Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vinegar Orange Peel Homemade Cleaning Solution ~ Effective and All Natural


 


I found an idea on Pinterest for an all natural homemade cleaning solution using just white vinegar and orange peels.   I did change the method of preparation slightly.  This cleaner is non-toxic and powerful.  It's safe enough to drink

 (my 12 year old daughter tasted it and said it tastes like slightly sweet pickled oranges).

It works equally well on windows and surfaces.  I like the scent of it and the cost savings.  Of course, it always feels good to know that I've found a product that is non-toxic for both my children and our environment.


For additional reading on homemade cleaning products, check out the following -

Homemade: How-to Make Hundreds of Everyday Products Fast, Fresh, and More Naturally

The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning


(Click HERE for updates/reviews on all my homemade cleaners)
The process is very simple ~
1) Boil 2-3 cups of white vinegar and
pour over orange peels packed into a
quart sized canning jar.


2) Let sit for several weeks OR
to speed up the extraction process,
water bath can the jar for 20 mins,
just as you would pickles.


3) Strain the infused vinegar well using a mesh strainer
Pour approximately 1 1/2 cups of the vinegar into an
empty, clean spray bottle.


4) Add water to fill the bottle.


5) Use cleaner just as you would use any
all purpose surface cleaner.  Safe, effective and CHEAP!















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93 comments:

  1. Just this week I have seen multiple posts about this. I've seen several different processes but the idea is the same. One warning I saw is to exercise caution when using this around cats. Evidently it doesn't agree with them.
    Judy

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    Replies
    1. I wonder why and how it bothers cats? Curious..... If you can remember the place you read this let me know. Thanks Judy!

      Delete
    2. Ha! Yes... I read a blog post about a woman who started cleaning her whole house with vinegar... I actually think she was using essential oils too... lavender maybe?

      Anyhow, within a few days the cat was peeing EVERYWHERE! Like even on the kitchen counter! EEEEEWWWWWWW!!!!

      So I'm not sure if it was the vinegar or the essential oils that did it, but I imagine it wasn't pretty! I generally just use a bit of dish washing detergent or maybe some baking soda for surfaces, although it doesn't work too well with mirrors.

      Delete
    3. I have to wonder if it was the lavender? Well, our puddy tat is an outdoor man so we don't have to worry about it but I sure appreciate you all warning our readers! Cat urine is NOT pleasant! It's not something I would wish on my worst enemy! (Well.....maybe.....)

      Delete
    4. I have been using vinegar to clean my counters, showers, and windows for over a year. I have two cats and have never had an issue.

      Delete
    5. Thanks Ellen,

      I wonder if it is the orange peel.......

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
    6. I worked at a cat santuary and we used orange cleaner on anything we did not want the cats to pee on..And it worked..And it was over 450 cats in that house and none of them were in cages..So if the cat has a problem it could be medical..We also took orange peel and wroped it in cheese cloth to put in places that you dont want to get wet..

      Delete
    7. Jenniferm,

      So good to know it's not the orange! I don't have an indoor cat so I really didn't know what to advise, but you sound as if you've got a LOT of cat experience under your belt!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
    8. In response to fullfreezer - cats hate citrus. I once saw a post, a few years back now, that said if you have trouble with cats using tour garden as a litter tray, leave citrus peels around the edges of your flower beds etc to deter them.

      Hazel xx

      Delete
    9. It's the oranges. Cats hate the smell and will avoid an area if you put orange peels there. The cat that peed everywhere probably did it because no matter where it went there was that agitating orange smell.

      Delete
    10. It's the oranges. Cats hate the smell and will avoid an area if you put orange peels there. The cat that peed everywhere probably did it because no matter where it went there was that agitating orange smell.

      Delete
    11. Maybe cats don't like orange peel, that is why we are told to put orange peel around our edible plants to keep the cats away...:)x

      Delete
    12. @Deanna re the cat that peed everywhere the person wasn't cleaning with the orange cleaner they were using vinegar & essential oils, if it was lavender then I can understand as I hate the smell of lavender as well

      Delete
    13. Essential oils are TOXIC to cats. Their livers don't process it like ours do, and it will just build up in their bodies and stay there forever until it poisons them.

      And yes, cats hate oranges. But essential oils should never be used around cats (or rodents either, actually). Even just the fumes/smell is dangerous.

      Delete
  2. I started to save my peels today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it took about two small oranges to make the quart sized jar but one large navel orange would probably do the trick! Let us know how it works for you!

      Delete
  3. That looks really interesting. I may give that a try, because my dad eats lots of oranges. This would be a good way to use the orange peels. So when you made yours, did you do the water bath or let it sit for weeks? Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Heather,

    I did the water bath and let it sit for a week. It came out really strong! But that's good because I diluted it with water and it still is really potent. I suppose if you didn't want to water bath it, you could try boiling it in a covered pot then let it sit for a few days. I just figured the lidded jar would keep any vinegar from boiling away....

