Spring cleaning the kitchen (homemade lemon-scented cleaner)

spring cleaning with natural ingredients on simplebites.net

If anyone thinks that my kitchen is always spotless, with perfectly polished stemware, gleaming counters, and an neat silverware drawer, think again. Like you, I also battle paper clutter, have charcoal buildup on the bottom of my oven, and that silverware drawer? Full of crumbs.

Oh, and there’s a daily collision of dishes in the sink.

sink and sunshine

Honestly, it was the fresh tulips and the sunshine that saved me that day. I’m holding out for Spring, but she is toying with us up here.

I had hoped to tackle a few problem areas in the kitchen last week over spring break, but who was I kidding? Instead we had unseasonably warm weather and I kept busy with three kiddos. We went tobogganing, lunched with friends, and hiked through the forest looking for signs of spring.

We also cooked together, a lot, and we planned for and partied through, Clara’s first birthday. Cleaning, as per usual, got bumped to the back burner.

Do you carry out a deep clean in your kitchen each spring? I rather feel as though I should, but I can never settle on that ‘free’ day to follow through. To be fair, I keep my pantry and (most) cupboards in tip-top shape, thanks to containerization and storing food in jars, so they are not the problem. I also stay on top of refrigerator organization, although the front door and handle are on the sticky side. Again.

My obvious trouble zones are the stove/oven, cupboard fronts and counter-top sprawl, windows, and those pesky Tupperware drawers – I have two, so twice the mess.

These areas cannot afford to be ignored, so I’ve decided to tackle them one at a time, here and there over the next month. I can surely fit 20 minutes of cleaning into my day, into my week, and I challenge you to do the same.

homemade lemon-scented all-purpose cleaner

Today’s short task is disinfecting counters. I have a thing for spotless counters; they are as satisfying as freshly washed hair. I know my cats jump on my counters when I’m not looking. It wigs me out just thinking about the bacteria left behind.

I’m also cleaning behind the toaster, moving the canisters, and wiping up the flour under the Kitchen Aid. It’s an easy job that yields fast results. The Tupperware sprawl can stay locked up in a drawer for a bit longer- this weekend I’m enjoying shining counters.

This all-natural, homemade disinfectant will have your kitchen counters gleaming in no time. Plus, the fresh lemon scent will perfume your kitchen beautifully.

The recipe is adapted from Tsh’s all-purpose household cleaner in her book, Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living, a handy resource for spring cleaning if there ever was one.

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 litre (4 cups) hot water
  • 1/2 a lemon
  1. In a small bucket or 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup, combine vinegar, baking soda and hot water.
  2. Squeeze in the juice from half a lemon, then drop the rind in as well to infuse the cleaner.
  3. Stir well to dissolve the baking soda and allow to cool. Remove the lemon rind.
  4. Transfer into a spray bottle or squeeze bottle and label clearly. Your homemade cleaner is ready to use!

What are a few ‘trouble zones’ in your kitchen? Do you tend to knock them off one-by-one or schedule a big cleaning day?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. I’m making changes to a more nature friendly and sustainable lifestyle, so thank you so much for sharing this! I would honestly never think of using a lemon for cleaning!

  2. I am very excited when I find a new recipe for a household cleaner! I love the scent o lemon and I trust baking soda and vinegar absolutely! I am sure that the cleaner is awesome. I am having a cleaning weekend this week and I am excited to try some new recipes! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Theresa Brooks says

    This is exactly what I need! Some easy to make natural cleaning spray for every day use! I hate dust and I go around spraying vinegar for cleaning the dust but the smell is not so nice. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  4. Looking forward to trying this at work! Sounds perfect for keeping my desk clean during cold and flu season.

  5. Thanks for sharing this! I’m looking for cheaper and more natural ways to get my cleaning done, and this will definitely help! 🙂

  6. This is even better than buying it! and I learned to make my own toothpaste, laundry detergent & body wash. I’m learning to do more. It’s safer, cleaner and Eco Friendly, it’s just smart! thanks for sharing this, I”m making a batch now!

  7. Can you use lemon from a bottle instead of a fresh lemon?

  8. Adding baking soda to vinegar just cancels out the cleaning power of both.

  9. Shwan Marsh says

    I always love Short Cuts. Cleaning is one of those aspects of my life where I am tied in with making it speedy, simple, and easy. There are such a large number of cleaners available, yet they can be so toxic and harmful. I am trying to maintain a distance from them when conceivable, and choose Natural Cleaning Methods. Thanks for the spray recipe.

  10. I’ve been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used
    to love this blog. Thank you, I’ll try and check back more frequently.
    How frequently you update your website?

  11. We stumbled over here by a different web page and thought I might
    check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you.
    Look forward to looking over your web page
    yet again.

  12. How long can you store this for? I’ve just made it, how easy and how exciting!

  13. I’ve heard that mixing baking soda and vinegar causes a reaction between the two so that they break down into what’s basically water with a bit of salt in it. So this cleaner recipe makes salty lemon water. You’d be better off using just vinegar (with lemon to make it smell a bit better). Please look into this before deciding to try this recipe out. No sense in wasting ingredients!

    • I use sprinkled baking soda covered with white vinegar and left to soak on burnt on or hard to move cooking with great results.
      I would have given it 5 stars But this will not allow me to give more than 2

  14. Hi it’s me, I am also visiting this website regularly, this
    site is in fact good and the viewers are in fact sharing pleasant thoughts.

  15. Samantha Thomas says

    This sounds great
    I’m a cleaner with many customers and I am thinking of transitioning to green products.
    This spray looks great. How long will it last? Or does it need to be made fresh for every use?

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