Green Cleaning: Citrus Vinegars

I’ve become sort of hippy these days. And by sort of, I mean every day I just go deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of green living. I’m okay with this, though! I know I get funny looks, and while they’re supportive, I have a few friends and family members who like to poke fun. But I just keep chugging along, knowing that I’m making changes to make mine and my family’s lives better and healthier.

One of the first and easiest switches to a greener life that I made was my cleaning habits. I’ve stopped buying any off-the-shelf, pre-mixed cleaning solutions like Clorox, 409, etc. Now that I’ve seen how easy (and cost-efficient!) it is to clean green, I literally can’t wrap my mind around why anyone would go back to use those expensive, chemical-filled products. I know that sounds judgemental, but I just want to scream from the roof tops: “THIS BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR CLEANS MY OVEN WAY BETTER THAN ANY OVEN CLEANER OUT THERE AND HAS 100% LESS CHEMICALS AND COSTS SIGNIFICANTLY LESS!” It’s a little extreme, but obviously I’m an extreme person.

I’ll probably keep this “Green Cleaning” thing as a series on this blog, as I already have some essentials, and I’m learning more every day.

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Vinegar is one of those absolutely essential items in green cleaning. I use it for everything: all-purpose cleaners, carpet cleaners, window cleaners, etc. However, as I’m sure most of you know, it smells terrible. For a while, I just accepted this, adding in what felt like a million drops of essential oil to my cleaners – not just for their cleaning benefits, but to hopefully cover up the scent of the vinegar. Now, I don’t care what any blogger or youtuber tells you – essential oils will not cover up the scent of vinegar. Maybe if you dump the whole bottle in, sure. However, that’s not at all cost efficient.

So, I did some research, and came up with an idea. My husband and I always have citrus fruits that are on the verge of going bad. We’re terrible, I know. Even if we do eat an orange or use a lemon for something, I hate throwing away the rind. Not only is it just contributing to the massive landfills that fill our country (and world, really), I know they can be useful (even if they taste like bitter shit). Lemon and orange oil have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, so what better way to use them than to clean with them?! I use them in my vinegar (obviously), but if you’re not down for natural cleaners yet, you can always throw them into your garbage disposal and let them naturally freshen up your sink!

Jump below the picture for the “instructions” on this concoction! And by instructions I mean the three, probably pretty obvious, steps.

Citrus Vinegar - 2

Ingredients:

  • Citrus of your choice – either just the rinds or sliced up
  • Vinegar of your choice – I use white distilled vinegar
  • Jar or container with lid – I use mason jars because I’m predictable

Directions:

  • Put citrus in jar or container.
  • Pour vinegar in jar or container, close the lid, and let steep anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks or more.
  • Use in your favorite green cleaning recipe and know you’re taking one more baby step to helping your family, and the Earth, be healthier.
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