Looking to avoid the use of toxic cleaning products? Here’s how to use lemon and vinegar to effectively clean your home the all-natural way.
When life gives you lemons, make cleaning products! That’s my motto anyway.
Whilst it’s not warm enough to grow lemons outdoors in Scotland, I do look out for reduced lemons nearing their expiration date at the supermarket. The reason is that lemon makes for a fantastic natural cleaner that can tackle dirt and grease with ease.
Lemon also act as an all-natural air freshener – making your home smell like you are walking through a Mediterranean lemon grove. What’s not to love?
Whilst you can clean with lemons on their own, pair lemons with white vinegar, and you’ve got an unbeatable dirt and grease-busting duo!
Can You Mix Lemon Juice With Vinegar For Cleaning?
Firstly, you might be wondering if you can mix lemon juice with vinegar when it comes to making cleaning products.
It’s a very legitimate question. After all, vinegar doesn’t mix well with many conventional or natural cleaning products.
In some cases, such as bleach or hydrogen peroxide, mixing either of these with vinegar creates a poisonous gas which is hazardous to your health. Check out my full guide on everything you need to know about cleaning with vinegar for the full details on these safety concerns and more.
In other cases, mixing vinegar with natural cleaning ingredients such as bicarbonate of soda, soda crystals or borax renders you with an ineffective cleaning solution. This is because vinegar is an acid, and these cleaning staples are bases. Mix an acid and a base, and you get neutralisation.
In the case of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, when you mix the two you get weak salty water. To be honest there are much better natural cleaning solutions!
However, in the case of lemon juice, there are no such problems. Lemon juice is an acid. When you mix an acid and an acid no reaction happens. You are simply combining two very effective cleaning ingredients into one product. The lemon also helps mask the smell of vinegar, if you are averse to the smell of vinegar.
How To Make A Lemon And Vinegar Cleaning Solution Three Ways
There are three different ways that I use vinegar and lemon to clean my home:
All-Purpose Vinegar Spray With Fresh Lemon
To make an all-purpose cleaning solution from lemon juice and vinegar, simply add 100 ml of white vinegar, 100 ml of cooled boiled water, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to an empty spray bottle. Mix, and you’re good to go. Keep your bottle in a cool spot, and use it within 7 days.
Do note that this cleaning solution has a short shelf-life because you are using fresh lemon juice, hence why I make this in small quantities.
All-Purpose Vinegar Spray With Lemon Essential Oil
If you want a natural cleaning solution that lasts a little longer, you can mix 250 ml of white vinegar with 250 ml of cooled boiled water in an empty spray bottle, and then add 15 – 20 drops of lemon essential oil. Shake well before every use.
This cleaning spray will last 6 – 8 weeks and will achieve the same results as using fresh lemon juice.
All-Purpose Lemon and Herb Infused Vinegar Cleaning Spray
Alternatively, you can steep lemon peel and herbs, such as rosemary or lavender, in white vinegar, to make a lemon-scented vinegar-based cleaning solution. This takes a little time – around 2 weeks of steeping – but makes a great natural cleaner from peels that would otherwise go to waste.
Simply add the peel of at least two lemons, and any herbs you wish to use, to a 500 ml jar of vinegar. Then seal the jar and let it steep for at least two weeks. After two weeks, add 250 ml of the strained solution to an empty spray bottle and top it with 250 ml of cooled boiled water. Again this will last for 6 – 8 weeks.
Want the full details? See my guide to making herb-infused vinegar for the full how-to.
If you find you don’t have enough lemon peel to make a batch of infused vinegar, you can freeze the lemon peel. When you have enough, put it straight into the jar – there’s no need to defrost the lemon.
What Can You Clean with Lemon and Vinegar?
A lemon and vinegar cleaning solution can be used to clean many areas of your home. It is a real multi-tasking powerhouse!
In the kitchen, you can use the spray on most worktops to clean off dirt, grease and hard water spots. Spritz on to your tiles and backsplash, to clean up food splatters and grease. Clean and shine any stainless steel. Or wipe down cupboard doors to remove greasy handprints.
In the bathroom, you can clean your tiles with it to help keep them mildew free. You can also clean your shower screen, sink, bath, showerhead, and taps to help keep them free of limescale and other mineral deposits.
If you’re looking for other ways to clean with lemon and vinegar, then roll up your sleeves! I’ve got heaps more ideas for you!
Make Your Sinks Gleam
Tackle dirty sinks with ease. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle it liberally with salt. You can then use this to naturally scrub your sink, without any plastic. Squeeze the lemon as you go to release more juice. Once done, rinse your sink, spray with your vinegar spray and give it a final wipe down. Voila, a shiny clean sink!
Clean Your Microwave With Ease
I’m all about easy solutions when it comes to cleaning. Thankfully, when it comes to cleaning your microwave with vinegar and lemon, it’s a lemon-scented breeze!
Slice up half a lemon, and then fill a small non-metallic bowl with water. Pop the lemon slices in the bowl, and put it in your microwave. Next, run your microwave on a high heat setting for around 2 minutes. Once your microwave pings, leave the door closed, allowing the bowl to give off steam for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, carefully remove the bowl. Spritz a clean cloth with your vinegar spray, and wipe down your microwave. Any food splatters should wipe off easily.
Clean and Deodorise Your Chopping Board
When you’re making your dinner, some ingredients can leave your chopping board more than a little stinky. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to clean and freshen your chopping board with lemon and vinegar, leaving it refreshed and ready for your next kitchen creation.
Simply sprinkle your chopping board with coarse salt. Then, using a lemon half with the cut side down, scour the surface. Squeeze the lemon slightly to release the juice as you go along. Next, let the salty lemon solution sit for 5 minutes, and then scrape the liquid into your sink. Rinse the surface with water. Finally, spritz with the vinegar cleaning solution and give the board one final wipe-down. Job done!
Is There Anything You Shouldn’t Clean?
White vinegar and lemon are great natural cleaners, that are safe and effective in many different cleaning applications around the home. However, it’s important to remember that both lemon and vinegar are acidic.
Several surfaces around your home should never be cleaned with acid-based cleaning products.
Natural stone, granite, marble, quartz, or similar are good examples to avoid using vinegar and/or lemon on. This is because both vinegar and lemon can, over time, corrode unsealed stone, leaving etch marks on the surface of your worktops or flooring.
Metallic paint is another surface prone to damage from acid-based cleaning products like vinegar and lemon.
You should also never mix vinegar-based cleaning products with any conventional cleaning products containing bleach, or any homemade cleaning products containing hydrogen peroxide.
What’s your favourite way to clean with lemon and vinegar?