    Let me know how your cleaner turns out!

    Have a wonderful day, Heather! Thanks for your visit!

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  5. Very interesting! We use vinegar to clean all the time. I will have to give this a shot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome Angela! I can't wait to hear how it works for you! Thanks so much for your visit. I hope you'll stop back by and let us know how this worked for you. I do want to emphasize that you'll need to strain the infused vinegar WELL or little pieces of orange will clog up your spray bottle eventually. You could even use cheesecloth or a coffee filter if your strainer doesn't have fine enough mesh.

      Have a great day!

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Thanks Sandie! I am having so much fun exploring new ways to do things! I sure appreciate your visit!

      Delete
  7. I have seen another website with similar information, but that one didn't say anything about boiling the vinegar first. Does it make a difference? I have been wanting to try cleaning with vinegar for a while, but I don't like the smell. A friend told be about the orange peels, so I started looking into it. I can't wait to try it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rebecca,

      I just boiled it because I thought it would help extract the "goodies" from the orange peels. Plus, I think it's a bit of a habit from when I've made herbed vinegars. I don't know that you need to boil it for safety reasons though. I'm guessing the vinegar would help kill any bad bacteria that might exist on the orange peels.

      I do believe the boiling, then waterbath canning helped speed up the extraction process greatly.

      I think however you wanted to try it, you could achieve success!

      Delete
  8. I just made mine yesterday with orange, lemon and lime peels. We'll see how it turns out in a few weeks!

    If you boil it, do you still wait a few weeks to start using it? I did not boil it. I just put a label on top of the jar with yesterday's date on it.

    Thank you! Julie in Minnesota
    jujuliebe@me.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful Julie! I'll bet your cleaner will smell delicious!!! I still waited at least a week even though I boiled mine. But I just wanted it to be as strong as possible. I'll bet you could try different methods with success.

      Do check back in a let us know how your cleaner turns out!

      Delete
  9. any special reason for whit vingar?

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    Replies
    1. I'm assuming it's because it's inexpensive vs cider vinegar...But I'm not sure.

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    2. I read somewhere that colored vinegars will stain porous surfaces, so white is the way to go. However, the orange peels also color the cleaning solution. Don't know if that can stain porous surfaces.

      Delete
  10. I love this idea, it saves money, its natural & safe & its kind of a DIY. I just jared mine 2 days ago. I didn't boil though. Originally I got the idea from my mother, I'm hoping its not sticky though. Has anyone noticed?
    Thanks Emma

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    Replies
    1. I just made my second batch several weeks ago and I can honestly say it isn't sticky at all! This time I used a mixture of orange, grapefruit and lemon peels. It smells wonderful! It works a lot like "Windex", no streaks etc.

      Delete
    2. My guess would be the wax that they spray on the fruit would be to blame.

      Delete
  11. Is it safe to use on granite and stainless steel?

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    Replies
    1. Good question! I did a little research and found that vinegar and citric acid are perfectly safe to use on stainless steel. However, DO NOT use this cleaner on granite as anything that is acidic will cause etching on your granite! I'm glad you asked the question. Hopefully this will prevent anyone from having to buff etching out of their granite countertops due to this cleaner!

      Have a great day!

      Delete
  12. How long is it good for ? Like if I made a big batch would it go bad over time ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't think it would go bad very quickly, if at all. Vinegar tends to be a preservative. I think you could be safe in making a large batch.

      Delete
  13. Its a great piece of info. I must appreciate your efforts. you have given a very useful suggestion. I gonna use it for cleaning. I always use white vinegar, 3% (regular pharmacy) hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda for pretty much every cleaning need in the kitchen.

    water damage restoration boston

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  14. Is this cleaner safe for lacquered wood surfaces? And will it be harmful to my pet rat?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In all my research, it appears not only are vinegar and citric products safe to use on lacquered wood surfaces, they are recommended for their effectiveness and safety. No, I wouldn't think this would be harmful to any living creature. Vinegar, orange peel and water are the only ingredients. I hope this cleaner works as well for you as it does for me!

      Delete
    2. Hello there...Regarding your concern about your pet rat, orange juice is on the "forbidden food list" according to Debbie DuCommun, Pet Rat Expert. She states that "for male rats only, d-limonene in the skin oil, which gets into the orange juice during squeezing, can cause kidney damage and kidney cancer due to a protein that only male rats have in their kidneys. Pieces of the orange fruit are okay if you wash the orange-skin oil off of it after peeling it." So, if you are concerned about using the orange peel in your cleaner, you might just want to use lemon, grapefruit, or lime or a combination of those in your recipe. Personally, if I would use the orange peel, I'd just be sure to rinse the rat's cage and surroundings well with water. ..From A Fellow Pet Rat Owner

      Delete
  15. Anyone had issues of the vinegar leaving sticky residue? I cleaned my peels well. I used grapefruit and disn't have the problem of stickiness. I also preferred the grapefruit smell.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anyone have issues with the orange vinegar leaving a sticky residue. I cleaned my peels well. I used grapefruit peels te next time and didn't have the issue with stickiness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've not had any issues with a sticky residue when using orange peels. I wonder why this happened to you? Anyone else experience this?

