Homemade Cleaners That Work!

homemade cleaner

I clean my entire house with vinegar. Occasionally baking soda too.

The end.

But really, it’s true. When our son was born we started to scrutinize everything. He was so little, and new, and unpolluted. This was part of why we chose to eliminate processed foods, and it also transformed the way we viewed everyday things like bath/body products and cleaning supplies.

I started to feel uneasy about my cleaning supplies pretty early on. I used to love to clean the bathtub with commercial scrub, but after I washed the tub one night I could not bring myself to put our sweet baby in there for his bath. What if I hadn’t rinsed it well? And what about all the time he spent on the floor- scooting, crawling, eating things off the floor, licking the actual floor… I was mopping the floor with chemicals. Not to mention simply finding the time to clean the bathroom without your child in the room (so they don’t inhale the fumes)? Impossible!

So I decided to try some of the various crunchy methods of cleaning I’d seen all over Pinterest– I even created a Cleaning board to pin all the great ideas in one place. Over the last year and half, I’ve tried various concoctions, and the two that I LOVE both have something in common: orange-infused vinegar.

Orange Infused Vinegar

In a mason jar, add however many orange peels you have and then fill the jar with white vinegar. Place lid on jar and let it sit for a week or more until the vinegar turns an orange color. Tah-dah! When you use this orange vinegar for cleaning, your house won’t smell like an Easter egg dye job gone horribly awry, but instead will spell nice and orangey. You can certainly use regular (non orange-infused) vinegar and the recipes will clean just as well, but the smell is strong until everything dries.

I’ve gotten to where I have a half gallon mason jar (or two) full of orange peels and vinegar at all times. When it’s time to use the vinegar, just pour it into your spray bottle and compost the orange peels.

Orange Infused Vinegar

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

Countertops: Equal parts orange-infused vinegar and water. Combine in a spray bottle. Spray on countertops and wipe down like normal. Mommypotamus gave me the fabulous idea to use my old glass apple cider vinegar bottles for spray bottles– yes please. Any time I can avoid plastic I am happy. (By the way, the type of apple cider vinegar that comes in the glass bottles is raw apple cider vinegar with “the mother,” a must have for cooking and consuming when you have a sore throat or are feeling under the weather-buy it here, or at your local grocery store.)

Floors: I must disclaim that we have linoleum floors in our kitchen, and this works great on them. I have no idea how vinegar works on other floor materials, you must Google it my friends. Combine equal parts water and orange-infused vinegar in the spray bottle of a reusable kitchen mop (such as this one that we have). Mop floors as usual. Alternately, place solution in your mop bucket and mop as normal.

Homemade Bathtub, Shower, and Toilet Bowl Scrub

I am seriously giddy every time I clean the bathtub, because I cannot believe how well this works. I swear I scrub much less now than I did using harsh cleaners, and it’s completely non-toxic! (Some of the bathtub cleaning recipes out there resulted in so much scrubbing that I counted it as my workout for the day, but NOT this one!)

Bathtub and Shower: Spray undiluted orange-infused vinegar all over bathtub and shower walls. Then sprinkle baking soda liberally all over bathtub and shower walls. Scrub with a cloth towel (I’ve used a bristled scrub brush and a scrubby sponge but the plain old washcloth works the best in my opinion). The baking soda will clump in the vinegar and create a very similar texture to the comet type of scrubs, and soap scum just comes right off. Delightful, people. Delightful.

Toilet bowl: I also use the bathtub concoction to clean my toilet bowl too. Spray undiluted vinegar into the toilet bowl, coating the bowl above the water level. Sprinkle baking soda in bowl, coating sides. Scrub as usual with your toilet brush.

Bath and Toilet cleaner

Of all the changes we’ve made to eliminate toxins from our lives, switching to safe, non-toxic cleaners is the one I find most pleasing. I just feel really good about removing chemicals from our house, and it was so easy.

P.S. Vinegar is Genetically Modified

I avoid GMOs like the plague, y’all. I have problems with them on many, many levels. They are horrible for the environment- GMO crops can withstand toxic herbicides, so the fields are often doused since the crop of interest won’t be harmed. Of course our environment is polluted from said dousing, as are our own bodies. GMOs that can withstand herbicides come to your dinner plate covered in residue from said herbicides. There’s a very recent peer reviewed article documenting the detrimental effects of eating the active ingredient in Roundup (Glyphosate), which is essentially what you’re doing if you eat certain types of GMO crops (Samsel and Seneff, 2013). Read the abstract here and download the full PDF for free. (By the way, there are lots and lots of peer reviewed articles documenting the negative effects of glyphosate, this is just one of the most recent.)

