You could buy a lemon-scented all-purpose cleaner at the store, or you could make your own using real lemons and some white distilled vinegar. You see, thanks to its concentration of acetic acid, vinegar is a potent cleaner and it's wildly useful around the kitchen for all sorts of tasks (think: windows, countertops, cabinet hardware, and more).
The only problem is that it, uh, smells like vinegar. That's where the lemon rinds come in. The oils in the rinds help mask the harsh vinegar smell and they provide a bit of extra cleaning power. Hurray!
It's actually not all that complicated. Sure, it takes a couple of weeks to make, but most of the time is spent letting the rinds soak in vinegar. All you really have to do? Peel a bunch of rinds and put them in a jar. After a few weeks, you can strain the mixture and get to the cleaning.
But Will It Be Effective?
Yes! For a lot of jobs! Vinegar can lift stains, break down soap scum, clean wood cabinets, and more. Plus, various studies have found that vinegar can kill mold and inhibit the growth of some strains of E. coli. (Note: More studies are needed. While some people use vinegar as a disinfectant, we suggest this spray for cleaning.)
Learn More About Vinegar
How To Make an All-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner Using Lemon Peels
What You Need
- Lemon peels (you'll need enough to fill at least half of your Mason jar)
- White vinegar (you'll need enough to fill up your Mason jar, and cover the peels)
- 1 large Mason jar with a tight-fitting lid
- Fine-mesh sieve
- Large bowl
- Spray bottle
- Save your lemon peels: Making a giant pitcher of fresh lemonade? Great! Peel the rinds into sizable chunks and add them to a large Mason jar. You want the rinds to fill the jar about halfway.
- Add the vinegar: Pour vinegar over the peels until the jar is full.
- Replace the lid: Put the lid on the jar and allow it to sit in a dark place for at least two weeks. The longer you let it sit, the more the lemon will infuse into the vinegar.
- Strain the mixture: After two weeks, strain the mixture using a fine-mesh sieve placed over a large bowl. Discard the peels.
- Pour the cleaner into a bottle: Add the lemon cleaner to a spray bottle and use it as you would any other all-purpose cleaner.
- If you don't have enough lemon rinds at once, you can collect them over time by storing them in a jar with vinegar. Then, once you have enough peels, add a little more vinegar to top off the jar before you let it sit.
- You can add limes and oranges to this, too!