Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Poor Richard's Almanac: Cleanliness is next to Godliness

On the Virtue of Cleanliness:
Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
-Poor Richard's Almanack

Cleanliness is a luxury we cannot afford this week in my house. We seem more prone to filth of every kind. I woke up today to the scents of old trash, and other lovely things, as my kids have caught a fun little bug, and are sharing it amongst one another. But this was good timing! because THIS was ready:

I know. It looks like one of those formaldehyde jars from middle school science lab. But it's SO much more awesome.

It's a jar of vinegar soaked citrus peels. You simply fill a jar with peels (Any kind of citrus will do,) and fill it to the top with white distilled vinegar. Now leave it in the back of your pantry for a couple of weeks until it looks super gross, like the top pic. Now you have a lovely citrus scented vinegar ready to make the best homemade deodorizer/disinfectant ever. You will never have to buy the store bought stuff again. The cost? $0.12- $0.30 per bottle. Yep, I know. Awesome. It now holds a special place in this cheapskate's heart; right next to the Lavender Laundry Soap.

For a deodorizing/disinfecting room spray, dilute your citrus vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio. Optionally, you can also add tea tree oil (which is really cheap at Wal Mart in the vitamin section. Wahoo!) Spray ALL OVER your house. Hard surfaces, soft surfaces, every room you watched a kid sneeze in. There are no nasty chemicals to worry about!

For a hard surface cleaner, dilute the citrus vinegar with water in a 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water ratio. Just spray on, leave a minute and wipe off.

For an All Purpose cleaner, you can use the hard surface cleaner, but I like to add a tablespoon of ammonia to the bottle and about 1/3 cup of rubbing alcohol. This makes it great for cleaning glass surfaces without streaking. 

If you want to see some scientific backing to all this, click here and check out all the studies on vinegar :)

I like cleaning with cute products. I know that's dumb, but it motivates me. So here's a printable label for anyone who has the same cleaning issues that I do. I printed it on pre-sticky mailing labels you can pick up at Walmart. Avery 48126 to be exact.

Why not use just regular vinegar to keep your home clean? You CAN! But this smells better. A lot of people don't like the smell of vinegar, but when you use the citrus peel vinegar, it's much more mild, and then when it dries, the scent is gone, leaving behind a lovely orange citrus scent.

It beats the old trash, believe me. :)


  1. Miriam- What a great idea. I make so many of my own cleaning products and I am just thrilled with this! I love the label, too. Thank you -I will make this. I just found Glass Cloths today! They clean and polish mirrors and glass panes. They are just a specialized cloth- no chemicals and you use them dry. I have never seen anything like them. I am hooked- xo Diana

  2. Oh, my goodness! You ladies never cease to impress me! I just love your blog, but you already knew that! I am always on the lookout for new all natural cleaning recipes! I use vinegar and all natural oils like lemon and citrus but never thought of using actual citrus peelings. I love that you share the labels and where to buy the labels! I can't use tea tree oil while pregnant but I'm super excited to find that it's at a cheaper place like Walmart rather than a health food store. Have a great day! ~ Jamie

  3. I can't wait to try this and I agree that pretty products and things that smell good motivate you to clean.

  4. I love and use only natural products and your recepie is sooo great. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. OK, I'm just getting into this whole home-made cleaner thing - the first jar does look gross. Second picture looks pretty - is this before the soaking period? Then you pour the liquid out [do you have to strain it] & mix it proportionately for the different uses? I went to a workshop & have a similar hard cleaner, but w/o the citrus mixed first with vinegar. So I would like to make the next batch with the citrus vinegar; and want to be sure I'm interpreting this correctly.
    As a retired kindred spirit librarian I have to sign up to follow you!

  6. This is such a nifty idea! I usually use essential oils to add aromatic smell in vinegar disinfectant spray, but I haven’t tried using real citrus. Now, all my peeled citrus will not directly go to the trash, but to the bottle with vinegar instead. Thanks for sharing this! +Skylar Cox


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