The first time I made a batch of homemade all purpose citrus vinegar cleaner was about three years ago. I had been reading DIY tutorials online for a few years explaining how to make homemade citrus vinegar cleaner before I finally decided to give it a try. I was skeptical that I could use simple ingredients found at home to make a good all purpose cleaner. I was blown away with how easy it is to make and how good it works that I’ve been making our own citrus vinegar all purpose cleaner ever since!
This homemade citrus vinegar all purpose cleaner is such an easy DIY project to make at home. I’ve been trying to reduce the harmful chemicals we use in our house for years but even more so since Little A was born seven years ago. I used to purchase “all natural” cleaners from the natural grocery store in town but since I’m a homesteader at heart I continued to think about how I could one day stop buying cleaners and make our own.
I remembered hearing stories about how my Great Grandmother, who lived through The Great Depression, used to clean using vinegar. She was on to something even all those years ago! Some people don’t like using a straight vinegar cleaner because vinegar has a strong, sharp scent. Or some people (not me!) would say it has a strong odor. I personally love the smell of vinegar which is probably why I also love making our own homemade Apple Cider Vinegar.
Citrus fruits, like lemons and oranges, are acidic. The high amounts of citric acid in them mixed with the acidic vinegar makes a great all purpose cleaner. I also really love the fruity citrus scent of this all purpose cleaner which makes cleaning a slight bit more bearable- and that counts for something right?!
We know several people who live in warmer climates who grow lemons. Occasionally we are gifted some delicious homegrown lemons. I invested in one of these low cost handy lemon juicers and use this tool to juice the lemons for whatever recipe I might need, like our delicious huckleberry lemonade. When I’m done juicing, I use the rinds to make a new batch of homemade All Purpose Citrus Cleaner. I absolutely love when I can find ways to use all of the parts of something to make useful things for our family on the homestead!
Homemade Citrus Vinegar All Purpose Cleaner Recipe
Are you ready for the nitty gritty on how to DIY your own all purpose cleaner? Hold onto your pants because this might blow you away like it did mine the first time I made a batch:
It has only two ingredients, distilled white vinegar and lemon or orange rinds. That’s it? Yes, that’s it!
So what do you do with the vinegar and citrus rinds?
Get a large jar, put the lemon/orange rinds inside and pour the vinegar in. Put a lid on top and let it sit out of direct sunlight to infuse for 2-3 weeks. Then pour the mixture through a fine sieve like this one to filter out the citrus parts. Pour the citrus infused vinegar into a spray bottle and you’re ready to clean!
See wasn’t that easy? Now you can feel good that you aren’t using toxic chemicals to clean your house and saved some money by making it yourself!
Tips for Making Homemade All Purpose Citrus Vinegar Cleaner
- Tip #1: Speaking from experience, do not make this homemade cleaner with Apple Cider Vinegar. That is, unless you want to constantly be straining out pieces of the “mother” and dealing with a clogged up spray nozzle. I had made a batch of homemade Apple Cider Vinegar that turned out stronger and darker than I prefer so thought I would use it for my cleaner instead of throwing it out. At the time I thought it was a brilliant idea. Unfortunately a few months later I couldn’t figure out why my All Purpose Citrus Cleaner spray bottle wasn’t spraying anymore right when I was trying to clean up a huge dog puke mess on the floor. I was quite frustrated! When I took the spray bottle apart to inspect, I discovered it was all clogged up with small pieces of the “mother” from the ACV. Oops! Lesson learned on that one and hopefully you all can learn from my lesson too and not have to deal with that!
- Tip #2: If you don’t have a lot of lemons at one time to make a big batch, don’t worry! I put off making homemade all purpose lemon/orange citrus vinegar cleaner for several years because I thought I never had enough to do it. Once I started making the all purpose cleaner, I realized that I can keep a jar on the back corner of my kitchen counter with lemon and orange rinds infusing in distilled vinegar and add to it as I have more citrus rinds. In my cooking, I use a couple lemons per month. I simply use the lemon as needed for the recipe then add the rind to my jar of vinegar. I try to keep track of how long it has been infusing but occasionally forget about it and have been known to let the jar sit for several months. No big deal! It doesn’t go bad, it just keeps infusing.
- Tip #3: I buy distilled white vinegar in a big jug like this because it is more cost effective and it doesn’t go bad. (We also have a seven year old who loves science and trying out new experiments that involve baking soda and vinegar. We keep bulk white vinegar and baking soda on hand for our budding scientist!)
- Tip #4: Know what your household items are made of and if there are specific “rules” about what not to clean them with. Vinegar and citrus are acidic so it can be harmful to certain products. If ever I’m not sure, I test this all purpose cleaner on a small section of area where I plan to clean to ensure it does not damage the surface. I never used this on any stainless steel appliances (those I just wiped down with a wet rag instead and they looked just fine) I use it on our kitchen counter top, all our sinks, kitchen stove, toilets, bathtubs, and laminate flooring.
- Tip #5: I’ve heard of people using Essential Oils in their homemade all purpose cleaner. I personally would rather use the fresh ingredient (citrus peels) I have on hand that otherwise would have gone into the compost bin rather than using Essential Oils I have to spend money on.
Since I started making my own Citrus Vinegar All Purpose Cleaner a few years ago, I’ve never bought another bottle of store bought cleaner. I solely use this as my go-to cleaner on the homestead and it works wonders! And this is saying a lot for a busy household of two big indoor/outdoor dogs, two young children including a very messy two year old and a husband who often comes inside dirty from working as a contractor or on projects around the homestead.