For ages now, I've been wanting to make my own all-purpose cleaner, and guess what? I finally buckled down and—after doing a bit of Googling to find a good recipe—made my own. Apparently vinegar is where it's at when it comes to cleaning. Who knew? (Every generation of homemaker up until the past several decades, probably.)
The thing is, I love pretty bottles and friendly scents when it comes to cleaning products. If I had my way, I would buy all the fun Method products I could get my hands on. (Especially their clementine-scented dish soap. It completes me.) Still, as time goes on, I'm realizing a couple things:
1. Thriftiness prevails. I do enough cleaning these days, that it only makes sense to make my own all-purpose cleaner to save money (and the planet a little bit).
2. Kid-friendly cleaners mean that Eisley can help me out with weekly chores without me going all paranoid-mama when I'm busting out the 409. "DON'T TOUCH THE TABLE! DANGER! POISON! NO TOUCHY!"
The simplest (and most common) concoction I could find consisted of white vinegar, water, and tea tree oil. For reference, the recipe I followed can be found here. It fit perfectly into a Method cleanser bottle I already had on hand.
Before adding the tea tree oil, I was trying to use just vinegar and water as a cleaner, but the smell bothered me. Call me crazy, but if I'm not an 8 year old dying easter eggs in my childhood home, I just don't want to smell vinegar. (That is seriously the one thing I can think of when I smell vinegar! Did anyone else use that to dye eggs? Oh, childhood.)
The more I researched, the more I saw people recommending tea tree oil, which is supposed to cut the vinegar scent and help kill certain bacteria and such. I love the scent of tea tree oil, too, so the fact that it lingers a bit as the spray dries doesn't bother me one bit. I purchased my tea tree oil at Trader Joes for just over $6, which seemed steep—but I was too lazy to price-shop at that point, and this tiny bottle will last me forever with the small amount that is needed for one bottle of cleaner.
Also, if you're an essential oil kind-of-a-gal (or guy), you can add a few drops to make the scent even better.
Because of the added oil, I always give the spray bottle a little shake before using it, just to make sure the mixture is blended. I've been using it for the past week and am completely happy with it! I use it mostly in the kitchen, but on Monday I used it to spray down the bathroom (even mirrors!) and it worked very well.
I totally recommend trying it. Now that I've had such success with this, I'm on the search for some other homemade cleaners I can make. Let me know if there are any you'd recommend!