DIY All-Purpose Cleaner from Orange Peels & Vinegar

or What To Do With All Those Winter Holiday Season Orange Peels

Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner in the Making

Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner in the Making

Do you spin your dreidel for satsumas? Do tangerines join the other bounty of your Kwanzaa Mazao? Does Santa sneak an orange into the toe of your stocking? Are clementines part of your Festivus celebration? Whatever your winter holiday(s) of choice, it’s likely that you’ve got a few oranges in your fruit basket this time of year. They’re a delicious in-season hit of vitamin C, edible sunshine in its own compostable packaging – But you don’t have to toss those peels into your compost pile or bin. Mixed with vinegar, orange peels give up their powerful oils to create a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner perfect for zero-waste cleaning and disinfecting.

Orange Peels in the Jar, 2 Days Old

Orange Peels in the Jar, 2 Days Old

  1. Fill a glass jar with orange peels (any variety of orange works well). Wash the peels well before eating, but you do that anyway, right? You want clean oranges for your cleaner and for your body’s sake.
  2. Pour in vinegar to cover the peels. If you’re not eating a pile of oranges in one sitting, just cover the peels with vinegar as you go, filling the jar over time. When it’s full to the top, move to the next step.
  3. Cap the jar, set it in a dark spot, and wait at least 2 weeks, or 1 month for full potency.
  4. Strain the vinegar, compost the softened peels, and use the vinegar for household cleaning and disinfecting.
  5. Are you new to cleaning with vinegar? There are so many uses for the stuff, we’re not going to list them all here – Vinegar Tips has 1,001 tips for you. This orange vinegar is especially powerful thanks to the limonene the vinegar has liberated from the peels. Use caution when cleaning painted, varnished, or other delicate surfaces! 

If you’re looking for more DIY cleaning ideas, check out my other project, Trash Backwards – We’ve got a host of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ideas for all sorts of things, orange peels included!

DIY Cleaning Supply Ideas from Trash Backwards

DIY Cleaning Supply Ideas from Trash Backwards

6 comments on “DIY All-Purpose Cleaner from Orange Peels & Vinegar

  1. I have used lemon rinds in vinegar also. Makes delightful scented cleaning! And I hadn’t seen the Trash Backwards site before. Thank you that is awesome!

    • Thank you! I’ve heard that any citrus peel will work; it’s great to have personal verification! I’ll have to give lemons and grapefruits a try. This orange vinegar has a lovely scent, but I love lemons and grapefruits even more than I love oranges (and that’s saying something). And please do check out Trash Backwards – I’ve had a wonderful time working with my friend to create it!

  2. […] Turn all those orange peels into an all-purpose vinegar-based cleaner with my tutorial here.  […]

  3. We’ve been pigging out on oranges around here and I’m about a week away from being able to use my orange vinegar cleaning solution. Will try making lemon vinegar as well. These cleaning solutions could make nice holiday gifts for my green-living friends next year. Have been enjoying the creative adventures shared here and on Trash Backwards.

  4. […] peel of all around the orange, so that all the white skin under the peel is gone. Discard the peel (here‘s a great idea what to do with all those citrus fruit peels), collect the juice. Slice the […]

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