I love making something out of nothing.
I’m still not a composter (*cringe* I know, I know, get on top of that one, Katie), so anytime I can reuse food scraps before I toss them, it makes me indescribably happy. I posted a while back on Ways to Cook with Garbage, and now I have a great one for how to clean with garbage.
It’s the time of year that we always have oranges around – they’re not exactly “in season” in Michigan, but they’re on sale at the grocery store thanks to those warmer climates where oranges are in season.
Here’s one way to use the peels rather than tossing them.
- Juice about 3-4 oranges or save the peels from eating them.
- Put empty rinds into a quart jar.
- Cover with white vinegar.
- Allow to sit for about 2 weeks, either in a cabinet or on the counter.
- Shake when you think of it.
After 2 weeks, strain out the vinegar, which will smell clean and citrus-y. Really. It will. There’s no other way to describe it – the bite of smelling straight vinegar is gone, and the orange smell is heavenly.
Citrus will help cut the grease when cleaning and be a good substitute for those commercial orange cleaners that harness the natural cleaning power of oranges and then adulterate it with a bunch of other junk.
UPDATE: A reader shared in the comments that she makes this out of grapefruit peels, which makes me pretty confident that lemon would work excellently as well. I’m trying both this week – maybe I can finally have that “Pledge” smell for dusting again but without the chemicals!
If you’re digging natural, homemade cleaners and want more recipes, my friend Michelle has an eBook with dozens of natural cleaning recipes, and for even more fun, try Food on Your Face for Acne and Oily Skin by Crunchy Betty – love her!
Store citrus vinegar in a glass jar for a very long time – no reason this should go bad. I got about 1.5-2 cups from a quart jar, and I was still using a jar from last year just this week.
How to use your new orange power cleaner
- Mix in a ratio of anywhere from 1:1 to 8:1 with water in a spray bottle and clean anything, from counters to floors to toilets, with it (but vinegar is not recommended for wood floors, granite, or marble).
- Pour into your rinse aid dispenser in your dishwasher.
- Use the orange vinegar as part or all of the vinegar for the natural dishwasher cleaning method.
Those readers who know me will have already guessed that I tried using the rinds for another batch. It works great! The result is perhaps slightly less dark than the original, but surely will still have great cleaning power and smells great. (I do the same thing with bones for everlasting chicken stock.)
Use the Peels a Third Time!
Once you’ve strained out your vinegar, keep the jar of orange rinds by the sink. They shouldn’t mold after all that vinegar. About once a week or when your garbage disposal gets a little stinky, use the rind to wipe around your entire sink, especially the drain area, and then put down your disposal. It smells great! Combine with a little baking soda to really scrub the grime out of the sink.
I learned the method here.