DIY Homemade Surface Cleaner

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Tired of toxic chemicals in your home? Here are two super effective, chemical-free homemade surface cleaner recipes. With just a few simple ingredients your home can be clean!

This surface cleaner recipe post has been moved and updated! Find the updated recipe post here

I’ve been looking forward to the first signs of spring. The warm weather, open windows, and children running in the backyard. I love the joy and newness that comes with a fresh season. But, before all the goodness of spring can be enjoyed, cleaning must take place.

Typically my spring cleaning looks the same every year. A long list of chemically-ridden cleaners, a trip to the store, and a huge bill. Spring cleaning has been one expensive, chemical-heavy tradition in my home. Even as a natural, simple living advocate, I’ll confess, I’ve been cleaning my home with some nasty ingredients. Until recently I hadn’t given much thought to what goes on my counters, in my toilets, or on my clothes.

With spring cleaning fresh in my mind I decided to skip the store and chemicals this year. I’ve been in the process of “greening” our home by making my own homemade products like: toothpaste, laundry soap, and even make-up. Spring cleaning was next on my list to conquer with a safer homemade approach.

Immediately, I turned to my friends at MightyNest where I found the Come Clean Natural Cleaning Set (which comes with a handy little book full of simple DIY cleaning recipes) and many other natural cleaning supplies. Everything needed to get started, for a fraction of the cost of chemical cleaners. Spring cleaning au naturel.



The two recipes (below) are my new favorite natural surface cleaners. The choice is yours, both recipes provide effective and natural cleaning power. Happy spring cleaning!

5 from 8 votes

Chemical-Free Homemade Surface Cleaner

The Cleaning Challenge is about helping you navigate the world of do-it-yourself, natural cleaning using a simplified, practical, no-condemnation approach
Course DIY
Cuisine Cleaning
Keyword Surface Cleaner
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 Seperate Cleaners
Author Kristin Marr


Citrus Surface Cleaner

Citrus Melody Surface Cleaner


  1. For both recipes, combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Place the top on the bottle and shake bottle to combine the ingredients.
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    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hi Martine, You can use lemon peel. I’d recommend letting them infuse in vinegar for a few days and then adding the remaining ingredients. You can skip the EO too. The orange provides a great natural fragrance, but can be skipped.

  1. says: Rebecca

    I found a great way to cut the vinegar smell without using EO’s. Put you leftover orange and lemon peel in a mason jar and fill to the top with vinegar, let this sit for 2 weeks then remove peels and strain. Now you are left with fantastic smelling vinegar with the extra cleaning power of lemons!

  2. says: Jelli

    Kristin, I’m excited to try this second cleaning recipe. I used to use Dr. Bronners but am currently out and not likely to replace any time soon. So happy you made 2 versions and I’m sure that orange oil must make it smell great! Thank you! Pinning.

  3. Pingback: DIY Antibacterial Cleaner + 15 More Natural Bathroom Cleaners | Bulk Herb Store Blog
  4. says: Tanya

    Hi. Can you use this on granite in the kitchen? If yes is there enough antibactirial to clean up after raw chicken, meat? Thanks

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Tanya, I don’t have any first-hand experience with granite (I wish I did), but I can’t imagine any of the ingredients would hurt sealed granite. You can increase the tea tree oil to help kill any extra germs (like raw meats).

      1. says: Lisa

        Granite, marble and stone surfaces do NOT do well with acidic (citrus-based) cleaners. The vinegar or citrus can actually cause what looks like “etching” on them.

  5. 5 stars
    I have a few allergies that are caused by some of the ingredients of the common cleaners and your recipes for natural cleaner sounds amazing! Thank you for this article! I love the way it is written, the pictures and of course the recipes itself!

  6. says: Erin Goedmakers

    Thank you so much for the great cleaning recipes! I just wantef to add a note that if a person has pets, especially cats, to please be careful when using tea tree oil. Cats are very sensitive to it and it can potentially make them quite ill.

    Thanks for all the info!

  7. says: Bets

    5 stars
    I’ve been printing off all sorts of your recipes this morning! Thank you!!

    I just had to mention in here that I’ve just recently found Norwex cloths and they are amazing! They are so incredibly absorbent that they mechanically remove anything on the surface so that there is no need to chemically kill. They do a protein test that shows that just the cloth and water completely removes chicken juice from a counter. Do some youtube watching and you’ll see.

    My disclaimer is that I do sell these products now, but only because I am sooo convinced of their efficacy and love how clean my home is now that I use them!

  8. says: K. Joans

    5 stars
    Thanks for this great recipe. I really like DIY natural cleaners and this is a really good one. It goes straight to my collection. I will definitely share your post with my friends.

  9. says: Kristi

    5 stars
    Kristin I was wondering if you can use this as a dusting spray? If not do you have a good go to for a dusting spray? Thanks so much! I have tried several of your homemade recipes and have loved all of them! 🙂

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Kristi, I don’t have a published dusting recipe (yet), but I use a homemade spray. I use water (about 3/4-1 cup), vinegar (about 1/3 cup) and olive oil (1/2-1 TB) with a bit of lemon or orange essential oil. One of these days I’ll post the recipe on the blog ;). I’m so glad you’re enjoying so many of the recipes on Live Simply. Thank you so much for sharing.

  10. says: Ingrid

    Hello Kristin ,

    thank you for sharing all the healthy recipes . I have a question : Where do you get all the wonderful bottles and jars ?
    Thank you


  11. says: Agricola

    Hi Kristen,
    Thank you for all your natural cleanser post. I was wondering if you actually have the bottles in your images in this post, and if so, where did you find them?

  12. says: Susan

    5 stars
    Love your blog and recipes. I’ve tried quite few so far and happy with every one of them. However, I’d like to point out that there is no such thing as ‘chemical-free’. The air we breathe and the water we drink are chemicals. Chemical is not a bad word. Chemical-free is an incorrect marketing slogan. I believe what you are trying to say is toxin free. Thank you.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Susan, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog.

      I do realize that chemicals aren’t inherently bad. They are essential to life and everything around us. I think you have an understanding to why I’ve used the slogan “chemical-free” in the past–meaning the toxic chemicals we’d like to stay away from. This post was updated this year with the revised vocabulary, so it’s not presenting the wrong idea:

  13. says: Gwen R.

    Hi Kristin,

    Thank you so much for this site, I am just now getting started with doing all things natural, so I very much appreciate simple, inexpensive and tested recipes. I am wondering, when you call for Castile Soap in your recipes, and then also add EO’s, do you always use the Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Unscented, or will that line’s scented options work just as well and also eliminate the need to add EO’s at the same time? Or what is best?

    Thank you!

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Gwen,

      I usually keep unscented castile soap around because it’s so versatile: skincare, cleaning, makeup brush cleaner. You could definitely skip the essential oils in the scented soaps–it’s just a personal preference. I prefer to add essential oil to the scented variety as well, just for the added cleaning benefits.

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