Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Make affordable and nontoxic all-purpose home cleaner with these easy-to-follow instructions.

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Borax, castile soap, essential oils, and water are all that you need to make this nontoxic home cleaner.

Photo by Charity Burggraaf

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In The Hands-On Home (Sasquatch Books, 2015), Erica Strauss provides readers with more than 100 recipes, tips and inspirational ideas. This no-nonsense, seasonal guidebook to reducing consumerism and increasing DIY covers everything from cooking and preserving to nontoxic home and personal care.

You can purchase this book from the Capper's Farmer store: The Hands-On Home.

All-purpose cleaner

For all-purpose cleaning of counters; hardwood, laminate, or tile floors; painted or stained woodwork and painted walls; and even spot touch-up cleaning of mirrors and stainless steel, I use this alkaline, residue-free cleaner. I have a bottle in both my upstairs and downstairs cleaning totes and keep another under the kitchen sink for fast access. This is as simple and thrifty as it gets for routine cleaning. I add a drop of green food coloring to this spray, so it matches the fresh peppermint scent and my kids never mistake it for water.


2 tablespoons borax

1/2 teaspoon liquid castile soap

Hot water

30 drops peppermint essential oil or other essential oil of choice

1 drop green food coloring (optional)

Add the borax and castile soap to a 32-ounce heavy-duty spray bottle. Add enough hot water to fill the bottle, lid tightly, and give the bottle a good shake to dissolve the borax. Let the mixture cool, then add the peppermint essential oil and food coloring, if using. Label the bottle and store out of reach of kids. The cleaner will last for at least a year, though the essential oil scent may fade over time.

To use:  Lightly spray the cleaner onto a clean lint-free towel or directly onto the surface you wish to clean, then wipe away the grime. To clean sealed hardwood floors, spray floors very lightly and immediately wipe them with a microfiber mop.

©2015 By Erica Strauss. All rights reserved. Excerpted from The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving, and Natural Homekeeping by permission of Sasquatch Books.