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It's easy being green: This DIY natural spray cleaner gets the job done

Photo: Sarah Carlisle


If you Google it, you’ll find a huge volume (373,00 results!) of different options, ideas, and recipes for “DIY All-Purpose Spray Cleaner.” For good reason, people are choosing to switch to homemade, natural cleaners that get the job done. If you have kids or pets in your home, using products that you’ve concocted with ingredients from your pantry means you don’t have to worry about your small charges, bipedal or furry, getting into the cabinet under the sink.

This cleaner isn't recommended for consumption, especially for pets who can be extremely sensitive to essential oils; however, it's affordable, effective, non-toxic, and easy to make and use. You can use this homemade spray cleaner all over your house,  incorporating different essential oil combinations for specific kitchen and bathroom uses. Best of all, it’s cost-effective and it works just as well as the abrasive and potentially toxic store-bought cleaners without irritating your skin or posing a serious health risk to pets.

If you live in a space with an all-white kitchen, it can be a struggle to keep it clean, especially if you're regularly making messes with berries, black beans, or other ingredients likely to leave a stain. 

While this kitchen spray won’t remove stains from the counter immediately, it does lighten them with each use, thanks to the magic of baking soda, vinegar, and lemon. It easily takes care of sticky spills, coffee rings, and leftover soil from garden veggies. The antibacterial properties of the cleaner, combined with elbow grease and hot soapy water, can keep your kitchen safe, clean, and stain-free.

To make 1 bottle of all-purpose spray cleaner, you’ll need:

  • 1 spray bottle
  • a funnel
  • ½ tsp dish soap
  • ½ cup white vinegar (or less, if you're sensitive to the smell)
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • warm water to fill the bottle
  • a few drops essential oils of your choosing - rosemary and lemon work well for kitchen spray, and lavender and peppermint for bathroom spray

Add the dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar to the spray bottle. Swirl very gently to mix. It'll likely overflow a bit, but keeping the funnel in the mouth of the bottle helps contain it. Usually I do this in the sink and use the overflow to scrub the sink when I’m done!

Once the initial bubbling subsides, slowly pour the water into the bottle, using the funnel. It takes a few minutes to fill the bottle at this rate to prevent more bubbling. Halfway through filling the bottle with water, add the essential oils so they're incorporated.

Screw the cap on and swirl the bottle gently again. It’s ready to use at this point, although you should shake it up every once in a while so that the baking soda doesn’t settle. You'll want to thoroughly clean out the spray bottle occasionally to get rid of buildup.

Sarah Carlisle is passionate about learning and making, and spends most of her time in Portland, OR running a creperie, growing food in a cooperative garden, participating in community kitchens, and creating and crafting at home. 

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