I know the contents of that bottle don't exactly look like something you'd want to clean with. Rest assured, though, that it's just water and vinegar scented with citrus peels. Before trying this out, I was skeptical that something so simple could clean well enough, but it's pretty magical (try it once on your stove and you'll be hooked forever). I now use it for everything - cleaning my stove, countertops, sinks, floors, windows, and bathroom.
As a bonus, the spray is completely non-toxic. Even the supposedly non-toxic store-bought cleaning spray that I used to use made me cough, which was a little sobering. This, on the other hand, is so safe that you could put on your salad (though admittedly, that sounds kind of gross). Read on for the how-to, and to share how you use a spray like this in the comments!
-A jar or other wide-mouthed container of white vinegar. You can decant it from a larger bottle of white vinegar, or check here to see if it's available in bulk near you. Also, I've found that I like to choose a jar with a plastic lid (so, maybe save something like an old mayonnaise jar for this purpose!), which won't rust like standard mason jar lids, even during prolonged contact with vinegar.
-Spray nozzle and bottle. You can purchase these together (a la this or this), but mine are from an old vinegar bottle with the label removed and a spray cap from an old, store-bought cleaning spray. If you're making your own spray bottle rather than buying one, try a few bottles with your spray cap until you find one that fits, and then trim the bottom of the plastic stem down to size.
-Peel of 2 - 3 citrus fruits of your choice. I've used lemon, lime, and clementine, but you could also try grapefruit, Meyer lemon, or whatever else you have on hand (more ideas below!). I love that these peels can get another use before ending up in the compost.
Well, now, that's the easy part. Remove the white pith from citrus peels so that only the colorful part of the peel remains. Add them to a jar along with undiluted white vinegar, and let them soak in the jar for about a week or until the vinegar smells slightly citrusy.
Strain out the peels and fill the spray bottle halfway with vinegar. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with water, and leave the remaining vinegar in the jar sans peels until you need to top off the spray bottle.
For cleaning, simply spray the mixture as you would any other cleaning spray! It's best if you spray it onto the surface and then give it a few minutes to work its magic before wiping it off. I use it to mop my floors, wipe down my countertops, and clean my stove, where it works like a charm on any baked-on messes.
You can also change up the items you soak in vinegar to try different scents. I've thought it might be fun to choose new ingredients each season: soaking pine needles in December, for instance, grapefruit peel in January, lemon in the summer. Just make sure to use things that don't decompose quickly - I imagine strawberries, for instance, would quickly start to look not so appealing.
Cleaning with vinegar, it's a magical thing. Would love to hear your variations on this spray - and are there any ways that I should be using it that I haven't thought of yet?