DIY Citrus Cleaner: Easy, Cheap, Green, Fresh-Scented Awesomeness

The Homesteading/Survivalism Facebook page posted a simple photo of a DIY orange cleaner with some very simple directions. It immediately caught my eye, and I had all the ingredients on hand, and thus I figured: why not! 

their pic from their fb post

All it said with the pic is “Quick Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner:  Orange peels, vinegar in a quart jar, let sit for 10 days or so…strain out the liquid and use as an all-purpose cleaner. Easy, cheap, natural, smells good!”

I use White Distilled Vinegar (WDV) nonstop for all my cleaning and housekeeping needs, and I am from Florida… so citrus meets WDV seemed right up my alley.

How I Made It:

I didn’t have a jar on hand, but I did have an empty juice jug, a near ’bout empty Lysol spray bottle, some oranges and a grapefruit.  I used three oranges and one grapefruit, to be exact.

There wasn’t an exact science to it, just citrus peel + WDV, let it marinade for 10 days.

orange peels from a midday snack were easy enough to us!

i scored and scraped the peels a bit to help get some zest going

all you need! it is that simple.

just pouring the wdv over the peels, eyeballing the amount of wdv to use

i decided this looks too empty, so i ended up adding more wdv next…

full bottle is ready to marinade now!

A caveat I was worried about?  My sloppily peeled oranges would have too much pulp attached – thus adding juice to the mixture, making the cleaner sticky.  The final test was the sticky factor.  I also wasn’t sure by how much to dilute it (I always dilute WDV with water as an all-surface cleaner).  I didn’t want to lose all the citrus smell-good by adding water, but full strength WDV seemed a bit too strong.

Ten Days Later…

I was so rip roarin’ ready to go!

a lysol spray bottle i recycled to hold my new citrus cleaner. the hardest part of the whole project was getting the stickers off of it. what an epic pain that was!

empty spray bottle, ready – completed ten day+ citrus cleaner, ready

The results? 


The BEST SMELLING vinegar ever.

the smell test: amazing. you can’t even tell it’s vinegar, it’s just so super orange-y fresh. i love it!

You can hardly tell it’s vinegar, it’s amazing.  Sticky? Not at all, it’s a perfect cleaner.

the sticky test = passed with flying colors. not sticky to the touch at all, whatsoever. the counters just felt nice and clean.

I ended up eye-balling the water-to-WDV ratio.

this is all the cleaner i poured into the spray bottle, the rest will be water. and i’ll refill the citrus cleaner mix with more wdv to keep brewing more

adding water

my now-diluted cleaner in the spray bottle, a bit paler than the original

I have a feeling I’m going to use this sweet little mix for everything.  It’s heavenly in the kitchen, that’s for sure.  My next test will be mopping with it (I already mop with WDV + water).

The next batch I make? Lemon-lime.  I want to make all kinds of varieties with citrus.

i’ll add more wdv to the brew

…top ‘er off, and good to go!

A friend told me she just always adds in more WDV and citrus peels, and just keeps a batch brewing all the time.  I think I’ll do that for a while and see how it goes.  She also mentioned she keeps it out of the sun, so I moved mine off the window sill and into a dark cabinet.

Hey Rose, why do you use WDV all the time? 

Great question! I love WDV; it’s a real jack of all trades. It’s an all-natural, vegan, pet/baby/kid/anybody-safe substance that’s a disinfectant, a degreaser, a natural fabric softener, insect repellant, water stain remover, and cleaner.  It’s cheap, easily produced, and a great way to stretch out fancier/pricier products so they last longer.  It’s also fabulous on its own.

The smell is a little funky when plain WDV is wet.  However, it always dried odorless (no, my clothes NEVER smell like vinegar, neither does the house, etc.).

I love keeping a clean home in a way that’s safe, healthy, and earth-friendly.

Now, go eat an orange or three and start brewing your own batch!

action shot of my first cleaning run

ta-daa! easy, cheap, green, natural, safe, disinfecting, homemade citrus cleaner

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr


Today I mopped with my new citrus cleaner, and oh yeah – it’s awesome!  The floors dried perfectly clean and lovely, and the house had this all-over citrus smell as I was just cleaning away.  LOVE!