I was turned on to this all-natural homemade citrus cleaner several years ago and have used it ever since. It cleans great and smells fantastic!
Several years back, a friend and I were discussing ways to detoxify our homes. We talked about getting rid of as many chemicals as we could and using something all-natural instead without breaking the bank.
He asked me if I had ever used citrus peel vinegar as a cleaner, and I had no idea what he was talking about. Once he explained it to me, I had to try it! …and I’m glad I did! We use it daily, and it cleans great!!
How to Make Homemade Citrus Cleaner
First, of course, you have to eat a bunch of citrus fruit (how else could you make citrus cleaner?!). We drink lemon in our water quite often, use lemons and limes in our cooking, and we like a grapefruit for breakfast now and again.
What I’m saying is, we usually have citrus peels available.
Save Your Citrus Peels
Anyway, eat the fruit and save the peels. Sometimes I try to make the peels relatively small – about the size of half-dollars, give or take – but usually I just chunk in whatever size they end up. I’m not sure if the smaller pieces will give more citrus power to your cleaner, so size doesn’t really matter.
Put Citrus Peels into a Jar
Put those peels into a jar. You can use any shape, size and kind of jar you have on hand. For the longest time, I was using a half-gallon Mason jar, but we started using those for other things, so we’ve been putting our peels in a gallon-sized pickle jar.
Cover Citrus Peels with Vinegar
You’ll want to cover the peels with white vinegar. Vinegar is a good cleaner all on its own. When you add the power of citrus, it not only cleans better, but smells better, too!
I’ve also been told apple cider vinegar is good for cleaning, but I haven’t used it before, so for the sake of this article, we’ll stay with the white vinegar.
Steep Citrus Peels in Vinegar
Let the peels steep in the vinegar for a couple of weeks. I like to shake the jar every day or two to make sure all the peels are soaked. You’ll probably notice after a week that the vinegar is starting to look a little syrupy, and maybe even changing color a little. This is normal.
Strain Citrus Vinegar
After a couple of weeks, strain the vinegar through a wire sieve into another container for pouring (or directly into your spray bottle). Fill the jar with hot water and pour that over the peels, too, mixing the water and vinegar at about a 50/50 solution. A lot of people will tell you that you need to use distilled water so the chemicals from the tap doesn’t affect the cleaner… but honestly, I just use tap water.
I like to let it sit and drain a few minutes to get all the citrus-y goodness out of those peels that I can!
Pour Citrus Vinegar into Spray Bottle
After the peels have drained, pour the citrus cleaner into a spray bottle. If you don’t have something with a spout for pouring, use a funnel. If you don’t have a funnel, you’d better be a good pour! Of course, if you spill it, it’s ok… just use a sponge or cleaning cloth, soak it up, and use it to wipe off the counter.
You can use an old spray bottle if you have one, just make sure you rinse it out WELL, or you could just start with a clean spray bottle.
All-Natural Homemade Citrus Cleaner
- 1-2 16 oz Mason jars You can reuse other glass jars.
- 1-2 Lids To fit whatever jars you're using.
- Mesh Strainer
- Spray bottle(s)
- Citrus Peels From any citrus fruit.
- White Vinegar Enough to cover the peels in the jars.
- Hot water
- Peel the citrus fruit and tear the peeling into quarter-sized pieces.Citrus Peels
- Put citrus peel pieces into a glass jar.Citrus Peels
- Fill jar with white vinegar to cover the citrus peels.Citrus Peels, White Vinegar
- Let steep for 2 weeks.
- Strain vinegar to remove citrus peels.
- Pour strained vinegar into spray bottle(s). (About half-way.)
- Top off with hot water and shake to combine.Hot water
What to Do with Used Citrus Peels
As for the peels, when I had a garbage disposal, I’d put the peels in there with a handful of ice and run it with cold water. It cleans the disposal, sharpens the blades, and makes the drain smell great! …it’s pretty noisy, though.
Without the garbage disposal, we just scatter the spent peels along the edge of the garden. This helps with pests (because of the citrus) and weeds (because of the vinegar).
How to Use Homemade Citrus Cleaner
We use this stuff mainly in the kitchen and bathrooms. It’s great for counters, stoves, vent hoods, refrigerators, cabinets, knobs, sinks, mirrors, toilets, showers…. I think you get why we call it “All-Purpose” now, huh?
Another good use for the concentrated citrus peel vinegar is coupled with baking soda.
- Make a paste of citrus vinegar and baking soda to scrub your oven for a natural, chemical-free cleaning.
- Dump a little baking soda down a sink that’s not draining well, and then chase it with citrus peel vinegar. It will loosen grimy build-up and help prevent a clog.
- Clean your tile grout by spreading a layer of baking soda and water made into a paste. Spray liberally with citrus vinegar, and then scrub away the grime.
- Add a half a cup of baking soda with your laundry detergent (like our homemade laundry detergent) to aid in the cleaning process. Then add a cup of citrus peel vinegar during the rinse cycle to soften fabric.
That’s it! Simple, cheap, environmentally friendly, and works great! What more could you ask for?
Patrick & Jessie homestead in Middle Georgia with two of their four children and their three dogs. They love gardening, food preservation, and keeping their family prepared for any disaster that may come.