Thrifty Thursday: Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Going forward, I’m dedicating Thursdays at Easy Peasy Kitchen to cost-saving ideas and recipes. I hope these posts will help you stash some savings for the things you really care about, like college funds, vacations, cute shoes, and wine. You know, important stuff like that.


I’ve been making my own all-purpose cleaner for several years. It’s cheap, doesn’t have any ingredients I’m uncomfortable using around children, and works incredibly well. I especially like it on mirrors — it’s completely streak free. Safeway carries an in-house brand of multi-surface cleaner that I used for a long time and preferred to any big-name cleaner. Looking at the ingredients, I knew I could make it myself and save some money. I’ve been reusing the bottle in the photo for a long time. Now, I know you’re not supposed to reuse cleaning-product bottles to avoid chemical reactions. But since I’m not using any ingredients not included in the original contents, I figure it’s OK. Please be cautious about this if you choose to reuse an old spray bottle.

I like to scent my cleaner with essential oil. My favorites are grapefruit-peppermint and lavender, but feel free to leave out the oil, too. And don’t worry about the vinegar smell taking over your house. It completely evaporates within minutes and really adds to the cleaning power as a grease- and grime-cutting agent.

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Makes 1 quart


1 1/3 cups each:

  • White vinegar
  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • Water
  • 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil


Mix together all ingredients in pitcher with pouring spout. Pour through funnel into spray bottle. Use to spray any soiled surface, allowing the product to penetrate grease, grime and dirt. Wipe clean with paper towel or cloth.

6 thoughts on “Thrifty Thursday: Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

  1. Jamie Yager

    Do you make a scrubing cleaner too? I stopped using Ajax and the like, and I think Mrs. Meyers is too expensive. Lately I’ve taken to shaking some baking soda in my sinks and bath tub and scrubbing them out with a sponge.

    1. Hillary Post author

      Jamie, I’ve used a mixture of salt and baking soda and then scrubbed with it using the cut end of half a lemon. It works pretty well, especially on stainless steel in the kitchen sink.

  2. Emily

    It was hard for me to give up windex (which I used to use for everything) but you and Megan convinced me a few years back to use homemade vinegar cleaners and now I’d never go back. I love your idea of adding essential oils – espeically grapefruit. Where do you buy the oils?


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