A simple 3 ingredient recipe for Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner – No Vinegar. Uses Castile Soap which is great at cleaning grease, yet gentle on all surfaces! Use it in any room of the house! For other DIY natural cleaning solutions, try my Homemade Hand Soap and my Homemade Laundry Detergent.
Have you ever been so stubborn, that you’ve refused to buy something out of principle?
A few years ago, just after we moved to Georgia, I refused to buy something that most people wouldn’t even think twice about buying.
It sounds trivial, I KNOW, but I really didn’t want to buy anything that a) we absolutely didn’t need and b) that I knew I had packed in our moving truck.
And at the time, vinegar fell right into both of those categories.
Ok, so at this point you might be wondering how I ever survived without vinegar since I use it as homemade conditioner and a produce rinse (among other things). In short, my hair doesn’t really need much conditioning anymore. Since I started washing my with goat milk soap, I just haven’t needed conditioner as often.
As for the produce rinse, I’m copying my crunchy sister-in-law who has been using a similar recipe to my own homemade hand soap that uses Castile soap.
Granted, I did have Castile soap packed in the moving truck, but the homemade soap I made before we left California spilled out into the gallon bag I packed it in.
And I REFUSE to pay an arm and a leg for “natural” soap. So I chose to suck it up and buy a bottle of Castile soap instead. It has a million uses anyway, so I figured it would come in handy other than for washing hands and produce.
And as it turns out, I was right! You can make a vinegar free all purpose cleaner with Castile soap!
What Can I Use Instead of Cleaning Vinegar?
My homemade all-purpose cleaner recipe below is inspired by a Keeper of the Home recipe, except I didn’t want to add any drops of essential oils to mine (because they were packed up too!).
Lo and behold, this simple combination works really well! I’m using it…
- In the kitchen to clean the stove, rather than using toxic store-bought kitchen cleaning products, and it made my grease splatters disappear without any heavy duty scrubbing.
- In the bathroom, it scrubbed off the remnants of homemade toothpaste in the sink (and counter and floor… which is what happens when you’ve got kids!) – again without much arm muscle.
- I’ve even used it as a stain pre-treater when I spilled homemade coffee creamer on my new linens last week. I haven’t washed them yet, but I don’t see a stain either!
Because I’m kinda type-A about things like this, I also measured how much water to use in the recipe.
It’s not a deal breaker in relatively small quantities (1-2 cups), but if you make this recipe with an industrial size spray bottle and “just add water,” you’ll probably find the dilution to be too weak.
So yes, I actually measured the water. You’re welcome!
DIY All Purpose Cleaner No Vinegar
This is such an excellent natural cleaning solution for the entire family. My favorite part is that it is non-toxic and safe to clean every room of the house, and it’s even great on laundry stains! It’s also:
- Frugal. It literally costs cents to mix a spray bottle of this all purpose cleaner without vinegar! Especially because I buy my Castille soap and baking soda in bulk at Costco. (Don’t worry, there are SO many other DIYs for using these items..I have some links below.)
- And it works well. I don’t have to repeatedly scrub super hard to get surfaces clean.
- Plus it smells clean and neutral. For those who are sensitive to the chemical smells of typical household cleaners, this homemade cleaner is a perfect option!
Here is an article from the Environment Working Group that talks about store-bought cleaning supplies and your health.
Cleaning Recipe for DIY All Purpose Cleaner Without Vinegar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp liquid Castile soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s)
- About 1 1/2 cups water (you can also use distilled water if you like)
- Spray Bottle
Some people use citric acid to lower the Ph of homemade soap, but it’s not necessary with this recipe because we are using baking soda and a very gentle Castile soap.
This is also a great alternative to buying Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, because the Castile soap can overlap for body and household use, making it more cost effective. But Sal Suds is only a household cleaner.
How Do You Make an All Purpose Cleaner?
- Measure baking soda into a clean spray bottle.
- Add 1 cup of room temperature water (not hot water) and replace the lid.
- Shake like crazy until the baking soda dissolves, less than a minute.
- Add Castile soap, replace the lid and gently swish in circles to combine.
After adding the Castile soap, DO NOT shake the spray bottle like crazy, or your soap might make a bunch of bubbles (which isn’t the end of the world, but the solution won’t mix until the bubbles pop).
The mixture will be slightly cloudy at this point. If there’s room in your bottle, you can add the remaining 1/2 cup water, otherwise you’re done!
The cleaner might separate over time, so if it does, just swish gently in circles to re-mix. Spray directly on the surface to be cleaned (after you’ve tested in an inconspicuous spot, just to be safe) and wipe clean.
Castile soap can sometimes leave white streaks on some surfaces. If this happens, just wipe with a damp cloth!
Looking for more ways to use Castile soap and baking soda? Here are some other DIY tutorials to get you started:
- Homemade Laundry Detergent
- Room Deodorizer & Carpet Refresher
- DIY Stain Remover
- Homemade Bleach Alternative
- Homemade Hand Soap
Do you make your own all-purpose cleaner? Do you prefer vinegar, or do you prefer something else?
Thank you for this recipe, what is the shelf life for the spray?
SJ - Team Crumbs
The shelf life is years but hopefully you find it useful enough that you use it up faster than that! The baking soda may settle so give it a gentle shake if it’s sitting for a long time in between uses.
Just bought Castile soap for the first time last week. The store was out of dish soap. Dr. Bronner’s is so all purpose, I am happy to have it on hand. Will try this. Thanks.
