DIY All-Purpose Citrus Cleaner

Homemade cleaners are all the rage right now, and it’s easy to see why–

People are tired of paying big bucks for store-bought cleaners than almost require a gas mask in order to use safely. Plus, many homemade versions work just as good, if not better than the commercial brands. So what’s not to love!?

I’ve used a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water as an all-purpose cleaner for years now… But, not gonna lie– sometimes I miss the fancy “flavors” and scents of the store-bought cleaners.

Which is why I’ve been thrilled to find a new “recipe” for my all-purpose cleaner. It’s still all-natural and safe enough to eat (not that I would recommend that, but you could if you really wanted too…)

Plus, it’s a great way to use up those citrus peels that I always seem to accumulate. My goats and chickens generally don’t care for them, and you can only put so many down the garbage disposal!

DIY All-Purpose Citrus Cleaner

You will need:

  • 1 or 2 quart sized mason jars
  • A spray bottle (a repurposed one is just fine!)
  • White vinegar (around 1-2 quarts)
  • Orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime peels (any combination of these will work, too)
  • 3 -4 drops of lemon, grapefruit, or orange essential oil (optional)

Fill your quart jars about half full of citrus peels. Feel free to pack them in there if you need to. I used a combo of orange and grapefruit peels for this batch.

Fill the jars the rest of the way up with white vinegar. Cover tightly with a lid, give it a good shake, and then write the date on the top so you don’t forget!

Allow the peels and vinegar to steep for 2-3 weeks. (The longer it sits, the more potent it will get!)

After time has elapsed, remove the peels from the mixture and strain through a fine strainer to remove any bits of citrus that might be floating in your vinegar. Dilute 1:1 with water (one part citrus vinegar to one part water) and place in a spray bottle.

You may add 3-4 drops of your choice of essential oil if you wish at this point. It’s not absolutely necessary, but I like the extra citrusy-boost that the oils give the mixture, plus they also boost it’s cleaning power!

Use as you would your plain vinegar cleaner: on sinks, countertops, bathtubs, toilets, floors, etc!

It’s amazing how the littleĀ changes can make your daily tasks just a little more fun. I won’t go as far to say that I LOVE cleaning the bathroom now, but it is just a little more pleasant than it was before. šŸ˜‰

DIY All-Purpose Citrus Cleaner


  • 1 or 2 quart sized mason jars
  • A spray bottle
  • 1-2 quarts White vinegar
  • Orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime peels (any combination of these will work, too)
  • Optional: 3-4 drops lemon, grapefruit, or orange essential oil


  1. Stuff quart jar(s) about half full of citrus peels
  2. Fill jars the rest of the way up with white vinegar
  3. Cover tightly with a lid and shake
  4. Write the date so you donā€™t forget!
  5. Steep peels and vinegar 2-3 weeks (The longer it sits, the more potent it will get!)
  6. Remove peels and strain through a fine strainer
  7. Dilute 1:1 with water (one part citrus vinegar to one part water) and place in a spray bottle
  8. Optional: add 3-4 drops essential oil to boost itā€™s cleaning power
  9. Use as you would your plain vinegar cleaner: on sinks, countertops, bathtubs, toilets, floors, etc

Interested in more DIY cleaning recipes? Then you must check out Simply Clean! This eBook is packed-full of over 30 DIY cleaning recipes for every room of your home. I’ve made several of these cleaners so far, and love the results!

And don’t forget to check out The Prairie Homestead’s collection of DIY home solutions:


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  1. Marita M. says

    Thanks for posting this, it’s perfect timing, I’m spring cleaning this week! Have a blessed day.

  2. pam says

    I love your homemade cleaners!!! Do you have any for homemade dishwasher detergent???

    • Jill says

      Hi Pam- I don’t have a homemade dishwasher detergent recipe. Actually, I haven’t been able to find really any recipe that has good reviews. It seems like everytime I see a blogger trying to make their own, it ends up not working at all, or it stops working after a while… Will have to keep looking!

      • Karen says

        This is the recipe I’ve been using for dishwasher detergent. I’ve been using it for 6-8 months with no issues, but I live in a city with water that’s got a good level of softness. Recipe: 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Washing Soda (not baking soda), 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup citric acid. I use 1 tablespoon in the main compartment and 1 tablespoon in the extra compartment. I use vinegar (white or acv, whatever I have on hand) in the rinse compartment. When my dishes start getting cloudy, I know it’s time to add more vinegar.

