Homemade Citrus Laundry Wash and Vinegar Cleaner

Make all natural citrus vinegar peel counter and laundry cleaner. Super easy DIY! With the peels left over from your Christmas oranges and winter lemons, it’s very easy to make a homemade citrus vinegar cleaner.Homemade Citrus Vinegar l Laundry Wash and Natural Cleaner l Homestead Lady (.com)

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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.

  1. Get a quart mason jar and shove in as many peels as you can.
  2. Cover them with white vinegar. Homemade Citrus Laundry Wash Vinegar Cleaner by www.homesteadlady.com add vinegar to citrus peels
  3. Screw on a lid and wait for a week or more for the oils to infuse into the vinegar.
  4. Strain out the peels and compost them (or grind them up in your garbage disposal to clean it).
  5. Put the vinegar back into the mason jar. Ta da.

homemade citrus laundry wash vinegar cleaner by www.homesteadlady.com strain out the peels and squish

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.

Homemade citrus laundry wash vinegar cleaner by www.homesteadlady.com - ready for use!

To learn a little more about the usefulness of orange oil, please visit this link from The Untrained Housewife – click here.

Homemade Citrus laundry wash vinegar cleaner by www.homesteadlady.com - peels sat about a week.

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!


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27 thoughts on “Homemade Citrus Laundry Wash and Vinegar Cleaner

  1. Thank you for the links! I love that you included the fact that this stuff can be used for cleaning AND eating. Sometimes it’s hard to get around the psychological idea that you’re “using cleaner on your salad”… lol

    Great post!

      1. Once it goes through the laundry, you can’t smell anything but citrusy scent. If you’re using it as a household cleaner, you can smell it as you’re using it but the citrus makes it pleasant. And clean smelling, ya know?

    1. I use it with my laundry soap. I have a homemade laundry soap I use and then I use Ecos (I get it at Costco) on my cloth diapers. The only thing I don’t use the vinegar on is the cloth diaper covers because it makes the PUL fabric go all wonky and then it leaks. Otherwise, love this vinegar! You can, like I mentioned, use it as a salad dressing base, too. Just very versatile!

      1. Hmm…I have Eco’s and mixed lemon essential oil in it and wash diapers like that…wonder if I should stop doing that?!? Haven’t done but few times!!

        1. Do you wash the liners or just the prefolds? Or do you have pocket diapers? The prefolds should be fine but I suspect the vinegar did a number on my liners. I can’t prove it, though. Maybe I just had bad liners? I ditched pocket diapers and am now using liners and prefolds which I wash separately so that I can blast the gunk out of the prefolds without shredding my liners. So far, its working.

  2. Hi there! We love citrus too! There are so many projects for the homemaker which utilize the citrus peel. Thank you for sharing your techniques on the Art of Home-Making Mondays 🙂 I do something similar but will have to give your method a try…

    1. We try to eat seasonally but citrus is one of the exceptions, at least with lemons and limes as we eat them all year round. I do cut back the oranges until its cold again but I’d be lying if I said this California native didn’t miss them!

  3. What a great idea! I never thought to infuse the vinegar with anything else, and I’m sure it gives it a better smell than the plain old vinegar that I use 🙂

    1. It does smell much better and it turns a lovely color – especially if you’re using orange rinds.

  4. Hi! Thanks for the info. My HE washer stinks and I am looking for a solution and excited to try this idea. How much of the solution did you use for each cycle?

    1. Ah, Lauren, if only I measured! It probably amounts to 1/4 cup with each load but fiddle with it until you find what works for your washer.

  5. I know vinegar is quite useful when it comes to cleaning but I was not sure how to use it. But after reading your post now I can prepare this cleaner and also save money on expensive chemical products.

    1. So glad it was helpful! Be sure to follow the links because other people have had wonderful ideas for using it!

    1. This should be fine, Donna. My suggestion is to try it once a week for a month on one corner of your floor to see how it does. If it performs to your satisfaction, you’re good to go.

      I’ve used vinegar on a variety of surfaces and never had a problem. Let me know how it works, if you do it!

  6. Thankyou! There is now a jar of lemon peels and white vinegar brewing on my counter top. I love citrus and have been feeling frustated about “wasting” the peels. Following natures way I often throw them around my mandarin tree, or sometimes rub my chopping boards then leave them in the sun to keep them fresh. I still have some left over so now I have an ideal use for them – in with the wash. I had tried using this mix as a cleaner before and wasn’t keen on the smell but it turns out it should’ve been diluted! Duh lol. So thanks for that info too. ?I have added cloves to mine…for the smell mainly. Has anyone else tried it?

  7. I use a lemon/clove scrub for my sink that is basically two cups of baking soda and 10 drops each of lemon and of clove essential oil. The citrus-clove scent has me scrubbing my sink every night!

  8. My sister always smked in her house. The week she passed away we removed all her clothes from her home & OMG the stink. I let the clothes air out & infused vinegar & orange peels then added baking soda to the wash & it really helped the smell.

    1. I’m so sorry for the loss of your sister but am glad you were able to clean the space so well. Citrus and vinegar is really a wonderfully cleansing combination!

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