Many people are aware that citrus can be used as a cleaning agent, particularly because it has been included in many of the detergents and soaps on sale over the last few decades. What many people don’t realize, though, is that you can use citrus as a stand-alone cleaner in a variety of situations. Citrus products can also be combined with other natural cleaners–such as vinegar or baking soda–to produce homemade cleaners for a variety of surfaces. Check out these ways you can use citrus to make your housework easier and your home fresher, and enjoy a deep clean that is both economically and environmentally friendly.
1. Make Your Own Citrus Surface Cleaner
Using vinegar to clean countertops and other surfaces is no new trick, but the trade-off is that you always get stuck with the smell of vinegar around the house. Adding citrus to the mix not only helps cut down on that smell, but it adds another powerful and natural cleaner to your all-purpose spray. To make your own cleaner, fill a mason jar about three-quarters of the way with citrus peels, then add enough vinegar to totally submerge them. You can use any kind of citrus peels for this process. The most popular choices are orange, lime, grapefruit, or lemon peels.
This cleaner will not be ready straight away–it needs time to brew before it will be an effective deodorizer as well as a cleaner. This process will take about two to three weeks for the mixture to completely brew, so put it in a secure place–but not so out of the way that you’ll forget about it. It needs to be shaken about once per day to help the newly forming solution mix evenly. Once your time is up, you can drain off the liquid and use it to fill a spray bottle.
2. Deep Clean the Carpet
Citrus carpet freshener is a great way to loosen up dirt while giving the house a cleaner, lighter scent. To make this carpet freshener, you will need three to four tablespoons of freshly grated zest. Again, it does not matter what kind of citrus you use.
You’ll be combining this with one cup of borax and two cups of baking soda in a bowl. Use a whisk or another light utensil to mix the three ingredients thoroughly. Then, you just treat it like any other carpet freshener: sprinkle as needed, let it set a few minutes, and then vacuum away.
3. Steam Clean Your Microwave
Keeping a microwave clean is one of the toughest parts of taking care of a kitchen. The interior can be awkward to access at some angles, and the tough, nuked-on grime that can accumulate from just a dish or two does not always dissolve easily. One great way to take the effort out of this cleaning is to put some fresh lemon slices in a shallow and microwavable-safe bowl of water. Set the bowl in the microwave, and cook it on high for three minutes. After the timer goes off, let it stand for ten more minutes. For the last step, you should be able to wipe the microwave clean. The steam and citric acid should help to dissolve cooked-on deposits, and they can even help lighten some old stains.
4. Lightly Salted Lime Stovetops
Much like your microwave, grease and grime can build up on your stovetop. However, the cleaning process on your stove will be different than it is for your microwave. To clean your stovetop, sprinkle some salt over the area that needs a deep clean. Then, squeeze fresh lime slices over the salt until you wet it down thoroughly. The combination of the two will get you a light, gritty cleaner that cuts through tough spots that overwhelm your general cleaner.
5. Dissolve Hard Water Stains
This tip is great in the bathroom, but if you have hard water issues, it can be applied to any sink or drain around the house. Using half of a fresh lemon to scrub, you can cut through limescale and other deposits without having to rely on harsh cleaners that require gloves and other special tools to handle. This works on both porcelain and steel faucet fixtures, but you need to make sure to rinse the area thoroughly and dry it off afterward. Citric acid that is left to sit on steel for long periods of time can tarnish its surface.
6. Deep Clean the Garbage Disposal
If your garbage disposal is giving you that heady, well-used smell and a regular rinse is just not doing the job, try a few peels and some ice cubes. Make sure that you put a fair load down the drain, but also make sure not to overfill the disposal. Then, just run it until the ice and peels are completely gone, and your degreasing will be complete! Do this process every couple of weeks to keep the disposal fresh, and remember to rinse thoroughly as you use the disposal regularly to get the best results.
7. Citrus Power Stain Lifter
This one will remind you a little of the carpet freshener recipe, but it has couple of extra twists to make it work better for concentrated stain fighting jobs. Take about a quarter cup of grated peels–the fresher the better–and combine them with two teaspoons of cream of tartar. Add in an eighth of a cup of borax and a cup of baking soda, then thoroughly shake it all together in a jar. Whenever you need to lift a stain quickly and without too much fuss, apply this mix to the area, and watch as it lifts the stain before your eyes. Just remember, blot, don’t rub, and rinse thoroughly as you clean the remnants, just like you would with any other stain fighter.
8. Whiter, Brighter Sneakers
Citrus is not limited to being a house cleaner. It turns out that you can use citrus fruits to freshen up some of your apparel as well. Lemon juice is a great natural bleaching agent that takes long enough to work that you generally don’t have to worry about light spills like you do with actual bleach. This makes it easy to use it for a variety of detailed cleaning and whitening jobs, like freshening up an old pair of sneakers. All you need to do for this process is rinse off any dirt or residue, then spritz them thoroughly with lemon juice and let them dry in the sun, and you are all set.
Keeping the house clean without using a lot of irritating chemicals is a lot easier once you understand just how effective fresh citrus fruits can be. Remember, these ideas are a starting point. You can try out zest and juice in some of your existing home remedies to see what else citrus can do for your household regimen. The best part of utilizing citrus as a cleaning agent around your house it that this cheap option leaves your house smelling clean and fresh without any chemical odors.