Added ecological benefit is that if you make the liquid version from bar soap, you’re no buying a plastic bottle!!!
Can citric acid be used instead of baking soda?I don’t have much success with it and I have some non gmo citric acid on hand. I would like to make something similar to the seventh generation bathroom cleaner.I have been using homemade cleaners with vinegar for years and not too happy about them.
I’m not sure Ann, but it’s worth a shot! I’ve seen dishwasher rinse recipes using citric acid before, so it couldn’t hurt to try!
Made this as directed and it worked perfectly for me. Oh, I did add a few drops of tea tree and lemon essential oils as well. Thank you for sharing!
Will this cleaner work for glass (windows, tabletops, etc.)? Vinegar triggers my asthma. Thanks!
I haven’t tried it on glass Gloria, sorry!
I made a similar recipe but mine left really gross looking cloudy bits in the bottle after a few days like something growing. Has this happened to anyone else?
It hasn’t happened to me Bee. You say “similar.” Do you mean my recipe, or a different one?
I’ve just made this, but I used a squirt of Ecover washing up liquid instead of Castlille Soap. I also added one drop of spearmint, lavender and tea tree oil.
I squirted it on kitchen towel and used it as wipes. It worked brilliantly, my only concern is the laminate I have. I used it on my laminate floor and there are cleaning marks. Is it safe to use on laminate flooring?
Thanks for a great idea though!
Hi Ella – I used my original recipe with castille soap on laminate counters without a problem. I’ve never heard of Ecover washing up liquid, so I cannot say whether or not it’s safe to use on laminate floor.
Hi Kathryn! The sharing buttons should be at the bottom of each post on desktop, and now that I look on mobile, I don’t see them – yikes! I’ll have my team look into that ASAP. I’m so sorry for the hassle, but thank you SO MUCH for bringing this to my attention!!
Thanks for the recipe. My husband has a reaction to vinegar even with essential oils added.
How do you keep the hose from getting stopped up? Anytime I use baking soda in a spray bottle it clogs it up. I have shaken it until all the soda is dissolved but can’t make it work. Tips??
I haven’t run into this problem Shelley. What if you dissolved the baking soda into the water over warm heat first, let it cool, and then mix?
You should consider melting your own castile soap from the bar to save even more money. Bar soap contains generally the same ingredients, but has a much higher concentration of soap-to-water concentration (5% water) as opposed to liquid (65% water). As a result, one 5oz bar = about 12 oz liquid soap, if you’re comparing “soapiness” to “soapiness”.
(Bar soap also contains more salt and raw, non-saponified fats due to the way it’s made, leaving your skin more moisturized than liquid.)
All you have to do is grate the bar using a cheese grater, mix soap shavings with a generous helping of water, heat over low/medium in a pot, and transfer finished product into your own storage container. Now you have liquid castile soap for your other projects AND solid castile bars leftover for homemade detergent, bath soaps, etc. 🙂
Since bar soaps are MUCH cheaper than liquid soaps, and bar soaps go MUCH farther than liquid soaps, you might save 2 – 4x as much. 😀
Such a great tip – thank you for sharing!
Just doing some quick math. Keep in mind that I’m comparing Dr. Bronner’s prices, which are some of the more expensive castile soaps available.
Dr. Bronner’s Liquid soap: currently 18.99 for 32 oz. on Amazon @ .59/oz.
Dr. Bronner’s Bar soap: currently 25.75 for 30 oz. on Amazon @ .85/oz.
Every 5 oz. bar soap = 12 oz. liquid soap at same concentration, so: 30 oz. bar soap = 72 oz. liquid soap made from bar soap…
Our new numbers are:
Liquid soap: 18.99 for 32 oz. (.59/oz.)
Bar soap: 25.75 for 72 oz. (.32/oz)
Results: Bar soaps are twice as cheap as liquid soaps! And all that for the minimal effort of melting them down one time. You can go even CHEAPER by buying Kirk’s Castile, which is about .27/oz. and makes 115 oz. if you buy their 12 pack on Amazon. 🙂
Can this cleaner be used on wood without damage? If not, is there a diy alternative?
Kyare - Team Crumbs
Different types of woods have different finishes, so the best way to pick a cleaner is to test a small amount in a place hidden from sight. I normally test on the bottom of my furniture or in the corner on hardwoods. Although, this cleaner is all purpose and should work as such.
I’ve heard that vinegar can damage some types of flooring, so I’ve been looking for a product that won’t harm my hardwood floors. I might have to try this cleaning solution for spot cleaning! Thanks for sharing the tips, it looks easy to make and so inexpensive!
Do you have o rinse off the cleaner, or is just wiping it up sufficient?
Wiping is sufficient!
Terrific! Will mix up a batch as soon as I clean out a spray bottle!!!
No it’s not! Well not when you get to the bottom of the spray. My shiny black laminate cupboard doors are a smeary mess.
I’ve never had an issue like this Soosie. Perhaps your doors are coated with something that’s reacting with the cleaner? I’ve heard of this happening with floors that have been waxed, or floor that have been cleaned with harsh chemicals.
It just seems to be baking soda residue, which is a shame as I’ve just bought 10kg if the stuff!
I have the same problem. The baking soda never completely goes into solution so it stays on the surface. I’ve used BS + water for years on marble countertops and you just have to wipe it off after using it to clean, it’s just the way it is. I’m looking for something to replace the baking soda in this otherwise I really like the recipe!