Let’s talk about vinegar for one moment. I received an email asking if I was sure vinegar was a disinfectant. I can say with complete faith that it is. Why? Not only because my boys and I have conducted some at home studies and seen great results but also, keep in mind that vinegar, throughout history, has been reputed to have strong antibacterial properties. One test by Good Housekeeping’s microbiologist found that 5% vinegar is 90% effective against mold and 99.9% effective against bacteria, while another study linked with Clorox and Lysol showed vinegar to be too weak or inconsistent for it to be used effectively as a disinfectant. Hmmm. Am I the only one who finds that a bit funny? (sources listed at bottom of post)
When you do research on vinegar and you are looking for scientific studies, search for the scientific term “acetic acid”. If you search for the layman’s term, “vinegar,” then you are likely to get results that are not scientific.
I also want to point out that we are not solely relying on vinegar for the antibacterial properties. We have a host of other ingredients that add to the effectiveness. Don’t fall for the marketing schemes of corporate companies. Their goal is to get you to keep buying their product.
***off my soapbox***
After trying dozens of recipes for all purpose cleaner I can safely say that this one is by far my favorite. It does the job of several cleaners and works better than most commercial stuff I’ve tried. I use this stuff all the time. I use it so often that I got tired of making it. That’s when I decided to make it by the gallon. That means I can go longer between batches before I have to make more.
This cleaner is PH balanced so it is safe to use on granite and marble. You can test your own recipes or solutions by using PH test strips available at any pharmacy. Right around “7″ is safe range for the materials in our homes.
I use it for all basic clean up. It does disinfect but if I need a bit more assurance that an area is bacteria free then I’ll use a bit of hydrogen peroxide. I call that the one, two punch. The way you use this “death to all bacteria” method is by first spraying hydrogen peroxide and then spray the vinegar solution on top. Do not mix them in a bottle. Hydrogen peroxide looses it’s effectiveness when in bottles that aren’t opaque and when it is mixed with other solutions. Sprayed individually they have germ busting power that beats out most stuff on the market. It makes what is called paracetic acid. This is safe. The solution is not near concentrated enough to cause any type of irritation but it is strong enough for cleaning up after raw meats and germs.
I’ve tried many recipes but this is my favorite because:
- there is a little more vinegar in this recipe than I have seen in some others and I like that because that makes it a stronger disinfectant and I can smell the clean. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE INITIAL VINEGAR SMELL. It goes away after a minute or two and leaves behind whatever scent of essential oils you use. I like smelling the vinegar immediately. It reminds me of when I used to watch my grandma clean and it gives me the immediate satisfaction of knowing that the cleaner is working.
- upon first wiping it leaves a slight film. This will go away if you let it evaporate but I like it because it prompts me to wipe again ensuring that the area is thoroughly cleaned.
Ingredients (one bottle):
- 1/2 tsp of liquid Castile soap or Sal’s Suds
- 1 tsp Borax
- 1 tsp of washing soda
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 cups hot water (distilled or boiled to remove impurities)
- 25-30 drops of essential oil ( I use Tea Tree, Grapefruit, and Eucalyptus)
- 24 oz spray bottle
Put the hot water in a deep bowl. Mix in the castile soap, Borax, washing soda. Finally add the vinegar. Slowly add the water and stir. Allow it to cool a bit then add some essential oils. Using a funnel pour it into the spray bottle. Label your bottle.
- 3 tsp of liquid castile soap
- 2 tablespoons Borax
- 2 tablespoons washing soda
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 12 cups hot water (distilled or boiled to remove impurities)
- gallon jug
Put the hot water in a deep bowl. Mix in the castile soap, Borax, washing soda. Finally add the vinegar. Slowly add the water and stir. Allow it to cool and then add some essential oils. Using a funnel pour it into the gallon jug. Label your gallon jug. When you are ready to pour some into your spray bottle leave room for 25-30 drops of essential oil ( I use Tea Tree, Grapefruit, and Eucalyptus). I add the oil only to my spray bottle.
To use simply spray the area to be cleaned and wipe with a dry cloth. Sit back, relax, and smile because you just benefited your family in a major way!
I like to personalize everything so I created my own labels. I have many of these labels for other cleaners and such that I make and I will post them in upcoming weeks along with their respective recipes. Simply download your label of choice and insert it into your label making software (Word, Open Office, etc) and print on shipping labels. You could also print on Avery sticker paper. After putting the labels on my bottles I use contact paper to seal over the top of the label to avoid the label from smearing or being damaged if it gets wet. You will also find some older labels here: DIY Homemade Natural All Purpose Spray w/Printable Labels.
Other posts in this series:
- Why You Should Use Natural Cleaners in Your Home
- Detoxify Your Home Naturally
- Basic DIY Cleaner Recipe Ingredients