Today’s DIY requires only three ingredients (okay, more like five if you add the optional ingredients). With only three ingredients we’re going to make an all-purpose cleaner (it seriously does everything) that’s 100% edible (except when you add one of the optional ingredients–darn optional ingredient). When is the last time any of us visited a store and found a cleaner label declaring, “Hey, I’m super cheap (I forgot to mention that one), effective, and you can safely drink me!”
Ah, the beauty of simple homemade products.
PS: Parenthesis are my friend today. I’ll end the over-usage right now (promise). Oops.
What makes this DIY cleaner so inexpensive, effective, and edible?
I’m so glad you asked! After all, those are big shoes to fill. It’s not every day one finds a cleaner claiming such noble qualities.
The simple answer to such a profound question is found via the ingredient list–or at least the pretend ingredient list. Let’s take a look…
Vinegar: Yep, the same stuff used to make homemade dressings, pickles, and so much more. Vinegar not only tastes amazing, when perfectly combined with the appropriate foods, but also naturally cleans and disinfects. The real cleaning power found in vinegar comes from a fancy acid called acetic acid, a germ-fighting superhero.
Vodka: Vodka has quite the reputation, and it’s not all bad. In fact, vodka is a pretty amazing cleaner that often gets overlooked. In the past, vodka (alcohol) was used to sterilize medical equipment in hospitals. Vodka’s magical cleaning power may also be used to lift stains and fight grease. Vodka also lifts odors (see my homemade air freshener recipe).
Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs add natural fragrance and beauty to this homemade cleaner, and offer beneficial cleansing properties. The best fresh herbs for cleaning are: peppermint/mint, lavender, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
Since most gardens are currently overtaken by flourishing herbs (hello, summer!), now is the perfect time to make an herb-infused all-purpose cleaner. If you’re not growing any herbs right now, don’t fret! Markets and grocery stores are usually eager to sell herbs this time of year, which means low prices and a large selection. Free or inexpensive fresh herbs means an effective homemade cleaner can be made for just pennies.
So much good news in one post! (You’re welcome.)
DIY Herb-Infused All-Purpose Cleaner
- 1 part vodka any single-ingredient vodka will work
- 1 part white distilled vinegar slightly warm (not boiling just warm enough to infuse the herbs)
- 1-2 cup fresh herbs such as: sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme, or peppermint/mint
- 35 drops peppermint essential oil or rosemary, lemon, or sweet orange. Note: 35 drops per quart of cleaner., optional
- 2 lemons or limes, or oranges; or just the peels, optional
In a large mason jar (quart-size works well), add the fresh herb(s). Use a muddle or the back of a wood spoon to crush the herbs and release the fragrance. You may also crush the herbs by rubbing the leaves in between your fingers, then adding the herbs to the jar.
Add the citrus to the jar, if using- just the peels or sliced citrus.
Pour 1 part vodka and 1 part vinegar into the jar so the herbs and citrus are fully immersed. Add the essential oil(s), if using. Allow the sealed cleaner jar to rest for at least 14 days at room temperature.
Option 1: If you’d like to skip the alcohol in this recipe, simply sub more vinegar in place of the vodka. This will result in a cleaner with a heavy vinegar scent, so you may want to add more herbs and/or essential oil(s).
Option 2: If you’re short on time or don’t feel like warming the vinegar, you’re welcome to use room temperature vinegar.
Note: I don’t actually recommend drinking this recipe. Let me say that another way, “Don’t drink this recipe!” While this cleaner is 100% edible, I recommend opting for a glass of water or kombucha versus a glass of homemade all-purpose cleaner.
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