Happy Thursday!! I'm going to write this post because I really felt the need to re-share this concoction that I have been making for the past few years as my DIY non-toxic all-purpose cleaner while I was cleaning earlier today. I have used my fair share of cleaners that are labeled as green, non-toxic, chemical-free and natural. I've purchased countless forms of cleaners and have also received small and full-sized samples from various companies over the years. You name it, I've tried it. I've also used a ton of not so non-toxic cleaners, and this one that I make is STILL my favorite and most effective cleaner for cleaning all types of surfaces.
Not only that, if I costed it out (sorry, I won't be doing that), it is DIRT cheap (ha), and can probably be made with ingredients you hopefully have at your house already.
DIY Non-Toxic All-Purpose Cleaner
1 - Clean New Or Old Spray Bottle
2.5 Cups Distilled Water
3 Tbs Castile Soap (I use Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap)
1 Tbs Baking Soda
5 Tbs White Vinegar
30-40 Drops of Essential Oils (I use Peppermint, Lavender, Clove, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree & Orange)
Mix Together and Use!
Here's a list of things I use this cleaner for:
Bathroom counters, sinks, tubs, toilets, walls, fixtures, doorknobs, shower doors
**Awesome tip for keeping your tub squeaky clean** Generously sprinkle baking soda all around your tub, spray your cleaner and scrub with a brush. THIS WORKS BETTER THAN BLEACH. Unless you have mold and mildew...that's another story.
Kitchen counters, sink, stove top, microwave, refrigerator, walls, group, cabinets
Mopping the floors - I just make a larger batch with tap water
Cleaning anything dog-related such as toys and bowls
I'm sure I'm missing something, but I basically use it to clean everything. I buy a huge bag of baking soda from Costco for less than $8, a gallon of white vinegar is less than $4, and distilled water is like $.50 a gallon.
If you haven't jumped on the castile soap bandwagon yet, YOU SHOULD. Castile soap (AKA Dr. Bronner's) runs around $15 for 32 oz, and you can literally use if for everything (cleaner, hand soap, body wash, dishes, laundry, etc.). Pure castile soap is a vegetable oil-based soap, is biodegradable, and completely safe. I choose Dr. Bronner's because they are fair-trade certified and make sure to always choose sustainable sources.
Essential oils can be a bit pricey, but, when using them for cleaners, you can get the cheaper ones. They also last quite a while. All of these items in bulk basically last me the entire year for all of my cleaning needs.
Why is it so effective?
Well, for starters, many of these ingredients have been proven in studies to have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Vinegar alone has been a proven disinfectant against food borne pathogens such as E. coli. Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, has been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria and yeast. Lavender (Lavendula agustifolia) and clove (Syzygium aromaticum) both have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties among MANY others. All of these amazing properties can be found in the volatile compounds of the essential oils. 
Here's a little excerpt from one study that summaries what volatile compounds are, where they are made, and what they are used for:
"Volatile compounds from plants, especially essential oils have antimicrobial, fungicidal and insecticidal activities. The essential oils are strong antimicrobial agents with broad spectrum activity with possible potential for the control of pathogens in plants as of post-harvest spoilage of many crops and also to human pathogenic diseases. They may prove to be more economical and environmentally safe, as an antimicrobial agent. The volatile essential oils released from leaves, flowers and fruits into the atmosphere and from roots into the soil defend herbivores and pathogens." 
Basically, all of this awesome information is the type of thing that I have been studying lately, which is also the main reason I haven't been blogging as often! I have been knees-deep in phytotherapy and herbalism books as of late. Plants are awesome, and I hope my studies can help further convince anyone and everyone that natural products are a great and cost-effective way to keep your home and humans safe!
I'll be writing a post on the microfiber cloths pictured above (eCloth) soon! I'm obsessed with them.
Happy cleaning with your DIY Non-Toxic All-Purpose Cleaner!
 Corral, L. G., & Montville, T. J.Antimicrobial activity of sodium bicarbonate (PDF download available). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229979395_Antimicrobial_Activity_of_Sodium_Bicarbonate
 Cortesia, C., Vilchèze, C., Bernut, A., Contreras, W., Gómez, K., de Waard, J., . . . Takiff, H. (2014). Acetic acid, the active component of vinegar, is an effective tuberculocidal disinfectant. mBio, 5(2), 14. Retrieved from http://mbio.asm.org/content/5/2/e00013-14.full
 Entani, E., Asai, M., Tsujihata, S., Tsukamoto, Y., & Ohta, M. (1998). Antibacterial action of vinegar against food-borne pathogenic bacteria including escherichia coli O157:H7. Journal of Food Protection, 61(8), 953-959. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9713753
 Lodhia, M. H., Bhatt, K. R., & Thaker, V. S. (2009). Antibacterial activity of essential oils from palmarosa, evening primrose, lavender and tuberose. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 71(2), 134-136. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2839398/
 Nuñez, L., & Aquino, M. D. (2012). Microbicide activity of clove essential oil (eugenia caryophyllata). Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, 43(4), 1255-1260. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3769004/
 Nzeako, B. C., Al-Kharousi, Z. S. N., & Al-Mahrooqui, Z. (2006). Antimicrobial activities of clove and thyme extracts. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, 6(1), 33. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21748125
 Thosar, N., Basak, S., Bahadure, R. N., & Rajurkar, M. (2013). Antimicrobial efficacy of five essential oils against oral pathogens: An in vitro study. European Journal of Dentistry, 7(Suppl 1), S77. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4054083/