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Homemade Lemon Vinegar for Cleaning

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Looking for a natural and inexpensive way to get your home sparkling clean? Look no further than this DIY lemon cleaning vinegar! This recipe is simple, straightforward, and incredibly effective. Plus, it’s made with ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen. So why not give it a try and ditch the expensive and usually incredibly harsh store bought cleaners?

lemon peels in white vinegar
lemon peels in white vinegar

Getting Rid of Chemical Household Cleaners

I have been making much more of an effort lately to use everything to its fullest potential. That means not wasting scraps in the kitchen if I can help it.

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Normally, most of my scraps go in the compost bin (learn how to compost!), but when I get fresh lemons from my parents, I end up making lots of homemade microwave lemon curd and end up with a ton of lemon peels leftover. Instead of composting these, I have been making cleaning vinegar. (Can you compost citrus peels? Absolutely, check out Gardening Know How’s article for info.)

About ten years ago I began the process of trying to get rid of as many toxic cleaners as possible from my house. Making my own citrus cleaning vinegars have given me an excellent all-purpose cleaner without any of the headache-inducing ingredients that were in my old cleaners. I also switched to using Norwex cloths, which are anti-bacterial due to the silver woven into the cloth. I don’t sell Norwex, but I have a friend who does, and she could answer any other questions you may have.

And I do have to say this was all kicked off by a BBC show I watched while pregnant with my first… How Clean is Your House. Essentially two British cleaning professionals traveled around to some of the most unclean homes in England, and well, cleaned them! They also taught the homeowners how to keep the house clean.

I was surprised that many of the tips they suggested involved using lemons (like around where the toilet seat connects to the base), baking soda, and vinegar. That show really showed me how powerful many of these usual household items were for cleaning.

What are Cleaning Vinegars?

Citrus cleaning vinegars are a combination of citrus oils and white vinegar that can be used to clean most anything in your home. They can be used to clean all sorts of surfaces, from floors and countertops to windows and appliances. And unlike many store bought cleaning products, they’re usually gentle enough to use on many surfaces without fear of damaging them.

Vinegar should not be used to clean granite, marble, or other natural stone countertops, and do not use undiluted cleaning vinegar on hardwood floors. Instead use a small amount in a larger bucket of water to clean wood floors. Diluting may also work for stone countertops, but check with your manufacturer before trying.

lemon next to cleaning cloths and cleaner

Ingredients and Supplies for Citrus Cleaning Vinegar

How to Make Homemade Cleaning Vinegar

  1. Take lemon peels and place in a large clean glass jar.
  2. Cover the peels with white vinegar and place a lid on. (If you’re not using a large amount of lemon at one time like me, then add more peels to your jar as you use them and simply keep them covered with vinegar.)
  3. Let the peels and vinegar sit for two weeks, swishing around every few days.
  4. Using a funnel and hand held strainer, pour the vinegar from the jar into your spray bottle.
  5. Optional: For added scent, try a few drops of orange or grapefruit oils.
  6. Use your homemade lemon cleaning vinegar all around the house!
lemon peels in a clear jar

Citrus Cleaning Vinegar FAQ

  • How long will the cleaning vinegar last? As long as you don’t let the vinegar sit for years and years, it should last until you’ve used it all.
  • Can you add this vinegar to soap? Sure! If you’d like to add some of the citrus vinegar to a bucket of soapy water for mopping or other general cleaning, then go for it! I like to add a half cup to my mop water.
  • Can you use peels other than lemon? Yes, any citrus peels can be used to make cleaning vinegar. I suggest using what you have on hand.

Notes on Lemon Cleaning Vinegar

  • You can substitute any other citrus peels for the lemon.
  • No time for letting the mix sit for week? Try mixing lemon juice and white vinegar for a quick version. The lemon oils are present in the skin, so you’ll miss that benefit, but you could always add drops of lemon oil to your mix.
  • I prefer storing in glass spray bottles.
Yield: 1 Pint

Homemade Lemon Vinegar for Cleaning

how to make lemon vinegar

Homemade lemon vinegar for cleaning uses up those lemon peels and create a non-toxic cleaner for your home! Only 2 ingredients that you probably already have on hand!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 14 days
Total Time 14 days 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • Lemon peels (or another citrus peel)
  • White vinegar (I use regular strength from the grocery store)
  • Quart Mason jar
  • Spray Bottle (Try Plant Therapy for a good selection of glass spray bottles.)
  • Optional: Essential Oils

Tools

  • Funnel
  • Strainer

Instructions

  1. Take lemon peels and place in a large clean glass jar.
  2. Cover the peels with white vinegar and place a lid on. (If you're not using a large amount of lemon at one time like me, then add more peels to your jar as you use them and simply keep them covered with vinegar.)
  3. Let the peels and vinegar sit for two weeks, swishing around every few days.
  4. Using a funnel and hand held strainer, pour the vinegar from the jar into your spray bottle.
  5. Use your homemade lemon cleaning vinegar all around the house!

Notes

- You can substitute any other citrus peels for the lemon.

- No time for letting the mix sit for week? Try mixing lemon juice and white vinegar for a quick version. The lemon oils are present in the skin, so you'll miss that benefit, but you could always add drops of lemon oil to your mix.

- I prefer storing in glass spray bottles.

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