Vinegar is the mecca of all-natural cleaning solutions. I think it’s fairly well known that diluted vinegar makes a fantastic all-purpose cleaner (and if you didn’t know before, you do now!). Some of the lesser-known purposes of vinegar include:
- whitening clothes in the laundry (as effective as bleach)
- ridding the smell of skunk (works better than tomato juice)
- keeping ants away (spray in their path to divert)
- removing the paint smell from a freshly painted room (place an open container in the room)
- loosening grime and grit on a grill (use just before cleaning)
- unclogging drains (when used with baking soda)
- unclogging soap-scum-filled shower heads (soak shower head in container of vinegar)
- removing stains and “burns” on stainless steel or aluminum cookware
The uses are endless really. It’s almost better to try vinegar as a solution to the problem first, and then try something else. In my research I found 1001 uses for vinegar here. If you’ve got some down time, read up and be enlightened! Who knew vinegar could help rid the stench of soured milk baby vomit in the car!
Not that I would know anything about that last one… ahem.
We’ve been going through a lot of citrus fruits lately…ever since we started drinking smoothies when I received this powerful hunk of machinery for my birthday.
Oh yes, that my loyal readers, is a Blendtec. Commonly known in YouTube-land as “the blender that will turn an iPod into dust.” And it’s all MINE!
Just kidding… kinda. It was a birthday present, so it’s technically mine, but we keep it in the kitchen (nope, not the bathroom) so it’s available for the family to use too. And the whole family does! Mr. Crumbs and I make smoothies like crazy and the Boy and Girl like to press “the button.” It’s a family love affair, really. 🙂
My point though, is not how much we love our blender (although we really do), it’s about making your own citrus infused vinegar without “doing” anything. I love these type of projects!!
Remember when I said we were going through a lot of citrus fruits? Well when I read about various purposes for orange peels, I knew it would be a great idea for other citrus fruits too. Now I have a purpose for those peels!
I took one of my handy dandy empty glass jars and whenever we peeled a citrus for a smoothie, we put the peel in the jar. I filled the jar with white vinegar (bought in bulk at Costco for CHEAP) until the peel was covered and let it sit. Literally. It sits alone on a shelf in my garage. There is no work required by me in order to make this awesome vinegar.
We keep adding various citrus of all varieties (it’s held lemon, orange and lime at the same time) and top it off with vinegar. When it’s full (like it was last week), I can use it to mop the floor (1 cup of citrus vinegar to ½ sink of warm water) or dilute it into a spray bottle for an all-natural, all-purpose cleaner, or basically substitute it for any recipe or cleaning solution that calls for white vinegar.
Some of you may be asking – why bother with the citrus? Why not just use straight-up plain white vinegar?
Easy. Because my husband can’t stand the smell.
And I’m not a huge fan either. I can tolerate it fine in small doses, but our house can smell awfully vinegary if we’re doing a mega-cleaning session. This is usually right before company comes over (not that I only clean my house when company comes over) and I don’t really want a big fat whiff of vinegar to hit my company in the face when they walk in the door. I’d rather them smell the bread!
I tested out the solution by mopping the floor last week (as I mentioned above). While standing next to the sink, I could smell a faint hint of vinegar when I poured it in, but then it quickly dissipated. I smelled the same faint smell as I was mopping, but the citrus smell was there too. It wasn’t strong though – my bathroom and kitchen floors didn’t smell like straight-up lemon. Somehow the magical combination of the ingredients simply made the rooms smell “fresh and clean.”
Mr. Crumbs opinion? He couldn’t smell the vinegar at all when he came home.
I’ve been using some mass-produced chemically-altered don’t-drink-it-or-you’ll-die off-the-shelf all-purpose cleaner (yuck) since Mr. Crumbs banned vinegar from the house (which is why I keep it in the garage), but I’m honestly looking forward to tossing that icky stuff and using this newly upgraded citrus vinegar instead. I love the fact that citrus vinegar requires no work from me (have I mentioned that yet?), but my house will smell “clean” instead of “cleaner.” AND I wouldn’t be worried if one of the kids drank the stuff. And when I say “one of the kids,” I really mean The Girl.
