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Natural Cleaner

Natural Homemade Multi-Surface Cleaner:

Here is my favourite recipe for a natural homemade multi-surface cleaner.

As with most household products I started by swapping to a more eco-friendly alternative but was still frustrated by the amount of plastic I was purchasing. I finally decided to try making my own and after some experimentation have found my preferred blend of ingredients.

I began with a basic mix of water, white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and essential oils.

Distilled White Vinegar

White Vinegar has a high acidity level and is natural and biodegradable. It can be used to clean all over the home except on marble and some stone surfaces. It is a great degreaser and helps to dissolve lime scale.

Bicarbonate of Soda

Bicarbonate of soda / baking soda helps maintain a natural pH balance and eliminates odours. It is great at removing stains due to its very mild abrasive properties. It is perfect for kitchen cleaning as it dissolves grease and dirt in water.

Essential oils

Some essential oils (tea tree, lemon, orange peppermint & lavender) contain important disinfecting properties as well as smelling really good.

I was happy although the house still smelled of vinegar, despite my attempt at masking it with lemon or tea-tree oil. Then my spray bottles started to clog up and stop working properly – I have since found out that this could be caused by the essential oils.

One day I read a Japanese zero waste blog that suggested using fermented lemon rinds as a cleaning substitute.

As I regularly squeeze lemons to add to my drinking water I thought I’d give it a go. Two weeks later I had a jar of citrus cleaner from just lemon rinds and water. It smelled really good too.


Lemons have been used for centuries as a natural cleaner as they are high in citric acid, have a low pH and antibacterial properties. You do have to be careful with citrus as it can damage natural stone and brass. It’s always best to test on a small area first just to be sure.

I decided to replace the water in my original recipe for my new citrus cleaner. This completely eradicated the vinegar smell and meant I didn’t have to rely upon essential oils.

While researching homemade cleaning sprays I also found some recipes containing Castile Soap. As I couldn’t easily get hold of any in Switzerland I decided to use Savon de Marseille in my experiments instead. I purchased flakes (you can grate your own from a bar) then dissolved 25g in 1 litre of very hot water and cool before storing in a bottle.

Savon de Marseille

Savon de Marseille is a natural soap that has been used in France since the early ninth century for many practical cleaning applications. It is a powerful stain remover and cuts through grease. It can be used as laundry soap, dish soap and can also be used as an antiseptic. It is 100% natural & biodegradable as it’s made from vegetable oils.

How to make fermented lemon water:


  • 7 Lemons
  • Water
  • Glass Jar/ Bottle (with a lid)


    Half and juice your lemons, saving the juice (for drinking or cooking) and rinds. Using a sharp knife remove the outer lemon rind and compost the leftover inner pith.

    Add your rinds to a bottle or jar so that it is half full then fill the container with water and close tight. Leave in a dark place for two weeks.

How to make Multi-Surface Cleaner:


  • 2 Tbsp of Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)
  • ½ Cup White Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Liquid Savon de Marseille or Castile Soap
  • Fermented Lemon Water (Strained)
  • A Few Drops of Essential oil (Optional)
  • 1 x Old Cleaning Spray Bottle


    Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in a little warm water then add it to your spray bottle. Slowly add the vinegar and shake slowly until it has stopped reacting with the bicarbonate of soda (If you skip this step you’ll have a volcano style eruption when you add the lemon water).

    Add the soap liquid then slowly top up the bottle with your homemade fermented lemon water. It’s advisable to strain the lemon water through a cloth or sieve to avoid particles blocking your spray.

    Don’t fill your bottle totally as there will be some fizzing and leave it to stand without the top on until this finishes (5-10mins).
    If desired you can add some drops of essential oil.

Shake gently before each use and happy cleaning.

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