White vinegar is one of my favorite all-natural cleaning ingredients. It can be used for everything from deodorizing laundry to washing floors. But… let’s face it, white vinegar isn’t the most pleasant smelling or exciting cleaner. Luckily it’s easy to make infused orange vinegar for cleaning to liven up your green cleaning routine.
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Scented Vinegar for Cleaning
An easy and inexpensive way to freshen the smell of vinegar is by infusing it with citrus peels. I love using oranges but you can use any citrus fruit from lemon and grapefruit to tangerines and limes.
Orange Vinegar for Cleaning Instructions
To make orange vinegar for cleaning you’ll need a glass container, orange peels and white vinegar. (I use a Mason jar but any glass container with a lid will do.)
- Fill your glass container with orange peels (Any citrus peels will work).
- Pour white vinegar to cover the peels. (Make the infusion process faster by heating the vinegar, get the instructions.)
- Close container tightly and place in dark place for several week. (I put mine under the kitchen sink for 2-4 weeks.) The orange peels will infuse the vinegar with natural scent and color.
- Remove from cupboard, strain out the peels, and use for cleaning.
Cleaning with Orange Vinegar
- Sink Disposal Cleaning – Grind the vinegar soaked peels in the garbage disposal to clean and freshen it. Use a boiling water rinse for a clean, deodorized disposal.
- Multi-Purpose Cleaner – Mix 1/4 – 1/2 cup vinegar with 4 cups water and use to clean counter tops, floors or windows. (Learn how to make my upcycled spray bottle.) I also use this mixture to fill my “quick mop” for weekly floor cleaning. I use it on tile and linoleum floors (get my favorite hardwood floor cleaner recipe here) .
- Bathroom Cleaner – Use full strength to help remove hard water stains when cleaning the bathroom. Dilute to scrub sinks and showers.
- Fabric Softener – Add to the rinse cycle to natural soften and freshen laundry.
Citrus Infused Vinegar
Try infusing several jars of vinegar with different citrus peels. You can also combine peels for a new scent combination.
Tip: Several years ago I ditched my mop with disposable pads and commercial cleaner for a refillable mop with a washable pad. I love that it produces less waste, uses non-toxic cleaners, and it is made in the United States!
More Scented Vinegar for Cleaning
Like cleaning with orange vinegar? Check out my other favorite DIY vinegar scents.
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I’ve been making this for years, but I never know what to do with the leftover vinegar-soaked orange peels. Can they be used for something? Dried? mulched?
I have been saving them in closed baggies, but want to have a third “no-waste” use for them.
Kate, I have found 2 good uses: 1) add them to the compost pile or 2) freeze them and then grind one or two at a time in the kitchen sink disposal to freshen up. Let me know if you find anther good use!
Thanks for the help!
I want to know if I can use apple vinegar, because I have lots.
I’ve never made it with apple cider vinegar, I think the apple smell would overwhelm the orange. Let me know if you try!
What happens if I use a plastic container ? I have no glass ones
The plastic can leech into the mixture, use an old vinegar container or sturdy plastic and you should be fine!
Is it okay if i used orange peels that’s been dry for days? Like it’s been exposed in air so
Yes, they should still work fine. Get them into the vinegar as soon as possible.
How long does the vinegar solution (with the soaked lemon and orange peel) last? and is there any difference in soaking it for 2,4 6, 8, etc. months (potency-wise or in terms of effectiveness)?
Does the orange vinegar spray attract bugs?
I’ve never had it attract bugs.
Can I use this cleaner on laminate floors?
I have successfully diluted the orange vinegar and used it to clean laminate floors. I would check with your manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations or spot test all new cleaners.
Can I use a plastic jar that I bought grapefruit in? Instead of glass?
Mary, you can use glass or plastic. I prefer glass to prevent plastic chemicals from leaching into the cleaner.
Hi! Can I keep adding peels to the jar periodically? Thank you!
It’s better to add the peels all at once.
Can I cheat and use store bought lemon juice instead of the rind? Is so, how much to 1/4 or 1/2 cup of vinegar?
No, the citrus oil is in the rind.
After a bout one week, the inner air pressure inside the bottle has become very strong. When I open the lid to check, there was strong gas erupting with even greater intensity than beer.
Is this normal? As the gas keep accumulating, I am afraid that my bottles might explode sometimes in the future.
Are you peels completely covered? It sounds like they are fermenting and giving off gas. This is not normal!
