Monday, January 28, 2013

Non Toxic Cleaner

About a year ago, I switched from regular cleaners to natural cleaners.  Most notably, using vinegar as an all purpose cleaner.  It is completely non-toxic, safe for food contact surfaces, and a great disinfectant.  Numerous studies have shown that a straight 5% solution of vinegar kills 99 % of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of germs.  Pretty great, huh?

My family has associated the smells of pine, lemon, and mountain fresh to clean rooms and surfaces, and didn't particularly care for the smell of vinegar, even though it dissipates quickly.  So, I decided to change the smell.  I steeped some lavender flowers in vinegar for about a month in a quart jar, and ended up with cleaner for about 4 months.  Just add it 50/50 with water to a spray bottle. Not bad for free flowers I picked around my neighborhood, and some white vinegar that cost about 2$ for a gallon.

The cleaner was much improved, not only by the smell, but lavender has disinfectant properties, and is considered soothing by aromatherapists.  The smell of lavender lingers much longer than the smell of vinegar, so I consider that a big success.  I ended up making another batch, and have been happily cleaning with lavender steeped vinegar for about a year.

But Im tired of lavendar. So, I decided to mix up some orange cleaner.  Orange oil has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, as well as grease fighting power.  I added some peels to a quart jar and topped with white vinegar.  You can add the peels as you go if you don't have a bunch, or you can save them up in the freezer in a bag, and start a batch when you have a jar full.  You can also throw in tangerine, lemon, lime, or any other citrus peels you may have.  Let it sit for at least 2 weeks, preferably a month.  If you are adding the peels as you go, start your time when putting in the last peels.  When the time is up, strain out the peels, cut 50/50 with water in a spray bottle, and compost the peels.  Also, you can use full strength on really greasy stovetop messes.

Steeping Oranges
A word of caution to those with feline affinity.  I have heard that cats don't like the smell of orange so use with care near their stuff.

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