Homemade Citrus Cleaner

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homemade citrus cleaner 

I can’t for the life of me remember where I first came across this idea, but it’s sprinkled all over the Internet. It was so easy and works great! And, it’s way cheaper and less toxic than “regular” cleaners.
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Here’s what you need:

Peels from 3-5 oranges or 6-8 mandarins (I had the kids peel mandarins and told them they could eat whatever they peeled)

A quart of distilled white vinegar

A quart-size mason jar w/lid

Empty spray bottle

Here’s what to do: 

Fill the mason jar with the orange peels.

Pour in enough vinegar to fill the jar to the top:

homemade cleaner

Put lid on tightly and let sit for 10 days.

After 10 days, strain out peels:

Pour into an empty spray bottle, and use to clean your counters, bathrooms, floors, or pretty much anything you like!

The cleaner itself still had a vinegar scent to it, but once I sprayed it onto the counter and wiped it with a towel, the smell completely disappeared!

Note: After about a month, I noticed the vinegar smell getting stronger, so you may want to use it up before that time. 

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Homemade citrus cleaner is healthier to use, less toxic, and easy to make! Even the kids like using it. Be careful, however, as it eventually will go bad and start to smell like vinegar! 

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  1. Marla says

    Hi! Can’t wait to try this~do you think it would work as well using lemons? I have more lemons than I know what to do with! Thanks

  2. says

    I’m trying this cool concoction but adding Ugli fruit and grapefruit peels to the mix and for the smell I put a pomegranate and cranberry tea bag in it for about a half hour. Sounds weird but I will try to post the results after ten days.

  3. Monica says

    It’s been a while since I have cleaned exclusively with vinegar…thank you for the reminder! The tad of citrus oil is a nice addition! I always forget how nice natural cleansers are for your hands. Just wiped up my whole kitchen and my hands are smooth and not begging for lotion as they would be with a “modern” cleaner. :)

    • says

      I have used it on our two wood tables and it’s worked great, however I would suggest trying it on a little spot and making sure it’s ok for you first.

    • says

      Mine’s lasted a solid month and still works great! I would assume if vinegar is safe around pets, this would be as well. Although I haven’t done any research on it. You could probably Google “vinegar cleaner and pets” and see?

  4. Maryellen says

    I hate to be a complainer, but I mixed up a batch of the citrus cleaner and cleaned my ceramic floors. They looked great. Nice and shinny. Almost looked brand new. The next day it rained and my husband and I arrived home about the same time. We both came through the garage into the kitchen. As we were tromping around the kitchen, I looked at him and said, “what do you got sticky on your shoes that you’re getting all over the floors” He said, “I was about to ask you the same thing”. The floors were very sticky and a mess. It took a lot of rincing to get all the sticky off.

    • says

      Sorry it didn’t work on the floor–I haven’t personally tried it on any floors, but have used it on our kitchen table and counters, and it’s worked great for that!

    • Nancy says

      Simple: You say it was raining, what happened is this- the water/rain did not mix well with the oil from the oramge peels – in fact – oil & water never mix. So the solution is to either “rinse” the floor or just use plain vinegar.

  5. Nickels says

    I was wondering how long this lasted once it was transferred into a spray bottle. How quickly do you have to use it?

    • SUE CHILDS says

      @ Nickels, Not being a smarty bum or anything but about the length of time the citrus cleaner would last would depends on how much you make (bulk) how much cleaning you have and how much cleaning you do :)

      • Rikki says

        Sue, she’s asking how long it will keep before it goes bad, not how far it will stretch for cleaning.
        It’s vinegar, it basically lasts forever.
        If it gets stronger smelling over time, you can add water to bring it back down to a lower acidity.
        The lady with the sticky floors – that’s why they were sticky, the solution was undiluted and the ratio of citrus oil to vinegar was too high. Mix it down in a mop bucket just as you would commercial cleaners.

  6. molly says

    about pets…..yes it is safe around pets…however most animals, especially cats hate citrus scents, i have a male who sprayed whenever i used citrus cleaners or air freshner, however the spraying stopped once i got him neutered.

  7. Liz says

    Does anyone know if this would work with rubbing alcohol instead of vinegar? I don’t use vinegar on my granite counter tops because the acidity eats away at natural stone (whereas rubbing alcohol is ph neutral and so is safe).

    • Courtney says

      Granite is a hard igneous rock that would take ALOT of scrubbing, thousands of years of it, for it to be totally eaten away by vinegar. In our life time, the vinegar wouldn’t put a dent in it. I doubt it would harm your counters. If it does, then it’s probably not true granite. The only thing I’d worry about with any rock material used for counter tops would be marble, but only if you had any hydrochloric acid around.

      As shown on this website: http://www.kascostone.com/granitecare.html

      Only marble, limestone and black absolute granite are susceptible to acid etching, or eating. But it does say that regular household cleaners can take away the seal, but that diluted vinegar wouldn’t hurt it. So just add a little water to dilute this mixture and you should be fine.

  8. Julia says

    Thinking I will put orange peels in a cheesecloth and put into spray bottle. To hold the vinegar smell at bay. If I don’t seem to be using it fast enough. Just a thought.

  9. says

    Do you use organic oranges or any store bought? I was afraid all the pesticides and junk on the orange peel wouldn’t be great to smear on my counters. Or maybe the vinegar breaks it down?

    • radlandon says

      I just happen to have a farm down the street that grows them, but I honestly haven’t thought about the pesticide thing–would definitely be worth looking into to see if the vinegar makes a difference!


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