DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner

DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner

What did we do before Pinterest? How did we organize all of our favorite recipes, food blogs, and discover amazing tips for natural and green cleaning solutions? Maybe it’s just me, but I definitely feel like I had a lot more free time before Pinterest came along!

This DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner was one of those amazing Pinterest discoveries that I am now absolutely addicted to using in our home. I love that it doesn’t involve any chemicals and is a wonderful way to reuse citrus peels that would have otherwise made their way into the compost. When diluted with water, this cleaner is perfect for cleaning mirrors, glass, counter tops, and moping floors. And, if you have already jumped on board with using baking soda and vinegar for hair care, this is a fabulous way to make your vinegar rinse smell fruity!

DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner


DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner

Ingredients and Supplies:
Citrus peels
Glass jar
White vinegar
Spray bottle

Cut peel off of citrus fruit and place in jar.
Cover with vinegar and allow to sit for two weeks.
Remove peels and dilute vinegar 1:1 with water.
Pour into spray bottle.
Use as a cleaner for windows, glass, counters, and mopping floors.

Note:  You can also mix the vinegar/water mixture with a little Dr. Bronner’s soap or baking soda for more cleaning power.

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  1. farmer_liz says

    I made this too, I was pleased to find a use for citrus peels. I’ve tried lemon and orange. I love the smell! And I finally convinced my husband to try “green” cleaners because it smells like orange power (yeah, I know I’m lucky that he cleans the bathroom, but he liked to use all sorts of chemicals to do it!).

  2. says

    I have always used vinegar and lemon juice as an all purpose cleaner but never thought to steep the peel in the vinegar first … deffinitly going to switch and use like this from now on. Thank you for sharing x

    • says

      I’ve been using it for a variety of surfaces in my home, including granite and hardwood floors and have not had any troubles with it. If you are concerned about it, I would recommend doing some more research about cleaning with vinegar or testing a small spot to make sure. Hope that helps! :)

    • Cris says

      When we replaced our kitchen counters with granite we were told not to use any cleaner with orange as it will remove the sealant on them over time. I have been careful about this and thought I would pass this info on.

    • says

      I don’t think composting them is a problem. If you have a worm bin (vermicompost), I wouldn’t necessarily recommend adding them to the bin as I’ve heard that worms would prefer not to eat citrus peels. Hope that helps!

    • says

      I’ve always been told to dilute vinegar with water for cleaning, but now you are making me question the logic of it as well. I’ll have to try it full strength and see if it makes a difference. :)

  3. says

    I use vinegar to clean everything and have for years. It works great for anything in the bathroom, kitchen counters, floors… never had a problem cleaning with Straight vinegar, which I do all the time. Although to combat the smell, I add essential oils like lemongrass.

  4. Anonymous says

    Any thoughts about using lemon juice, as in Real Lemon concentrate, and vinegar to make the same cleaner instead of actual lemons?

    • Becky says

      I would either use real peels or high quality Essential Oils. Purchased juices are often diluted out and some of them are, “Lemon Flavored” Juice. If you are using Essential Oils, you should store your cleaner in a glass jar or PET plastic. Also, they should be kept in a cool, dark location. Essential Oils will degrade low quality plastic and they will lose their effective nature if not stored correctly.

      Simple Valley Creations, LLC

    • says

      Hmm, I haven’t experienced this at all. I’ve used it on a variety of surfaces so I’m not sure if it’s just the particular item you’re cleaning? Wish I could offer more suggestions to help! :)

    • says

      Love this recipe however what may cause the sticky residue is because citrus processors typically coat their fruit with a wax coating to give it that polished look and to aid in shelf life during transportation. Some use beeswax others use petroleum based wax. I am not so sure that vinegar can dissolve wax if the peel has been generously coated. That’s my 2 cents…

  5. emma says

    I sprinkle baking soda on the bath and shower, basins etc first then spray with the white vinegar citrus blend and find it works better than jif it scrubs so well you just have to make sure you dont apply too much of the liquid so that the paste remains gritty! I Love it have been usine it for years!!!

  6. Lis Petersen Bender says

    Thank you, can’t wait to try as I grow my own lemons here in Delaware. I have the trees in a sunroom thru the winter and they are loaded with fruit.

  7. Karen says

    I used to mix vinegar and castille soap to clean quite often, but it was always cloudy and the clean just never seamed right. Then I stumbled on this blog post – It made quite a bit of sense to me. Now I clean with them both sequentially.

  8. Maria says

    I did this recently but found that after a week or so the orange peels looked slightly brownish and the vinegar smelled just a little overripe. I think next time I will refrigerate. Anyone else have similar issues? (I tried it in the dead of winter in Michigan, so it’s not a problem of over-heating–just sitting in my 66-68 degree kitchen).

  9. brenda says

    It says to leave for 2 wks, but is there a problem with leaving longer? After it’s mixed should it be refridgerated?

  10. Talulah says

    I used blood orange peels and it turned the vinegar a really cool orange color. I love using this to wipe down counters in the kitchen and bathroom. Goodbye Mr. Clean!

