Rarely is there truly one all-purpose cleaner. One of my favorite cleaning agents is castile soap. Not only is it wonderful to use to clean your home, it is also an excellent gentle, nontoxic, and soothing soap to use for body wash or shampoo. It is that versatile! It is also very economical in that one small bottle can be used to create many different cleaning products, and it is ultra concentrated, so a little bit goes a very long way.
Castile soap is made from oils obtained from plant origins (as opposed to those from animal origins) such as coconut, hemp, or olive oil, to name a few. It has been prized throughout history as being a gentle but effective cleaner. It is also considered to be "green" in that it contains natural cleaners as opposed to harsh chemicals.
My preference is Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap liquid, and I like the lavender scent, although they have many other scents including citrus, peppermint, tea tree, and even a scent for babies. There are also bar forms of this soap that can either be used in their solid form or grated into flakes for use in other items.
My favorite use is in the laundry. It only takes a relatively small amount of the soap added to your wash to get your clothes clean and soft. It is an excellent pretreatment for stains, particularly oily stains. There have been some spots on clothing that seemed to be set in, and I've saturated them with a small amount of the liquid Castile soap, worked it into the cloth fibers with a toothbrush, and then laundered, and the stain has come right out.
Mix a tiny amount of the soap with water and place into a spray bottle then use to clean countertops. Follow with a light white vinegar and water rinse for a sparkling clean surface. (Of note, do not mix white vinegar and castile soap together, as the vinegar desaponifies the soap, rendering it ineffective. More information HERE.)
Here are some other uses and recipes below.
Body wash: Place a few drops of liquid soap onto a bath pouf and work into a lather, then use all over body. Rinse thoroughly. You can make your own body wash by grating 1 bar of Dr. Bronner's or Kirk's Castile Soap and mixing it with 6 cups hot water in a large pot, then heat and stir until combined. Pour into bottles to use as body wash.
Laundry Spot Treatment: Use as a spot treatment for tough stains, or add 1-2 squirts to your laundry for a cleaning boost.
Liquid Laundry Detergent: 3/4 cup Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap, 1/2 cup super washing soda (not baking soda), 1/2 cup 20 Muleteam Borax, 1 gallon HOT water plus 1 gallon cold water. Place dry ingredients in a large bucket and add 1 gallon of water. Mix until borax and washing soda are dissolved. Add liquid castile soap, stir well, and then add remaining cold water. Allow to cool, stirring periodically. Pour cooled liquid soap into containers and use 1/3 to 1/2 cup per wash load. (Recipe found HERE.)
Homemade Shaving Cream: Mix 2-3 drops of castile soap with baby lotion, then slather on prior to shaving, shave, and rinse. Skin will be silky smooth.
Homemade Soft Scrub: Mix 1 part castile soap to 3 parts baking soda, then use as a nonscratching scouring powder for skins, stoves, bathtubes, etc.
Homemade Liquid Hand Soap: Mix 1 teaspoon castile soap with 1 cup water and place in old soap dispenser. This particularly is particularly fun in foaming soap dispensers.
Dog Wash: Add a few drops of castile soap to Fido's bath to get him clean and leave his hair silky smooth.
Shampoo: I have heard that this can be diluted and used as a shampoo. However, I understand it is necessary to use white or cider vinegar diluted with water as a rinse, otherwise it will leave a residue on hair. I have not tried it myself, but I have heard others rave about it, especially those prone to seborrheic dermatitis.
Floor Cleaner: Mix 2-3 Tablespoons of liquid castile soap with 1 gallon of water and use to mop floors.
Garden Pest Treatment: Mix 1-2 tablespoons of castile soap with water and place in a spray bottle. Use to spray on plants to kill pests such as aphids.
To find Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap, check link hereOrganic Castile Liquid Soap Lavender - 32 oz (Google Affiliate Ad),or Soap.com, drugstore.com, or Amazon.