She’s a tricky one!
Do you clean with vinegar?
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Thanks for the citrus idea Tiffany! I clean everything in my house with vinegar, in my opinion the smell goes away fast👍🏻 To clean the bathrooms, floors and things that will not be in contact with food, I dilute vinegar, water and add a few drops of essential oils. Love it!
I will safe my peels in the freezer till I have enough to fill my big jar…about 2-3 litres.
When readied, after sieving off the peels, I add water into the jar of peels and strain, then use the water for mopping. Been using this for a year now.
What ratio of water / vinegar do you use for fruit & veggie wash ???
This post will help Darlene! https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2017/05/9-fruit-and-veggie-wash-recipes/
Hi. Just came across this article after reading your DIY apple cider vinegar recipe. Could you let me know if the jar should be closed after topping the peels off with vinegar? Or should it be left open like the ACV in the first phase? Thank you much!
Hi Jessie! I always close the jar for this infused vinegar since you’re starting with vinegar. You need the open jar for fermentation in the ACV. 🙂
Got it. Will start my stash soon. Thank you!
Has anyone used Grapefruit? I have a real thing about pink grapefruit and usually eat one every day through the winter months as my “dessert” after dinner. I would love to be able to put all the peel to a good use!
I haven’t but have a friend who will only do this with grapefruit. She says it works quite well.
Grapefruit should work well too Angel. I’m testing pineapple as well!
I used grapefruit and it appears to be fine. I will say that on some of the peels (not all), I do see white—on first glance, I thought it was mold, but it seems to just be a deterioration of the peel?! I’m not super freaked out by it (I’m likely going to be internet shamed by this comment…), but definitely make sure you’re submerging all of your fruit in the vinegar, no air pockets!
Hi, I like to use vinegar for mopping the floor too. Since i used a store bought solution that stained my white baseboards… Yep. But my hubby and I can not stand the smell of vinegar either. So I came up with a solution.. I mix water with a littli bit of vinegar, two pumps of dish soap and few drops of essential oil. It smells amazing. No one knows there was vinegar in the water!
We only use vinegar(s) and olive oil on our salads. No purchased salad dressings with all of the added junk. Anyway, I was buying pricey white balsamic lemon vinegar until I figured out I could take lemon peels, soak them in white vinegar and strain. Now I use this for our salads and it is delicious.
I love this idea and have a jar full in the making right now! I have been using a lot of lime and lemon zest for cooking these days. Will the lemons and limes still work even with most of the peel grated off?
I think so Joelle, but you might need to use more of them. I know that all parts of the citrus are beneficial, but some of scent and grease-action comes from the peel. I’d just add more and steep longer personally. 😉
I love using citrus infused vinegar for cleaning. Do you have any idea about which % of acidity works best? At my store there is vinegar with 6 or 9% acidity.
Hi Jennifer! I have not heard anything about the percentage of acidity effecting the cleaning power. Either should be fine, especially since you’re diluting it anyway. I don’t think it would matter unless you’re consuming the vinegar, at which point 5-6% would likely be best.
Thanks. I’ve been using the one with higher acidity thinking that meant stronger, but wondering if I’m wrong. So far so good, though.
Can you put in the lemon/orange halves from juicing? I think there is a little more on it than just the peel. Thanks, love the idea!
Oh yes, that would be a great idea! If the fruit itself clogs the spray tube/nozzle, turn it upside and rinse under warm water. 🙂
So then do you leave the peels in the spray bottle after you’ve soaked them?
No, we strain the peels after soaking. Still, tiny little pieces of pulp are bound to be inside. Every now and then, one gets stuck. 🙂
Maybe strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter?
Trying this this week, thanks for the good ideas
I use one of those Downy balls and fill it (to the large load line) with vinegar when I wash laundry instead of fabric softener. It helps get the extra soap off the clothes (extra soap is what causes that crunchy, scratchiness you get without softener).
It started because I’m too lazy to wash the cloth diapers we use separate from the kids clothes and other laundry. This ensures the diapers don’t lose their absorbency and that the clothes aren’t ultra scratchy from skipping the softener.
