As a busy Mom, the most used tool in my natural cleaning arsenal is, without a doubt, my homemade heavy-duty cleaner powered by essential oils. Life gets messy with kids and pets! Most heavy-duty cleaners are harmful to your body.
Many people believe that you need toxic chemicals to get your home truly clean. This idea is so far from the truth! You can create a heavy-duty cleaner that does the job just as well as its harmful counterpart.
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This cleaner has been my saving grace more times than I care to recall. This powerhouse cleans kid accidents, pet messes, oven spills, and so much more.
The best part is that it’s all-natural, plus you probably have these ingredients in your kitchen. Peace of mind comes with being able to pronounce the ingredients in your cleaners. Not to mention, creating homemade cleaners saves money.
Consider this your essential guide to homemade cleaners. In this post, I’ll share why each ingredient is effective. I’ll give you my best essential oil combinations that smell great and disinfect. As a bonus, I’ll teach you how to make reusable wipes with something most people can find in their dresser drawers. By the end of this post, I know you’ll feel confident in creating a heavy-duty cleaner with essential oils and reusable wipes.
Why Choose Reusable Wipes?
Reusable wipes are easy to make. You could walk into your closet and make them right now. All you need is an old t-shirt and a pair of scissors. If you have a worn-out shirt, cut it up and use it to clean your home. No more disposable wipes! If you prefer using store-bought cloths, I recommend using an organic white tee-shirt.
Keeping reusable wipes on hand is great for busy families who don’t always have time to run to the store. These wipes are PERFECT for cleaning your ceiling fans, especially if they build up residue from your essential oil diffusers. I also keep one in the kids’ bedroom to help with the special stains or messes that can happen in that area!
What Ingredients Do I Need to Make a Heavy Duty Cleaner?
You need just four simple ingredients to create this recipe. You may already have them in your home! Let’s talk about why each of these common household ingredients is key to creating a stellar heavy-duty cleaner.
70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol: Rubbing alcohol isn’t just a disinfectant for your body. It can help disinfect your home too! It’s inexpensive and easy to find in stores. Rubbing alcohol can remove stains, freshen smelly fabrics, and sterilize surfaces. It’s a no-brainer that this ingredient is key to heavy-duty cleaning!
Distilled or Purified Water: You might be asking, “Why can’t I just use regular tap water in this recipe?”. The answer might surprise you. Regular tap water can create hard water spots on surfaces, especially fabric. Distilled water doesn’t have the hard minerals and other additives that tap water has, so you’ll get that shiny clean look. We add water to help dilute the solution. In a pinch, tap water is acceptable, but you might not get the results you want.
Adding an in-home water filtration system makes purifying your water easy. We love using AquaTru’s reverse osmosis water filtration system because it’s easy to install. It creates the best-tasting water for all your DIY and culinary needs.
Organic Distilled Vinegar: Vinegar is a great non-toxic acid. It’s able to remove dirt and provide your glass surfaces with a streak-free shine. Using distilled vinegar, if possible, creates a cleaner look. If you’re worried about your home smelling like vinegar, don’t be! When you dilute the vinegar with water and add essential oils, there aren’t any odd smells. Vinegar has been one of the most popular natural cleaning ingredients for ages. I prefer the Spectrum organic vinegar brand in the glass bottles as it seems to work best.
Essential Oils: This is the fun part! Essential oils not only add a great scent to this cleaner but can also double its effectiveness. I recommend using an immunity blend with equal parts cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, orange, and rosemary if there are “bugs” going around.
I only use our immunity blend, but others have created combinations that work well also. Need inspiration? Here are a few tried and true combinations:
- Lavender and lemon
- Lemongrass and orange
- Grapefruit and peppermint
You can also use your favorite blends to create a custom scent.
Citric Acid: This is an optional ingredient, but adding it can boost your cleaner. Citric acid can remove limescale and is a little stronger than plain vinegar. You can add it along with the vinegar without any chemical issues. You can find citric acid at most grocery stores near the canning section or online.
What Supplies Do I Need?
Besides the ingredients listed, you’ll need the following items:
A 32-oz, Quart-Sized Glass Jar: Glass jars are great for storing homemade cleaners made with essential oils! Essential oils are known to cause plastic bottles to break down, so it’s safer to use glass. Glass jars are usually inexpensive, and they’re an investment because they’re reusable. We like the Easy-Busy Home brand because they combine 32-oz mason jars with plastic lids for super easy use. The metal lids will erode after a while and get rusty.
A Funnel: This makes it easier to get your ingredients in the bottle. I highly recommend purchasing a funnel. It saves a lot of mess!
Heavy Duty Cleaner with Essential Oils
- 5 ounces 70% rubbing alcohol
- 4 ounces purified or distilled water
- 3 ounces organic, white distilled vinegar
- 24-48 drops essential oils
- 1 tablespoon citric acid (optional)
- 32-ounce, quart-sized glass jar with plastic lid
- Old t-shirt or rags
- Place your funnel in a glass bottle or jar and slowly pour in the water, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and optional citric acid.
- Remove the funnel and place 24-48 drops of essential oil in the container. Place the lid on and gently stir or shake to combine.
- Cut your t-shirt into small 4x4-inch squares and set them aside. (These cleaning wipes should be large enough to hold in your hand for easy cleaning.)
- Place wipes in a large jar. Pour your cleaning mixture on top making sure the wipes are all are saturated. There should be no excess liquid in the jar. The wipes should absorb all the liquid.
- Store in a dark, cool place and take out each treated wipe whenever you need some heavy-duty cleaning power.
- Machine wash after use & store wipes for next time you need to make another batch.
How Do I Make a Heavy-Duty Cleaner?
Making this cleaner is easy! I’ve found I can mix it in 10 minutes or less. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Add Ingredients to Jar
Place your funnel in your glass jar and slowly pour in 4 ounces of distilled or purified water, 3 ounces of organic distilled white vinegar, and 5 ounces of rubbing alcohol. Want an additional boost? Add 1 tablespoon of citric acid. If you’re worried about spills, you may want to put a towel down first!
Step 2: Add Essential Oils
Next, pour in 24-48 drops of your favorite essential oil. I prefer removing the funnel for this as it’s easier to pour the oil straight into the jar. Place the lid on the container and gently shake to combine.
Step 3: Prep Reusable Wipes
Now that your cleaner is ready, it’s time to make reusable wipes. Take an old t-shirt and start cutting it into 4×4 inch squares. You’ll want your fabric squares to be big enough to hold in your hand for easy cleaning.
NOTE: I recommend using organic, white t-shirts so the essential oils don’t remove the dye in colored shirts over time.
If you have kids, this is a great way to get them involved with chores! My kids love being able to grab a kid-sized wipe to help out. Make them their own wipes and let them get to it!
Your squares should look similar to the ones in the above photo.
Mama Z Pro Tips:
- Since this cleaner contains essential oils, it’s best to store it in a dry, dark place.
- You can use your cleaner as a general spray or use it for disinfecting wipes. To use it as disinfecting wipes, put your reusable wipes in a glass jar with your cleaner. When you need to clean something, grab a wipe and wring it out.
- Washing these wipes is easy. Toss it in the washing machine with our non-toxic laundry detergent.
- If they need a little extra cleaning, use an Oxy-Boost type of product.
- I keep an extra jar of wipes in my laundry room with the essential oil cleaning solution inside. As the wipes come out of the dryer, I add them to my second container and when it’s filled, I swap it out with the almost-empty ones in the bathroom and in the kid’s bedroom area.
- With canning lids, the essential oils can cause discoloration over time so I tend to replace them once a quarter.