I've just moved and in clearing the old house I've been finding all kinds of hidden dust, cobwebs, and dribbles, among secret stashes of cat toys and treasures! You think your home is clean until you start moving semi-permanent pieces and climbing up to see the tops of cabinets and shelves. So you can probably imagine that I'm going through a lot of all purpose spray cleaning those surfaces and you'd be right - except the spray I use might not be the one you might be thinking of.
Several years ago I stopped buying commercial kitchen spray and instead have been making my own. It's the easiest and most cost effective way that I've found to jump-start goals to creating a more natural home. At first I made a version using just vinegar and water and though it performed well, it did smell a bit like a chippy shop for about ten minutes after. The addition of essential oil works wonders on the scent though and there are varieties that can even help with destroying germs and bacteria.
The main ingredient in my kitchen spray is ordinary distilled malt vinegar that I purchase from our local cash and carry. It's inexpensive, colourless, and completely natural. Vinegar is harmless to people and pets but is deadly to bacteria, viruses, and fungus. In one study corraborated by Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen, it was found that just a 5% solution of distilled vinegar was effective in killing 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of germs/viruses, all without the help of harmful chemicals. Vinegar is also used as an additive to commercial cleaners to help create a 'streak-free shine' as seen on the below label.
In my years of using this vinegar cleaning spray I've never once thought that it didn't have the power or effectiveness of commercial products. Sometimes when you switch over to homemade there's a period of adjustment and wishing for the old store-bought version. Not so with this! As a soap maker I also find this spray handy since vinegar helps to neutralize any lye granules or fresh soap splatters that might be lingering on kitchen surfaces.
Natural All Purpose Cleaner
- Empty Spray Bottle
- Distilled White Vinegar and/or Apple Cider Vinegar
- Essential oil - I use Rosemary & Citronella (matching the scent of my Kitchen and Garden Hand Soap) but others that have a nice scent and antibacterial properties include Lavender, Tea Tree, and Lemon.
1. With a black sharpie, mark the back of your spray bottle approximately 2/3 the way up and beside the mark write 'Vinegar'. Another 1/3 the way up and make another mark and write 'Water'. Using a funnel, fill your spray bottle up with those two ingredients, starting first with vinegar.
2. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp of your preferred essential oil to the bottle.
3. Since the essential oils like to float to the top, make sure to shake the bottle before each use. Spray away and wipe up as you would with any other household cleaner. If you do smell a bit of the vinegar coming through, it will dissipate after just a few minutes.
And if you'd like to use the same label as I do, with recipe instructions on the front, download the below image which you can print out and place on your bottle. A few dollops of glue might work but I just print directly onto inexpensive, self-adhesive paper.