Lemon Rosemary Cleaning Spray



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Hmmm… that’s not a recipe, now is it? Well, not a food recipe. But eating boutique certainly lends itself to living boutique, and we are all simple, natural, DIY projects to make your life a little sunnier. We are also thrilled to bits to introduce Melissa Massello, a DIY guru (from my own hometown of Austin, Texas!). She’ll help us make spring cleaning a little more enjoyable this year! -Amy

Like many urbanites, I spend hours on Pinterest with dreams of domesticity — in particular, of future homes with (enough) outdoor space to finally have a garden and compost — especially since I recently moved from Boston to Austin where there are 300 days of sunshine a year! In the meantime, I’ve been making use of kitchen scraps by creating household cleaners from citrus peels and vinegar — a vintage recipe made popular again by DIY domestics (like me) eager to reduce the toxic chemicals in their homes and save a buck (or two).

For deep cleaning my stove and range, there’s nothing better than a simple stew of orange peels and vinegar. The natural d-limonene found in citrus peels (especially oranges) is a powerful de-greasing agent. Simply cure the orange peels in distilled white vinegar and a handful of salt for a few weeks, then strain into a glass bottle (I reuse the vinegar bottle) fitted with a sprayer top. (Glass jars and bottles are a must with homemade cleaning products because essential oils can actually leach petrochemicals out of plastic — grody to the max.)

I like to use clementine and blood orange peels in winter while they’re in season since I bring them home by the crate. And this basic recipe is the absolute best thing on my stainless steel appliances — no fingerprints or streaks when I wipe down with a dishcloth or newspaper — but it does leave a bit of a lingering vinegar smell.

I decided to make a hybrid all-purpose cleaner and home fragrance by combining my tried-and-true citrus peel solution with a popular recipe for getting that “Williams-Sonoma smell” at home. By swapping out orange peels for Meyer lemon peels, cloves (which I use in my homemade clove oil, an organic puppy training tool — and next month’s post!), fresh rosemary from my tiny rosemary tree and vanilla, I produce an all-purpose spray for any room in the house.

And voila – no more lingering vinegar smell! Forget the cookies baking in the oven — I’m open house/party-ready right after cleaning up. I think Martha would be proud.


DIY Lemon Rosemary Cleaning Spray


  • Glass container with locking lid & plastic (not rubber) O-ring
  • Reusable glass spray bottle (or empty glass vinegar bottle)
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • Lemon peels (or lemon halves after juicing, remove pulp)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 drops lemon, 2 drops clove & 1 drop rosemary essential oil (optional)


  1. Place the citrus peels in the glass jar with locking lid and add the salt. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Add the distilled white vinegar, rosemary, vanilla extract and the essential oil, if using. Close the glass jar,  lock the lid, turn the jar end on end and shake a few times to combine.
  3. Let sit for 2 to 3 weeks, turning end on end every few days. Once “cured,” strain into the reusable glass spray bottle, filling halfway. Set the citrus peels & herbs aside. Fill the rest of the way with distilled water and shake.
  4. Label the spray bottle, and use as you would a store-bought product.
  5. Once your kitchen is clean, rinse the discarded peels & herbs and add to a pot of water on the stove (or a small crock pot) set to warm to fill your home with that “Williams-Sonoma smell.”

Photos taken and styled by Denise Woodward.

Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in the Eat Boutique Shop. You can also follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagramTumblr and Pinterest.


Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now focused on opening her first permanent Eat Boutique​–​a food​-​retail concept space ​with a new way to the very best food. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry & Made Me Love Me, At Last, will be published by Roost Books/Penguin Random House in 2019. Her first cookbook, Food Gift Love, features more than 100 food gift recipes to make, wrap, and share and is available wherever you find favorite cookbooks.

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  • Amy McCoy

    Ah, my brilliant friend. I love this – thank you for sharing! I’ll be whipping up some orange-rosemary cleaning spray this weekend & can’t wait until that high-end scent (on a Shoestring budget & eco-friendly to boot!) fills my house! Looking forward to your regular columns here, Melissa!

    • shoestringmag

      Yay! So glad you like it, and cannot wait to hear how it comes out! I just made another batch & am straining/bottling tomorrow. Texas mud season + puppies = so. much. cleaning. But my house smells lovely (and my FuelBand is on fire) so who cares! Thanks for the support, as always, my friend. I could not be happier to be contributing to Eat Boutique, either! <3

  • stee

    OK, does this really work? Like in real life, not just in picture perfect blog life? Because I’ve tried other DIY/Pinterest vinegar cleaning solutions. They don’t clean well at all and the house smells like pickles. I have to go back over with my tried and true 409 to get the surfaces really clean.

    • shoestringmag

      It really, really does! The straight orange peel & vinegar solution (which I’ve been making for years because it really cuts through the grease on my stove like an informercial!) does leave a residual vinegar smell, that’s why I wanted to create this hybrid using the popular “Williams-Sonoma smell” room freshener recipe on Pinterest. The addition of herbs, spices & essential oils makes ALL the difference. Give it a try & let me know how it works for you!

  • Laura Rhodes

    Do you have to refrigerate it to keep it from going bad as you would for a vinegar tincture?

  • This is great – I’m adding it to my collection of DIY cleaning products and yet another way to use rosemary. The smell…can’t wait!

  • Ginny

    Great info! Can a make a cleaner consisting of dried rosemary-infused vinegar and sweet orange essential oil? I have a 1/2 cup rosemary marinating in 1 1/2 cups white vinegar. How may drops of sweet orange oil should I add? And do I need to add any more liquid like water and/or more vinegar? Thanx for all your help.

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