Discover how easy it is to whip up batches of this effective, DIY green cleaning product that is a great multitasker. With its powerful cleaning and disinfectant properties, it rivals any store-bought green cleaner and it’s great for cleaning your whole house. Scent it as you please with a variety of all-natural essential oils, which are environmentally friendly and biodegradable. Your imagination is the only limit!
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 12-24 drops of essential oil
This recipe makes 8 ounces, so multiply the ingredient amounts as needed to fit the size of your spray bottle. Also, the above recipe is a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water, which can be changed to a 2:1 ratio (i.e., 2/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup water) for tough cleaning jobs like excessive mold and mildew.
- Choose one or a combination of essential oils. (See more information below.)
- Using a measuring cup and funnel, which are great tools to have for making your own products, pour the vinegar and the water into a spray bottle.
- Add the essential oils directly to your spray bottle.
- Shake the bottle to incorporate the essential oils.
- Label with a permanent marker.
- Store the bottle out of direct sunlight or heat, which can change the chemical constituents in the essential oils.
- To use, spray any areas that need to be cleaned, rinse well, and wipe dry. For tougher cleaning jobs, like grout, use a toothbrush or scrub brush.
Depending on your "mood," try these scents, which are combinations of the top five essential oils to use in your green cleaning.
- Lavender with tea tree: Relax.
- Lavender and orange: Lift your spirits.
- Lavender and peppermint: Get pepped up for cleaning.
- Lemon: Brighten your mood.
Other essential oils to try include, but are not limited to: basil, bergamot, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, grapefruit, lime, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
How does this cleaner work? The low pH and acetic acid content of vinegar make it difficult for many microorganisms to grow. Also, the essential oils add powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal qualities to your all-purpose cleaner, so it's great at combating germs and mold while you clean! Finally, the high acidity level of vinegar loosens mineral deposits, such as lime and calcium, and dissolves soap scum.
- For tough cleaning jobs, let the spray sit for several minutes.
- For mineral build-up around fixtures or excessive mildew in the shower, give this spray a few minutes to work before cleaning with an old, soft-bristled toothbrush or scrub brush, which are two of the top 10 tools for green cleaning. Then rinse well.
- To disinfect surfaces, such as counter tops, let this spray sit for at least 60 seconds before rinsing.
- For scrubbing action, try sprinkling some baking soda or this DIY Aromatherapy Cleanser in the sink, bathtub, shower, toilet, oven, or on the cook top. Then use the spray to dampen it to create a paste. Scrub away with an eco-friendly sponge or scrubbing tool and watch as built-up soap scum, dirt, odors, and mold disappear.
- To clean mirrors, simply spray it on and buff it dry with a natural, soft, lint-free cloth, such as an old t-shirt or a cloth baby diaper.
- To eliminate odors, use this spray as an air freshener. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer.
Notes: Vinegar can break down latex grout if it is left on too long. Also, vinegar is not recommended for use on marble because it can dull and etch the surface.
Caution! Vinegar can irritate your eyes if contact occurs. Flush liberally with water for 5 -10 minutes if the product gets in your eyes.
Caution! It is important that you use essential oils safely. If you get essential oils in your eyes, flush with water for 10-15 minutes. Consult a doctor if irritation persists. If you get essential oils on your skin, wash with soapy warm water. One exception: Lavender doesn't harm the skin; in fact, it is often used directly on the skin to treat burns, insect bites, etc.
Warning! Don't ever mix vinegar with bleach. It will create toxic chlorine gas as About.com Chemistry Guide, Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., explains in her article "Why People Mix Bleach and Vinegar." So before using vinegar-based cleaning products, do a mental check to make sure you aren't mixing it with any bleach-based cleaning products you may have forgotten about, such as drop-in toilet bowl cleaners or bleach cleansers, for example.