients are for each recipe? That takes us to our next recommendation.

2) Learn from people with experience.

We have the time, experience, and resources to make a great homemade all purpose cleaner. Most people don’t, and for that reason, we did all the legwork for you.

There are several great ebooks, print books, and websites out there where you can get all the information you need to start making your own cleaners, without having to make all the horrible newbie messes and mistakes. And we wrote an entire book on how to make all your own cleaners (60+ recipes), and you can find it here.

3) Employ a little trial & error.

A little trial and error on your part may be necessary even once you have all the right recipes and ingredients. In fact, most who have done the legwork of creating a DIY all purpose cleaner don’t have fancy laboratories. They don’t have millions of dollars to fund product research and testing, so there are variables to deal with.

Hard water is one factor that makes a few DIY cleaning recipes tricky for some. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use homemade cleaners, but simply that you may have to tweak a recipe or two or use more of a cleaner than originally recommended. We always encourage people not to give up if a DIY cleaner doesn’t give results the very first time.

Practice makes perfect!

4) Tune out advertising.

I believe mainstream media is the biggest reason many people don’t believe DIY cleaners can actually work.

When the new Clorox campaign states that “Bleach means clean,” it’s no surprise that we doubt anything else could kill germs effectively. Yes, commercial cleaners may work, but they also introduce toxic chemicals into a home that you are working so hard to keep clean AND safe for your family.

Even some of the so-called natural cleaners contain chemicals you don’t want in your home. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reminds us that, “Many manufacturers may tout a positive aspect of their product but ignore health or ecological concerns associated with other ingredients.” This means that even if you’re shelling out the extra bucks for a “green” cleaner, you’re not getting what you think, so you should be making your own so you can control the ingredients.

So when you’re working to reduce toxins and find a DIY all purpose cleaner that works, tune the media out. They might be selling you lies/half-truths, and trust what you know about simple, natural ingredients.

Put simply, no one cares about your family as much as you!

Natural All Purpose Cleaner

One of my favorite homemade All Purpose Cleaners is formulated with a few simple ingredients that I know are effective in cleaning household surfaces.

Hydrogen Peroxide (3%): This common medicine cabinet staple can kill bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungus. It is listed with the Environmental Protection Agency as a sterilizer. You can use it to disinfect all your surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom, remove stains, and even clean mirrors and stainless steel. I like to use it full-strength because it’s already diluted (3% hydrogen peroxide, 97% water) when you purchase it.

Note: Hydrogen peroxide is sensitive to light so it must be kept either in its original bottle (with an added spray nozzle) or transferred to another opaque spray bottle.

Essential Oils: Essential oils are volatile oils they extract from various parts of plants. In addition to their wonderful aroma, certain essential oils are known for their antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and germicidal properties. I love adding essential oils to a DIY cleaner to further enhance its effectiveness.

Anything else? No. This is how you keep DIY cleaners really simple, cheap, and effective!

Enjoy this recipe.

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner: Lavender Mint

5 from 1 vote

A homemade all purpose cleaner works well on all cleaning surfaces. This DIY all purpose cleaner is simple, natural, and it smells great!

Prep Time
5 minutes
Mixing Time
5 minutes
Total Time
10 minutes
16 ounces
Estimated Cost


  • Opaque spray bottle


  1. Combine all ingredients in bottle, attach spray nozzle, and shake to combine.

  2. For best disinfecting results, spray on surfaces and leave for several minutes before wiping clean.

Recipe Video

Made this recipe?

Mention @diynatural or tag it #diynatural!

Do you have a favorite homemade all purpose cleaner? Please share it in the comments!


About Betsy Jabs

Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebookand Twitter.

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DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.


  1. Vanessa Reynolds says

    When you say $1 for 16OZ – where do you get your peroxide from please?
    I am in Australia and the peroxide I have found here about $8 for 500ml – which would make this product extremely expensive.

  2. DEBORAH says

    This recipe is awesome! I have been using it for years. It was especially great at the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic when people were freaking out about the lack of chemical disinfectant products. I would just head over to the first aid aisle and grab a bottle or two. Finding toilet paper on the other hand…

  3. Cheri says

    My all-purpose diy cleaner is a vinegar based recipe. I fill a mason jar 3/4 full of white vinegar and add the rinds of my citrus fruits as I eat them. I put a lid on and let it sit until I’m ready to fill my spray bottle. Then I use a mesh strainer on top of a funnel and strain the vinegar into the bottle to about 2/3 full, then fill the rest with water. It works well for almost everything.

  4. Kim Knight says

    When you say “leave for several minutes” before wiping clean, how long is several minutes?

