Make your own multi-purpose cleaner!

Hello everyone and happy Saturday! Welcome to another one of my anti-consumerist rants! If you’re like me, growing up, the cupboard under the kitchen sink was always a chaotic mess of different plastic spray bottles filled with harsh chemicals, each one supposedly specialized for cleaning a specific surface. Often, these sprays are filled with toxic chemicals that are terrible for the environment, because when they eventually end up back in our water systems, they can have really damaging effects to people, animals and plants, like: cancer, disease, mercury and lead poisoning, mutation and death for insects and animals, destruction of green space and natural resources, and ozone depletion (linked to CFCs in aerosol sprays). In addition to this, these chemicals are packaged in plastic bottles that will likely not be recycled properly, if at all.

A lot of these cleaners are really unnecessary, as they often only serve one purpose each, take up so much space and are just no-good on so many levels. Making your own multi-surface eco-cleaner saves money, plastic waste, and significantly reduces your exposure to toxic chemicals.

Today, I’m going to show you how to make your own multi-purpose cleaner at home, that requires, no additional packaged items! This will allow you to keep your sink cabinet free from piles and piles of different chemical concoctions and plastic bottles.

All you need is:

  • One glass mason jar
  • As many oranges or other citrus fruits as you like
  • Vinegar
  • One empty spray bottle

For the mason jar, there is no need to buy anything new if you don’t want to. You can simply clean and re-use an old pasta sauce jar, like the one I’ve got pictured below. Make sure you get your oranges plastic-free (no netting or single-use produce bags). Vinegar can often be hard to find in bulk stores or in non-plastic containers, but it is possible. Do your best here, and if you can’t find it without plastic, it’s not the end of the world. The possibilities of things you can do and make with vinegar are endless, so a plastic jug of vinegar will still be a great investment in your eco-journey until you find an alternative packaging #progressoverperfection

The first step is my favorite: eat the oranges! Don’t compost the peels though, this is what we’re going to be using. Of course, you can use any other citrus fruits, like grapefruit or lemon, whatever works for you. For this post, I’m using oranges because that’s what I’ve got in my fridge.

Next, put all the citrus peels into the mason jar. It doesn’t really matter how much you have, it will just affect the amount of cleaner it yields at the end. Pour enough vinegar into the jar to completely cover the peels.

Some peels may still float (as you can see), but that’s okay as long as it’s mostly covered.

Let this jar sit under your sink for about one week. This way the vinegar will really become infused with all the citrus-y goodness! While you wait patiently for this process to unfold, prepare your spray bottle. The one I am using here, I honestly don’t even remember buying, it was so long ago. You could also opt to buy a new empty refillable spray bottle if you prefer. Either one will last you a long time, as you can keep refilling it over and over again with your eco-cleaner.

Now that this spray bottle is empty, I don’t have to throw it out because it’s going to be a great home for my eco-cleaner for years to come.
I gave it a glow-up by using some left-over paints from my paint kits, making for a great two-in one waste reduction move.

Once a week has gone by, strain out the orange peels and pour the liquid into the empty spray bottle and then you’re ready to start cleaning! You can clean almost anything with it, it is so versatile. Vinegar is a natural and effective disinfectant, so you can ensure that it will do a good job at keeping every surface in your home as clean as possible.

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