      Delete
  17. Thanks for posting this. I found your site through CrunchyBetty.com
    I had the same question about the concoction going bad. In fact, CB says to check on it when you use fresh herbs or peels to make sure it hasn't gone rancid. She also says to agitate it. These notes made me a little paranoid.
    1. How do you know if it's gone rancid?
    I ask because I'm leaving town for 10 days. I'm worried about a mix of fresh basil & lemon peels with vinegar that I currently have infusing.
    2. If it's not being shaken and sits in a hot apt (temps around 104 degrees) all day will it spoil?
    3. Is shaking even necessary?
    4. A) Could I stick the mixture in the fridge while I'm gone? B) Or would that disturb the process?
    I'm directing these questions to you because I notice that you are very prompt with your replies (which is awesome).
    Thanks for your help!
    -kathleen

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kathleen,

      Thank you for some very good questions.

      I don't know how you would tell it has gone rancid other than an obvious off smell. The mixture is somewhat cloudy while it processes but is clear once it is strained.

      I can't give you a scientific answer based on my own personal experience but I can assure you that I've been preserving herbs and peppers for years in vinegar for almost twenty years and I've never had anything that was submerged in boiling hot vinegar go rancid. I suppose it is possible if you were to leave it sitting for years. I think that 10 days sitting undisturbed should be perfectly fine at a hot room temperature.


      However putting your infusion in the refridgerator may slow the process down a bit, but it won't disturb the process.

      I hope you got this answer in time, I do normally respond quickly but my sister was in town for the weekend and I haven't been checking email.

      Good luck to you!

      Delete
    2. And no, I don't believe shaking is necessary. I would make sure to turn your jar upside down periodically to extract from any peels on the top that aren't completely submerged.

      Delete
    3. Thank you Poppy! Yes, you did get back to me before I left for my trip. My infusion turned out well. Now I always keep a jar of lemon peels and vinegar infusing. It's my favorite thing to clean with, dishes, laundry, bathroom, and kitchen. Recently, as in 2 days ago, I started a little compost pile (I'm an apartment dweller). As far as I've read it's safe to add to vinegar to the pile. Sometimes I have a giant pile of vinegar soaked lemons after straining. Is this too much acid for the compost? I want to add worms but also read that they don't like the acid either. Would it kill the worms?
      Thanks for your help!
      -kathleen

      Delete
    4. Kathleen,

      I'm so glad you like the cleaner! I love it too! I did a little reading and found that citric peels aren't good to add in big amounts to a compost pile that house a lot of earthworms. Apparently citric peels have a natural insecticide. I read info here - http://www.sfenvironmentkids.org/teacher/activities/Worm_Ed_Packet.pdf

      Hopefully this helps you decide. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to add citric peels to my outside compost, however, if I were relying on earthworms heavily in a smaller indoor compost, I wouldn't add citric peels.

      Good luck to you with your composting! I think it's great that you've started one!

      Delete
    5. Thank you. What if I add baking soda to neutralize the acidity?
      I haven't added worms yet so I'm not too concerned. I do have a little balcony so I can keep the bin outside. Also thank you for the link! -kathleen

      Delete
    6. Hi Kathleen,

      If you've not added worms and don't intend to, then I think adding citrus peels and vinegar should be just fine. I did read that you can add baking soda periodically to balance the acidity. Here is a link to a composting guidelines article I found

      http://www.dailydump.org/what_can

      It says to add 3 tablespoons of baking soda each week to balance acidity if you are adding citrus peels to your compost.

      Good luck to you Kathleen! Please do stop back by and let us know how your compost is doing!

      Delete
    7. Compost worms don't do well with citrus peels, or onion peels or vinegar. They don't like the acid (btw, worms aren't insects, so insecticides aren't the issue with them, they are just invertebrate soft tissued creatures, so acid doesn't work well on them.) Citrus peels/vinegar and onion peels also aren't really good in compost either, so using the peels for cleanser is the perfect answer for using up the peels. Then you probably just need to throw them in the trash. (ya, I know, but you shouldn't put them in compost anyway).

      Question to you Poppy, how many orange peels should I use in a quart?

      Delete
    8. I don't think worms like peels of anything citric or vinegar for that matter. So using the peels for a cleaner is a good alternative. You'll have to find someplace else to dispose of the used peels if you have a worm composter. Actually citrus peels aren't really good in regular compost anyway.

