All Purpose Cleaner. Love those 3 words. With 3 kids, 2 cats and 2 dogs we have LOTS of messes! I do not like have tons of different cleaning bottles. I don't use bathroom cleaner to clean the dishes or anything but if my kid spills something sticky or my refrigerator needs a scrub, or it is bathroom cleaning day, I want ONE bottle for all of the above.
In my search for a homemade all purpose cleaner I found 2 that I decided to try.
The first one I found here and it was very simple. Only 3 ingredients: Hot water, vinegar, and borax.
Here is what you do:
Mix 4 cups of hot water, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon borax.
That is it! Just mix it together and put in a spray bottle to use whenever you need it!
How did I like it, you ask?
It did just as well at my Windex Multi-surface cleaner. Not really a miracle at soap scum(which is ok because of this AWESOME cleaner), but it did clean mirrors without leaving streaks which I am happy about. We have really hard water that tend to leave a ring in the tub, especially in the kids' tub. The only thing I have found that gets it off without some scrubbing is a Magic Eraser or the soap scum cleaner I have already posted about here. Since I have no idea what it in a magic eraser I am still looking for a homemade alternative, so if you have any ideas of something so magic that it takes permanent marker off of a window sill, please do let me know.
The second option I found here. It is also simple except for one ingredient. Orange or Lemon essential oil. Why Walmart can you not sell special stuff like this?? Why must you make me drive all the way to HEB where I get sensory overload by all of the amazing smells and products in there that I would LOVE to waste my money on, but that would defeat the purpose of the cheap homemade cleaner that I am trying to make with the ingredient I came to HEB for!! I thought about simply skipping this ingredient, BUT the recipe claims that in addition to a nice smell the citrus cuts grease. I have been researching other cleaners and several have suggested lemon or lavender oil to mask the vinegar smell, so I figured I would use it for other things anyway. So, after a trip to HEB, I gave this one a shot.
Here is what you do:
Mix 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons borax, 4-5 drops of orange or lemon essential oil, and 2 cups hot water.
How did it compare?
Well, I really liked the way it smelled. I used Orange essential oil. I felt like this one cleaned a little better however it left the mirror streaky so in my book you can't call that an "ALL purpose cleaner" more like "most purpose cleaner" I still liked this one better than the first option though so I am afraid I may just have to have a separate bottle for mirror and window cleaner.
Um... also, on this one, you really do need the essential oil so don't make the rookie mistake I did and try to just use lemon juice (I know it does sound dumb...don't laugh at me too much) because it will leave major streaks on mirrors like this:
Here is my cost comparison. I added one more natural brand for comparison depending on what you would normally buy. Also, keep in mind that the ingredients of this homemade cleaner are all on the natural ingredient list which means it is better for you than the chemicals in some of the others.
409 cleaner: 1.98 for 22 oz (.09/per oz)
Lysol all purpose cleaner 1.97 for 32 oz (.06/ per oz)
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Geranium Scent All-Purpose Cleaner 32oz for 7.98 (.24/ per oz)
Windex Vinegar Multi Surface Trigger, 32 oz for 2.87 (.08/ per oz)
Homemade option 1: about 8 cents per bottle made!
Homemade option 2: about 3 cents per bottle plus the cost of the oil *cost varies between oil types, I paid about $4 for the orange oil, but it will last a while since only a few drops are needed per bottle
On more note, in either of these recipes you can replace the baking soda with washing soda.
Washing soda is stronger than baking soda so it is suggested that you wear gloves and a mask when cleaning with it but it does still pass the natural ingredient test. I did not use it simply because I felt that the cleaner did the job without it. I did buy some washing soda for a different cleaner I am going to make, so I may try it at some point just to see if I think there is a difference. I am just not super interested in wearing a mask to clean...