Switching to Natural Products: All-Purpose Spray Cleaner

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When my family first started our natural living journey, we didn’t have the financial means to purchase lots of different products and ingredients. Money was definitely tight as a single income family. In an effort to maintain both my mental sanity and our financial stability, I had to figure out how to make the switch from toxic products to more natural options. My solution was a simple one: Embrace this makeover as a journey. A slow, steady journey, swapping one product at a time.

Making the switch to all natural products doesn't have to be hard. Here are some DIY and store bought options to make that switch easier.

I want to help you do the same. That’s why each month we chat about how to practically make the switch from toxic products to more natural products. So far we’ve talked about making the switch to natural toothpaste and dish soap.

Making the switch to all natural products doesn't have to be hard. Here are some DIY and store bought options to make that switch easier.

Today, let’s talk about a cleaning product that most of use daily in our homes: all-purpose spray cleaner.

Unlike body and personal care products, companies aren’t required to list all ingredients on a cleaning product label. And since cleaning products aren’t ingested, the ingredients are not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration.


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Because of this, it can be hard to know what cleaning products are more natural and what products are potentially harmful. The easiest way to determine this is to search for a product’s rating on either the Environmental Working Group’s website or the Think Dirty App (both resources are provided by consumer watchdog groups). I aim for an A or B rating on the EWG site, or a 0-3 rating on the Think Dirty App.

Making the switch to all natural products doesn't have to be hard. Here are some DIY and store bought options to make that switch easier.

My goal with every “make the switch” chat is to provide you with a list of my favorite products in a particular category. My favorite all-purpose spray cleaner list includes a couple of store-bought products, a couple of online products, and a few homemade solutions. The list certainly isn’t exhaustive, so I also encourage you to use the EWG and Think Dirty resources to do your own research.  

Switching to Natural Products

All-Purpose Spray Cleaner

Making the switch to all natural products doesn't have to be hard. Here are some DIY and store bought options to make that switch easier.

White Vinegar

Vinegar is an excellent single ingredient all-purpose cleaner that may be used on a variety of surfaces (not granite, marble, or other surfaces that are sensitive to acid). Vinegar is the most cost-effective option on this list. Here’s how to make your own cleaner…

In a 16-ounce spray bottle, combine 1 cup of distilled water, 1 cup of white vinegar, and an optional 15-30 drops of essential oil: lavender, peppermint, grapefruit, orange, or lemon. Seal the bottle and shake to combine the ingredients. Store the cleaner for up to 3-4 weeks. Shake between uses.

Making the switch to all natural products doesn't have to be hard. Here are some DIY and store bought options to make that switch easier.

Sal Suds

Sal Suds is Dr. Bronner’s tougher version of castile soap, although its chemical makeup makes it a detergent, not a soap. Sal Suds is formulated to conquer unforgiving grease and stubborn dirt. I like to combine Sal Suds with vinegar to make an all-purpose spray.

In a 16-ounce spray bottle, combine 1 cup of distilled water, 1 cup of white vinegar, 1/2 tsp of Sal Suds, and an optional 15-30 drops of essential oil:  lavender, peppermint, grapefruit, orange, or lemon. Seal the bottle and shake to combine the ingredients. Store the cleaner for up to 3-4 weeks. Shake between uses.

Castile Soap

If you’re not a fan of vinegar’s distinct scent, castile soap is another option for a semi-homemade all-purpose cleaner. This is a great option if you’re cleaning delicate surfaces (always spot test first), or just want to avoid vinegar. Here’s how to make your own cleaner…

In a 16-ounce spray bottle, combine 2 cups of distilled water, ¼ cup of castile soap, and an optional 15-30 drops of essential oil: lavender, peppermint, grapefruit, orange, or lemon. Seal the bottle and shake to combine the ingredients. Store the cleaner for up to 3-4 weeks. Shake between uses.

Making the switch to all natural products doesn't have to be hard. Here are some DIY and store bought options to make that switch easier.

Truce

This all-purpose cleaner is available on Amazon or the Truce website. It’s definitely the most expensive product on my list. The cleaner does work very well, which isn’t surprising considering the ingredients: Water, Rubbing Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, Organic Castile Soap, Essential Oils. (You could even use this ingredient list to create a similar cleaner at home.) According to the company, the spray may be used on multiple surfaces… “All washable non-porous surfaces, including: windows, countertops, appliances, walls, floors, tables, chairs, showers, tubs and more. You can even use it as a spot cleaner on soft surfaces such as carpet and sofas.”

The Optimist Co. Time to Shine 

If you want a close-to-homemade all purpose cleaner, but don’t want to source or mix ingredients, The Optimist Co. Time to Shine is the next best option. The ingredient list is simple and natural: distilled water, natural castile soap, club soda, essential oil blend of rosemary and mint. A 16-ounce bottle costs $6 and must be purchased through the company’s website.

I also love that The Optimist Co. offers a Make Your Own Cleaning Products Kit   for anyone wanting to go the minimal-effort, do-it-yourself route. The kits make for a great gift, too. I gifted the kits to family members for Christmas.

Making the switch to all natural products doesn't have to be hard. Here are some DIY and store bought options to make that switch easier.

Seventh Generation All-Purpose Spray (or Multi-Surface Disinfecting Spray)  

This is my favorite store-bought, ready-to-use spray. It’s easy to find in most grocery stores and inexpensive. The cleaner receives an A rating from the Environment Working Group and a 0 from Think Dirty.

FIT Organic

This option isn’t as easy to find as the Seventh Generation spray. If you stumble upon it in your local grocery store or a health food store, I recommend giving it a try.

Making the switch to all natural products doesn't have to be hard. Here are some DIY and store bought options to make that switch easier.

Earth Friendly Products ECOS All Purpose Cleaner

This cleaner receives an A grade from the EWG, is affordable, and can be found at many different stores (from Walmart.com to Whole Foods). It has a wonderfully subtle orange scent that feels fresh but not overpowering (the trademark of a good, naturally-scented product).

Making the switch to all natural products doesn't have to be hard. Here are some DIY and store bought options to make that switch easier.

I want to hear from you in the comments section! Tell me what you’re working on swapping in your home, what you’ve already swapped, what you want to swap in the future, and any all-purpose cleaners that you particularly love (or don’t love).

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11 Comments

  • Hey Kristin, thanks for this awesome review of all-purpose spray! I am so excited to get this one for me as it serves you all purposes!

  • Let us know if you decide to try to make the Truce spray yourself! I’m not sure I can justify the cost after using homemade products for a while now. Plus it just plain feels good to make stuff yourself! I’ve been using the recipe from your reusable floor wipes, but in a spray bottle, on the floor and nothing beats it! And I like the sal suds/vinegar spray on my counters. That DIY kit from The Optimist is awesome as a gift! I’m not sure I could make my own DIY kits for gifts for that price, but might be fun trying.

  • Another step I take to further reduce costs is to save my citrus peels in the freezer. Once I have enough to fill a quart size, or you could do pint, jar I pour vinegar over the peels and let them sit for 2 – 4 weeks. Then I use this vinegar in my cleaners. I’ve done the same with lavender and other herbs from my garden. If you start a new batch as soon as you decant your first you’ll always have some ready. Works great for chicken coops as well.

  • Hi Kristin,
    I was so excited with your cleaner recipes that I purchased the castile soap and the Salsuds! My one question is this: you mentioned the recipes are good for 3-4 weeks and I wondered why? Do the ingredients lose their effectiveness?
    Thank you for your time and your awesome site!

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