If you’ve made the switch to green cleaners, you’ve made a smart, healthy choice for yourself and your household. And if you choose to DIY your own cleaning solutions, even better! Making your own cleaners is cheaper, healthier and better for the environment than buying toxic commercial cleaners.
Even if you’re not crafty, don’t be daunted by the DIY process. In fact, there’s only one ingredient you really need to make most DIY cleaners: Vinegar. It’s a wonder solution for killing germs and removing odors. But let’s be honest: It doesn’t smell great. Fortunately, you can take advantage of vinegar’s cleaning power without that pickled smell. Here’s how to make your own citrus vinegar cleaning spray.
What you’ll need
- Empty jar with a tight-fitting lid
1. Peel the orange, but don’t throw the peel out. Do whatever you like with the inside of the orange; I recommend eating it.
2. Place the orange peels in the jar.
3. Pour the vinegar into the jar until the jar is full. Screw the lid on tightly.
4. Give the jar a good shake, then place it in a pantry for two weeks, shaking it every other day or so.
At the end of two weeks, your citrus-infused vinegar will be ready. Just pour it through a strainer into a spray bottle in a 1:1 ratio with tap water, then use it to clean everything from your bathroom to your kitchen countertop. Enjoy the refreshing orange scent as you clean. If you’ve got any left over, store it in the fridge.
More expert advice on green cleaning from the AG Blog:
- Cheap Green Cleaning: The Only 5 Products You Need
- Clean Green: Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
- Go Green in Your Apartment Month-by-Month (Infographic)
Other ways to use vinegar in your home
- Place an open dish of vinegar (whether it’s citrus-infused or not; either way will work) in a room to remove the smell of fresh paint or stinky cooking smells, such as fish.
- Remember how you made a volcano for your second-grade science fair? That same chemical reaction — combining vinegar with baking soda — produces a bubbly substance that’s great for cleaning drains. Just let it fizz for half an hour or so, then flush the drain with boiling water.
- Clean your stainless steel appliances with a light misting of undiluted vinegar. Wipe with a soft, clean cloth to remove fingerprints and bring out the shine in your appliances again.
- If you’ve got carpet stains, dissolve two tablespoons of salt in half a cup of white vinegar. Pour it on the stain, lightly rub it in, let it dry for a few hours, then vacuum. For darker stains, add 2 tablespoons of borax to the mix, then use it the same way.
For serious cleanup, skip the vinegar
Vinegar is a mild disinfectant that’s perfectly effective for most household messes, but if you’ve got something that needs serious disinfecting – such as meat juice on your countertop – don’t turn to vinegar.
You don’t need to buy toxic cleaners even for these messes; hot, soapy water will do the trick. First, wipe up the mess with a paper towel and immediately throw it in the trash. Put a few drops of castile soap in a bottle of hot water, spray the area where the juice was, then rub vigorously with a different rag or paper towel. Finally, wash your hands thoroughly.
How do you use vinegar in your home?