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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Citrus Cleaner

I use white vinegar in much of my cleaning. I use it in a bucket of hot water for washing floors, in a spray bottle for wiping down counters, sinks, and the stovetop, in the rinse cycle of laundry for fabric softener and deodorizer. It has so many uses, is natural, and works as well as bleach for sanitizing.

It does have a strong odor, and for that reason many people hesitate at using it. "I don't want my house to smell like pickles!" I've heard. Vinegar does not smell once it is dry (it actually leaves a very fresh scent!), but it still turns people off, especially people who are used to the artificial chemical scents of marketed cleaners. Many people will add essential oils to their vinegar, but some balk at the cost of a tiny bottle of essential oil.

I think I've got the perfect all-purpose cleaner recipe for those people!

Essential oils are produced by extracting the oils of plants. Orange essential oil, for example, is made from extracting oils from the orange peel. Citrus smells wonderful, and has many antibacterial qualities. It is great for degreasing. Combine that with vinegar and you have a powerful cleaner which also smells wonderful.

Start with a jar filled about 1/2 way with white vinegar. I used an old pickle jar. Save citrus peels from fruit as you eat it (I used oranges but I imagine you could use grapefruit, clementines, or lemons as well). We go through a lot of oranges around here and were able to fill the jar in a few days. You can gradually add peels throughout a week or two if your household orange consumption is less then ours.

Keep this soaking for a week to several weeks. As long as the orange peels are covered with vinegar you don't have to worry about mold. It will gradually smell more like oranges then vinegar. Once you feel it is done, strain it (dispose of your orange peels) and add the cleaner to a spray bottle (I just reused an empty cleaner bottler). Fill the rest of the bottle up with water.

What a great, safe, homemade cleaner to use in your home! You can immediately start another batch to cure on the counter as you use what you have in your spray bottle.


  1. Great idea...thanks for sharing!

  2. I don't mind the smell of vinegar. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks!

  3. I am SO trying this! Thanks for the idea.

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