So I’ve been trying to catch up on some recent FAQs and one question that I kept getting was in regards to inexpensive, non-toxic cleaners. As I’m sure most of you know, the air inside our homes is way more polluted than the outdoor air and much of that can be traced back to our household products and cleaners. Read this article from the Environmental Working Group . It’s crazy stuff to think that we unknowingly create some of these health issues for ourselves. However, it is an easy fix!

We have to be pretty hard core, chemical free for Sy so vinegar has become my best friend. There are so many supposed “green” cleaners that aren’t that green at all and they are ridiculously expensive. So vinegar is an excellent option and most true, real “green” cleaners have vinegar as a main ingredient in them. There are so many uses for it and best of all, it’s cheap. You can buy a gallon of white, distilled vinegar almost anywhere for less then five dollars. Check out these common uses for cleaning.

I will be honest and say though that although I don’t mind the scent of vinegar, it’s not my fav. Someone once told me that my house smelled like pickles so I was uninspired for a while. Then I discovered citrus & herb (or spice) vinegar blends! Yay! You have no idea how excited I was to try this out. Now, you may still smell a slight vinegar scent upon spraying but it dissipates and only the citrusy-herb scent remains. (None of it matters though if you are using your handy dandy essential oil diffuser anyway.) The citrus peels not only provide a yummy fresh scent but the oils in them also give the vinegar a little extra kick of cleaning power. You can use the peels from citrus fruits you are already eating or juicing and refrigerate/freeze any peels as you use them until you have enough to make a batch of cleaner.

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Ok, so here is what you’ll need:

  • Distilled vinegar
  • Citrus peels (lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruits)–You don’t need any of the inside of the fruit, just the peels.
  • Spices/herbs–Use the whole spice or herb; not ground ones because they can clog the sprayer. I like rosemary, whole cloves or cinnamon sticks.
  • Essential oils–You can add these in to give a stronger scent and some extra cleaning umph as well!
  • Mesh strainer
  • Quart-size (32 oz) Mason jar
  • 16/32 oz spray bottle

What to do:
Take your mason jar and fill it with the spices/herbs and the peels. Add enough vinegar to cover the peels and screw the lid on tight. Let it sit for 2 weeks or up to 1 month. Be sure to label it with what ingredients you used in it so you can tweak your “flavors” for future months. After at least 2 weeks of soaking, you can strain the vinegar through a mesh strainer. Add about 1/3 cup of scented vinegar to 2/3 cups water to your spray bottle. If you are using a 32 oz  bottle, then use about 10-11 ounces of scented vinegar and fill the rest with water. Be sure to give it a good shake after you put the nozzle on (very important). Spray it and see if you like the scent. If not, you can add essentials at this time–about 8-10 drops for 32 oz.

Store the strained, scented vinegar in a sealed jar and you can use it up to one year. Always be sure to remember that since this is a concentrate, it will need to be diluted with water. I should also note that this can be used as a multi-purpose cleaner but do not use on porous surfaces such as granite or marble.

Some combinations that I really like are:

  • Lemon peels & rosemary
  • Orange peels, cinnamon sticks, & cloves
  • Lime peels & thyme sprigs
  • Grapefruit & mint sprigs

I use the lemon and rosemary the most because I start my days drinking lemon water so I always have extra lemon peels around. It is amazing how much the vinegar scent really lessens upon “pickling.” I also think it cleans better than straight vinegar too.

So try it out and let me know what you think. Also, be creative and come up with your own variations and share them below. These also make beautiful gifts… You can put them in pretty spray bottles and add adorable labels. (Gotta give a shout out to theyummylife.com for the inspiration.) So there you go–let me know how it works for you!

No Muck Motto:
I will remember that every breath is a gift today.