I made this cleaner but it seems to leave a noticeable film on my black granite counter top. So I added more water to it. But it still leaves a film. Have I done something wrong?
Irene, vinegar shouldn’t be used on granite. The acetic acid can damage the surface. Use this cleaner instead: all purpose cleaner. Save the vinegar for cleaning toilets, sinks, the inside of the fridge, etc.
Thank you very much for the info.
Looking forward to trying this recipe!
How long will the strained solution keep for?
It keeps for quite a long time, Helena. I have some under my sink that is a year old and still looks/smells great.
I saw the same recipe on another blog, but there it was suggested that you remove the white part from the orange peel, but for me it was too much. Now I will make it according to your recipe. Thanks a lot!
Hope it works well for you!
I like natual way for cleaning anything not chemical .
Will the orange vinegar work if it has been stored on the counter?
Yes, you can store it on the counter. Hope it works well for you.
I don’t have a mop with a refillable bottle. To use the vinegars with a regular mop, how much to add for a gallon of water?
I would use about 2 cups in a gallon of water for tile or linoleum floors. I like this cleaner for hardwood floors.
Chemically speaking what does the peel add to the cleaning efficiency? Or is it just for the smell?
Orange peels (or lemon peels) adds to the cleaning power because they naturally contain:
Citric Acid – a mild acid that fights water spots and hard water film
Limonene – a powerful degreaser and solvent
Orange Oil – an uplifting natural fragrance and antibacterial disinfectant
Hey Bren how long is the solution meant to last?
It last for a LONG time! After straining out the solids I’ve stored it under my kitchen sink for 6+ months with no problems.
Are you able to store vinegar in the glass dispenser containers – like the ones used for Ice Tea? I would like to store that way as it easier to use.
I store mine in mason jars so I think an old glass ice tea bottle would work.
I tried the wonder polish and was amazed at what it did for my wood furniture!!!! I’ spreading the word to friends and family.. I was diagnosed with emphysema/COPD about 2 years ago and can no longer most of the commercial products and the natural stuff I can’t afford..So thank you very much!!!!
Thanks, Wilma! I am glad the polish worked well for you!
Fantastic ideas. I usually spray white vinegar on my carpets prior to using the vacuum cleaner. This helps to keep the dust down and freshen the carpet especially with 4 cats. Now I will add the orange/lemon peels. I also have a lemon tree in my garden so that is great. Oranges are in season so that is cheap as well.
Regards Frances from a Sunny South Africa
Great ideas, Frances! I’m jealous of your lemon tree! 😉
Could I make lavendar vinegar since I grow plenty of lavender. Would I use flower and leaves/stems?
Yes, you could make lavender vinegar. You can find instruction here on Food.com.
Hi…I have made this before, and love it. Recently though, I’ve been wondering if maybe we should clean the orange peels good before doing this, due to chemicals being sprayed on the oranges?
You can certainly give them a good scrub if you are not using organic oranges! It won’t hurt anything to wash them.
The orange peel in the disposal is wonderful, but manufacturer’s suggest that you not pour boiling water into the disposal. The upside of the orange peel is that it contains d-limonene which is a great antimicrobial, so the boiling water is really not necessary. D-limonene is also in other citrus fruit peels, but not in the concentrations found in oranges, but sufficient for the disposal cleaning.
Great info, Lynne. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for this non-toxic recipe. I just used the orange/lemon vinegar in my bathroom & it’s sparkling clean (especially the chrome). I tried it on my mirrors & stainless steel appliances full strength & lots of streaks. I searched your site & will try the wonder dressing for the ss & maybe a different cloth for the mirrors?
I would try a microfiber cloth or coffee filter to clean the mirrors. Also, have you seen my glass cleaner recipe? I’m so glad you like the orange vinegar!
Thank you so much for the advise. I’m gonna use these methods. I also like to have a greener home for my familie
Do you use white vinegar that you can use with cooking or do you use cleaning vinegar. I always get confused.
Also is there a way to clean dirty grout. I used bleach but it hurts my eyes and the smell is terible as it is also bad for our health.
I also saw a option with bleach and baking soda but i don’t wanna use bleach anymore. We have a bathroom that get’s mold problems really fast. any tips?
You can use either cooking vinegar or cleaning vinegar, the only difference between the two is that cleaning vinegar has 6% acidity while standard white vinegar has 5% acidity. I buy which ever is cheaper. I use my DIY No Scrub Shower Cleaner to clean grout. You can add a couple of drops of tea tree oil to the DIY shower cleaner to help with mold.
