With the peels left over from your Christmas oranges and winter lemons, it’s very easy to make a homemade citrus vinegar cleaner.
If you’re interested in improving your DIY skills in the kitchen and pantry, be sure to read the Homestead Kitchen chapter of our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. We offer four different homesteading levels to choose from, so you’re sure to find the best place to begin to build your self sufficient lifestyle. If you’d like to read a sample from that chapter, just send me an email at Tessa@homesteadlady.com.
Homemade Citrus Vinegar Cleaner
We eat citrus all winter long and end up with a lot of peels laying around. The oils from the rinds of these fruits have such a richly clean fragrance. I’m from California so the love of citrus is embedded somewhere in my DNA. When I was growing up I had two large Meyer lemon trees just outside my window that scented nearly every memory of my childhood.
For this homemade citrus vinegar cleaner you can use the rinds of lemons, oranges, limes or any other citrus you have on hand. Ever heard of a pomelo? It’s kind of like a cross between an orange and a grapefruit and has a lovely green rind (you’ll see it in the pictures below).
Instructions for Making Citrus Vinegar
These instructions are very complicated, so pay attention. I hope you heard the sarcasm because this is easy enough that I can do it. Actually, this is a great kitchen job to set your kids to accomplishing. Even young children can follow all these steps with a little assistance.
- Get a quart mason jar and shove in as many peels as you can.
- Cover them with white vinegar.
- Screw on a lid and wait for a week or more for the oils to infuse into the vinegar.
- Strain out the peels and compost them (or grind them up in your garbage disposal to clean it).
- Put the vinegar back into the mason jar. Ta da.
To Use Homemade Citrus Vinegar
If you’re cleaning with it, you can dilute this mixture to scrub counters, toilets, glass, your five year old and whatever doesn’t run fast enough.
I usually do 1 part vinegar to 1 part water for cleaning surfaces and as an after spray on my shower walls.
For cleaning the toilet, I put one cup of this citrus infused vinegar (undiluted) into the bowl and let it sit for five to ten minutes. Then, I add a 1/3 cup of baking soda and scrub the toilet clean.
You don’t have to use this stuff as a cleaner only. You could also use your citrus infused vinegar in salad dressings and sauces. Play around with the recipes from this link (click here) until you learn to make the perfect vinaigrette with your citrus infused vinegar.
To learn a little more about the usefulness of orange oil, please visit this link from The Untrained Housewife – click here.
HE Washer? Try Citrus Vinegar
A great way to use this citrus vinegar cleaner is in an HE washing machine. We had one for awhile that just always stunk. Always. Didn’t matter what I did to it or how often I used the chemical cleaner you can buy at the store. The machine stunk, the clothes stunk, we stunk.
We no longer have that machine but I’m still using this wash on whites and cloth diaper inserts (not the covers). Oh, and towels. This laundry wash along with line drying clothes in the warm sun works wonders on the laundry pile. I don’t use this vinegar citrus wash to replace my laundry soap, but rather, to augment it.
When I started using this citrus vinegar cleaner as a laundry wash that nasty HE washer smell went away. We had to use it pretty much every time, but it worked!
Special Warning for Cloth Diaperers
Incidentally, I think the constant use of vinegar is what made my cloth diaper liners stop working, so but be judicious if you’re using a diapering system that involves PUL fabric.
To learn more about our cloth diaper issues, click here.
To read about trouble shooting cloth diaper issues, click here.
Other DIY Ideas
For more ideas on what to do with vinegars, try these fine topics:
The 104 Homestead – Homemade Chemical Free Carpet Cleaners
Joybilee Farm – Thieves Vinegar Recipe
Attainable Sustainable – Smoky Hot Sauce Recipe – I wonder how this one would taste with the citrus vinegar?
To how to make your own cleaning products for gift baskets and special occasions, try this lovely little book:
Or this one from our fine friends at Amazon to learn how to use essential oils in all kinds of homemade products:
God be praised he created citrus!