For some reason, I’m particularly attracted to making things that are practical for the home. There are so many convenience items that I just love making, like knitting my own dishtowels or making my own BBQ sauce. It feels like a little extra shot of love, knowing I made something for our family and home that I could have bought, but decided to upgrade instead. This citrus infused vinegar cleaner fits the bill.
This DIY recipe is zero-waste, meaning you can save and eat the citrus fruit and juice and just use the peel. I like to make this when I’m making a marinade or dessert that uses orange or lemon juice. Saving these peels from the trash and using them to make this cleaner makes me feel so wholesome and connected to nature!
Uses for Citrus Infused Vinegar
This cleaner can be used just about anywhere. It’s perfect for cleaning bathroom fixtures, wiping down appliances, and dusting furniture. This works as a glass cleaner when used with paper towels or newspaper. I love especially love this for mopping my hardwood floors!
Do not use this on natural stone surfaces, though. It will cause pitting in those materials. Also, do not use on or around your sink. Vinegar can erode the sealants used to adhere your sink to your countertop, so avoid that area.
Will my House Smell like a Pickle?
In a word: no! This citrus-infused vinegar cleaner does not have an overwhelming, acrid scent. I’m not going to lie, though. This is a vinegar-based cleaner, and it does smell like vinegar. The citrus and water definitely change the scent, but if you hate the smell you have a couple of options!
First, you can also add essential oils to alter the scent. Using a citrus oil like lemon or sweet orange would definitely amp up the citrus scent. Other oils that would be a great option are lavender, rosemary, clary sage, or clove. You can add 10 drops or so to your final spray bottle as you prefer.
Second, you could add other infusing agents to the peel and vinegar jar. This way, you are infusing those scents into your vinegar as well. Some great-smelling options are whole herbs like rosemary, thyme, or lavender. Other great options are whole cloves, nutmeg, or cinnamon sticks. I might even try some fennel seeds because I love those woody, earthy scents. If you have a scent combo you already like, that’s what I would do for your citrus infused vinegar cleaner.
Like all my recipes, I want you to make this work for YOU and YOUR FAMILY! The citrus you use should be citrus you already buy and use. To make this truly zero waste, use the same lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, etc. that you already use and save the peels.
- Prep: 5-15 minutes depending on your yield
- Inactive: minimum of 1 week
Ingredients & Equipment
- 1 wide-mouth glass jar and lid
- Citrus peels to fill half the jar
- Optional: essential oil, herbs, or spices to scent your cleaner
- Distilled white vinegar, enough to basically fill your jar
- Fine mesh strainer
- Glass spray bottle and label
- Trim the peels off your citrus fruits.
- Pack them into the glass jar to about the halfway mark.
- If you are adding any additional herbs or spices, add them to the jar.
- Fill your jar with vinegar to cover your peels.
- Add the lid to your jar, then give it a good shake.
- Label your jar with the date, then store it in a sunny spot for 1-2 weeks. Shake the jar once a day to make sure the peels are all getting into that vinegar.
- Once the infusing period is over, strain the mixture through the fine mesh strainer into a bowl, saving your jar and lid until the next step. Discard the peels.
- Pour the vinegar into your spray bottle to fill it approximately 1/3 full. Return any leftover vinegar to your infusing jar for future use.
- Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water and any optional essential oil drops.
- Give it a good shake, and your citrus infused vinegar cleaner is ready to use!
This cleaner is a great all-purpose option for the whole house except for those surfaces described above. Use it to brighten surfaces and bring a little love to your cleaning routine!
For more photos of this recipe and all the other homemaking projects I’m doing, including recipes, knitting patterns, and other home projects, find me on Instagram!