Being a parent is often an exercise in figuring out the best ways to get stains out of fabric, slime off the rug, glue from the countertop, and any other number of sticky situations you find yourself in. However, some of the all-purpose cleaners out there are filled with chemicals that you'd rather not have around your little ones, or they're incredibly expensive and the amount of plastic waste they create is terrible for the environment. I often rely on either bulk cleaners or these DIY all-purpose cleaners because I want to know what's in the cleaners, and I don't want to keep filling the landfills and oceans with plastic.
The trick to making a great all-purpose cleaner is to pay attention to your ratios. Too much vinegar and your whole house will stink. Too much citrus and it will get sticky. Adding a natural surfactant like Castile soap or yucca extract is also nice, but you have to be careful which you're going to use as yucca is toxic to dogs and cats, according to the ASPCA.
You have probably heard about recipes containing a lot of the essential oils that one woman you knew from high school is selling on Facebook. Some of these are really great — I personally love the ones with orange and cinnamon in them. That being said, just because something comes from a plant does not automatically make it "natural" or safe. In fact, in order to make one pound of essential oils, it takes about 220 pounds of the botanical itself, noted the National Institutes of Health. It's a hyper-concentrated version of the original.
So with all that in mind, here's how to make yourself some super effective DIY all-purpose cleaners. To get started, there is an initial expense when making these sprays — the receptacle you're using to hold your cleaner. These amber glass spray bottles with labels are good, sturdy glass bottles that spray well, have minimal waste, and are recyclable. They also don't react to anything you put in them or hold the fragrance.