How To Make an All-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner Using Citrus Peels

updated Jun 8, 2019
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(Image credit: Gina Eykemans)

Oh, how I love the glorious citrus season that erupts during California winter! The weather is still brisk when I go out for my walks around my neighborhood, but the trees in my neighbors yards are bursting with color. There are oranges, lemons and limes dripping off of trees, spilling over fences and begging to be used up!

That being said, I can’t curb my citrus consumption, and in the spirit of the old adage “waste not, want not”, I’ve been saving the peels and re-purposing them into a two ingredient non-toxic all purpose cleaner. You’ll be amazed at how easy this is!

If you follow along with some of our cleaning tutorials, you’ll see how much we love vinegar as a natural cleaning agent. In fact, I totally cleaned my ENTIRE grimy oven using only vinegar and baking soda. It’s effective and safe for those of us who are sensitive to harsher chemicals.

The only problem with vinegar is… well, it smells like vinegar. And, although I don’t mind so much that my sink smells like salad dressing, I’d like it a whole lot better if it didn’t. Enter: CITRUS.

When you allow your discarded citrus peels to sit in vinegar for a few weeks, it infuses the vinegar with the oils and scents of the peel. Oranges work great for this (although I’ve used nearly every type of citrus peel). The oils in the citrus not only provide a great scent, but also provide a bit of extra cleaning power. It’s a win-win.

Have you ever made this before? What are your favorite ways to re-purpose citrus peels? Share some inspiration in the comments!

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As you use up different types of citrus, save the peels instead of throwing them away. (Image credit: Gina Eykemans)

How To Make an All-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner Using Citrus Peels

What You Need

Citrus peels (enough to fill at least half of your mason jar)
White vinegar (enough to fill up your mason jar, and cover the peels)

1 large mason jar with a fitted lid (I prefer a large jar such as a half gallon or a couple of quart jars).
Fine mesh sieve
Large bowl
Spray bottle


  1. Save your citrus peels: As you use up different types of citrus, save the peels instead of throwing them away. Add these peels to a large mason jar.
  2. Add those citrus peels to a jar of vinegar: As you collect citrus peels, add them to a large mason until it’s filled at least half way. (This could take a few weeks.) Once the jar has enough peels, pour vinegar over the peels until it fills the jar. Cover your jar with a lid, and allow it to sit in a dark place for two weeks. The longer you let it sit, the more the citrus will infuse into the vinegar.
  3. Strain it: After two weeks, strain your citrus cleaner using a fine mesh sieve placed over a large bowl. Discard the peels.
  4. Pour the cleaner into a bottle: Add your citrus cleaner to a spray bottle and use it as you would any other all purpose cleaner.


  • Want to add a little something extra to your cleaner? Throw in a handful of herbs. I personally love adding in thyme or rosemary. They both smell great with the citrus!

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