When I embarked on my “cleaner, greener life” journey, just a few years ago, the toxic chemical cleaners were the first thing to go! Replacing my commercial cleaning products with homemade, eco-friendly and non-toxic versions, seemed like the obvious place to start, considering that I’m just as conscious about the environment as I am about my health.
I shared this recipe back in January 2014 as part of my post “the Only 3 Household Cleaners You Need!” but it’s time to give it a post of it’s own. This year, my goal for this blog is to get back to the basics. I remember when I was starting to detox my life, and transitioning to real food and homemade home and body products, I felt very overwhelmed. Once your eyes are opened to all of the harmful chemicals that we’re exposed to in our home, it’s hard to even know where to start!
It’s recipes like these that make “the transition” a more comfortable process and easy place to start. After all, it’s a two-ingredient DIY using white vinegar, which everybody has, and food scraps! Viola – homemade cleaner for pennies!
Although this is a “multi-purpose” cleaner, it has actually become by go-to bathroom and soap-scrum cleaner and lives under my bathroom sink. I use it full strength for toilets, sinks, and shower tiles. Try sprinkling a little baking soda on the surface before spraying, and you’ve got yourself an incredible scum-fighting combo (the baking soda is perfect because it’s mildly abrasive).
- White Vinegar: Vinegar (acetic acid) deodorizes, cuts grease, and due to its level of acidity, it kills bacteria, mold and germs. It is non-toxic and completely environmentally friendly.
- Citrus: Citrus, lemons in particular, are high in citric acid, which makes them a great grease cutter and disinfectant. It can also be used as a stain remover because of its mild bleaching properties. The citrus peels also help give the cleaner a fresh, citrus-y scent.
- Essential Oils: Essential oils are optional in this recipe, but they do boost the anti-bacterial benefits of the cleaner. Tea tree oil, and Lavender oil are my favorites essential oils for cleaning due to their disinfectant qualities. Tea tree oil has anti-fungal properties that can kill staphylococcus, e-coli, shigella, and salmonella, making it a super hero in the kitchen. Lavender oil as a cleaning agent is a powerful disinfectant with a beautiful scent.
How to Make Citrus Infused Multi-Purpose Cleaner
What You’ll Need
- A jar with a non-metal lid (vinegar will corrode the metal. You can cover the jar with a plastic bag and secure it with an elastic band)
- Citrus Peels (majority lemon)
- White Vinegar
- 15-20 Drops Essential Oil (Rosemary, Tea Tree and Lavender are my faves for cleaning) – buy fair trade, organic essential oils HERE.
Start by collecting your citrus peels. I add them to a bag in the freezer until I have enough to fill a jar (any size you’d like – feel free to choose something that will look nice sitting on your counter – LIKE THIS!).
Once you have enough, cut the peels into quarters, and place them in the jar (skin side out if you want them to look nice).
Cover the peels with white vinegar, seal with a lid, and leave to soak for at least three weeks, although I often forget about them and leave them to soak for months, which makes for a powerful cleaner!
Strain the mixture in to a spray bottle, and add your choice of essential oils (if using)—I use like rosemary, tea tree, and lavender in this recipe.
You can use this cleaner full strength or diluted.
Full Strength: good for areas that could use some extra disinfecting, like the bathroom, or to remove built up oil and grease in the kitchen. My husband uses it full strength to clean his tire rims and other greasy areas in the shop.
Diluted 50/50 with water: You can use this cleaner diluted for use as a multi-purpose/surface cleaner.
Tip: When paired with baking soda, this is the best bathroom cleaner going, and can seriously conquer soap scum. Simply spray your sink/toilet/tub with the cleaner, sprinkle with baking soda, and scrub!