There’s a couple of different versions of this recipe floating around the Pinterest boards. Over the year of making and using these I’ve found a few tricks that I’ll share here.
Oranges or Lemons – the procedure is the same regardless of what citrus you pick. Lemons gives a stronger smell than oranges which are milder. I find it easiest to sit down with a bag of oranges (bought on sale) and just peel and keep the segments back for snacking and the rinds for the cleaning project. If you try to collect as you eat oranges through the week the project drags on forever.
Clean Rags – T-shirt material is ideal as it is thin and you want something that will soak up the cleaning mix. Another option would be microfiber washcloths and I love the price at the Rag Company. If your using microfiber cloths plan on keeping the oil in a dispenser (like a recycled condiment bottle) and squeeze onto the washcloth instead of soaking it (soaking it would take a lot of oil to gain saturation).
Olive Oil – it is not necessary to use the expensive kind. Cheap is fine.
Vinegar – I prefer White Vinegar as it doesn’t have as strong a smell as Apple Cider. If using ACV it will overwhelm the citrus scent, FYI.
Essential Oil – optional for those who like a stronger citrus smell. I’ve added about 1 teaspoon per one batch (as described here). Luckily, citrus essential oils are some of the cheapest EO’s. Orange and Lemon are very affordable.
Containers – I started out using recycled glass spaghetti jars with lids but I’ve switched to quart or gallon sized, Freezer bags as I really like to tuck a baggie of dust rags in my cleaning bucket – one upstairs, one down, for quick access.
1 c. water
1/2 c. vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil
10 Citrus fruits – trim off for the rinds – they should be dry – not wet! All pulp should be removed.
TIP #1: Cut your rinds into thin strips. This shape is easier to wrap cloth around and to tuck into the bag over the quarter/wedge size.
TIP #2: If orange peels are damp or wet, pat dry, and stick in a low temp (150 degree oven) to dry out for about 10 minutes. Let them cool before using.
TIP #3: Oil and water will continue to separate so whisk your liquids between each rag you are soaking.
TIP #4: If you mix in one large batch and dump in a rag, it will soak up ALL the oil, leaving you only with vinegar and water for the subsequent rags! Get a shallow pan, pour in a quarter cup or less of your mixed/whisked solution and put in a rag to wipe it up. Wring out the rag, wrap up your orange rinds inside and tuck into your plastic bag. Repeat. This way oil is spread evenly throughout your batch of cleaning rags.
TIP #5: Do not put used rags back in with the clean as this brings in contamination and starts mold. From my experience, these should last (unopened/unused) for at least 6 weeks maybe longer.
TIP #6: Once used these rags start to dirty up fast! Rinse in the sink and you can re-use immediately about two more times before there is no more oil in the rag to collect dust.
TIP #7: For best results, wait to use for at last two weeks after setting up. My only problem with these is I go through these very quickly and it takes so much time for them to set up. If you need dusting rags right away skip adding the fruit rinds and just go with the oil and vinegar to use immediately.
TIP #8: When wiping furniture, if you find it leaves too much oily residue to your liking, than go back over with a clean and dry microfiber cloth and next time you make the recipe cut the oil in half.
EXTRA TIP: A week after setting up a batch, doublecheck that nothing is molding. Sometimes despite your best efforts, mold enters and starts to spoil your batch. If caught early you might be able to save the rest by removing the offender.
I prefer these soaked cleaning rags over dusting spray. They work best over flat wooden surfaces like bookshelves, dressers, nightstands, sideboards, dining room tables, bed frames, etc… For my own cleaning routine they really work out for what I clean and how I do it!