This Stuff Will Make You Want To Clean Your Home’s Surfaces!

(Says the Mommy who’s actually pretty horrible at maintaining a clean home). Ha!

In all seriousness, if you have been following my blog you know that I am on a mission. This mission is to eliminate as many pesticides, chemicals, and other artificial ingredients from my household as possible. I’ve endured horrific eczema my entire life, yet I had never really given this stuff much thought.

When my now 17 mth old son started going through the same skin issues as me (pretty much from birth), I started doing research. Things I’ve found are disgusting, so that is why I am on this mission to rid our home of things that certainly aren’t helping our eczema, but are also just plain horrible for us. I mean, my son licks our windows and I don’t want him licking nasty chemicals! Sorry, I digress…

What I am sharing today is ridiculously easy. How could something so easy be so effective? This is nature at its finest, friends! You really will be shocked at how simple and effective this homemade cleaning solution is…you can totally do this! Let me introduce you to the two ingredients (yes, only two).

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Orange Peels

These days, I’ve been looking at everything differently. I now save and reuse glass jars and bottles (I use them for loads of things around the house), pistachio shells (I’ll use them in planters this spring; do you have any other ideas for me, readers??), and I recently started saving orange peels. I have made candied orange peels, used them in my garbage cans (under the bags) to help with yucky trash smells, I will be using them in my garden this summer for composting, and now I’ve used them to make a general cleaner for my home.

Why orange peels? Multiple studies (here’s one, for example) have detailed the antibacterial properties found in orange oil, which is extracted from orange peels. Fun fact- Most fruits that are high in Vitamin C have natural antibacterial properties. Cool!
Side note- Please try to purchase organic oranges when you are making this cleaner. The peels of conventional oranges contain LOADS of pesticides and we want those chemicals out of our homes!

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Oh, ACV…thank you for coming into my life! Okay, that may be a bit dramatic, but it’s truly how I feel. I splash ACV and olive oil on my salads, I put it in my toilets overnight and wake up to clean toilets, I’ve used a mix for eczema skin relief, and much more. My two favorites are: Braggs and Eden Organic. I will definitely advocate for an organic, raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized ACV with the only ingredient being ACV (check your labels).

ACV is a wonder tonic. A tbsp or so each day and it’ll cure what ails ya! You can do a quick Google search and find a plethora of research supporting the healthy effects ACV, for example…

  • Skin troubles (eczema, psoriasis, inflammation, maintains proper skin and body pH, wart treatment, sunburn)
  • Sore throats (add some lemon and honey and you’ve got a wonderful soother)
  • Hair (adds a ton of shine)
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Maintains inner body balance and is a fabulous detox agent
  • Candida overgrowth (I’m doing more research on this one…more soon)

Not to mention, it’s great for cleaning. Here’s my super easy recipe!

Homemade, Non-Toxic Household Cleaner

  • Mason jar
  • ACV
  • Orange peels
  • Spray bottle (not completely necessary, but super helpful so you don’t risk spilling your new cleaning solution)
Just a bag of orange peels!
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Just a simple bag of orange peels!

Instead of tossing orange peels in the garbage, save them. Simply toss them in a Ziplock bag and put them in the fridge (if you’ll use them within a few days) or freeze them.

Next, shove them down into a mason jar. I am currently out of large mason jars, so I just used a small pint jar to make enough to get by. I managed to fit the peels from three oranges in this pint, but now I’m thinking that two would’ve been sufficient.

Fill your mason jar to the top with ACV (making sure to completely cover the orange peels), screw on lid, and place it somewhere on your counter where you’ll see it each day.

Finally (and here’s the hardest part of this recipe), shake your jar up everyday and wait for at least a week, 10 days is better. You need to let the oil from the orange peels come out naturally into the ACV. After 10 days has passed, strain your liquid into a pump bottle and you are ready to clean!

I thought I should share a picture (sorry for the poor quality; I’m still figuring out my husband’s camera). I purposefully spilled some roasted chicory root/dandelion greens coffee on my counter to show you how my cleaner compares to two others you may have in your cabinet under the sink right now.

Look closely…

Left=409 Middle=Homemade Right=Kroger
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  • Left is my Homemade, Non-Toxic Household Cleaner
  • Kroger brand All-Purpose Cleaner (with vinegar) is in the middle
  • 409 All-Purpose Cleaner is on the right

I used a separate, saturated Q-tip and made one swipe with each cleaner. The 409 actually did the worst job, followed by the Kroger brand, and the homemade cleaner coming in first (albeit, close to the Kroger brand). The 409 left a lot of crusted on coffee, while the Kroger brand seems to have left a tint of the coffee there (it might have come more clean with two swipes, of course). Both vinegar cleaners did the best and contain the least amount of toxic chemicals (although, please don’t get me started on white vinegar…that’s for another post).
Yay for Homemade, Non-Toxic Household Cleaner!

