Photo: How to make all-purpose spray cleaner

Keep a bottle under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, in the cleaning closet, etc. (Credit: Shannon Ruth Dionne Photography)

Most of us are exposed to cleaning products and their residues every day.

Some contain harmful chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive disorders, asthma and severe allergies. Symbols, like the skull and crossbones, warn us about acute hazards. Labels include words such as "poison," "corrosive" or "irritant."

But Canada does not require warnings about chronic health and environmental hazards of chemicals in cleaning products.

I can't tell you all ingredients to avoid, because product manufactures aren't required to disclose them. Some manufacturers disclose them voluntarily.

Read labels. Avoid these when shopping for store-bought products:

  • Scented cleaners which may contain synthetic "fragrance" or "parfum"
  • Anti-bacterial cleaners which may contain "triclosan"
  • Coloured cleaners which may contain dyes

Better still, make your own!

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All-purpose spray recipe

Time needed: five minutes
Shelf life: approximately six months

1.5 L (6 cups) water
60 ml (¼ cup) liquid castile soap
5-10 drops (optional) essential oils, e.g., thyme

Combine all ingredients in a big bowl or jug. Stir and pour into labelled spray bottle(s). (This is a massive batch. I keep a bottle under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, in the cleaning closet, etc.)

Note: Choose liquid castile soap that does not contain palm oil. You can also use liquid castile soap that already contains organic essential oils.

Which essential oils are best?

Thyme is powerful at inhibiting bacterial growth. You can also try lavender, lemon, lime, and tea tree essential oils. Those with anti-fungal properties include cedarwood, lavender, lemongrass, rosemary and tea tree.

How have you used this recipe? Share your review in the comments below.

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

March 17, 2017

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Apr 08, 2017
2:54 AM

Thank you, so much.

Apr 06, 2017
8:54 PM

Most health food stores and some Drug and Baby stores carry Liquid Castile Soaps in either the Natural Body Care or the Baby Wash sections. It comes in a 1 litre plastic bottle of clear liquid.

One brand is called Dr Bronners, another is Green Beaver. They come in a variety of fragrances, but most sensitive people will get the Baby/unscented one, and either use it plain or add their own favourite essential oil. I love the freshness of Oregano oil in mine. I use it for shampoo/body wash,bubble bath, and very diluted in my foam soap pump bottle. It looks runny, but goes a very long way.

Apr 06, 2017
7:50 PM

Best ever all purpose cleaner. For stove top, I sprinkle baking soda, then squirt the all purpose clean on the baking soda, scrub and wipe. My glass stove top is sparkling clean.

Apr 06, 2017
9:12 AM

Great suggestion, Thank you! We use the Young Living Thieves All Purpose Cleaner deleted with either Filtered or Distilled water and add additional Essential Oils depending on the Job. When cleaning Windows I still don’t know how to dry them so they are streak-less. Is there anything we can add that will allow it to dry streak-less so that we don’t need to use Towels (Fabric or Paper)? We don’t get newspapers so can’t use them (sister-in-law suggested). What is Castile Soap made of? We make bar soap into liquid soap so that we can use it up. Bar soap is messy and gets germs.

Apr 07, 2017
2:07 PM

You can check out my castile soap blog!

Apr 06, 2017
7:39 AM

I use a natural shower cleaner mixed from a recipe I found on Houzz. Ingredients are 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1 tbsp dish washer rinse agent, 1 tsp dish detergent in 1 litre container. Fill with water. It is poisonous re alcohol and H202 but unless the rinse agent has something non-green in it should be environmentally acceptable. This depends on the dish detergent used of course. This solution works really well for me. Our water is very hard well water and this seems to work well to remove/prevent build up of lime scale. I prefer to use this rather than something like CLR. You spray, on then wipe off Excellent results even though I don’t always remember to do daily.

Apr 06, 2017
4:58 AM

Brianna, One suggestion to try is Green Beaver. Their products are made in Canada and their Castile soap does not contain palm oil.

Mar 29, 2017
12:02 PM

Hi there,

A question regarding the above recipe for all-purpose cleaner — can it be used to wash produce?

Mar 26, 2017
7:36 PM

Where do you suggest buying liquid Castillo soap in CANADA? I’ve had a hard time finding it.

Mar 26, 2017
10:26 AM

With soap in it, do surfaces need to be rinsed or just just sprayed

Mar 19, 2017
9:58 AM

We use vinegar and water for everything The other chemicals kill the septic field so we keep it natural. THANKS we watch your show all the time.

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