These wide mouth jars are great for steeping the scented vinegar. I also use them for chilling water, tea, & other beverages. They make handy canisters, too.
This works great for straining out the fruit and herb bits so they don't clog the spray bottle nozzle. It's actual purpose is for growing sprouts in a jar--a multi-tasker!
6 popular varieties that add scent and cleaning power; lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, lemongrass, orange, peppermint
This set of 6 is attractive and sized perfectly for use and gift giving.
I got this big pack so I could keep stacks handy under my bathroom and kitchen sinks; plus I've got extras to give as gifts.
This Oxo duster does an amazing job of maneuvering into every nook and cranny. Machine washable!
This book by experts Ron and Lisa Beres is packed with practical, simple solutions and product recommendations for a healthier home. Highly recommended!
This is especially helpful with those hard-to-peel, thin skinned citrus.
I use this tape for labeling my jars with the date and ingredients used. It sticks well but comes off easily without leaving a sticky residue.
I use these with orange peels for my Orange Spice scented vinegar. Whole spices are recommended over ground spices because they can be easily strained out and won't clog the sprayer nozzle. For whole cloves, click below.
These full size sheets work with both laser and ink-jet printers. Print a sheet of labels, cut them apart, and adhere them to spray bottles for a polished finishing touch. (These are the best price I've found--75% less than the top name brand, and just as good.)
You can also print sheets of the labels on this heavy card stock, cut them apart, punch a hole in the corner, and hang them around the neck of spray bottles.
I've been on a quest to rid our home of toxic chemicals for both health and environmental reasons.
UGH! It freaks me out when I read stuff like that. But I'm calming down now that I've figured out how easy and economical it is to make my own safe, natural cleaners. I'd seen numerous references on Pinterest and websites for using vinegar as a cleaner. That's not really new; most of our grandmothers knew about the wonders of vinegar. (Check out this lengthy list of vinegar cleaning tips.) It is a natural, inexpensive dissinfectant that can eliminate mold, bacteria, grease and germs. I've used vinegar for cleaning and found that even though the scent is rather unpleasant while I'm using it, once it dries the vinegar smell is gone. Recently Pinterest led me to a post by Ann at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen about soaking orange peels in vinegar to make a more pleasant smelling vinegar cleaning solution. I got all kinds of excited.
After my recent post about using fruit, herbs, and spices for making natural home fragrances, it occurred to me that I could use some of those same scent combinations for making natural cleaners with vinegar. After considerable experimenting over the past few weeks, I'm happy to report that it works! I've created some natural scent combinations that take most of the punch out of the vinegar scent and leave behind a pleasant, clean scent.
IMPORTANT INFO & MONEY SAVING TIPS...
THESE MAKE COOL, INEXPENSIVE GIFTS. I've got some free downloadable, printable labels for you to use.
HOW TO MAKE NATURAL CLEANERS
with vinegar, citrus, herbs, and spices
Assemble these ingredients:
view on Amazon: essential oils,
bulk pricing on cinnamon sticks, whole cloves
Assemble these supplies:
view on Amazon:
half gallon mason jars, quart mason jars, spray bottles,
jar funnel, mason jar lid strainer, wire mesh strainer
Peeling the citrus (only use the peel & pith, not the juice & pulp inside):
view on Amazon: citrus scorer/peeler
4 Natural Citrus Vinegar Cleaning Solution Recipes
Cleaner #1: Orange Spice
Add cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and almond extract to a jar or lidded container. Fill with orange peels. Add enough vinegar to cover the peels. Put the lid on and let it sit for 2 weeks (or up to 1 month). I like to label my lid with the exact ingredients I used. That way I will know how to replicate or tweak the formula to my liking in the future. I use blue painters tape for labeling--it sticks well yet removes easily without leaving behind a gummy residue.
view on Amazon: blue painter's tape for labeling, half gallon mason jars, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves
Cleaner #2: Lemon Rosemary
Lemon peels, rosemary sprigs, & vanilla extract. Same procedure as above.
Cleaner #3: Lime Thyme
Lime peels and thyme sprigs. Same procedure as above.
Cleaner #4: Grapefruit Mint
Grapefruit peels and mint sprigs (or substitute mint extract or essential oil). Same procedure as above.
