Boost Your Cleaning with Citrus Vinegar

Last updated 04/26/2020 |

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Boost your cleaning with citrus vinegar:

Making your own cleaners is a great way to save money and avoid lots of nasty chemicals. Ask your Mom or your Grandma and I bet you'll learn that they cleaned house just fine without things like:

Cocamidopropylamine Oxide, Propoxypropanol, Alkyl C12-16 Dimethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride, Dimethicone/Silica/PEG Distearate Antifoam (Formula 409)

Alkyl Polyglycoside, Ethoxylated Alcohol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide (Fantastik)

(My spell-checker nearly had an aneurism with all those chemical names. Does anybody else think they sound sinister and poisonous, or is it just me?)

My favorite all-purpose cleaner is vinegar. It breaks down mold, grease, mineral deposits, and it's anti-bacterial. (Don't use it on granite, tile, or marble though.) Unfortunately, Hubby thinks it makes the house smell like a salad. What's a girl to do?

Citrus peels to the rescue! Since they don't break down easily in the compost bin, I had been throwing them away (with all the associated guilt that entails). After a bit of research, I learned that citrus peels contain a natural oil called D-limonene. It's a great degreaser, stain remover, and it smells good too.

Now, after peeling any citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit) I put the peels in a large jar of white vinegar. The peels steep for a week or two, and I strain them out when adding vinegar to my homemade cleaners.

How do you avoid the tongue-twister chemicals in commercial cleaners?

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Hi, I’m Pam! I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey, and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here, and please check out the resources in my Natural Living Shop!


  1. Dani on September 17, 2014 at 7:15 am

    There’s not much left after granite, marble or tile, especially with overspray. I guess stainless, aluminum, fiberglass and formica.

  2. Des on June 1, 2014 at 3:20 am

    I love this recipe. How long is the mixture good for?

  3. Brenda on March 6, 2013 at 4:12 am

    Sorry, I obviously forgot to provide the link….

  4. Brenda on March 5, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    If you run out of lemons, or simply would enjoy another option (sans the enzymes, unfortunately), this Herbal Vinegar Cleaner doesn’t smell like a salad. 😉 Or, maybe the two could be combined….

  5. Cleaning Companies Clapham on December 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Cleaning with Citrus vinegar adds the power of citrus oil to your cleanser. It also removes the smell so instead of using vinegar you can clean it. And also those homemade cleaning products are good for cleaning.

  6. Savannah @ HammockTracks on December 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    HI, I am stopping by from The Homespun Life. I just recently began making my own cleaner and I have had the salad complaints, too. About 2 weeks ago the orange trees delivered a nice crop and rather than throw the peels out I put them in a large pickle jar and covered it in white vinegar. I was hoping it would help change the odor, so I am glad to find I did the right thing. Thanks for sharing.

  7. sensiblegardening on December 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I’ve used vinegar for ever, best thing you can use on windows. I like the idea of adding the citrus, thanks!

  8. Audra @ Renewed Projects on December 7, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Thanks for the citrus tip! I’ve been using vinegar for a couple months now. I love that its natural and don’t have to worry about any chimicals getting into our meals just from touching the counter top. My only beef with it is that is didn’t cut grease very well. I”ll try this and hope it helps! Thanks so much! Following you via-email.

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Hi, I'm Pam!

I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here! Learn more about me.

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