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Homemade Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner

Spray bottle filled with Homemade Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner and labeled "Citrus Cleaner," surrounded by citrus and sponges

Recipe At-A-Glance

Natural Home

2 weeks

Homemade Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner is a cleaning powerhouse that you can make for just pennies. It can clean your house from top to bottom!

Meet the cleaner that we use on (almost) every surface in our home—my Homemade Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner. This baby has just a handful of ingredients—ones that you probably already have kicking around—and it is an all-natural, good-smelling cleaning machine!

We use this cleaner on our solid surface countertops (I wouldn’t recommend it on natural stone because it may cause pitting), on our appliances, in our bathrooms— almost everywhere! The base of this cleaner is the all-natural cleaning powerhouse, vinegar. But to add to the disinfectant properties (and honestly, to put a damper on the vinegar smell), the vinegar is infused with citrus peels.

Vinegar pouring into a glass mason jar filled with citrus peels, next to a halved grapefruit

After a few weeks of infusing on your counter, you strain out the citrus peels and bottle up your cleaner “concentrate.” Mix the infused vinegar with water, a touch of liquid castile soap, and some (optional) lemon essential oil, and you’ve got yourself the perfect all-natural cleaner, made for just pennies.

In fact, this cleaner is made using stuff from your trash. Eat your grapefruits and mandarins and lemons, and then save the peels for this cleaner! Compared to the price of some of the all-natural cleaners on store shelves, you can’t beat the frugality of this recipe.

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Hand holding a glass mason jar filled with vinegar and citrus peels

Now, I know what you’re thinking—who wants their house smelling like a pickle? And I get it. And I will 100% say this stuff still smells like vinegar, but the vinegar scent dissipates very quickly. Spritz this a few times, and you’ll immediately smell vinegar, but within a few seconds, all your nose will pick up on is a bright citrus scent.

Like I said, we use this in our kitchen on a daily basis, and it doesn’t smell like a pickle. Trust me, I make pickles. I know that nose-burning vinegar scent that can linger, and this cleaner doesn’t have it (at least not for long).

Glass measuring cup pouring pale yellow liquid into a glass bottle labeled "Citrus Cleaner."

You can use whatever mixture of citrus peels makes you happy. I was being serious up there– just buy whatever you normally like to eat and save the peels. When it’s time for me to make more infused vinegar, I keep a wide mouth mason jar on the counter and just fill it up with peels as we eat. Once it’s all full, then I pour over the vinegar and infuse. It doesn’t get any easier.

Spray bottle filled with Homemade Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner and labeled "Citrus Cleaner." A lemon, a lime, sponges, and a towel are in the background.

I keep my cleaner in an old glass bottle that happens to fit a spray lid from another recycled bottle. I store the leftover concentrate in a Mason jar in my cleaning closet, ready for the next time I need to refill. Happy cleaning!
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Spray bottle filled with Homemade Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner and labeled "Citrus Cleaner," surrounded by citrus and sponges

Homemade Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner


  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 2 weeks
  • Total Time: 2 weeks
  • Yield: 1 quart
  • Category: Natural Home
  • Method: Infusing

Description

Homemade Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner is a cleaning powerhouse that you can make for just pennies. It can clean your house from top to bottom!


Ingredients

  • 1 quart tightly packed citrus peels (clementine, orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit—whatever you’re eating!)
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Water
  • Unscented liquid castile soap
  • Lemon essential oil, optional

Instructions

  1. Pack a quart size glass jar tightly with leftover citrus peels, and then fill jar to the top with vinegar. Close and set in a sunny spot to infuse for at least two weeks.
  2. Strain the vinegar, discard the peels, and store the vinegar in a glass jar in a dark, cool spot.
  3. To make all-purpose cleaner, pour 1/2 cup of the vinegar into a spray bottle. Add in 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon castile soap, and 20 drops lemon essential oil, if using. Screw on lid and shake well.
  4. To use: shake the mixture well, and then spray onto surface and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Notes

  • Yes, this still smells like vinegar! But only for a second. The vinegar scent quickly dissipates and you are left with a fresh citrus scent.
  • Do NOT use this cleaner on natural stone countertops or tiles. Extended use of vinegar can cause pitting in natural stone.

Keywords: natural home, cleaner, vinegar, citrus

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2 comments

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  • Aleta SAYS

    A great use for the peels once you start using your cleaner is to disinfect your garbage disposal. I keep a jar of peels in vinegar next to my sink and I use a few pieces at the end of every day in my garbage disposal to keep odors down. Once I run out of peels, I use the vinegar for cleaning and start a new jar of peels.

  • Lauren SAYS

    I’m totally going to do this! How long does the vinegar solution stay good for?

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