Ah, great idea Lynda!
My husband HATES vinegar…the smell, the taste…So this sounds good!! I am wondering if I strain it before using or what? I would love to put it in a spray bottle but don’t want the spray mechanism to get clogged. How long do I need to let it sit before I can use it? Any other tips regarding using it would be great! Just stumbled onto your website but love it already!!:)
Hi KK! So glad you found Crumbs!
Yes, strain it before you use it. Also dilute with 1-1 ratio of water (or so). An old spaghetti jar filled w/fruit, then w/vinegar yields me enough citrus vinegar to fill a dollar store squirt bottle half way. I fill the rest with water and call it done! It usually sits for 1-2 weeks. The spray nozzle hasn’t gotten clogged yet, but super hot water can fix that up for you if it ever does happen. Tips… use it for all regular cleaning, lol. It cleans so well and the scent is so fresh. I think the key limes are my favorite so far!
Will lemon/citrus essential oil work in the vinegar as well. We can’t eat a lot of citrus for various reasons, so we don’t have too many peels.
I used to do that. My husband still complained (I tried lemon, orange, eucalyptus at different times and in different combinations). We’re all much happier using the orange peels. Maybe you have a friend who loves citrus and will keep a bag of peels in the fridge for you?
Yes, I have been making this and adding it to my dishwasher. It keeps the hard water stains out. I use more citrus packed to the top, leave it outside in sun, and even put some lavender in there. Thanks for sharing this amazing versatile concoction. I will try it on my floors. Good idea.
Great idea Tara!
I love it!!
I have been a user of vinegar for YEARS now, not only for all purpose cleaning (I usually use white for this because it’s cheaper), but also using apple cider vinegar as a disinfectant for cuts and scrapes (kids hate it, but it works), mole remover (thanks to your post!), face toner, hair rinse, detoxer, salad dressing, ummmm…just about anything.
My husband hates the smell and used to complain until he read an article one day about how great the benefits are 🙂
I am going to try the citrus infused version, it’s sounds great, thanks!
Audry! Did the ACV on the mole work for you? How exciting! If he hates the smell like mine does, citrus should be ok. We’ve used all the citrus fruits before, but be sure to cover them with the vinegar sooner rather than later… I let the peels sit for a couple days (or maybe it was longer?) w/o the vinegar and they molded. 🙁 At least we peel oranges daily, lol. ~Tiffany
YES!! It worked for the moles (2 under the arm pit), but the medical tape (latex, I assume) gave me a rash but I stuck with it. It was painful (the tape) and I have 2 more on my back that I had to stop because of the rash, but I will do it again after my skin heals (that was about 3 weeks ago).
I love your tips, articles, and reminders!! Thank you so much for all you do!
I’ve always meant to start cleaning with vineagar but I also can’t stand the smell. I’ll have to try your suggestion.
Isn’t this stuff the bomb? I have found it to be a brightener also. Our highchair trays were a dingy white color. The stinky stuff (regular vinegar/water) would clean them, but they were always dingy. They brightened right up when I started using citrus vinegar.
*Another use- put a couple of drops of vinegar in the dog’s water bowl, their urine will be neutralized. No more yellow spots where Fido relieved himself!
The brightening affect would explain why it makes whites whiter in the laundry (haven’t tested it myself, nor put two and two together, lol). Wish I knew that dog trick back when we were training our first pup!
Here’s another way to make a vinegar cleaner: Put any amount of white vinegar in a plastic spray bottle. Heat in microwave till quite hot. Then add 1/2 the amount of Dawn dishwashing liquid. Shake till mixed. You do not need to heat the mixture every time you use it.
has anyone found any uses for the Peale arfter you strain the vinegar off?? i ushely put the siev i use over a bucket an pore boiling water over them an into the bucket an squeeze the peals out over the bucket making shore i have washing up gloves on so i dont burn myself then use that to mope the floor with. but then the peal goes in the bin as they don’t collect green waste where i am an i live in a flat so cant compost myself as have no garden .