Making your own all-purpose cleaner really is as easy as orange peels and vinegar!
If you watched my vlog “What Sourdough Starter taught me about Homesteading” then you already know that while building our new homestead and forest farm completely from scratch, I’ve been in this season of waiting. It’s a tough season to be in – to have to wait for the weather to warm up so my spring garden can be planted, baby chicks can hatch, and I can start feeling more accomplished as a homesteader. But this season has also taught me to turn my waiting room into a classroom. It’s taught me to intentionally teach myself new skills while I wait.
One of those new skills I’ve been teaching myself is how to preserve foods. Even though I’m not currently growing much in my garden this winter season, there’s a variety of produce available at the grocery stores and farmers markets, a lot of which are on sale this time of year. I spent the last few days dehydrating cabbage for soups, making homemade cranberry juice using the fresh berries nearly every store had on sale after Thanksgiving, fermenting garlic in raw honey, freezing greens, and preserving and canning fruits.
I found the fruits on sale, because you know… shelf-life matters. They were going to go bad soon if someone didn’t buy and eat them. Or preserve them. So that’s what we did. I bought about 6 bags of mandarin oranges and several pineapples, peeled them/cut them, and added them to my canning jars. After topping them with a homemade light syrup, I then gave them a water bath to seal the jars. This took them from fruit that was about to expire to foods that can be stored in my pantry for up to a year. Who am I kidding though? They definitely won’t last that long with four fruit loving kids in my house!
I didn’t want to let anything go to waste (not even the banana peels that I turned into a Banana & Honey Tea to feel better before bedtime), so rather than compost all of the orange peels, I turned them into an all-purpose household cleaner!
This homemade cleaner is so easy to make…
I simply put the orange peels into jars, added some fresh pine needles that my daughters gathered from outside, and covered them with white vinegar and a lid. I’ll let these peels and pines infuse in the vinegar for about two weeks and then transfer the liquid to spray bottles. It can then used to clean my kitchen counters and everywhere else my kids make their messes!
Vinegar makes an excellent all-purpose cleanser but doesn’t smell very pleasant on its own. Adding the orange peels and pine needles neutralizes the vinegar smell and creates a delicious citrus smell instead. And best of all, this homemade cleanser is non-toxic and safe to use all around your house. It’s also significantly cheaper than store bought chemical filled cleaners.
If you don’t have pine needles available to you, no worries. Get creative and add whatever you have available to you, like rosemary or a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Or you can leave the extras out and stick to citrus peels of ANY kind! It’s totally up to you! Lemon, grapefruit and even limes work too, but I prefer the scent of oranges.
Let us know in the comments below how your homemade cleaner turns out!