  11. Kayla says

    I recently made a solution of 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar and the juice from half a lemon. I have a few questions:
    Will it be as affective using the juice instead of the peels?
    Should I keep it refrigerated because of the lemon juice?
    When using it, will it draw fruit flies to the location I use it?
    And is it possible to use it on carpet stains, or will it draw fruit flies or mold from the lemon juice? (I know the solution is suppose to fight mold, but it just worries me because its fruit)

    Sorry for all the questions! Im new to making my own cleaning solutions :)

    ALSO, I made the same solution in a container with recycled napkins-to make my own quick wipes for the counter, etc. I’ll let everyone know how it goes :)

    • Sonnet says

      Hi Kayla, these are great questions, but I’ve never tried mixing lemon juice with vinegar so I’m not quite sure how it compares to the batch I made. My guess is that it will work just fine! I probably wouldn’t recommend using it on carpet as lemon juice might discolor the fabric. I hope that helps. :)

  12. Rebecca says

    I tried this and I didn’t get great results. First of all I used tangerine peels instead of orange or lemon, so maybe that might have been my problem. But when I mixed it 1:1 with water, it just smelled like strong vinegar, (no tangerine smell) and it really didn’t clean very well. All I was cleaning was the stove and countertop after cooking dinner. It left a lot of streaks on my table and it took a long time to dissolve any food. The peels turned brown after another two weeks and so I threw it all away. Any ideas? Maybe I will try straight oranges next time.

    • Sonnet says

      Hmm, I’ve never tried this with tangerine peels so I’m not sure how that affected it. I’ve had my batch for over a year and it still smells like citrus so I’m guessing orange and lemon peels might work better? :)

    • Jo says

      Tangerine peels do not work. I made a batch with lemon peels, then while it was marinating, started one w/tangerine peels. Threw it out after a week. It was gross! The peels got really dark & slimy. Stick to Orange & Lemon.

      I thought for sure the recipe I started with said to soak them for 6 weeks. I left mine for 8, because I couldn’t find the original recipe. It was 3/4 Lemon & 1/4 Orange. It’s rather dark & smells a bit overly ripe. Seemed OK where I tried it on the counter. I’ll try it a bit to see if it’s OK or if I should go with another batch.

  13. says

    Hello everyone, just wanted to comment on a few posts. I’ve been making citrus vinegar for several months & mostly use orange, grapefruit & lemon peels. I sometimes have mine infusing for up to 6 weeks; no problem, you just get a stronger darker vinegar. Tangerines don’t work very well as they break down too easily. Also the citrus vinegar does not need to be refrigerated. Make sure you peel the citrus fruits thinly as you don’t want any fruit and as little pith as possible.

    • Sonnet says

      That’s a great question. It means equal parts vinegar to water. So, if you make 2 cups of vinegar, mix this with 2 cups of water. Hope that helps. :)

  14. Stacy says

    I use this full strength on my counters, stove top, cutting board, toilets, you name it i use it. I love it. I don’t use it on my floor though. What I use on my floors in a mop bucket is: 1/2 cup baking soda, hot water, 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent. (any brand works, but I use orange Ajax) Put all ingredients in the order listed, in the bucket. Yes it will fizz up so only put in about 1/4-1/2 water in the bucket, you can always add more hot water at the end. Just stir it up good and mop. You will be so surprised how black the mop water gets. I just started using this recipe for floor cleaner, but I love it and will never go back to store bought cleaners again.

  15. says

    In keeping our house clean and neat we need to consider the chemicals that we use. Sometimes the most effective are the one that can be found in our Kitchen. Vinegar is indeed helpful in many ways. Thanks for sharing this. Great Idea! Post some more of this.

  16. Kat says

    Hi, I have two quick questions for you. If I save my Lemon peels over a period of time in the freezer would this still work or would the essential oils be diluted or ruined due to the freezing? So far I’ve been buying Lemons specifically to make this cleaner and saving the fruit to use in various recipes. Also is 1.1 ratio enough to prevent the acidity from the Lemons & vinigar from stripping the finish from items like granit counter tops, ceramic tile floors, etc?

  17. Rachel says

    I have been using grapefruit peels with great results, pithe and all! Seems to be a hard working cleaner and is great for windows and mirrors, no streaks. I love how the citrus has kept the spiders out of the house this season as well (bounus!!! They can stay outside!) I also use it on wood and tile a lot :) Polish wood with a bit of olive oil and you’re golden.

  18. says

    I clean my mirror in the bathroom with a mixture of water and vinegar and I should tell you that this is the best mirror cleaners I’ve ever used! So, I suppose that the recipe for cleaner here is even better! Keep going with the amazing ideas!

  19. says

    I always use white vinegar especially for cleaning the kitchen and getting rid of smelly shoes. If you spray white vinegar on cotton balls then stuff them in old trainers it gets rid of the smell in one quick jiffy.I don’t even know why there are so many cleaners out there when this does the job of all

  20. says

    Just a little precision about citrus peels and compost. It’s great to have an alternative solution like citrus vinegar made with the peels cause CITRUS DONT GO IN THE COMPOST (same for onions). Because they are full of antibacterial substances so it’ll slow down the process of decomposing in the compost. 😉

  21. says

    Thank you for this good idea! I’m glad I found a use for orange and lemon peels, and at the same time a good example for low-cost cleaning product. I’m definitely trying it. Greets!

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