We all know that many of the fancy cleaning sprays, despite their packaging, are no better at cleaning windows and surfaces than ordinary white vinegar. But cleaning can be a task that we dread, sometimes, and it must be said that despite its ruthless efficacy, distilled white vinegar is pretty harsh on the nose. Sometimes a little bit of citrus fragrance is just the thing, lightening spirits with a little aromatherapy, while the natural antibacterial properties found in citrus oils help the job along. Many commercially available cleaners, in fact, are citrus-based or citrus-scented; the smell evokes freshness and cleanliness on a deep, olfactory level. This homemade cleaner is an eco-conscious and inexpensive way to brighten your windows and surfaces, and perhaps even your mood, as well.
We don’t like to make too many broad, sweeping health claims here, preferring to present ideas and recipes, and letting folks investigate their benefits in whatever way seems right to them. So the following is purely anecdotal. But I must say that using this homemade citrus cleaner was surprisingly awesome. The smell of fresh orange and grapefruit peels made the task of cleaning up a greasy stove a lot more bearable, and there was a sense, somehow, of having gotten away with something. After all, this is the world's easiest recipe to make and using something like the citrus peels, that would otherwise be a waste product, appealed to me to no end. Having the spray-top on a glass jar felt good, too; it’s a great way to cut out single-use plastic packaging, and you don’t have to feel like you’re suffering, or missing out. The stuff smells goooood. Lest I start to sound like a 50’s housewife in a TV commercial, I’ll stop here. I just wanted to give y’all a little testimonial, and let you know that this stuff is kind of magical. About as magical as a cleaning spray can be, that is…
Eat an orange or a grapefruit. Lemons work well, too. Pomelos. You get the picture. Reserve the peel.
Fill a mason jar halfway to the top with the reserved peels. Pour distilled white vinegar over the top.
Set aside to infuse in a dark place for at least 1 week, and preferably 2-4 weeks. The longer the infusion, the more citrus aroma, and color will be infused into the solution.
After the desired infusion time, strain the liquid into another mason jar, leaving the peels behind. This cleaner can be used full-strength to remove hard water stains and other gnarly deposits but is more often diluted 1:3 with water, for use as a multi-purpose cleaner, on surfaces ranging from sinks and windows to countertops and floors.
Affix a spray-top to the mason jar, or use a plastic spray bottle. Dilute with water, if desired.
Spray the surface to be cleaned with the citrus solution, and proceed as usual, scrubbing with a cloth or paper towels to remove build-ups and spots. The cleaner, diluted, may also be sloshed directly on the floor for mopping. It leaves behind a faint and pleasant citrus smell.
It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make your own homemade, healthy home products more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old-fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.