Let me know when you try this smell-good, effective cleaner. Also, please share with me some of your favorite do-it-at-home methods of cleaning! I’ll be sharing more with you soon. In fact, I’m currently using homemade toothpaste, with great results! 🙂

Jess, aka Scratch Mommy

A reader recently wrote to me and said that she has been using this ACV cleaner and LOVES it, too. Yay! She said that she “stretched it” by adding water to the mixture in her spray bottle and it is working just as well. GREAT TIP! Thanks for sharing!
My readers are just the best. 🙂

I do have another cleaning recipe on my blog HERE that you might want to check out.
It works equally as well and I use it all over my home…smells delish, too, especially if you like using essential oils. It packs a powerful antibacterial punch, too!

How Cool!!!
This blog post was featured by Oily Mint as one of their Top 7 Amazing Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar. Thanks Oily Mint…I’m honored and flattered. I hope that your readers love it as much as I do. 🙂

This post was shared at– Domestically Devine TuesdayTuesday ConfessionalHow To TuesdayFrugal Days, Sustainable WaysPity PartyWildcrafting Wednesday, Farm Girl Blog Fest, Small Footprint Fridays, Eco-Kids Tuesday.

Comments 14

  1. What are your thoughts about using Tangerine rinds/peels instead of Orange? I ask only because that is what I have right now. I like the idea of using a non-toxic cleaner. This is a really good find!
    Thanks Jessica.

    1. Oooooo, great question, Kathie! My first instinct was, “Heck yeah…do it,” but I thought I’d better do a little research first.

      Since tangerines and oranges are so similar, I believe that you can certainly use one or the other. Oranges do have a bit more Vitamin C than tangerines (oranges have the most out of all the citrus fruits), but that shouldn’t stop you from using those tangerine peels!

      In fact, you could also use lemons, grapefruit, &/or limes (depending on your preferred scent profile), as they also contain a lot of Vitamin C. It’s the Vitamin C that is going to provide you with that antibacterial factor you want.

      So…short answer…yes! 🙂

  2. Jess – Once you make these homemade cleaners, how long do they last? I guess the ACV would be sort of a preservative, so it’s not like they’d go bad quickly, right?

    1. Hi Emily,

      Your hunch is spot on. Because of the acidic nature of vinegars they last almost indefinitely. This is why they are used in so many products on the shelf; they do act as a preservative.

      You would absolutely use all of your cleaner well before it would even come close to going bad. Let me know what you think about your cleaner after you make it! 🙂

  3. As a psoriasis sufferer, I’ve been switching to all-natural, too. ACV is amazing in its ability to ease the itch and reduce the flakes! I’m a fan of the citrus peel-infused vinegar, and also use Thieves Oil and other essential oils depending on the task. Good on you for making the switch, too! If you haven’t already, I’d love if you’d come join my How To Tuesday link party, too.

  4. love it and can’t wait to try it out! I make my own chemical-free everything since becoming a mummy too. I recently posted an awesome recipe to make your own hair gel from flax seeds = you gotta try it!
    Have you ever visited ? She hasn’t been blogging for a few months but her blog is a treasure trove of home made cleaners for your home and skin. Her home made deodorant recipe is absolutely amazing – I really recommend you check her out!

  5. Since your mission is to eliminate as many harmful chemicals from your home as possible, have you considered a change to your first step in making your cleaning solution? Why not just reserve a mason jar for the peels then add in the ACV? Plastic baggies are petroleum based. I’m concerned about the citric acid interacting with the plastic and contaminating the oranges. Best of health to you and your family! 🙂

    1. Yes, Yes, YES!!! 🙂

      It is incredibly ironic that you brought this up today. It’s been on my to-do list to update this recipe for a couple of weeks now to let people know that you can (and should!) just put the peels right into the mason jars.

      Thank you for stopping by and writing, Andrea! Much appreciated. 🙂

  6. I love this however I was told NOT to use any vinegar on my granite counters as it corrodes the stone. I use vinegar to clean just about everything as well as a softener in my laundry. I have only been using white vinegar but will easily switch to ACV except for the laundry. Concerned about staining. Using vinegar in my wash takes out the smells of construction and it softens at the same time. No you do not smell like a salad. 🙂
    Thank you for this recipe, looking forward to a reply to the granite.

  7. Now wait a minute. You cannot make a comment like, “don’t get me started on white vinegar” and then not comment! ‘Splain yourself, Lucy!

  8. Maintaining clean home is very hard task. This recipe looks like something very easy to be done. I am going to try it. Last week I promised myself that I will use only natural ingredients because it is healthier. I am so glad that I have found your article. Greetings!

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