For the last several years I have been making a citrus-scented disinfectant spray and cleaning solution that works really, really well. It’s an added bonus that it costs only pennies to make.

You can use any kind of citrus fruit. I usually use oranges because we’re eating them all the time and always have lots of peels… but I also really like the fresh scent of lime. Lemon and grapefruit not so much, but that’s a personal thing.

You will need a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid… I use washed and sterilized recycled peanut butter jars and I make my disinfectant solution in stages. Whenever anyone eats an orange, I add the peels to the jar and pour in enough vinegar to cover all the peels. The peels have a tendency to rise slightly as they steep, so occasionally I press the peels further down into the vinegar. This pressing releases more of the oils.

Once a jar is full, I start a new jar. Usually I have two or three jars of citrus vinegar solution in various stages of completion. The peels need to steep in the vinegar at room temperature for at least two weeks. After that point remove the peels, strain the vinegar, and the disinfectant solution is ready to use.

  • I add one part citrus vinegar solution to three parts water and store in a spray bottle for general cleaning and disinfecting countertops, kitchen or bathroom fixtures, bathtubs, toilets, etc.
  • I add one-half cup of citrus vinegar solution to one gallon of water for cleaning other surfaces.

A caveat… don’t use the solution on marble or any other surface that vinegar might harm.

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Barbara Schanel

That’s fantastic! I’ve always wished there was something I could do with all of those peelings on their way to the compost.


Awesome idea!!!!! Would a blend of citrus fruits work do you think? I don’t see why it wouldn’t and think of the wonderful scent you could get with a combination of lime lemons and oranges. I think I will try that. Definitely will be making this. Thanx!!!

Jorge and Mags

We are definitely going to do this. We have oranges and the kids will be eating some with their lunch. We like the idea of this being all natural and of course inexpensive. Thanks for all your top notch posts. We are great fans.


This is a fabulous idea. I already do most of my cleaning with vinegar, but to have the pleasant scent of citrus to go with it is an added bonus. We happen to eat a lot of clementines at my house, so now I have a great use for all those peels. Thanks so much for this wonderful, pratical idea.