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)
- Place the citrus peels in the glass jar with locking lid and add the salt. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Label the spray bottle, and use as you would a store-bought product.
- 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.
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