Here's how the four varieties looked right after assembly:
OOPS ALERT! One of the scents I tried was simply awful. I tried a combo that I'd used successfully with my natural home scents jars using evergreen twigs and bay leaves. I thought this would be a great way to make my own pine-scented cleaner. NOT! Something went terribly wrong when those were soaked in the vinegar. When I removed the jar lid after two weeks, the smell just about knocked me out. AWFUL! Don't try that one. Gross. Trust me on that. PEE-YEW!
NOT VERY PRETTY, BUT THEY SMELL GOOD. Here are four jars after their 2-week steep. Unlike my OOPS above, the scent of these had all improved enormously. The color and scent in the citrus peels leeches out to add scent and light color to the vinegar.
Strain the scented vinegar.
After at least two weeks of soaking time, use either of these methods:
Store the strained, scented vinegar in a sealed jar or container. Be sure to label it, especially if you're making more than one kind. It should be good to use for up to a year. This is a concentrate that should be diluted with water before using it.
view on Amazon: jar funnel, mason jar lid strainer
Dilute and add more scent, if needed.
view on Amazon: essential oils
These all have distinctive scents that are pleasant to me. You may need to do some experimenting to find the combo(s) that are most pleasing to your nose.
Want to label your spray bottles like mine? Read on.
Download printable spray bottle labels.
Print a sheet of these labels for adding the finishing touch to your spray bottles for personal use or to give as gifts.
To use the tags:
If you don't have a printer or specialty papers, you can have a store with printing services download and print them for you (Kinkos, Office Depot, Staples, etc.)
Click on individual images to download and print a full sheet of desired labels.
Use the Citrus Blend label for any custom blend of citrus peels, herbs, and spices that you create. (click label image to download)
Use this Blank Label to write in the name of your own custom scent; or use the blank area to write TO and FROM and use it as a gift tag. (click label image to download)
The labels make these natural cleaners more fun and attractive both for your own personal use and to give as gifts.
Stick on the labels, or punch a hole in the corner and hang them with a ribbon.
Use the natural vinegar cleaner with these earth-friendly, washable, and reusable items:
view on Amazon: microfiber cloths, Oxo dusters, sponges/scrubbers
Gift giving ideas.
These spray bottles make fun, practical, inexpensive gifts. Combine a spray bottle with a microfiber cloth for gifts for housewarming, hosts/hostesses, off-to-college, or any occasion.
Combine multiple spray bottles with microfiber cloths for a bigger gift.
You can even add a duster to kick it up a notch.
Whether for your own use or to share with others, you'll feel good about using these safe, inexpensive, homemade cleaners. My personal favorite is the Lemon Rosemary; which one appeals to you?
ALL-PURPOSE. I use this natural cleaner on everything except my granite countertops.
I love having these jars of citrus peels soaking so they'll be ready to refill my bottles of cleaner. Mother Earth is smiling, too.
Make it a Yummy day!
You might also be interested in these:
Cleaning with Hydrogen Peroxide
Use a 2 quart jar or sealable container. Add citrus peels, spices, herbs, and extracts (see suggested combinations below). Pour in enough vinegar to cover completely (approx. 5-6 cups). Cover tightly and let sit for at least 2 weeks (or as long as 1 month), shaking the jar every few days to redistribute contents. Strain liquid and store in covered jar or container for up to 1 year.
DILUTING THE CONCENTRATE FOR USE:
Mix in a spray bottle using 1/3 cup scented vinegar concentrate for each 2/3 cups water. Add 3-4 drops essential oils or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon extract to enhance scent, if desired. Shake and use for cleaning most surfaces. Not recommended for granite or marble surfaces.
VINEGAR CITRUS COMBINATIONS:
1. Orange Spice. 4-6 cinnamon sticks, 1-2 tablespoons whole cloves, and 1 tablespoon almond extract, enough orange peels to fill jar.
2. Lemon Rosemary. 3-4 large rosemary sprigs, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, enough lemon peels to fill jar.
3. Lime Thyme. 6 sprigs thyme, enough lime peels to fill jar.
4. Grapefruit Mint. 8 large sprigs of mint (or 1 tablespoon mint extract), enough grapefruit peels to fill jar.