Homemade Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner

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Winter = citrus season 🍊 We grow a ton of citrus in the state of Florida, so every winter our fridge is stocked with oranges, grapefruit, limes, and lemons. I love having freshly-peeled citrus around because not only is the fruit delicious but the rinds make a fantastic homemade cleaner when paired with vinegar and (optional) herbs and warm spices. Today, I’ll show you how to turn citrus peels into a beautiful antibacterial cleaner.

Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner Spray

Baking soda, vinegar, and Sal Suds are my go-to non-toxic cleaning products. Why? Because they work oh so well, are budget-friendly, and serve multiple cleaning purposes.

Every time I mention cleaning with vinegar, I usually get a few people comment with one big objection, “But I just can’t stand the smell!”

I get it. Having your house smell like a bottle of fresh vinaigrette salad dressing (sans the oil and spices) isn’t for everyone. Personally, I’ve learned to deal with the initial odor as it quickly vanishes.

citrus peels for making homemade cleaning vinegar

If you’ve been apprehensive about using vinegar to clean your home, today’s recipe may just change your mind. Today’s recipe infuses discarded, headed-for-the-garbage citrus rinds (orange peels, lemon peels, grapefruit peels, lime peels–your choice), fresh herbs, and warm spices with white vinegar. This infusion turns the vinegar into a deliciously-scented homemade orange peel vinegar cleaner (or take out the oranges and sub in whatever citrus you have on hand).

Even the biggest vinegar cleaning critic will change their mind after trying today’s recipe.

orange peels, herbs, and jar ready to make cleaner

Is Vinegar an Effective Cleaning Ingredient?

Vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner. Most household vinegars (used in the kitchen) contain 4-6% acetic acid, which is what makes vinegar such a great cleaning ingredient. White vinegar is considered to be the most acidic vinegar out there and the strongest option for making a household cleaner.

adding orange peels to jar

Vinegar has been shown to have antibacterial properties. To quote Dr. Alan Taege, an infectious disease expert at the Cleveland Clinic, in a recent interview with Women’s Health Magazine, “Vinegar does have disinfectant activity. Vinegar is acetic acid, which has the ability to destroy bacteria and viruses.”

If I want a strong cleaning spray, I go with full strength vinegar. If I’m just looking to wipe down some counters and dust, I usually go with a 1:1 ratio of water to vinegar. The beauty of making your own cleaning products, like today’s orange peel vinegar cleaner, is that you are in complete control of the strength of your product.

Orange Vinegar Cleaning Benefits

So besides the wonderful scent, as we talked about earlier, there’s another perk to infusing your vinegar with orange peels (or the citrus of your choice). The skin of citrus fruits contain something called d-limonene, which is what creates that lovely citrus smell we all love. Beyond the scent, d-limonene is also a natural solvent, which means it’s great at cleaning soiled surfaces.

picking out herbs to add to orange peels in jar

Now we could stop with adding orange peels (or the citrus of your choice) to vinegar to make a natural and effective homemade cleaner, but I like to take this product a step further by adding fresh herbs with antibacterial properties. Yes, you could add an essential oil, but honestly I’d much rather go the sustainable and economical route when possible and use locally grown fresh herbs (whether in my backyard or from a local farmer’s market). I love to add thyme, peppermint, and/or sage.

adding herbs to jar with orange peels

How to Make Orange Peel Vinegar

adding cinnamon stick to the jar with orange peels and herbs

To make the cleaner, first gather your materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • glass jar with a wide mouth (like this)
  • glass or plastic lid as metal will corrode due to the vinegar (like this)
  • white vinegar (should contain somewhere between 4-6% acetic acid, like this)
  • citrus peels, such as: lemon peels, orange peels, lime peels, or grapefruit peels
  • spices: cinnamon sticks or cloves (optional)
  • fresh herbs: sage, thyme, or peppermint (optional)

Adding vinegar to jar to make orange peel vinegar cleaner

Now you can make the cleaning vinegar…

  • First, Add the peels to the jar.
  • Next, add any herbs or spices desired.
  • Finally, pour the vinegar over the peels and herbs and spices so they are completely submerged by the vinegar.
  • Top the jar off with the lid and place the jar under your sink (or wherever you keep your cleaning products) for about 2 weeks. During this time the citrus oils and herbs and spices will infuse with the vinegar.

After 2 weeks, the vinegar is ready. Strain the vinegar from the peels, herbs, and spices (discard the ingredients) and store the vinegar in the jar until you need to use it.

Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner

How to Use Orange Peel Vinegar to Clean Your Home

So your orange peel vinegar is ready, now what? There are many ways to use this vinegar to naturally clean your home. Here are my favorite uses.

Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner Spray

All-Purpose Spray

Use the orange peel vinegar at full strength or add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of orange peel vinegar to a 16-ounce glass spray bottle (my favorite bottles), and shake the bottle to combine the ingredients. Use on counter-tops, the sink, cutting boards, the tub, a shower, the garbage can, or inside the fridge. Always wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth. Caution: Never use vinegar (which is acidic) on granite or marble surfaces.

Clean Windows

Add orange peel vinegar instead of the white vinegar in this homemade window cleaner recipe. Don’t use vinegar on your smartphone screen or computer monitors since acid can strip the special coating.

orange peel garbage disposal pods

Garbage Disposal Pods

Finely chop 2-3 lemon or orange peels peels and add them to an ice cube tray. Pour orange peel vinegar over the top of the peels and freeze the ice cube tray. Once the pods are frozen, remove them from the ice cube tray and store the pods in a freezer-safe bag. To deodorize and clean the garbage disposal, run cold water in the sink, place 1-2 pods in the garbage disposal and run the disposal.

Tackle Tough Grease

For a super simple degreaser, add a few drops of natural dish soap or Sal Suds (not castile soap, remember the reaction issue?) to either full strength orange peel vinegar or 1 cup of water and 1 cup of orange peel vinegar that’s been added to a spray bottle. Spray on the surface and wipe clean.

Watch How to Make This Recipe

Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner

A homemade scented cleaning vinegar made with citrus peels (orange peels, lime peels, lemon peels, and/or grapefruit peels), herbs, and warm spices. An antibacterial cleaner that can be used in a variety of ways around the home.

Course DIY
Keyword citrus vinegar, homemade orange cleaner, orange cleaner, orange peel vinegar cleaner
Prep Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 14 days
Total Time 14 days 15 minutes
Servings 1 quart (or as much as desired)
Author Kristin Marr

Ingredients

Optional Extras:

  • 1-3 sprigs fresh herbs such as: sage, peppermint, or thyme
  • 1-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5-10 whole cloves

Instructions

  1. Add the citrus peels, herbs, and spices (if using herbs and spices) to the mason jar. There should be enough peels to fill the jar.

  2. Pour the vinegar over the peels and spices. Now the vinegar needs to rest, preferably in an area with lots of sunlight, for 2 weeks.

  3. After 2 weeks, strain the vinegar from the peels and herbs and spices. Return the vinegar to the jar and store at room temperature until ready to use. The vinegar will not spoil.

How to Use:

  1. Option 1: All-Purpose Spray Use full strength or add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of orange peel vinegar to a 16-ounce glass spray bottle (my favorite bottles), and shake the bottle to combine the ingredients. Use on counter-tops, the sink, cutting boards, the tub, a shower, the garbage can, or inside the fridge. Always wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth. Caution: Never use vinegar (which is acidic) on granite or marble surfaces.

  2. Option 2: Garbage Disposal Pods Finely chop 2-3 lemon or orange peels peels and add them to an ice cube tray. Pour orange peel vinegar over the top of the peels and freeze the ice cube tray. Once the pods are frozen, remove them from the ice cube tray and store the pods in a freezer-safe bag. To deodorize and clean the garbage disposal, run cold water in the sink, place 1-2 pods in the garbage disposal, and then run the disposal.

  3. Option 3: Clean Windows  Add orange peel vinegar instead of the white vinegar in this homemade window cleaner recipe. Don’t use vinegar on my smartphone screen or computer monitors since acid can strip the special coating.

  4. Option 4: Tackle Tough Grease For a super simple degreaser, add a few drops of natural dish soap or Sal Suds (not castile soap, remember the reaction issue?) to either full strength orange peel vinegar or 1 cup of water and 1 cup of orange peel vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray on the surface and wipe clean.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

You can make a larger batch of this vinegar cleaner by using a larger jar and more peels, herbs, and spices. 

Natural Cleaning Challenge

Ditch toxic products & simplify natural cleaning in 5 days!

Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner

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7 Comments

  1. says: Tia

    Great post and recipe Kristin!

    I have been using 6% Distilled Vinegar + a little juice & the peels (no pith or pulp) of organic lemons as a fruit and veggie spray for years now. The aroma is amazing! Smells like Lemons! I usually leave the lemon peels in the spray bottle & top off the spray bottle w/more vinegar as I go. Once the lemon peels lose thier color and look light yellow, I use all my spray up then dump & run the lemon peels in the garbage disposal (super soft by then) and start over w/a new batch of Lemon Vinegar.

    I love using vinegar in my laundry, using apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse and using it to make a bentonite clay wash for my hair and a bentonite mask for my face. It’s uses are indispensable. Once again Kristin, Thanks for the great recipe! I think I will try fresh Rosemary in my Lemon Vinegar fruit & veggie wash next time!

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