I am highly sensitive to commercial household cleaning products and have used a popular, ecofriendly brand for years. While I’m not much of a house keeper, the cleaner I used has never quite stood up to my dirt. Add to that, a new challenge; our dog was recently diagnosed with epilepsy. This is the same dog who loves to scarf up spilled popcorn or any other bits of deliciousness that happen to fall onto the kitchen floor. And while the vet could not identify the cause of his epilepsy, she was crystal clear about taking chemical cleaning products (including our ecofriendly variety) out of our home. Turns out, even the less toxic brands are seizure triggers. Greeeaat…
Knowing I was going to have to come up with something fast (or ban all visitors including the UPS guy) my friend Tracey bestowed me with her all-purpose cleaning recipe. Tracey is a homesteader at heart and having raised four kids, I was confident whatever she recommended would work. But I was skeptical about using anything with a vinegar base because of the smell. “Oh, no.” she assured me. “That’s why you create the concentrate with citrus peel. After that, when you dilute it and add your oils, it does smell like vinegar while you’re using it but the smell doesn’t linger.” And she’s right. It doesn’t.
So here’s to you Tracey! Thank you for helping me, our dog and my readers detox their homes while creating that sparkle we all love.
Tracey's amazing all purpose household cleaner
Step 1: Make your concentrate with -
1 large Mason jar, clean pickle jar or other large, glass jar with a tight fitting lid
The rind of 2-3 lemons or limes or 1 large grapefruit (my favorite)
White distilled vinegar – either the household extra strength kind or the kind used for pickling/cooking, don’t sweat it, they both work well.
Peel the rind from your citrus fruit and place it in the jar you’ll be using.
Fill the jar with vinegar, seal the lid tightly and shake a little
Mark your calendar or write on the lid your start date so you’ll know when it’s ready
Place in a cool dark place for 3 weeks
Every few days, gently shake your concentrate (or turn jar upside down and back a few times)
After 3 weeks:
Step 2: Make your all purpose cleaner with –
1 clean spray bottle large enough to be practical for your cleaning needs
Essential oils of your choice – I use tea tree oil for its antibacterial superpowers and lavender
I find that for my fairly grimy house I need about a 1:4 solution (which I eyeball) of cleaning concentrate to water. Start with that and see how it goes, if you need something stronger, add more concentrate.
Using a funnel, pour your concentrate into your spray bottle. Fill nearly to the top with water, add your essential oils, put your spray attachment on and shake well. I use about 10 drops total (7 tea tree + 3 lavender) You can add more or less as you prefer. Again, the tea tree is a great base oil to use because it is such a powerful antibacterial. You can refresh your all purpose cleaner with a few drops of essential oils each week.
In my house, this works on countertops, floors, windows, bathroom surfaces. It’s a grease cutter and leaves a great shine. I do not use it on wood.
It’s safe for me to use, it works better than any commercial “green” product I’ve tried, my husband, who hates the smell of vinegar, doesn’t grimace when I use it, in fact he uses it and swears by it, I do not panic when our dog licks the floor, and lastly, it’s made me more inspired to clean (which frankly is a little scary).
Considerations: keep your concentrate in a cool dark place. When it’s “marinating” over your initial 3 weeks, don’t forget to lightly shake or turn the jar every few days, plan accordingly so when you need more, you’ve got it ready to go. Safe for everyone including pets…
Here’s to happy and healthy cleaning!