DIY Project: All-Natural Homemade Citrus Cleaner

Create your own all natural homemade citrus cleaner using the leftover peels from grapefruit, lemon or oranges and vinegar.

I like to use natural products whenever possible in both my garden and in my home, so I was excited to make some homemade citrus cleaner.

You may have noticed that many cleaners have lemon or orange added.  Well the reason is that citrus has natural disinfecting properties and can help lighten stains and loosens mineral deposits. Making your own citrus cleaner is so easy to do and is a great way to use the leftover peels of your citrus fruit.

In a spring cleaning mood? Learn how to clean hummingbird feeders.

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How to Make Homemade Citrus Cleaner

To start, you need to get some citrus—any type of citrus will work. I decided to use grapefruit for my cleaner, so I made a stop by the family farm to pick some ripe grapefruit from the tree. Of course, since most people don’t have citrus trees growing in your backyard, you can use citrus from the grocery store, which is in season right now.

grapefruit cleaner ingredients

Ingredients and Supplies

  • Grapefruit (lemons and oranges work well, too)
  • a large jar with a lid
  • regular distilled vinegar
  • strainer
  • spray bottle

grapefruit peels in vinegar

Instructions

  1. Peel your citrus, or simply cut off the peel like I did.
  2. Place your peels in your jar, making sure to fill the jar completely.
  3. Then add vinegar so that all the peels are covered.
  4. Store your container in a dark, cool place like your pantry or cupboard for approximately 2 to 3 weeks.
  5. Strain the citrus peel/vinegar mixture through a strainer to get rid of any pulp, etc.
  6. Fill 1/2 a spray bottle with the citrus/vinegar mixture and then fill up the remaining half with water and that’s it!

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You now have a natural, inexpensive and effective all-purpose cleaner that can be used for surfaces such as floors, stovetops, appliances and glass. Your new citrus cleaner will also work well on non-porous countertops, but should NOT be used for marble or granite counters since the vinegar could etch them.

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This cleaner is so easy to make and costs just pennies.  If you don’t have enough citrus peels at first, simply freeze them until you have enough to fill an entire jar.

*Optional: Add herbs such as rosemary or mint to add an additional scent to your homemade citrus cleaner. Some people also like to add essential oils to intensify the fragrance of the cleaner.

Psst—learn how to clean a birdbath.

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Homemade Disinfecting Citrus Cleaner

For those of you who would like to made a disinfecting citrus cleaner, the process is quicker because the citrus peels don’t have to steep in vinegar for a few weeks.

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  1. Add the peels from one citrus fruit of your choice to 4 cups of water.
  2. Heat to boiling then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Pull out the peels.
  4. Add 6 tablespoons of distilled vinegar and 3 teaspoons of borax to the cooled citrus water.
  5. Pour into a spray bottle and use right away for non-porous surfaces.

I love DIY projects for the home. This project not only creates an environmentally-friendly product, it also uses up the things (like citrus peels) that would otherwise end up in the trash. Next, learn how to make your own weed killer with vinegar and dish soap.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist, writer and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. She is the CEO and owner of 'AZ Plant Lady,' an education company that aims to help people garden successfully in the desert climate. She is the author of the book, Dry Climate Gardening, and her byline has appeared in publications such as Birds & Blooms and Phoenix Home & Garden magazine. She is an instructor at the Desert Botanical garden and Tucson Botanical Gardens.