Easy Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Over the years I’ve tried lots of recipes and strategies for homemade solutions around my home, and I’ve always found homemade cleaners to be one of the easiest and most frugal things you can make. Homemade cleaners mix up quickly, usually cost just pennies per batch to make, and best of all – they work! They can leave your surfaces squeaky clean without any of the harsh chemical odors or worries of the store bought cleaners.

Most of the time I just rely on my DIY mixture of half vinegar and half water to do a lot of my cleaning. But I also go through patches where I can grow a little weary of the vinegar smell and that’s when I like to experiment with some other mixtures. Such was the case recently so I decided to take another look at a recipe I used to make, but then had some problems because I felt that the borax in the recipe was clogging my spray nozzles. Based on some feedback from a reader, I made some tweaks to that recipe and now once again it’s back on my list of favorite cleaners so I’m sharing my updated recipe today.

How to make a homemade all-purpose spray cleaner. Clean your home the easy and natural way!

How Do You Make Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner?

One of the great things you’ll discover when you make your own cleaners is that the main ingredient is almost always water. Yup, if you can add a few things to water you can make your own cleaners!

This recipe is no different, and once you have the water in your spray bottle, you simply add a bit of borax, a bit of vinegar, and a squirt of dish soap to the water. And yes, it really does create one of the best homemade cleaning solutions I’ve used.

I’ve learned however not to put too much borax in this recipe. I’ve scaled it down from my original amount and I’ve not had a problem with a clogged sprayer since and it still seems to be enough borax in the mixture to lend some cleaning power. Sometimes folks wonder if you can mix vinegar and borax in these types of natural multi-purpose cleaners too. I’ve learned to now dissolve my borax in the water first, and then add the vinegar, so yes, they can both be in the same mixture with no problems.

Finally, I know some folks are also moving away from borax, and in fact my new favorite homemade laundry soap is a mixture without borax in it anymore either. If you don’t want to add borax to your homemade cleaners, I would suggest substituting washing soda which can also add extra cleaning power to a homemade cleaning mixture.

How to make a frugal homemade all purpose cleaner that will leave your home shiny clean!

Here are the updated ingredients and amounts I’m now using for this DIY all-purpose cleaner. If you’ve never made a homemade cleaner before this is an easy one to get started with, and I think you’ll find it does a great job of cleaning too!

Easy Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

1 – Begin by placing the hot tap water in your spray bottle. (You need the water to be nice and warm to help dissolve the borax).

2 – Next add the borax to the spray bottle, put the nozzle back on, and shake it really well to dissolve the borax.

3 – Take the nozzle back off again so you can add the vinegar and the dish soap. (There’s no need to measure the dish soap, just a small squirt will do the trick). Put the nozzle back on and give things a final bit of swirling and shaking to get everything mixed together.

To use: Squirt some of the cleaner onto the surface to be cleaned and then wipe with a soft cloth.

Make your own all purpose spray cleaner

A Few More Notes:

~ ~ I like to use Dawn dish soap in this mixture because of it’s grease cutting abilities and I also like the faint blue color it adds to the mixture. However other dish soaps will work too, or you could also use castile soap.

~ ~ Because this mixture contains vinegar, do not use it on granite or other soft stone surfaces. Other than that, I use this cleaner all over the place including kitchen counters, faucets, bathroom counters, toilets, and even the mirror a few times.

~ ~ I’m currently liking this mixture unscented, but you could add a few drops of essential oils if you prefer to add some fragrance to the mixture.

~ ~ This recipe uses only a small amount of borax, and because borax is sold in 65 oz boxes you may certainly find yourself with plenty leftover. To keep my borax from getting hard and clumpy as I slowly use it up, I always transfer it to some kind of container with a tight fitting lid. This has helped me tremendously. You can read more about that strategy here: What to do about clumpy borax and washing soda.

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  1. What is your opinion on the exact opposite reaction that I keep reading about. I’m trying to find the most effective recipe for a daily shower spray that fights mold buildup and I come across the reason NOT to mix borax and vinegar. 🤷‍♀️
    “Do not mix vinegar with borax to make a mold-killing solution. Borax is alkaline while vinegar is acidic. Mixing the two will cancel out the cleaning power that’s in each of them, making the mixture less effective at getting rid of mold on surfaces.”

    1. I prefer not to have any vinegar in my daily shower spray because it’s an acidic ingredient and is not good for some stone type of tiles. I think the alcohol and peroxide in this mixture can help prevent mold rather than having to use vinegar or borax. But for a homemade all-purpose cleaner, I’ve found that those two ingredients (vinegar and borax) can be in a mixture diluted in water and I still feel like I have an effective cleaner.

  2. What does the borax/washing powder add to the solution? Isn’t water, vinegar & Dawn enough? Can you add a disinfectant? Thanks from Canada!

    1. The borax helps add a little extra cleaning boost to this spray, but if you don’t want to buy a whole box of that ingredient you could also try this mixture and leave out the borax. If you want to make this more of a disinfecting mixture, I would try adding about 12 drops of tea tree oil.

  3. Thanks for these Bev and going over the ingredients. Don’t want to just throw things together bc they are natural you know. I am excited to have great home cleaning products! I always used distilled water bc I know it effects the chemistry of mixtures. I was wondering if it will help to use distilled water instead of tap to stop the crystalizing in the spray bottles. Have you tried this method already? Have a great day!


    1. Since I started using this recipe with less borax, I have not had a problem with crystallization any more. So I tend to think it was the amount of borax that was more of the issue than tap water vs. distilled. BUT, potentially distilled water could be helpful too, and I might try that strategy too!

    1. Washing soda is usually easy to find in most larger grocery stores. It is sold in the laundry aisle, comes in a box, and is often on a bottom shelf.