Monday, June 9, 2014

DIY Natural Citrus All Purpose Cleaner

After sharing my kitchen wishlist, I think it's time to share one of my kitchen cleaning secrets: A chemical free, dirt busting, natural cleaning kind of DIY that costs next to nothing and smells way better than any cleaning product I've tried. A DIY that is long overdue.

As I've vaguely mentioned before, I have been in the process of trying to detox my life for nearly a year now. First went the chemical-laden makeup, though I still haven't used all of what I owned before this detox attempt. Instead of just tossing it, I'm using it up as I go, which has been a slooow process since I don't wear makeup on a daily basis anymore. I plan on continuing to replace my makeup with homemade versions of each product as I run out instead of buying more. It's generally cheaper, and it's fun! I feel like a mad scientist some days. Besides, I just can't resist a DIY. But I'll leave that for another post. Back to the point.

After makeup I tried working on food, which has been the biggest challenge because of budget as well as a Grandpa who is fond of sharing and/or pushing pastries, candy, tv dinners, and grilled cheese sandwiches made with Wonderbread and those Kraft Singles "cheese" slices. Why do things that are so bad for you have to taste so good?! Food is definitely an ongoing battle, but I'll save that for another post as well. (You can follow The Healthy Squid on Instagram for my food-related adventures)

The third part of this detox focuses on household cleaning products. As someone who suffers from migraines, often triggered by ridiculous things, I never really could handle the smell of most cleaners to begin with. I used to wear a painter's mask when spraying Windex and Lysol, and open as many windows as I could while cleaning. Which is probably along the lines of what you're supposed to do when using these products anyway. I wouldn't know though, I rarely read the labels other than "directions for use" (shh, I know, bad.)

Once I started making my own beauty products, I wondered if I could replace those awful-smelling cleaning products as easily. It turns out, duh, I can. It didn't even take any internet sleuthing in the beginning. I remembered my Grandma wiping down counter and stove tops with vinegar from when I was little, so that's where I started. Of course I'm not a huge fan of the smell of vinegar either, so after much breath-holding and under-breath muttering, I decided I needed to mask the smell. In keeping with my new found love for alternative food uses, I started wondering what foods might be good for cleaning. Lemons immediately came to mind. I'd long ago adopted my Mum's habit of using them to bleach unwanted body hair, as well as keep problem areas for dry skin, like elbows and knees, smooth. Plus, there were tonnes of commercial cleaning products boasting the power of lemon or orange, right? A quick Google search confirmed that lemons were indeed good for cleaning - better than good actually. According to wiki lemons are good for deodorizing, removing grease and stains, disinfecting, use as insecticide, polishing wood, and as an added bonus, the smell of lemon is a mood-booster. Not too shabby for a li'l ol' lemon.

And so the lemon-vinegar all purpose cleaning method was born. In my house anyway. Let's be honest, it's been around long before I decided to take it up, but feel free to pretend I invented it ;)

Time is more accurate than patience. You can literally toss it in a jar and forget about it for a couple weeks.

*For some reason my photos won't upload at this time. I'll update this post asap*

All you need to do is fill your container halfway with white vinegar, and toss in citrus fruit peels as you use up the fruit. Make sure to remove all the fruit from the peel or you may end up with a sticky residue when you clean. You're aiming to use the oils in the peel, not the fruit itself. Make sure the peels are covered by the vinegar, adding more as needed. Once the concoction has sat around infused for a couple weeks, go ahead and bust it out on your home. I like to strain mine into a plastic spray bottle because I find it easier to clean with, but you could just pour it onto the surface in need of cleaning too.

In my experience, the longer the mixture is allowed to sit, the sweeter the smell. I used up the last bit of cleaner leftover from my original batch made in October 2013 back in early February, and I thought it smelled heavenly by the end. At that point, you could barely catch a whiff of the vinegar anymore, and I actually couldn't wait to clean with it since the whole room smelled fresh afterward.

I love that this uses up my scraps that would normally be tossed in the trash, that there are no harsh smells, chemicals, or ridiculous amounts of money involved. And I especially love the job it does (get rid of really tough splatters with a little baking soda sprayed with this vinegar). Try it out and let me know if you love it as much as I do. Happy cleaning!


currently listening to: Phoenix by Zebrahead

1 comment:

  1. Good thinking! There are quite a few bloggers who tackle everyday messes in their kitchens. Sharing your own cleaner recipe will indeed help the lot of us. At any rate, the ingredients and steps seem simple enough, so I'm pretty sure that that cleaner will be easy to fall in love with. Thanks for sharing that with us, Berlyn! All the best to you! :)

    Bo Tolbert @ HJS Supply Co.


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