One young Catholic family on a Journey towards Intentional and Communal Sustainability. One Artist, one full time Mama and two babies, we'll tell you about all our successes, and failures, as we try to make it in our overly Consumeristic society on just the bare necessities.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lemon Vinegar Cleaner

Joey just posted about finding loads of lemon peelings in a dumpster last night.

Thank you, sweetheart, for NOT bringing them home.  But for anybody interested in what you can do with leftover lemon peels, here's what we do.

(by the way, this works equally as well with any citrus fruit- lime, grapefruit, orange, etc.  Lemon just smells the nicest I think)

I stopped purchasing household cleaners quite awhile ago.  Not only was I concerned about the price of these chemicals, but I had a crawling baby at the time and really didn't want to rush her off to the hospital after ingesting something toxic, and I didn't like the other option of not cleaning!  So I found a great recipe for a general all purpose cleaner on this site.  And I pretty much use it for everything!  I will say that I have adapted it slightly to my purposes, but the basic recipe remains.  Here's what I do:

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Mix 2 tablespoons of homemade citrus vinegar with 1 teaspoon of borax in a glass measuring cup. (this is very important that you do this first!  If you try to mix the borax in last, or the vinegar, you get a clumpy gross mixture that NEVER combines and ALWAYS gunks up your spray bottle!)

Fill the spray bottle half way with WARM water, and add HOT water to the glass cup with your borax-vinegar mixture.  I do this because the borax-vinegar mixture needs the hot water in order to incorporate itself into the mixture, but I usually use cheap Dollar Store spray bottles that can't handle the straight hot water.  After mixing the solution in the measuring cup with a fork until it is all dissolved, pour it into the spray bottle (use a funnel if necessary).

SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE!  Shake it until it's all well incorporated!

Now add 1/4 cup (no more) of Dr. Bronner's or similar Castile Soap.  I like Lavender the best, but Peppermint is good too.  If you're using Dr. Bronner's and you think he's a crazy nut-job like I do, you can opt to have your husband make funny little slip covers for the bottle so your guests and reading age children don't have to read his drivel.  Or you can just hide it under the sink and pretend like you have no idea what I'm talking about.

You can also add some tea tree oil (no more than a teaspoon) at this point for a disinfecting agent.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  We try to not be too afraid of germs around our house.

Now, as for those lemon peels?  This is so easy, Joey does it!  (Actually, Joey is very comfortable in the kitchen, a fact that I am proud of, especially when I'm pregnant!)

Take your citrus fruit.
Peel it.
Put peels into a large mason jar, or other glass jar.  Whatever works.  Pack them in tight.
Now pour cheap, white vinegar- the kind that's $3 a gallon at Costco- into the jar.
Put the lid on, and put it in the back of your pantry, or some other place equally as dark and lonely where you will forget about it for several weeks to months.
When you do remember it, a year from now, strain the vinegar/peel solution through a cheese cloth to catch all the bits of fruit, and store in some other kind of glass container.  Or use right away.

The vinegar is a great cleaning agent by itself and has the added bonus of all of the cleansing properties of vinegar without the awful vinegar smell (something to which Joey is particularly sensitive).  Plus, the citrus oil has added cleansing powers! It's great at getting stubborn grease off your stove top!

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