I love white vinegar. You can use it to clean pretty much anything safely – it gets out stains, gets rid of odors, cleans streak-free, and costs almost nothing. So when our kitchen cleaner was running low a few weeks ago, I went in search of a way to use my beloved white vinegar to get the job done.

It turns out it’s super easy, just jar citrus peels covered in white vinegar in an airtight container for about two weeks, then strain and dilute with water. Apparently, citrus peel contains d-limonene, which reacts when it comes into contact with oil, breaking it down, allowing you to get your stovetop clean! Science! Also, citric acid and vinegar are disinfectants and break down ew-y stuff (technical term) as well. So I tried it.

The one on the left, folks, is what not to do. I wasn’t careful to remove all of the fruit from the grapefruit peel before starting this little science experiment, and it got all moldy and disgusting. The one on the right was pure peel, and straining the orange peels out made this lovely concentrate:

Next I mixed it with water (I did about one part concentrate to two parts water) in an old spray bottle, and we’ve been using it ever since! It’s not as amazing-smelling as I would hope, but I’m wondering if that’s because I wasn’t careful to cover the peels all the way with white vinegar, and the uncovered parts of the peels were a little unsavory when I opened the jar. I think you really have to go full-preservation mode here (think scientific animals in jars – gross, I know, but I would never leave part of an animal uncovered if I were trying to preserve it for my creepy lab, would you? No.).
We’ve noticed that you have to let this cleaner sit a minute or so if you have something you need to scrub off. This is also purely anecdotal, because I have no idea how any cleaner works, homemade or not, but it seems like it doesn’t…pick up stuff? as well as storebought cleaners do. Like the spills that you’re cleaning up don’t just stick to the paper towel in the same way that I’m used to. Science again, I’m assuming. Chemistry is weird, man. There should be a domesticity science column on some website somewhere. I’d read that.
Anyway, I categorize this one a win. I’ll update the next time I make it (with grapefruit! Hooray for one of the best smells in the world!) to see if I can get it to smell better. It’s not bad, really, just not as fresh and lovely as one might like.

 

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