10 Homemade Cleaners Made From Citrus Peels

lemon cleaners

WELCOME to “Save My Sanity Saturday” at One Good Thing By Jillee….where I attempt to avoid having a nervous breakdown by actually giving myself a day off from blogging once a week!

So pull up a chair and sit back and enjoy an “oldie but goodie” from the One Good Thing By Jillee archives.

–Originally posted March 28, 2012–

Last week I wrote about making your own Citrus Enzyme Cleaner, which got me thinking about how the whole idea of cleaning with citrus just makes so much sense to me (not to mention that I LOVE the smell, taste, and just about EVERYTHING else related to citrus!)

I mean why pay ridiculous amounts of money for harsh commercial cleansers when you can create your own INEXPENSIVE and EFFECTIVE versions using citrus peels? What makes them so effective? Citrus peels contain oil called D-limonene which is a powerful solvent for dirt and especially grease.

And as a bonus…citrus cleaners leave your home SMELLING fresh and clean!

I can’t wait to make up each and every one of them using LEMON peels!


1. Citrus Vinegar All-Purpose Cleanser
Fill a glass jar with clean chopped citrus peels. Pour vinegar over the peels until they are completely submersed and screw the lid on the jar. Allow the concoction to sit, occasionally shaking the jar to mix the liquid. After four weeks, pour the concoction through a mesh strainer and into a spray bottle. Use the cleanser to clean countertops, stovetops, appliances, floors and glass.


lemon cleaners


2. Powdered Citrus Cleanser
Combine 1 cup baking soda, 2 tsp. cream of tartar, 1/8 cup borax and 1/4 cup grated citrus peel in a bowl. Mix the ingredients well and pour the mixture into a glass jar. Sprinkle the mixture onto dried spills and scum. Use a sponge or soft brush to scrub the mixture into the mess, breaking it up. Wipe clean with a wet cloth.

Optional: add 10 drops of Lemon essential oil for greasy messes and stubborn stains, also sanitizes cutting boards.


3. Carpet Freshening Cleanser
Combine 2 cups baking soda, 1 cup borax and 3 tsp. citrus zest in a bowl. Let the mixture sit until all moisture has evaporated. Mix it well and store in a glass jar. Sprinkle it onto dirty carpets and allow it to sit, absorbing odors and loosening dirt. Vacuum the carpets well after at least five minutes.

Optional: add 20 drops of Lemon essential oil for it’s antiseptic and antifungal properties ~ especially if you have pets in the house (careful around cats, citrus EOs can be toxic to cats.)


lemon cleaners


4. Disinfecting Citrus Cleanser
Chop up the peel of a large citrus fruit. Combine it with 4 cups water and bring it to a boil in a saucepan. Allow it to cool until it is warm. Stir in 6 tbsp. vinegar and 3 tsp. borax. Mix well and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Shake before use to mix the liquids. Spray hard surfaces with the cleaner and wipe clean.


5. Citrus Furniture Polish
In a jar, combine 1 cup lemon juice, 2 cups olive oil and 1/2 cup finely chopped citrus peel. Dip a rag into the concoction and use it to wipe wooden surfaces. Screw the lid onto the jar and store in a cool, dry place.


6. Citrus Disposal Degreaser
Drop the peels into the disposal with three or more ice cubes. The ice cubes cool the grease, solidifying it, and the acid in the peels cuts it away. Turn on the disposal until the peels, ice cubes and grease are gone. The citrus peels release a clean scent as they are broken down.


lemon cleaners


7. Citrus Microwave Degreaser
Combine 1 cup of water and 2 tbsp. of lemon juice in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the liquid for about 3 minutes, or until hot and steaming. Remove the bowl from the microwave. Dip a clean rag into the liquid and use it to wipe down the inside of the microwave until it is clean.

For stainless steel add 10 drops of Lemon essential oil instead of lemon juice for a streak-free shine!


8. Citrus Scrub Degreaser
Cut through caked-on grease on stovetops or kitchen counters. Sprinkle salt heavily over the grease. Cut a lime in half and squeeze the juice over the salt. Use as many limes as necessary to cover the salt. Allow it to sit for about five minutes. Scrub the salt and lime juice into the grease with a sponge or rag to loosen it. Wipe it up with paper towels or a wet rag.


lemon cleaners


9. Citrus Spray Degreaser
The acids found in the vinegar and lemon juice work together to quickly cut through grease. Mix together 1/2 cup lemon juice and 2 cups of white vinegar in a spray bottle. Keep it in the kitchen and quickly spray grease splatters with the solution. Wipe them up with paper towels.


10. Citrus Metal Polish
When it comes to copper, brass and chrome, nix harsh chemical polishes and instead put some elbow grease behind half a lemon. For extra oomph, before scrubbing, dip the fruit half in salt—it will help exfoliate the surface for added shine.


Wow!  That’s a whole lotta citrus! Of course I personally can’t get enough. If you’re like me and simple LOVE LEMONS….you might want to check out my Pinterest board “Lemon Joy” for all sorts of citrus inspiration!

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  1. DreamCatcher says

    Another great use of lemons, after you squeeze all the juice off of them, is to put them in the dishwasher. They naturally and very effectively leave the dishwasher smelling fresh in between wash loads and the dishes smell divine too.

  2. DIYwifey says

    Just made the disinfecting spray and ready to put it into my mason jar turned spray bottle. Question though: do you strain the chopped peel or leave it in?

  3. Jill Nystul says

    DreamCatcher….what a good idea! Makes total sense. Thank you.

    DIYWifey…I would strain it so you don't have clogging issues with your spray bottle.

  4. Anonymous says

    i've had a vinegar/orange peel/grapefruit peel concoction sitting on my counter for several weeks. last week i strained it and put the peels thru the food processor then added back to vinegar and strained into a spray bottle. i used it for cleaning my kitchen floor and when i came home later my house smelled like a pickle…YUK! not good for window cleaning either. i poured it back into the citrus peels so i'll see what happens after awhile. it did however take the color out of my travertine countertop where it leaked. so it must be pretty powerful stuff!

  5. Lindsay says

    is vinegar safe to use on wood and granite? Also, is lemon juice an antibacterial? I was wondering if you would be spreading germs with the olive oil & lemon juice furniture polish mixture…? thanks :)

  6. Jill Nystul says

    Lindsay….Don't use white vinegar to clean marble, granite or wood floors as the acid can etch scratches in the floor or dull the surface.

    The low pH of lemon juice makes it antibacterial. :-)

  7. Hele says

    Love this post and all your others. Since I started juicing I hate throwing away my citrus peels. Now I have something good to do with them!