How to make your own natural all-purpose cleaner {DIY}

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We like to live life simply and naturally around here.  Or at least as simply and naturally as we can in a two people working, 3 boys messing, one dog barking family. My husband likes to throw around the word hippy when he’s talking about me but I threaten that if he keeps it up I may just stop shaving my armpits!  That’s enough to keep him quiet…

It’s not always easy to live simply, which I get seems sort of weird, but it’s true!  We’re a fast-paced, fast food, quick fix kind of society and it’s super easy to fall into that trap.

One of the ways I’ve tried to simplify is with our cleaning products.  I’ve come a long way over the years, believe me!  I’ve given up both fabric softener in the wash as well as dryer sheets.  I’ve gone from Lysol to Method to Norwex.  I no longer own windex and I’ve given up oven cleaners altogether.  Okay, that last one is only because I haven’t cleaned my oven in ages.  Details.

While I’ve been mostly happy with my changes in products it still wasn’t perfect.  For one, I missed having the smell of clean with just using my Norwex cloths.  Sure I knew the house was clean but it didn’t smell yummy clean like I wanted it to.  My cloths, because I only have 3, also started to look kind of icky really fast and I started to wonder how I knew they were actually disinfecting.  I know the website says it does, but without that nostril burning chemical smell I started to wonder if they really were.  Secondly, I was putting out a lot of cash on cleaning products and cloths.  Being natural costs some serious coin and I just couldn’t keep up.  Actually, I just didn’t want to keep up.  I determined that it should NOT cost an arm and a leg to keep the house clean.  I’m quite certain my grandma did it without all this fancy pants stuff so I looked a bit more into alternative options that were cost effective.

Turns out that all of the things I needed were already things I own.  Things that are cheap.  And things that smell clean!

I’ve always known that vinegar is the ultimate disinfectant but I had never heard of vinegar infusions.  After a bit of reading, I knew that this is what I wanted to try.  Simple, cheap and great smelling.  Everything I wanted!

I started with an all-purpose cleaner.  It took two weeks to make the infusion and I’ve been cleaning with it for the same amount of time now and I just love it so much.  Plus I get to make it myself which I love and I set my infusions up on the windowsill and they look kinda pretty.  Simply simple.

Wanna make your own?  Here’s a few things you should know.

First off all you really need is vinegar.  End of story.  But let’s all agree that it wouldn’t be near as yummy smelling or pretty looking in those jars, right?

So there are a few things you can add.  I learned that there are herbs that are actually disinfectors!  Cool, right?  Peppermint, Thyme, Rosemary, Pine Needles, Lavender and lemon balm are all things that you can add.  Orange, Lemon and Grapefruit Peels are also fantastic.  So you can mix and match whichever of these you like to make combos that make your house smell the kind of clean that you like!

Start out by putting your combos in a jar.  I made Lemon/Rosemary and Orange/Thyme.  Put the peels of one fruit into your jar, add in 3-4 tablespoons of the herb of your choice and cover with vinegar (about a cup or a cup and a half).  That’s it!  Seal up your jar and leave the contents for two weeks so that your peels and herbs can infuse into your vinegar.  I shook mine around every couple of days and told the kids they could to, when they thought about it, so I’m sure it got mixed at least every other day.

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After two weeks are up you’ll have a darker colored, clean and fresh smelling vinegar solution.  Strain out the peels and the herbs and put into your favorite spray bottle.  My fave is a Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day bottle because it’s smaller than most spray bottles.  (Mrs. Meyers is my favorite store-bought natural cleaning products hands down.  They smell ah. ma. zing!) I also found that my vinegar infusion filled it up exactly half way and lasts me about 1-2 weeks.  So I start a new infusion the day I start using the one that’s ready and it works just perfect for me!

Once you have your infusion in a spray bottle you’ll want to top it up with new fresh vinegar.  Add the same quantity as you started out with, so a cup to a cup and a half.

Once you’ve made it this far the last step is easy peasy.  Add some essential oil.  You can choose to add oils just because you love the smell or because of their working properties.  Some great oils that are useful as cleaners are the citrus ones, (lemon, orange, pink grapefruit) rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint.  The citrus’ are great grease fighters while tea tree and eucalyptus are disinfectants.  Again you can mix ’em up and make it smell however you like!  (15-20 drops should be plenty of any combo’s of the oil)

So there you have it!  Your own natural cleaner that gets your house all sparkly, won’t harm your children, is safe for those who are severely affected by breathing in chemicals and good for the rest of us who may not but should care!  Plus it smells delish!  Oh, and did I mention it costs a handful of change to make?  Yeah, that’s pretty awesome to!

Go!  Make!  Clean!  And show me pretty photos of your infusions in jars on YOUR windowsills!

**If you’re looking for more resources Crunchy Betty has lots of info on her site as does Earth Easy, Inhabitots and We Like Making Our Own Stuff!

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4 thoughts on “How to make your own natural all-purpose cleaner {DIY}

  1. I used dried herbs and it worked just fine. I assume in the summer when my herbs are producing I’ll use fresh ones. I think your good either way!

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  2. LOVE IT. I’m going to start this soon. I too love all things natural. And Chris also likes to call me a hippy.. (I haven’t washed my hair, with shampoo, since june.) I’ve made my own laundry soap, but am looking at another option there still, as the one I first made used borax. I love this blog for her natural living information: wellnessmama.com

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