April 28, 2012

Natural Orange Vinegar Cleaner - How & Why

When it comes to creative ideas, I prefer my own.  I just can't follow a pattern.  But I have experimented with a few cooking & cleaning ideas as seen around pinterest, lately. 
Some of them don't work, but some are great.  I found this cleaner with vinegar & orange peels to be good & thought I'd share (since not everyone I know is aboard the pinterest train.) 
Plus, I like to add a little information, because I'm like that.

First  of all.  It's not a newfangled idea.   
Vinegar has been used for cleaning for ages. 
Growing up, I used it on my hair from time to time.  I add it regularly to our laundry.  I run some through every dishwasher load, and use it in the jet dry dispenser.  To clean our shower head, I tie a bag of vinegar on it & leave it to soak overnight.  
I've lived with hard water all my life (on the edge of the Iron Range).. vinegar works wonders on the hindrances of hard water. 
Why it works:  Vinegar is a mild acid.  It dissolves mineral deposits. 
Found to be 90% effective against mold and 99.9% effective against germs & bacteria, too.

Orange oil (produced in the peel of an orange) is also an effective & all natural cleaner that's no spring chicken in the cleaning department. 
It works because it is a natural solvent.  Solvents are good at getting rid of gunk.
Then there is Limonene (in the orange oil), which gives oranges their pleasant scent.

Put together, the two make a life-friendly, home-healthy, effective cleaner.  
And the orange jazzes up the smell of vinegar.

How to make (100% Natural) Orange Vinegar Cleaner
Put your orange peels in a jar.  I used a quart canning jar.
Pour in white vinegar.   Leave some room if you plan on adding more peels as you eat oranges later.
Close it.
Leave it for 2 weeks.  Ours sat on the counter by the kitchen sink for quite a long time, maybe a month.
I thought it looked cheery & fun.   
Strain the orange peels & pour your now-orange-infused vinegar into a spray bottle.
I got mine in the garden section at Menard's.  
Or you could store your cleaner in the same jar, and dip into it with a cloth as needed.  
I chose to use all of my vinegar solution, and topped off with a little water.  
You can do 50/50, or less vinegar & more water.  I like my cleaners strong.
Remember to compost those orange peels. 
Our family eats a TON of oranges.  I love getting the most out of things, and think it's cool to add to the use of the whole fruit by using the peels before they go in our compost bin.
That's it.
Use it on stainless steel, glass, kitchen surfaces, bathrooms, everywhere.    
It works great!


  1. Can you pour off the vinegar and then add new vinegar to the peels?

    1. We usually add more peels to ours as they come, but I don't necessarily remove the old ones. You could try it for a second batch.. but I found the peels start to turn brown & will break down over time.

  2. Do you think I could add Citronella to this? I plan to make this and spray it on my dog run area.

  3. Does this clean any differently than plain vinegar (just smells yummy straight out of the bottle!), or does the orange oil boost the cleaning power?

    1. The orange definitely boosts the cleaning power - If you read, I have explained the how & why. (Vinegar is an acid.. Orange oil is a natural solvent. Solvents cut through gunk.)

  4. -was just perusing the Kitchn site and came across your comment. Thanks for adding the link to this post!