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How to Make Your Own Multipurpose Cleaner

When the pandemic hit, bleach and other heavy-duty cleaning products flew off the shelves. People started buying any cleaners they could get their hands on, from pure rubbing alcohol to all-natural sprays. The important aspect was that these products needed to be anti-viral in order to kill the COVID-19 virus. These anti-viral cleaners were like gold: if you had one, you were rich. But what do you use for just regular, non-aggressive cleaning? Originally, I’d used Windex, but the chemical smell made my animals gag and sneeze. I tried just soap and water, but that was messy. I knew I had to come up with something else.

I remembered back when I was experimenting with more eco-friendly household products that I had created a recipe for a multipurpose cleaner. The problem was, I didn’t like it. It smelled gross and couldn’t cut through tough spills. Looking at the recipe again, I realized I could improve it. I could create an anti-bacterial, grease-cutting spray that wasn’t overpowering and would be better for the environment.


DISCLAIMER: This multipurpose cleaner WILL NOT kill the COVID-19 virus. This cleaner is intended to be used on surfaces to help reduce bacteria and general dirt like dog slobber, spilled grease, and mud. Please use an anti-viral product if you need to disinfect for viruses.


Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • 1 spray bottle
  • 1 funnel
  •  2 cups warm water
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • (optional) 2-10 drops of essential oil (I recommend lavender or lemongrass!)


Once you have your ingredients put together, you’re ready to mix:

  1. Heat your water. You can do this either by using tap water on the hottest setting or gently microwaving it in a glass measuring cup for about 1 minute.
  2. Slowly pour the water into your spray bottle by using the funnel. Trust me, you’ll want to use the funnel.
  3. With the funnel still in the bottle, slowly add the lemon juice and vinegar.
  4. (optional) Remove the funnel and add your desired amount of essential oil.
  5. Secure the top of the spray bottle and gently shake to make sure everything’s combined.

Now you have an anti-bacterial spray!


Here are a few ways to use it:

  • Spray the desired amount on any countertop that IS NOT made of marble/granite. (These kinds of stone countertops are porous and should only be cleaned with designated products.) You can let it sit to help tackle tough stains, or you can wipe it off immediately.
  • Spray the desired amount on grease splatters. Let it sit for 2 minutes. Then, sprinkle on some baking soda. It will fizz because of the chemical reaction between the acid (vinegar and lemon juice) and the base (baking soda). Let this sit for 2 more minutes before wiping off.
  • Spray the inside of your microwave liberally. Place a bowl of water on the turntable or rack. (This prevents the microwave from trying to cook nothing, which isn’t great for it!) Heat on high for 2 minutes. Any stuck-on bits should have loosened and now be much easier to clean!


Here’s why this multipurpose cleaner works:

  • Water: helps reduce over-acidity and increases the amount of product
  • Lemon juice: smells good, but also is an acidic grease-cutter and antibacterial
  • Vinegar: a very strong antibacterial
  • Essential oils: smells good and can add a tiny amount of antibacterial strength (depending on what kind of essential oil is used)


What are you waiting for? Go tackle those messes and feel tidy and productive with your own multipurpose cleaning spray!

Annika G.R. Bunney is an interdisciplinary creator focusing on traditional writing, nature-based creations, and assorted textual pieces. She is a second-year in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics at the University of Washington, Bothell. Her ever-evolving work draws on classic literature, folklore, and mass media. When not working on academics, she can be found taking care of her many cats and playing with her rescue dog. She also loves wandering in the outdoors, curling up with a good book, or playing video games.
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