Monday, September 9, 2013

Citrus All-Purpose Spray Recipe

As more and more people are raising questions about the ingredients and safety of common household cleaners, many are turning to plain white vinegar as a substitute.  I use vinegar to clean toilets, bathroom  counter tops, and sinks.  Vinegar is an amazing cleaner.  Take a minute to Google it and you'll see the hundreds of uses.  Straight vinegar isn't safe for all surfaces, but it's still pretty darn handy.

The problem with vinegar is that it smells like, well, vinegar.  The smell dissipates in a few hours, but in the meantime, your whole house smells like a giant pickle.  I've heard people suggesting adding some essential oil to straight vinegar, but to me it just ends up smelling like essential oil AND vinegar.  Not a whole lot of blending going on.

A few months ago I was on the hunt to find a way to use the cleaning power of vinegar without the vinegar smell, and stumbled upon Crunchy Betty's post on herb infused vinegar for cleaning.  I generally grow several herbs in my garden per season and immediately began experimenting with blending herbs, citrus peels, and essential oils into vinegar.  I ended up with cleaners that smelled earthy and herbal, cleaners that smelled like candy, cleaners that smelled sharp and clean!  I always keep some sort of infused vinegar on hand now, and I make a different scent every time.  This time around, I made a citrus cleaner.

Citrus All-Purpse Spray
-Large jar with lid
-Measuring cup (or other vessel with a spout for pouring)
-Lemons (about 2)
-Sweet orange essential oil
-White vinegar

1. Fill a clean, large jar with vinegar, but leave some room at the top.  You'll be adding lemon peels to this, so you need to have some space.

2. You'll end up using the peel of about 2 lemons, give or take.  I like to use lemons for my water, and after I squeeze a wedge, I cut off the meat and much of the pith (the white part).  Don't worry about getting all of the pith.  It's not important.  After removing the meat and some pith, drop the peel slice into the vinegar, and close the jar.  Each time you use a lemon wedge for your drinks or cooking, remove the meat and some of the pith and add it to the jar.  Replace the lid each time.  Of course, if you happen to have a lot of lemon peel lying around because you used a lot of lemon juice for a recipe or made lemonade, by all means, you can add all the peel in at one time.  One slice at a time is just my limited waste way of doing it.

3. Continue to add more lemon peels to the jar as you use them.  Don't be concerned that some of the lemon peels are newer than others.  That's not important.

4. Shake the jar every few days.  Let the vinegar infuse from a few days to a few weeks from the point that you put the first lemon peel in.  Check it every few days to see if it smells lemony enough for you.  I let mine sit for about two weeks, but it could be ready in just a few days.

5. Strain the vinegar into a large measuring cup, removing the peels.  Add 10 drops of the sweet orange oil an stir.

6. Pour into an empty, clean spray bottle.

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