Homemade Natural All Purpose Cleaner Recipe Using Borax, Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide

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by Cassie on April 22, 2013

Join us for our Spring Cleaning Challenge to Organize and Clean for a Thrifty and Healthy Home!

It is time to share a favorite cleaner in most households…. The All Purpose One! All of us love to have a versatile product that does a bit of everything. That is this product for general all-over household cleaning! Pretty much no restrictions and where you can use it.  Where ever you would normally use a multi or all purpose cleaner is where you can use this one too!

The better news is that both Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar work exceptionally well together to naturally kill bacteria. See this excerpt from the Dr. Mercola site HERE:

You can make your kitchen a cleaner, safer place and fight bacteria, without exposing yourself and your family to toxic chemicals that also damage the environment. You can use a simple safe disinfecting spray that is more effective than any of the commercial cleaners in killing bacteria. As a bonus, it is inexpensive!

In tests run at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, pairing the two mists killed virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, or E. coli bacteria on heavily contaminated food and surfaces when used in this fashion, making this spray combination more effective at killing these potentially lethal bacteria than chlorine bleach or any commercially available kitchen cleaner.

The best results came from using one mist right after the other – it is 10 times more effective than using either spray by itself and more effective than mixing the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in one sprayer.”

UPDATE: while vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide are “10 times more effective than using either by itself,” storing both of them in the same bottle may not be safe. So we advise having a spray bottle with 3% acidic vinegar and then this recipe minus the vinegar, but at the time of cleaning, using them together.  

So without further ado…. here’s my personal Homemade Natural All Purpose Cleaner!

Here’s the ingredients needed:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Borax
  • 1 cup of hot tap water
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar (UPDATE: keep a spray bottle of vinegar separate to spray on at the same time as the rest instead. This is much more effective!)
  • 1/2 cup of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 4 -6 drops of dish soap
  • 10 drops Tea Tree (a.k.a. Melaleuca) essential oil
  • 7 drops of Oregano essential Oil
  • 10 drops of Lavender essential oil

The reason why I use all of these oils and ingredients is that they are just the right combination of cleaning and naturally kill bacteria and many other microorganisms that can grow in any part of your home. Just a WARNING…. the vinegar by itself is a strong smell, the Oregano by itself is a strong smell and the Tea Tree oil is strong by itself too! Put them together and what do you get….a very strong smell! It is not the best smell, but I personally like this combination as I feel it is the most effective at my cleaning goals.  Thankfully, the smells will not hurt you in any way shape or form, unlike the smelly chemical counterparts!

Also, you can use any combination of the 7 Best Essential Oils for Cleaning, but this is my personal favorite combination for this mix!

Here’s how to make it:

  • First, place the 1 TBSP of Borax in a shallow bowl.  Then pour the hot water on top and mix with a fork, spoon or whisk until dissolved.
  • Using a funnel for ease, pour this mixture into a bottle.

  • Then add the 1/2 cup of Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Then add the 4-6 drops of dish soap

  • Then add all of your oils!

  • Put the lid/spray nozzle on your bottle and shake to blend well.
  • Then go out there and get the cleaning bug out of you!
  • Use with a separate spray bottle of vinegar for 10 times natural cleaning power!

So here’s my estimated cost breakdown for a 16+ oz. bottle:

  • 1 TBSP of Borax…maybe .02 worth
  • You would be using 4 oz. of Hydrogen Peroxide which is .88 per 32 oz., so this is approximately .12 worth.
  • You would be using 4 oz. of Vinegar which is ..04 – .07 depending on where you get your vinegar
  • Water, let’s just say free
  • Essential Oils – I estimate them to be around .01 a drop at the MOST, so in total, you are probably maybe using .25 worth

TOTAL per 16 oz. bottle = .46

If you get any of the items on sale, it would be even less!

Here’s a printable recipe that you can put in your home binder:

Homemade Natural All Purpose Cleaner
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Prep time:
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A great, cheap and natural alternative to the harsh chemical cleaners that can do just about anything!
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon of Borax
  • 1 cup of hot tap water
  • ½ cup of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 4 -6 drops of dish soap
  • 10 drops Tea Tree (a.k.a. Melaleuca) essential oil
  • 7 drops of Oregano essential Oil
  • 10 drops of Lavender essential oil that the smell of adding Oregano is not very good, but effective with the others as well.
  • Funnel if needed
  • Any size spray bottle, so adjust recipe accordingly as this is based on a 20 oz. bottle
  • Where the vinegar comes in – you will want to use this with a spray bottle of 3% acidic vinegar. The combination of this recipe with the vinegar has 10 times natural bacteria fighting power!
Instructions
  1. First, place the 1 TBSP of Borax in a shallow bowl. Then pour the hot water on top and mix with a fork, spoon or whisk until dissolved.
  2. Using a funnel for ease, pour this mixture into a bottle.
  3. Then add the ½ cup of Hydrogen Peroxide
  4. Then add the 4-6 drops of dish soap
  5. Then add all of your oils
  6. Put the lid/spray nozzle on your bottle and shake to blend well.
  7. Then go out there and get the cleaning bug out of you along with the spray of vinegar to really zap the cleaning power in full gear!
Notes
So here’s my estimated cost breakdown for a 16+ oz. bottle: 1 TBSP of Borax…maybe .02 worth You would be using 4 oz. of Hydrogen Peroxide which is .88 per 32 oz., so this is approximately .12 worth. You would be using 4 oz. of Vinegar which is ..04 – .07 depending on where you get your vinegar Water, let’s just say free Essential Oils – I estimate them to be around .01 a drop at the MOST, so in total, you are probably maybe using .25 worth TOTAL per 16 oz. bottle = .46 If you get any of the items on sale, it would be even less! See more homemade, natural and frugal cleaning products at TheThriftyCouple.com/SpringCleaning

We also HIGHLY recommend that you put this in your home binder along with many more things we will be sharing! See all of the information on this in our previous post HERE about Put Together Your Home Binder with Free Downloads.

