Monday, February 1, 2016

Easy (and cheap) Orange All-Purpose Cleaner




Recently I over-bought oranges because they were a great price, and a bunch were leftover and needed to be used up asap before they became a waste.  The first thing I thought to make was orange all purpose cleaner.  This is so easy and works really well!



The first thing to do is peel those oranges.  Or, if you're someone who eats a lot of citrus, save those peels! Take the peels and put them in a jar. 

To use up some more, I put orange slices in the fridge to toss in my daily smoothie, and also down the garbage disposal to clean in there. 

Next, I added plain old white vinegar to the jar of peels, stuck it on the windowsill and let it soak for two weeks.  I know this seems like a long wait time, but the longer they go, the more oils go into the vinegar and the better it is going to work.


Once the vinegar solution is ready, grab an empty spray bottle and a funnel and fill the bottle about half way. Then fill the rest with water.  If you have leftover vinegar in the orange jar, stick it back on the windowsill until you're ready to make more!



Ok, so maybe you're wondering if it actually works.  I let my counters get good and dirty and used only this spray on it.  It works so well!  If there's a stuck on stain, let it soak for a minute or two and then wipe it off.




I showed a friend of mine who is a major germ-a-phobe (Holly, I'm talking to you!) this solution and her first question was, "but does it disinfect?"  Good question!

I've been using vinegar to clean my house for sometime now, and that orange works as a great degreaser, but it also does have germ fighting ninjas too, according to Greenopedia.com:

White vinegar is a highly effective alternative that kills nearly all household germs, bacteria, mold, and mildew without the harmful fumes or residue of chlorine bleach. Vinegar is just as economical and it is completely safe to use around children and pets.
Vinegar is also biodegradable, so you can wash your sinks, drain and toilets without worrying about chemicals being flushed into your local water system.
If you prefer premixed cleaning solutions to vinegar, look for natural alternatives that use hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil or thyme oil to effectively disinfect your home.

I should specify that I am not a vinegar or germ expert, so if you're skeptical, do a little research (I simply Google'd it) on vinegar and citric acid and you be the judge.  I'm willing to bet bleach and other chemical cleaners are more effective at killing a bigger variety of germs, but for my house with a child, toddler and dogs, I prefer things that are food grade and non toxic so this is what works for our family.
If you're a budgeter, you'll enjoy how inexpensive this is to make.  If you want to get fancy, add some essential oils to it, or some other citrus peels.  

For the bottle, I'm using one I've had kicking around from a spray I ran out of but you can also get prettier ones too.  Amazon has these lovely ones that I have on my wish-list for a future purchase. With all the money you save making your own cleaner, you can totally justify buying the pretty bottles!

Have you made your own sprays? Please share your tips for making them even better!

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