  5. Lalo says

    Great recipe! When using a dark glass bottle I’m thinking that putting the oils in first and then “washing” them down through the funnel with the hydrogen peroxide would be a great way to get the most out of your essential oils 🙂

  6. Mary P says

    Just an FYI, vinegar is not recommended on granite. I use a combination of alcohol, water, a squirt of Blue Dawn and a little EO

  7. Victoria says

    I must say I did stub my toe on using straight hydrogen peroxide on my Kitchen counters. They were only 6 years old, but it cause a bubbling in the countertop behind my sink. Now I have to come up with a cosmetic fix. I like peroxide in whites for my laundry, but I must say it will bleach the color out of your dark clothing, so be careful when spraying while you are cleaning! Perhaps wear white while using it…. :o)

  8. Karen says

    OK. I have 35% hydrogen peroxide. How much do you think i will need? But, i cant use it on granite – correct?

  9. Victoria says

    How many drops of essential oil is in 1/2 teaspoon? It is so wasteful to me to put them in a measuring spoon, as you leave some on the spoon. So knowing how many drops that is will be beneficial when mixing the cleaner. Thank you so much!

    • Debbie says

      I use this from Bio Source Naturals:

      Essential Oil Conversions

      1 drop = approx. 60 mg

      1 ml = 1/5 teaspoon

      1 ml = approx. 16 drops

      1 ml = fills one capsule

      5 ml = 1 teaspoon

      5 ml = approx. 80 drops

      15 ml = 1 Tablespoon

      15 ml = 1/2 fluid ounce

  10. Lu says

    I use vinegar and water at 1:1 ratio, leaving enough space in my spray bottle to add 1/4 cup peroxide. I clean everything with this. It does disinfect and I’ve had no problems with insects.

    • Carol L says

      You should not combine vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. YOU MAY use them both, but spray individually and then wipe.

  11. Trisha Hay says

    Can I use this cleaner to spray on my remotes. I know it says to leave it for several minutes so I am just curious. Also Is this cleaner safe to clean my daughters toys that she loves to chew on. Which would be all her toys.

  12. Haikaa says

    Hello 🙂

    I just made this today and I love how it feels and smells. Has anyone used this to clean computer screens?

    Thank you.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      So glad you like it! When it comes to electronics you’ll want to check with the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning. I know that Apple warns against using cleaners containing hydrogen peroxide because all their screens have a special coating that can be affected by it.

      • Haikaa says

        Thank you so much for your reply Betsy. I couldn’t resist it and I actually cleaned my MacBook Pro keyboard with it but I did not wipe the screen so I guess it’ll be alright. I think those computer screen cleansers are pricey, they’re not versatile at all and they’re also full of chemicals. So from now on, I’ll use this cleaner for the keyboard and just a cloth for the screen. Cheers to DIY and thank you for the great posts 🙂

  13. Scott King says

    I’ve found a bit of an advantage by using Alkaline water in my home made cleaning recipes. Seems to do a bit better when testing against same recipes with regular tap water. Give a try. Great article btw.

  14. Monica Ritchie says

    Should a dry cloth or wet cloth be used to wipe the surfaces clean? Thanks! So excited to try this recipe. I’ve been looking for a good disinfectant.

  15. Amanda Harrington says

    Lavender! I absolutely love it! I’ll try your recipe! It sounds very interesting…I’ve never tried peroxide for cleaning. My recipe for household green cleaning is: 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, 2 tsp sea salt, 3 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp lemon juice and 20-30 drops essential oil. For cleaning the dirt and odor in the microwave I use vinegar:water 1:1 and it has a very good result. Thanks for sharing! Greets!

  16. Deb says

    I love this cleaner! That it’s a disinfectant is a plus. I cleaned the kitchen today and this removed an old beet stain from my cutting board! I can’t wait to make some for my mom, who buys Lysol and Clorox. This cost me 99 cents plus EO’s. Tomorrow, three bathrooms…

  17. Sue says

    Do you have a recipe for cleaning granite? I miss being able to use a cleaner like yours. I am sure it smells delightful.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      You can mix 1/4 cup alcohol, a few drops of your favorite essential oil, a few drops of liquid soap, and about 12-14 ounces of water in a spray bottle. This will make a very inexpensive and effective granite cleaner!

  18. Stephanie says

    I always use vinegar and reverse osmosis water 1:1. I thought that was good enough, but I like the idea of using hydrogen peroxide – especially around toilets and tubs. I don’t use essential oils anymore, though, unless I have a glass bottle to add them to. I’ve read they break down in plastic, but the post doesn’t mention that and recommends using the hydrogen peroxide spray bottle (which is plastic). Thoughts?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Vinegar will kill some things, but hydrogen peroxide is a more effective disinfectant. And yes, I *normally* use glass with essential oils whenever I can, but the issue is not the essential oils breaking down, it’s the essential oils breaking down the plastic. However, they won’t eat through the bottle or anything. They just react with the plastic. For this application, using EOs in the hydrogen peroxide bottle should be fine. It’s difficult to find an opaque glass bottle, that’s why I’ve given the choice here. Thanks for asking these good questions!

    • CBoyle says

      The essential oils will be fine in plastic if you are using PET plastic. Check the bottom of your plasticware to see if it’s the PET type.

    • Phyllis Smith says

      Most hydrogen Peroxide are placed in plastic bottles in the brown container do it does not chemically decompensate. So put it in a dark bottle & add a spray nozzle on it