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!


banana nut steel cut oatmeal = vegan love in a crockpot

I’ve recently jumped on the whole steel cut oats bandwagon.  Eating a breakfast of steel cut oats I feel so fitness-y and powerful, like a lean mean healthy machine.  For my first attempt at turning oats into edible gruel, I googled around to see what the good folks of the world wide web were doing to prepare said oats.  Turns out tossing them in the slow cooker overnight is a totally legit method.  I studied some oat-to-liquid ratios and then began inventing my own recipes.

My first try involved some dairy.  And by some I mean I had half-and-half going on in there. Whew. The oatmeal was delicious, but I was worried that simmering those hardcore oats in milk fat for ten hours was kinda defeating the purpose.   (I’ll put the recipe for my first attempt at the end of this post.)

Banana Nut (steel cut oat)-meal  

This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, super healthy and yummy.   [edit: I added nutrition info towards the bottom of the post, 269 cals per serving – not bad!]

don't you feel healthy just looking at this stuff?


  • steel cut oats
  • one or two bananas, ripe/ near ’bout mushy
  • brown sugar
  • water
  • almond “milk”  (Almond Breeze, vanilla flavor)
  • chopped walnuts
  • cinnamon
  • a slow cooker
Directions:  Dump ingredients into a slow cooker and let ‘er ride on low for about eight to ten hours, basically just overnight.  Eat as-is, or maybe garnish with a little maple syrup, maybe some additional nuts or chopped banana?
How I did:
I’m doing the steel cut oats with about a 4:1 ratio of liquid:oats, so to get about six decent servings I did a cup and half of oats and about six cups of liquid.  I broke it up as 4 cups water and 2 cups of the Almond Breeze.   I dumped all that oats and liquid into my slow cooker.

vanilla flavor is pretty dope

I had a couple bananas sitting around that were just too soft to eat.  Totally ready for banana bread.

this photo is just all class: old fruit + booze + booze. nice!

I took one of these soft banans and just mashed it up.

just like baby food

Add that mashy ‘nanner into the glop in the crock pot.   Next: I found a little packet of chopped walnuts.  I got the idea for this recipe because I needed to use up those bananas before they were useless.  As I was brainstorming for other flavors/items to compliment the banana, walnuts seemed the natural choice:  it’s just like banana bread, yeah?  It turns out, we actually had walnuts in the house, and they were ready to go.  It was fate!  I took my nice pre-chopped packet, and I added the whole thing in with my other porridge-wannabe ingredients.

duggs bought these for a diff recipe, but ended up not using them. so i totally scored - these were the perfect size for this oatmeal.

I added a nice spoonful of brown sugar.  Maybe it was a tablespoon?  I’m not sure.  Sorry, I never really measure things – I’m one of those cooks who just kinda knows how much of what goes where by eye-balling it.  So umm… put a little brown sugar in there.  However much you feel comfy with.  Then do the samesies with some cinnamon.  Just sprinkle generously some ground cinnamon on top and mix it in.

winnie the pooh: honey :: happyhippierose : brown sugar sack

Wisk it up so everything gets mixed together.

all mixed up and ready to slooooow cook

Put the lid on.  Sleep all night long and have sweet banana nut dreams.  (Make sure you keep the slowcooker on low for eight to ten hours).    When I woke up, I gave it a little stir and voila, it was ready to serve!  I divvied it up into six servings.

breakfast to go!

oh yes yes yes

I served my husband a bowl with a little more cinnamon and a small dollop of maple syrup mixed in.  For myself, I ate it straight up!  Both ways were delicious.  Walnuts are pretty soft anyways, but after cooking all that time they do soften down a bit more.  They still lend to the texture of the oatmeal, but there’s no big crunch in there.  The bananas totally mix in.    There is a little skin that occurs, btw.  I just work around it.  I think next time I’ll double up on the banana for the amount of oatmeal I made.  I totally recommend using two.    The Almond Dream was an excellent choice!! I’m using that instead of dairy in my oats, from now on.

For clean up:  this go round, I scooped out as much oatmeal as I could right away, put it in tupperware.  That way, I soaked the slow cooker pot asap so I could get off the sticky part that gooes to the walls of the pot.  (Last time I let it sit too long before soaking, and it was hard to remove).


If you make this recipe: please give me feedback!  How did your’s come out?  Was it gooooood?  What did you do differently?



Based on nutrition labels from the specific ingredients I used: oats, brown sugar, almond breeze (vanilla flavor), walnuts, banana, and water.    The entire pot made six servings for me; I just did the simple calculations to come up with this nutritional data.

per serving              whole crock pot

Calories                                   269                              1615

Fat                                            10 grams                   60 grams

Sugar                                       10 grams                   60 grams

Protein                                    7.1 grams                  43 grams



My First Attempt:  Berries ‘n’ Cream Steel Cut Oats

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • maple syrup
  • frozen berries   ~1 cup
  • a packet (or two) of splenda
I chopped up the frozen berries (I bought a mixed bag and those blackberries are too big not to chop up! Same with some strawberry pieces).  So I chopped up the fruit and essentially just mixed/whisked everything together and let it cook on low overnight.   It made five-ish servings, and was really tasty!  The dairy taste was just a bit heavy for me.

my first steel cut batch - berries n cream