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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Citrus Vinegar Multi-Purpose Cleaner

My absolute FAVORITE all natural, homemade cleaning concentrate can be made with TWO simple household ingredients. Really, you're going to love it. And unlike basic vinegar cleaners, it smells pretty wonderful. You don't need to add any expensive oils (although you can if you want to) and it is TOTALLY SAFE to use around pets and kids. 

This takes literally less than 2 minutes to put together, then you'll leave the jar on a shelf for 2-3 weeks. Honestly, you can't mess it up! We always have a few jars in rotation. The vinegar has it's own degreasing and disinfecting properties, and when paired with the acids from the citrus peels, it makes for a supercharged vinegar cleaner. Not to mention, it smells much better than plain vinegar. 

If you eat any citrus, start saving the peels. You only need the amount from about one whole orange, or 2-3 small tangerine peels, or 2 lemon peels to make one 16 ounce jar of concentrate. I suggest making a few jars at once the first time, then make up a fresh jar each time you empty one. This way you always have one or two backups on the shelf. 

Here's what you need to do...

First, collect your items. The only things you really need are:
-Citrus Peels 
-Distilled White Vinegar 
-A jar with a lid (any old jar will do)

OPTIONAL: A couple of sprigs of your favorite smelling herb can be added. You can use them fresh or dried. My favorites to use for this are lavender, rosemary, or lemon thyme. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil like lemon or eucalyptus if desired. Make sure to check the safety of your oils before using them around pets or children.

To make the cleaning concentrate:

Step 1.
Put your citrus peels and herbs (if desired) into the jar. Add vinegar, pouring to the top, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace. It's really not an exact science, just fill the jar up. Add some drops of essential oils if that's your gig. 

Step 2.
Put the lid on. Write the date on it. Shake the jar.

Step 3.
Set the jar in the pantry or cupboard, out of direct sunlight, where it can stay for 2-3 weeks. Shake the jar every couple of days.

After 2-3 Weeks: 
Once the liquid has turned an orangey color, it's ready to use! The peels should look kind of gross and pickled, they might have some brown spots, and they will no longer be floating at the top.

Citrus Vinegar cleaning concentrate, ready to use.
You can use the concentrate by itself to spot clean really grimy stuff, but I suggest diluting it with water to make different types of cleaners whenever you need them. Use the following dilution ratios as a guideline, adjust them to your liking if desired.

Multi-Purpose Spray, Dilution 1:1
To make an all purpose counter top cleaning spray, fill a spray bottle halfway with the vinegar concentrate, fill the rest of the way with water. I use this for kitchen surfaces as well as bathroom counters and sometimes a quick wipe down of the shower in between deep cleaning.

Floor Cleaner, Dilution 1:3 
Put one part concentrate with 3 parts water in a bucket, use to clean floors with a mop as you would do with commercial cleaner. Use on linoleum or tile flooring. Avoid use on hardwood floors.

Dish De-Crudder, Dilution (approximately) 1:10
Pour about one cup of concentrate into your sink (make sure the drain is plugged) and fill the sink with HOT hot water and one teaspoon of dish soap. Let the dishes soak until the water has cooled significantly. This should help speed up the cleaning process of any dishes that may have dried up junk on them from the night before.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Pour 1/4 cup of concentrate into your toilet bowl and scrub. Let sit 15-20 minutes then scrub once more, if needed, and flush.

Other ways to use the 1:1 multi-purpose spray:

Car Interior: dampen a rag with the spray and use it to wipe down your car dash, doors, center console, etc

Bathroom Sink: Sprinkle some baking soda on the inside of your bathroom sink, scrub thoroughly with a scrub brush or steel wool. Spray the inside of the sink with the multi purpose spray and let sit 5 minutes. Scrub once more if desired, and then rinse.

Dishes with food baked on: Spray on the dishes thoroughly and let sit 20 mins, then wash. Most food will come off with very little effort after this.

Microwave Cleaner: Pour 1/4 cup of solution into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. The steam will loosen any food splatter. Wipe clean with a rag or towel.

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