Finally, use this new thrifty and healthy cleaning product as part of our Spring Cleaning Challenge.

If you want even more ideas too, be sure to visit these links!

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Alex & Cassie
 

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Allison April 23, 2013 at 12:30 pm

What’s the advantage of using this instead of the food surface disinfectant? I enjoy the smell of that one and your warnings about this one not smelling so great are making me hesitant. :) Is there a reason you don’t just use the other one all over the house since it disinfects as well?

Also, I cannot thank you enough for these posts! I ordered the oils and split the cost between myself, my sister and mother so none of use had to put that much up front so we could try and see if we liked this. So just from my reading, you are helping three households switch to more natural cleaners!

Reply

Cassie April 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Hi Allison! First, I am so excited to hear that the three of you are able to do this and to do it together! That is so wonderful and it is news like that that keeps us going!

Second, you could most certainly use any and all of the cleaners however you would like. I love cleaning products and ones for specific purposes. So when I started on my natural adventure a few years ago, I wanted to create homemade versions of my favorite commercial products, but with natural ingredients. The Clorox and Lysol Food Surfaces Disinfectants were intended to be just that – a sanitizing spray (and it was one of my favorite commercial products), but no so much a cleaner. However, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be used that way. I keep my All Purpose cleaner in my cleaning caddy as I tear through my home, but keep the food surface product under my kitchen sink for a quick spray and wipe down after cleaning and between food prep. I personally like the All Purpose cleaner as it also has a bit of soap and borax, which are both “dirt removing” agents, not just germ killing :) I hope that helps, but in all honesty, the other would also clean too, I just personally like the soap/borax cleaning agents for the actual dirt removing. But when it comes to a product I want to use in my fridge and around food, I want even simpler ingredients that do the job too. I am also providing all of my recipes, however, pick and choose which is best for your home and needs too. The best part is, all of these are multi-purpose in some way!

Reply

Allison April 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Thanks so much for the clarification! I was just interested why you made other cleaners since that one is working for everything for me. I’ll keep reading and see what else fits our needs. Thanks again for all of this!

Reply

K April 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Do you have a homemade fruit and veggie wash?

Reply

Cassie April 23, 2013 at 10:37 pm
Sonie June 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I posted this question on your FB post as well – sorry for the double “hit”, but I’d really like to whip some of this up right now and don’t have all the oils.

I do not have Tea Tree or Oregano oils. I do have peppermint, lavender, cinnamon & lemon. Can I substitute some of what I do have for those I don’t?

Reply

Cassie July 16, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Yes – you can substitute and they will all work great! The thing is that each oil does the BEST job and attacking something and so the combination is a powerhouse of natural cleaning, however it doesn’t mean that the cleaner won’t do anything at all! It will still do a great job!

Hopefully that helps… :)

Reply

Kim January 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Hello-I have really enjoyed reading your posts and I LOVE your recipes. I am wondering where you get your spray bottles and the little bottles for the stain remover from? Thank you

Reply

Allison January 30, 2014 at 8:38 am

Hi guys,

Just wanted to give you a heads up. If you have kids or pets, Borax is deadly stuff. We were told to clean our carpets with it when we got fleas once and I’m so glad I didn’t because the ingredients said it all. It is very, very toxic. If you can find a safer alternative to post on here for parents of all kinds, that would be great. Thanks! :)

Reply

Cassie January 30, 2014 at 9:32 am

Hi Allison,

Actually, you are confusing it with Boric Acid. Boric Acid is what is used to get rid of pests and it is dangerous. It is a very common confusion. Now Boric Acid is made with Borax by mixing it with Sulfiric Acid, which is a dangerous mixture. Borax is not any more dangerous than salt on it’s own and it a natural mineral. We did a whole article with lots of research on the topic because natural is important to me :) Hopefully that helps!

http://thethriftycouple.com/2013/05/16/is-borax-safe-or-not-and-should-it-really-be-used-in-homemade-natural-cleaners/

Reply

Lisa January 30, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Hi Cassie, I just wanted to clarify the storage of this product. I see your update that storing vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together may not be safe. So are you suggesting to keep the vinegar in a separate bottle and then spray the surface with some vinegar and then some of the other solution or are you suggesting to mix it together when you are ready to clean and only enough for what you need on the day? Thanks.

Reply

Nicole February 20, 2014 at 5:05 pm

When cleaning with this product, do you spray with the mixture, wipe and then spray with vinegar or spray with both then wipe down? Just curious. Thanks

Reply

Cassie February 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Hi Nicole,

You spray both each one on top of the other and then wipe! The power of the two together is best for the most powerful natural cleaning! Hopefully that helps :)

Reply

Suzzie April 21, 2014 at 11:57 am

Don’t you need a dark colored bottle for the peroxide to maintain its effectiveness?

Reply

Cassie April 21, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Yes. You can use it right away out of the dark container it came in, or store it in a dark cupboard or the fridge (cold will keep it longer too!). Hopefully that helps to clarify! Thanks~

Reply

Morgan April 22, 2014 at 5:33 am

It’s good to note that essential oils should be stored in glass bottles, never plastic. This looks like a great recipe and I LOVE using essential oils for…everything! They should not be stored in plastic though so if you are using the essential oils the cleaner should be used immediately or mixed and stored in a glass bottle. I like using old apple cider vinegar bottles and just replacing the tops with a spray top. They work great.

Thank you for all of your posts, there is some great information!

Reply

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