Cleaning Vinegar

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In our town, once a year, a man comes from Florida and sells boxes of oranges and grapefruit from his truck. He drives to local businesses and neighborhoods, selling his boxes of fresh picked fruit. It is an honest, old fashioned way to make a living, if you ask me. The nostalgia of this practice is not lost on me and I am happy to support this man’s way of providing for his family. So, every year, I purchase a 50 pound box of Florida oranges. The first year I purchased oranges, I was left wondering what exactly I was going to do with them! Read on for inspiration…perhaps you have found yourself with one too many oranges?

How to Use An Abundance of Fresh Oranges

Now, I very easily could have juiced all of the oranges and been done with them. How easy would that have been?! But, I was determined to use them in a multitude of ways. You know, to get more bang for my buck. So here’s what I did:

  1. First, using and electric juicer, I juiced oranges, filling quart sized canning jars and leaving 1″ headspace. Then, I put a lid and ring on the jars and placed them in the freezer for future use. (Save your spent orange peels!)
  2. Next, I thinly sliced enough oranges, with the peel intact, to fill my two food dehydrators. I then sprinkled them with cinnamon and enjoyed the all-natural air freshener while I waited for them to dry. Once dry, I stored half of them in quart size canning jars. Dried oranges are a wonderful addition to hot tea. After that, I strung the other half of the dried oranges on jute twine and made a garland for the fireplace and one for the kitchen.
  3. Some of the oranges were segmented, then frozen. Once unthawed, they make a wonderful snack, or can be added to smoothies.
  4. Some were ate fresh.
  5. Last, I made an all-natural cleaner with the leftover orange peels from making juice.

My chickens and pigs will not eat the citrus peels and it felt gluttonous to throw all of them away. Therefore, I made citrus cleaning vinegar with them. Below, I am going to show you how to make your own Citrus Cleaning Vinegar. It is sure to become your new favorite cleaner!

Your New Favorite Cleaner

Citrus cleaning vinegar has been a cleaning staple in my home for 10 years. It is my all-purpose kitchen cleaner and my tried and true spring cleaning buddy. It is all-natural and has two simple ingredients, therefore, I don’t hesitate to allow my small children to use it when they help me clean. Citrus cleaning vinegar takes approximately 10 minutes of active time and 6 weeks of inactive time. You essentially assemble it and forget about it! How easy is that?

Are you making fresh squeezed juice? Save your scraps! This cleaner can be made in small or large batches, using lemons or oranges.

Step One

  • Enough squeezed lemons or oranges to fill a quart mason jar snugly
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Quart mason jar with lid and ring
  1. First, fill your mason jar with the squeezed, spent peels from your citrus (lemon or orange), filling the jar to the top snugly. Do not pack your jar as you will need to leave enough room to fill it with vinegar.
  2. Next, to the jar packed with citrus peels, add white distilled vinegar, filling to the top.
  3. Finally, place the lid and ring on your jar and place the jar in a dark cabinet for 6 weeks.

The Next Step

Now that the citrus and vinegar have had time to fall in love, get married and age together, it’s time to strain the citrus from the vinegar and bottle it to use!

For this part, you will need:

  • 16oz Glass or plastic bottle with adjustable sprayer head
  • Water
  • Funnel
  1. Start by placing the funnel in the top of the bottle you will be using. Then, pour 1 cup of the vinegar into the spray bottle. Leave the remaining vinegar in the jar with the citrus and cap it for later use.
  2. Then, to the spray bottle, add enough water to fill the bottle. Finally, screw the sprayer head on the bottle and give it a gentle shake.
  3. Spray the citrus cleaning vinegar on the area to be cleaned. Then use a damp cloth to wipe clean.

Suggestions For Use

  • Dirty kitchen table
  • Child’s high chair
  • Wood, porcelain, ceramic or vinyl floors
  • Countertops
  • Stovetops
  • Window screens
  • Window sills
  • Wood coffee tabletops
  • Stair spindles, treads and toe kicks
  • Walls, trim and woodwork
  • Outdoor plastic furniture

You are only two ingredients away from your new, favorite cleaner. The cleaning possibilities really are endless! What will you clean with your citrus cleaning vinegar?


  • After two weeks, your vinegar will start to yellow and age. This is normal.
  • The peel from citrus, or the entire peel and squeezed meat can be used in this cleaner.
  • The vinegar preserves the citrus, preventing mold from appearing. Because of this, the cleaner can be stored for a long time. I have had batches last up to two years.
  • Lemons and oranges have naturally occurring oil in their peel. You may notice what looks like oil at the top of your vinegar. This is normal, and in fact, good! The natural oil will aid in your cleaning efforts.

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