Saturday, June 21, 2014

One of THOSE Mothers Part 2: When Life Gives You Lemons

So a couple of weeks ago I admitted to being cheap because I make as many of my own cleaning supplies as I can out of stuff I already have like vinegar, dish soap and baking soda because, well, I'm cheap but also because I can't take the way most commercial cleaners smell. One of my biggest issues is that when a cleaner says it smells like, say, oranges it should smell like oranges and not a chemical approximation of oranges. I like the idea of using citrus cleaners but the reality always leaves me opening a window for ventilation.

A couple of years ago I tried making natural citrus cleaner with a recipe I found on the internet that involved cut up fruit, water, yeast and brown sugar fermented for about a month. Other people swear by this stuff so how bad could it be? Yeah. For me the smell was as bad as a commercial cleaner and it stained if I sprayed it on something and let it set too long. And the yeasty smell lingered. With bread or beer that isn't a bad thing but in my bathroom it was kind of gross.

In the last few weeks I've made two batches of lemon curd so I had a bunch of lemon carcasses that I couldn't bear to just pitch out. I Googled "homemade citrus cleaner" again and the whole first page was the awful fermented recipe but somewhere in there I found a different one. Are you ready for this?


Put cut up lemons in a glass jar, fill with white vinegar till the lemons are covered, screw on the lid, give it a shake and let it sit for two weeks. Give it a shake every once in a while and add more vinegar as needed as the lemons soak it up. At the end of two weeks, strain it through a fine mesh strainer.

I used a pint Mason jar and wound up with a full cup of lemon-infused vinegar. I diluted it half and half with water in a spray bottle and went to town on my kitchen counters this morning (my husband made pierogies last night so there was grease spattered everywhere).

This stuff? This stuff is awesome! And it smells like actual lemons! I'm wondering now how it would work with limes because I'm supposed to make a Key-ish Lime Pie this week (I'm hoping I can find Key Limes but not counting on it).

Okay, chemistry experiment done, I didn't destroy anything and my counters are clean -- total win! Have a great weekend and if you have any homemade or less-toxic cleaners that you swear by leave them in the comments.