DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner


Slowly, but surely we are leaving all store bought cleaners behind and have been learning how to make chemical free products ourselves; this includes a universal DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner.

I am not going to lie, my desire to create a zero waste product while canning led me to lean how to make this citrus cleaner almost 4 years ago.  I was putting up little cuties for the kids when it dawned on me that the peels must be useful somehow.  We are not a marmalade family, so that was out.  Candy?  I was hesitant, we are not a big candy family (well, they aren’t but I am!).  Cleaner? Septic tank safe, natural, refreshing, zero waste from the item we are putting up, oh, yes indeed this is what we were going to do!


The bonus for us putting up a citrus cleaner?  I work as an assistant preschool teacher, and there are always orange peels readily available!  We, and you too, can have an ongoing supply of citrus cleaner costing you a few pennies on the dollar.  A definite win-win.

Why It Works

Citrus contains d-limonene which is a natural solvent that will cut through grease and dirt; any type of citrus will do – orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, but oranges work the best.  The citrus cleaner does a great job while leaving your house smelling fresh, and to think…no chemicals needed.

Make It

The process is extremely simply and will take only minutes of your time, but the cost and the effectiveness of the item will keep you making it for years to come.

Fill a glass jar with  citrus peels – we like to use quart or pint size canning jars simply because at the time we usually do not have enough peels to fill anything larger at the time.  Add the vinegar – any store brand will work, don’t feel you need to pick up an expensive brand name item.


We suggest removing any air bubbles and add additional vinegar if needed.


Your mixture will need to sit for a minimum of 2 weeks, the longer it sits the stronger it is; we allow ours to sit between 4 to 6 weeks.

You’re now ready to strain the citrus peels, what you will need is a strainer and a funnel.


Once you have strained solution save the peels and use them to freshen your garbage disposal; simply add water to the peels in order to keep them from drying out.

Your final product will be an amber color, and will smell amazing!


How To Use

In a spray bottle we mix a 1-1 ratio of citrus vinegar solution to water, give it a minor shake, and then allow it to works its magic.  The citrus cleaner can be used in your kitchen, to clean your range or oven, bathrooms, and if you use it in a concentrate form it make and EXCELLENT grill cleaner.

Additional Scents 

Just in case you get bored with the base scent of the citrus cleaner here are some great items that pair well together  – lime & a sprig of thyme, grapefruit & mint, lemon & sprig of rosemary, or orange, cinnamon, and cloves.  Remember, the longer you allow the mixture to seep, the stronger the scent & strength.



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  1. JoAnn says

    Hi Farm Girl.
    I love your posts and I follow you on fb.
    I’m just a little confused here… in the above instructions, after you add the vinegar to the peels, you say, “…remove any air bubbles and add additional vinegar if needed”, and then next you say, “…now you are ready to strain the peels” but what time frame do you wait in between? How long do you let the peels soak in the vinegar?
    What if you left the peels in the solution? Would it become more concentrated?
    Thanks for your great article and this awesome post… I too want to buy less and less from the market where ever possible!

    • Farm Girl says

      I am so sorry! I should never have written the blog while having a stomach flu! The mixture will need to sit for a minimum of 2 weeks, but the longer it sits the stronger it becomes. We allow ours to sit between 4 to 6 weeks. I added it to the blog, sorry and thank you!

  2. Louise Akid says

    Hello I would like to say thank you I made this recipe in March and used it today.I now have sparkling Windows, it works brilliantly.

  3. Claudia says

    In your pic, you seem to be using distilled vinegar, is there any advantage to using that over regular, say, apple cider vinegar (locally made here)?

    • Ann Accetta-Scott says

      Yes, it is distilled white vinegar. As a cleaning solution I wouldn’t suggest using a live bacterial to clean with, it will draw fruit flies. You are working on drawing the oils from the orange peels and that’s what the white vinegar will do.

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