Is it the grout that get mold or the rubbery caulk around the edges? It is generally the caulking that gets mildew/mold growth. If the caulk get moldy frequently it means that the mold/mildew is growing all the way though the caulk. Bleach is just a tempoary solution that removes the visible mold/mildew from the surface but the mold is still growing inside the grout and become visible again quickly. The only way to solve this problem is to remove the old moldy caulking and recaulk. The shower caulking in our current rental house got moldy/mildew fast until my husband removed the old caulk and recaulked. Now it does not mildrew/mold at all…. even if I go for a month without cleaning it. Hope this helps! -Bren
First all thank you for the fast reply. I took a look look ath the no shower scrub. Bt i can’t find any sal suds in the Netherlands. Is there a substitude? I can find the castile soap of dr bronner!
Last summer we got the new Showerroom. people where suprised that the sealing didn’t collapsed on us the mold was so extreme in our rental house. (Shower was 35 years old) But they said the mold will allways be in the shower room.
It’s on the rubbery on the bottom off the shower. It may be small spots but i don’t want it getting wors. the goulk look a bith organge and i tried cleaning it with just baking soda but after 2 uses it’s back even if we use the showerhead to clean the walls afterwards.
I already use cleaning vinegar in the bathroom but never knew i could mix with others. I don’t have a visa card so i can’t buy from all places. just the Ntherlands. I would love to hear your opinion as another clean freak that hates cleaning the shower. he he 🙂
You can use any hand washing detergent in the no scrub shower cleaner (I think eCover is a natural brand available in the Netherlands), it has to be detergent not soap. You cannot use Castile soap because the vinegar unsaponifies the natural oils in the soap which make it worthless as a cleaner (see more information here). If you have an orange growth in the shower what you are seeing is Serratia marcescens, a type of bacteria that grows in moist location and feeds on soap residue, etc. You can control it by keeping your shower dry (use a squeegee tool or towel to wipe down the walls/floor each time you shower) and use a cleaner that contains white vinegar and tea tree oil (you can just add tea tree oil to the no scrub shower cleaner). Just spray the shower with the mix, leave it for at least 10 minutes, then rinse clean. I would scrub the areas with any visible orange to make sure it is cleaned well. The orange will eventually come back, but the no scrub cleaner will make it easy to clean. Good luck!
I used vinegar and baking soda to clean the sink. Unfortunately the vinegar won’t work on the table. It turns the side edge of the sink white spots. Even though I clean it over and over again, but the white spots still there.
I would not use vinegar on a wooden table, it can damage the finish on wood.
Can you use the whole lemon sliced?
No, just the peel. You don’t want the juice and fruit getting into the mix.
Do you have to use a glass spray bottle, or can I use a plastic one?
You can use a plastic bottle if you are not adding essential oils.
This is great because I have a lemon tree and feel really bad about tossing the peels into the compost pile after juicing the fruit. Now I know what to do with them! My question is: can fill a spray bottle with the brew and use it on the kitchen and bathroom counters without having to rinse? Plus, how well does it work on toilet seats?
Thanks Andrea! I am jealous of your lemon tree, what a great backyard addition. I use 1 cup of orange or lemon vinegar with 4 cups water and to clean countertops (not stone), floors or windows without rinsing. I love to use this mixture to fill my “quick mop” for weekly floor cleaning. It would also work great on toilet seats. Since you have a lemon tree you should also check out my Lemon Disinfecting Spray (great on granite and bathrooms) and Fresh Lemon Dishwasher Detergent.
Love this! Do you have a general ratio you follow as far as the number of oranges needed to produce enough peels per ounces of vinegar?
I used 4-5 oranges to get peels for a 16 ounce jar. It depends on the size of the oranges.
Do you have to add water to this before you use it?
Megan, it depends what you are using the vinegar to clean. I use it full strength to soften clothes or clean bathrooms. I dilute it to mop floors.
I buy the gallon size plastic vinegar container form a wholesale store and use A LOT of oranges because I juice daily. Is it imperative to use a glass jar or could I just add the peels to the plastic jar and make it there?
The plastic container that the vinegar is sold in should work just fine. Make sure you have a cool dark place to store it while it “brews.”
I have never made orange vinegar myself, however using lemon to clean my bathroom is a very effective method. Anyway, I will definitely try using orange vinegar in future!