        • amydmomma says

          This is the exact recipe that I have been using for several months. It works great. I do have hard water, so I just add about a tablespoon more of the citric acid to the batch. It dries hard, but I put in a few of those pacs you find in vitamin jars to dry the moisture. I also have wanted to try putting the ingredients to dry in ice cube trays. Then, you will have the tabs that they sell in stores for single use sizes. I know, pretty cool!

  3. says

    For scouring, I use plain washing soda (sodium carbonate). I purchase this in large 50 pound sacks at the feed store (costs around $20 ad lasts forever).

    For spray and wipe, I use a teaspoon of regular dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle filled with water. Works like a charm.

  4. says

    Thanks so much for posting this! I am trying to eliminate a lot of my traditional cleaners and I love the idea of the natural citrus smell. I will be doing this asap!

  5. says

    I love using vinegar to clean. I keep a spray bottle for windows and counter tops. The orange would be nice. I don’t mind the smell of vinegar, but it can be strong. A 1/4 cup of vinegar in your washing machines liquid softener dispenser is great for killing odor and bacteria. Thanks for the good use of orange peels and Mason jars.

  6. says

    Great idea. This is all the rage on Pinterest right now. It looks so pretty while it’s steeping, too. Reminds me of marmalade.

  7. says

    I’ve been doing this for about a year and I just love it! It makes the white vinegar smell easier to handle when you’re pregnant and everything makes you want to yak. šŸ˜‰

  8. Carolyn says

    I have been making this cleaner for a number of years. It is so awesome!!! You all will be amazed at how it cleans grease, soap scum and ycuk like that!! And best of all it doesn’t make you sick unless you are allergic to citrus.

  9. says

    I just finished “brewing” my citrus vinegar yesterday but I’m slightly disappointed. Using equal parts water and vinegar I’m getting an almost sticky residue on my laminate floors. It seems to work fine on my counters.
    Any experiences with using it on laminate? I’m loving it on the counters (vs just plain ‘ole vinegar) but the floor thing I don’t like. :-(
    I’m wondering if I make it 2:1 water:vinegar….maybe that would help? hum….

    • Jill says

      Hmmm…. I haven’t used it on laminate- just on my counters/table/bathroom stuff. I’ve never experience the residue, so I’m not quite sure what to think. Perhaps watering it down like you mentioned would help?

  10. Elaine says

    Would this be safe on wood furniture and hardwood floor?

    I have yet to find a recipe for cleaning wood…but I’m also new to natural cleaning–at least seriously. We started in this direction after having a family w/ 3 dogs evacuate to our home w/ my MIL while we were out-of-state during the Tx fires. We came home to a lovely urine smell that only disappeared after using hydrogen peroxide-thanks to my Dad the chemist.

    I see several All-Purpose Cleaner recipes like the one above which sounds wonderful. In the “natural-cleaning world”, does that Really mean all-purpose and I’m safe to use on “all”…including wood? :0)

    • Jill says

      Hi Elaine,
      I have used it on my wood table with no problems. However, if you have a super fancy/expensive piece of wooden furniture, I’d spot test first. But I’m thinking it’ll probably be ok.

  11. Patti says

    I’m going to make some Lemon today…Smoking a pork shoulder roast (12 Hrs) So I’m in the kitchen anyway…Kitchen to porch, porch to kitchen ed nausium !!!!
    Maybe, the residue on the laminate is the acid reacting with the coating on the laminate.
    Citris is an acid…I agree…Maybe dilute it more.

  12. Lisa says

    Do the peels have to be all fresh or can some be dried? I can’t eat enough oranges in one day to fill a whole mason jar :-)

  13. Susan says

    I read through all of the thread looking for the answer to the last question asked. lol Does anyone know the answer? I’m guessing that I can just add the peels to the mix as I eat the oranges. Some will steep longer than others but I can’t imagine eating that many at one time. šŸ˜‰

  14. says

    One more question, have you ever tried to find out how much anti-bacteria this cleaner has in terms of % to kill germs?

  15. katta says

    Hi, i wonder one thing. I’m doing water with lemon and ginger. My question is this can i reuse the lemon to do this cleaner ? I get so much and i feel it a shame to throw them away.