How to Make Citrus Oils for Green Cleaning

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If you make your own green cleaning products, you already appreciate the savings in money that comes with using environmentally friendly cleansers. You may even know about the benefits of adding various essential oils to your homemade cleansers but are shocked by the prices. It is easy to make your own citrus oils and they really do enhance cleaning power and are safer on surfaces and you!

Things You'll Need

  • lemons
  • orange
  • limes
  • zester, vegetable peeler or paring knife
  • Remove the zest before you use any citrus fruit. Get into the habit of doing this all the time. Since the zest is not is not for eating, you don't have to worry about the bitter, white pith. Use a zester, vegetable peeler or paring knife and shave the color off the fruit's peel. You can store it in a small jar in the refrigerator if you don't plan on using it immediately. Use the rest of the fruit as you normally would.

  • Mash up the zest to release the natural oils. You can use a mortar and pestle but the back end of a heavy wooden spoon is just as good. Adding coarse salt will help break down the fibers. Pour cold water over the mixture and stir or shake vigorously. If making a large quantity, a blender works very well.

  • Marinate. Allow the mixture to rest an hour or even a day. You should be able to smell the refreshing, citrus perfume. Pour the mixture into strainer and add to your cleaning solution. This works well in castile soaps and vinegar solutions. If you are making a scrubbing solution, like baking soda mixes, do not strain, the bits provide a protective tooth to the paste. The oils in citrus are very good for cleaning wood products and floors.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not store zest long, they are best used fresh.
  • Use citrus peels to scrub wood surfaces where you've worked with hot peppers, also work into hands when washing to remove capsaicin -the hot stuff!
  • Do not use if the zest gets moldy.

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