Natural Multi-Purpose Citrus Cleaner

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I love a clean house, but it's always been a love/hate relationship (until recently).  

What do I mean by this?  I mean, I've always thought there was a problem if I had to clean in a "well ventilated" area and turn on my vents in the bathrooms, or open the windows just to make it easier for me to breathe.  I also hated telling my 4 year old that she couldn't help me clean the bathrooms because of the toxic smells.  This just seemed like a problem to me.  

I heard about people using vinegar to clean, but frankly, I can't stand the way the stuff smells.  It's almost as bad as the toxic smell of the conventional cleaners.  I also prefer something that I can spray (and not sprinkle like baking soda).  So, what was I to do?

I just happened to stumble across a picture from my friend at The Hippiekarmama on facebook of a natural cleaning solution not long ago. So, I asked her about it and decided to make it myself.  I modified her version just a little bit for an extra boost.  

It's super easy and effective!  So far I have used it on the kitchen counters, sink, stove, and table; I have used it to clean the bathroom counters, sinks, and toilets.  And I even used it on some tough grease in a pan I used to cook breakfast sausage.  

What you'll need:

Recycled Glass containers
Orange peels (Or any other citrus fruit peels.  This makes it smell great plus it adds cleaning power.)
1 T Salt (any kind)
Distilled Water
5-10 drops Essential oil (optional)

Step One:  Cut orange peels (I had these frozen from when I made orange juice) and fill any empty glass containers you have on hand (I'm crazy about saving ALL glass containers).  If you don't have glass containers you can fill any containers that you have.

Step Two: Add some salt to the orange peels and let them sit for 20-30 minutes (or longer).  This will pull the oils from the peels and ultimately make your cleaning solution stronger.  You only need enough salt to lightly cover the peels.

Step Three:  Fill the containers with vinegar and water.  You can do all vinegar and leave it as is, you can do all vinegar and then add the water at the end of step 5, or you can do 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar. 

Step Four:  Put a TIGHT FITTING lid on the jars and let the solution sit and be pretty for 2-3 weeks.  The longer it sits the better.  They make a great conversation starter too!  

Step Five:  Strain the solution and fill a squirt bottle with your natural ORANGE cleaner.  I just happened to have this one under my sink.  If you are using essential oils you will add them at this time.

Overall I love this cleaner.  My bathroom sinks were the worst they've ever been and this did the trick.  I did have to use a little more elbow grease, but I honestly didn't have to scrub that much harder.  I also didn't mind the extra scrubbing because I wasn't breathing in those awful fumes from my old cleaner.  This cleaner was also super cheap (which we all love).  I do recommend that you start a new solution as soon as you start using yours so that you have it ready when you run out.

What other natural cleaners do you use?  If you enjoyed reading this please share it with someone else!

UPDATE: I had several people experiment (as did I), and we found that you can reuse the peels at least one more time.  The solution obviously isn't as strong the second time around, but this makes it great for cleaning floors.  I found that if I don't mix the original solution with water it makes my floors sticky (and who wants to see shoe prints on a clean floor??).

I have included affiliate links in this post.  That means that if you purchase something by clicking from this page I will get a portion of money from the sales, at no extra cost to you.  Thank you so much for supporting this blog and my family.

Want to purchase Lexie:Naturals products?  
Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

Want other cleaning recipes like this one?  Check out the books below.  You can get all of these (plus dozens more) for around $30!  Click the books for more details on this offer!

I'm linking up with:

Make Your Own Monday


  1. i've been saving glass jars too with all the fun ideas i've seen on pinterest. i figure i'll eventually want them for something. i've been reading about making my own dishwasher & laundry soap and other cleaners. i'm gonna give this a try.

  2. I've been wanting to make dishwasher and laundry detergent too! Let me know how it goes. I'm sure that will be a future post on here.

  3. Lexie, this is SO helpful! You texted me this recipe that day, but it helps to have it here to remember! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. I love this idea. I will be trying this! Thanks

  5. I use apple cider vinegar to clean my face and as a hair conditioner. I don't mind the smell, though. I kind of like it. lol
    It works great.

    I was thinking about making my own cleaners with it, but I wasn't sure if my husband will survive that because he hates that smell of vinegar.

    Your recipe is awesome. I'm gonna try it for sure.

  6. Oh la la I love this! I make my own cleaner but i would love it smell nice! What a great idea! Thanks!

  7. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures' Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  8. Thanks, everyone! RE: Kylajayne - About 1-2 Tbsp. You want just enough to coat the peels. This aids in extracting the oils from them. You don't want to add too much though because it needs to be able to dissolve all the way before you put it in the spray bottle. :)

  9. Thanks for linking up at DIY Thrifty Thursday! Your project has been featured! Stop by and grab an "I was featured" button. Thanks for your great ideas, hope to see you again this week! :)

  10. What a "fresh" idea. I have several clean jars just waiting for this...thanks!

    Hope you'll come over and visit me at
    http://altered-artworks.blogspot.com for some creative therapy!

  11. Do you think it will kill germs like a store bought cleaner? I think I'm ready to give it a try. I hate spending money on cleaning products.

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  15. If you add fresh thyme to the oranges as they're soaking it adds extra cleansing power, plus it's anti- bacterial & viral.

  16. Hi. This sounds great, looking forward to trying it. What kind of vinegar do you use?

  17. This is awesome as I have copd and pulmonary hypertension so breathing is something hard for me lovery this