If you hop onto pinterest or you’ve experimented much with “green” cleaning (or if you’re cheap like me…) you’ll know that vinegar is a basic staple in “natural” cleaning recipes.
However, it’s time to kick your vinegar up a notch!
When I first started making my own cleaners, I have to be honest…I was a little disappointed with using only vinegar for cleaning. It seemed like I was just spraying water, and although I didn’t doubt that my surfaces were clean, I had to scrub to work out stains, dried spills or crusty gunk on my stove top.
Ahem. I mean. If I did have crusty gunk on my stove top, I’m sure that it would be hard to clean with only vinegar.
So I decided to supercharge my vinegar by adding orange peels.
By soaking orange peels, the orange oils release into the vinegar, and all of the sudden, the oils (which are also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal) help to loosen up that crusty-gunk on your stove from last night’s dinner that you forgot to wipe up. (Let’s just be honest here…)
It makes cleaning a little easier, it adds another level of anti-bacterial cleaning power, plus it smells better than straight vinegar!
BUT HOLD THE PHONE!
This is THE most important step in this entire process!
If you simply throw your orange peels into some vinegar, you’re making a HUGE mistake!
You must pinky-promise to ONLY USE ORGANIC ORANGES in this cleaner!
Let’s think through this…
One of the best produce washes is straight vinegar. All you have to do is soak your produce and the acid in the vinegar will cut through the produce wax and clean off pesticide residue. It’s not a cure for pesticide spray, but it definitely helps.
Sooo…let’s carry this through to it’s logical conclusion….
If you make orange peel cleaner in hopes that you’re ridding your home of toxins, but you’re soaking conventional (non-organic) orange peels in vinegar and then spraying your home with it, then all you’ve done is remove all of the produce wax and pesticides, placed those in a spray bottle, and drenched your kitchen in them!
Holy toxic cleaner, Batman!
For this to be a safe alternative, you MUST use organic oranges!
In all of the orange cleaner recipes that I’ve seen floating out there, I have yet to see this mentioned, but it’s a HUGE oversight! This is one of those times that buying organic definitely makes a difference!!
Although oranges are not on the dirty dozen list, you don’t typically eat the peel, which places them in a gray area when it comes to buying them for consumption. However, if you’re using them for cleaning, don’t make the mistake of making orange peel pesticide spray!
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, here’s what you’ll need:
ORGANIC orange peels. Our family buys a bag of oranges and each time we eat an orange, we place the peels in a large zip-loc bag in the freezer until we have enough to make the cleaner.
Large mason jar (I use the half gallon size, which you can find here, although I have found them cheaper locally)
Spray bottle. I still tend to use plastic bottles for my cleaning products, but if you purchase the white vinegar in a glass bottle, you can re-use that. Otherwise, using an amber bottle like this one will help your mixture retain it’s strength and will preserve it longer.
There is no exact science to mixing this up. Simply pack your mason jar with orange peels up to the top, cover them in white vinegar, screw on the lid and wait!
Many sites I’ve seen have said that you need to wait a minimum of 2 weeks until your orange peel cleaner is ready. I like to let it set a little longer and even have several jars going at one time, so that I can rotate through them as I use up the cleaner. Most of my vinegars have been setting for a month or longer.
After (at least) 2 weeks, your vinegar should be a nice orange color and it’s ready to use!
Pour it into a spray bottle and mix 1 part orange peel vinegar with one part straight vinegar. I’ve also seen it recommended that you mix it with one part water, instead of white vinegar. I choose to use vinegar for an extra cleaning kick because:
I also use the mixture on my wood floors, and I don’t like using a water based cleaner on those.
I use this in the kitchen and bathroom, both of which get plenty of use and get a little funky. Maybe it’s psychological, but I think I get a better result using straight vinegar in those areas!
Before you go, don’t forget to check out my Homemade Cleaning Recipe Round-up AND print out my FREE Cleaning Recipe Sheets to keep all of your homemade cleaners organized!