What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Homemade Orange Cleaner

Earlier in the month, I bought a Bella High Power juice extractor.  Most fruits and vegetables being juiced do not need to be peeled but citrus fruit does.  That leaves the peels to either candy or dehydrate, or discard.  I did a bit of searching for something else to do with the peels and came across making homemade orange cleaner.  Anytime I can replace a store bought, toxic cleaner with a non-toxic, homemade cleaner I will so I decided to make a batch the next time I juiced oranges.

ingredients for orange cleaner
I recently made a orange pineapple juice (in mason jar) which left me with the peels from 7 navel oranges and the top of the pineapple.  I saved the seeds and pineapple top to grow.  I've had good luck with lemon seeds growing and now have three little lemon trees about 6 - inches tall. Pineapple tops will also root to grow into a lovely houseplant so I saved that as well. I set the orange peels aside to make the orange cleaner.  

Materials needed for orange cleaner: large mason jar or similar with lid, white vinegar; later you will need a large measuring cup, fine mesh strainer, funnel and spray bottle.

orange cleaner set up
Setting up the orange cleaner is very easy.  Simply put the orange peels into the jar then cover with the white vinegar.  I used a 1.5 L mason jar and a reusable storage lid. I also used all natural vinegar because I was out of the cheap white vinegar but next time will use the cheap one.  Label the jar with the date then set aside and let sit for at least two weeks.  That's it.  The sitting time is the time consuming part so you will want to start another batch before running out of the orange cleaner you are using.  

The orange peels in vinegar looked rather pretty so I was anxious to test the results.  Once the sitting time was finished, it was time to move to the next step of making my non-toxic orange cleaner.

orange cleaner ready to strain
I make a lot of homemade cleaners and have found the spray bottles from the dollar store work well for liquid cleaners I want to use as a spray.  As you can see, after sitting for two weeks, the orange peel had absorbed some of the vinegar.  This really wasn't a problem.  I was more concerned about the amount of cleaner I would get as well as how well the orange cleaner cleaned.  

I strained the orange cleaner into the measuring cup.  At that point the orange peels themselves were of no further use so were put down the food disposal.  I ended up with 24 oz (750 ml) of homemade orange cleaning solution.

orange cleaner ready to use
Vinegar itself is a good household cleaner that kills germs, cuts grease and leaves a sparkly finish.  Orange peel contains oils that give the characteristic orange scent.  I tested the homemade orange cleaner on the counter.  It cleaned well with no residue yet had a pleasant smell.  I was quite impressed!

As is, the cleaner does a nice job cleaning.  If a sudsing orange cleaner was needed, a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent could be added but for most cleaning purposes this really isn't necessary.  The total cost of the 24 oz of homemade orange cleaning solution using the natural vinegar which is more expensive worked out to 56¢.  If using the cheaper, store brand white vinegar the price is reduced to 37¢ at our current prices. 

I am very pleased with the results.  It is nice to be able to add one more homemade, non-toxic cleaner to cleaning supplies.  The nice thing is, this cleaner is made from orange peels that many simply discard to begin with.  It is low cost and effective, making it an eco-friendly cleaning product.  Do give it a try the next time you have a few orange peels.  You will be pleasantly surprised!