Other types of GMOs are engineered to produce their own toxins to deter pests from eating them. It was *assumed* that the toxin and the genes’ production ability were eliminated during digestion, but we now have evidence of bacteria in our own intestines being altered by the genetically modified genes AND the GMO toxin (Bt) has been found in human blood. In one study, three out of seven study participants “showed evidence of low-frequency gene transfer from GM soya to the microflora of the small bowel” before they even began the study of interest (read the abstract here). So really, GMOs are not something I want to support…

Unfortunately, I often still end up using GMO vinegar for my cleaning supplies, because non-GMO vinegar (that I have only found at health food stores or online- buy it here) typically costs more. So yeah. Bummer, but on a positive note, all those scary chemicals that go into cleaning supplies are being taken out of rotation by using homemade cleaning supplies.


Homemade Cleaner

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: To support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for supporting our efforts at Whistle Pig Hollow!


  1. Thank you for sharing these. In the past few years I have started using more and more natural cleaning myself. I love seeing recipes like the orange infused vinager…I am a smells person and I have sooo missed pine-sol. I bet lemons would work as well ;o)

  2. Re using non-GMO ACV: you can make your own, either using cores and peels from apples you use for other things OR by using whole apples. I’m doing it right now.

    My first batch attracted or hatched MANY fruit flies; I freaked and posted to forums about it. I learned three important things. 1) Rather than using cheesecloth on the top of the jar, use a handkerchief or cut up tea towel so the air passes through but not flies. 2) Sprinkle ground black pepper on top (flies don’t like it). 3) Rather than allow the peels to float above the waterline, I weighted them down with those glass marbles used in vases.

    So far so good: no flies!!! The vinegar is two weeks old now, 4 – 6 more to go. And completely free.

  3. Kirsten Mia says:

    I use mostly plain vinegar to clean with and when I found this orange infused vinegar I had to try it. I love it. I now have a jar on the cupboard infusing away… along with my vanilla sugar, my fire cider and my first attempt at making apple cider vinegar.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Can we use lemon peel or clementin instead of oranges ?

    Thanks for letting me know

  5. I have learned this last year that my daughter reacts to red dye, and the fda allows a non-food approved red dye to be sprayed on oranges to enhance their color. It is an endocrine disruptor and a chemical estrogen. Please!!! get organic oranges, or at the least look for oranges that are not as “pretty”. I do not know about lemons….if you have heard anything please pass it on to me! I love your site 🙂 PS. I am suspecting that all of these kids who are exhibiting hyperactive behavior after eating red dyed foods are doing so because they do not feel good. My daughter is hit with diabetes insipidus when exposed and feels rotten for up to 48 hours. This is NOT an allergy. It is a side effect.

    • All I know is once I bought organic oranges and got home and read the box- which disclosed the fruit was sprayed with two chemicals to prevent mold (I can’t recall what they were, but you can look at any non-organic orange citrus that comes in a bag and they always have those chemicals listed). Anyway, I was annoyed b/c I wanted to know if those chemicals were organic-approved. I called the USDA and then organic certifying agency and got the run around from both- each referring me back to the other. This is the first I’ve heard of dye being sprayed on the fruits- what a nightmare! I’ll update here if I learn of anything else!

    • Oh, and I completely agree. Kids aren’t allergic to these chemicals, they are being poisoned by them.

    • Cuties brand oranges have not been sprayed with dye (last I read). My kiddo had dye allergy too.

  6. absolutely love love love your post I found you from the website post for several different natural cleaning Solutions and I really appreciate you taking the time to inform us of these.. Thank you so much and have a good and godly day.

  7. Thanks for the great ideas! I just want to ask if you close the lid of the mason jar once you have poured the vinegar over the orange peels? Just want to make sure I understand properly 🙂 Don’t want it exploding on me!

  8. These home made natural cleaners are the best substitute to the common toxic and harmful cleaners on the market. It is always a good idea to use one of these natural cleaners. Thanks a lot for the detailed information! Belmont Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

  9. brielle says:

    Would it be possible to use apple cider vinegar (organic) instead of the white vinegar to alleviate the gmo problem? or is it the same problem with the organic white vinegar – it costs a lot more?

  10. I love this idea for orange vinegar. I am going to try it immediately. Instead of orange peels is it possible to put lemon ones? Best regards!


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