      Poppy, how many orange peels for a quart?

      Delete
  18. Nice recipe. But I am wondering, studies have shown vinegar does kill bacteria, I'm a little weary on its effectiveness in that arena after it has been boiled... It could potentially lose its properties... Something to think about

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  19. I got caustic soda in my eye once ! Caustic soda will burn your skin right down to the bone & the only thing that will stop it is vinegar ! Vinegar saved my eye !

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  20. I stopped to comment on this post because i just finished checking the progress of my vinegar/orange peel cleaner that's been sitting for about a week now. (I didn't boil the vineger). I am hoping it works as well for me as it does you. I am new to all of this, and started making my laundry detergent a few months ago as well. Loving homemade, knowing the ingredients and the fact that it's nice to my pockets. Keep up the good work I'll be following :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow! this is very helpful for us, but I have a big problem for our feasibility study about making cleaner made from orange and lemon peels, after we fermented, it smells not good and how it will long last? what can we do now? here's our procedures, hope u can help us.
    1. Prepare all the materials and ingredients needed in the making of the orange and lemon peels multi-purpose spray cleaner and place the orange and lemon peels into the large glass jar.
    2.Mix 50 grams of baking soda and 500 grams of vinegar into the large glass jar.
    3. Cover the jar tightly and allow the mixture to rest in a cool, dry place for at least three hours.
    4. Filter and strain the mixture into the spray bottle to separate the particles of the mixture.
    5. Close the lid of the spray bottle tightly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Out of curiousity, can you tell me why you chose to add baking soda to this recipe?

      I suspect the chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar has something to do with the bad smell and I have serious doubts the product will last virtually indefinitely as it does with only vinegar.. I would make it again with only orange peels, lemom peels and vinegar. It should last for a long time. Good luck to you!

      Delete
  22. Hope you reply as soon as possible, we have 1 week before our defense.. hope u can help us. we thank u in advance. God bless u more and more :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hello poppy, will this be safe to use on marble surfaces? Thanks! Am tempted to try this out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nanograpes! I've read in numerous articles that one must NEVER use vinegar or anything acidic on marble surfaces. I would not use this cleaner on marble. But I would think you could use it on just about everything else!

      Delete
  24. Awesome, I will have to try this with Baking soda as well - as a soft scrub :) Did you know that using vinegar / baking soda combination kills most bacteria and viruses including E-coli? Isn't that amazing, 2 items in your kitchen, all natural, can be eaten and it has that kind of cleaning power without the harmful chemicals! Here is a couple of links that back up this with scientific evidence :)
    http://presscore.ca/nbg/index.php?entry=entry100824-114627
    http://thelivinggreensolution.com/cleaning-uses-for-vinegar-you-probably-never-thought-of/

    I can't wait to check out the rest of your info!

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  25. I received this recipe a couple of weeks ago. I love getting helpful hints like this. I'm passing it on to our bed & breakfast association members in our monthly newsletter with your link. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Belinda,

      I'm glad you found it useful! Thanks for stopping by ~ I sure appreciate that you find it "share" worthy. Do let us know how it works for you!

      Have a great day!

      Poppy

      Delete
  26. thanks for sharing.

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  27. Hey Poppy, Happy New Year! Will I need 1.)to remove the oranges from the jar before saving? 2.) should the jar be saved out of the sunlight? And, 32) what would be the pros of using organic oranges(besides the price), if any? Thanks Em

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1) I think you could keep the oranges in the solution indefinitely, I would only worry about straining them out once you dilute with water and put them into a spray bottle.

      2) I don't know that you necessarily need to worry about sunlight but mine is stored underneath my kitchen sink along with the other cleaning supplies.

      3) I would say that if you are concerned about pesticides (as many people are) then by all means, use organic oranges. I don't believe it would be as much of a concern as it would be with food that you consume, however I'm guessing a small amount of pesticide residue could be left on your surfaces, etc from the orange peels.

      (Personally, I'm not worried enough to use only organic oranges. Much of the produce that we eat is from our own garden (pesticide free) so I don't stress too much about the store bought produce.)

      Happy New Year Em, thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  28. Thanks for sharing! I cannot wait to do this!

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  29. Do you usually write exclusively for this blog or you do this for other Internet networks?

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  30. Is this product good for removing odors? My family and I have just moved into a house where the previous tenants were heavy smokers and we are trying everything to get rid of the smell.

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  31. I have recently moved into a home where the previous tenants were heavy smokers. Do you think this product will help remove the smell?

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  32. IS this safe to use on hardwood floors? Right now I use a vinegar/water mixture to mop with but was hoping this mixture would be even better.

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  33. Would this mixture be safe enough for mopping Hardwood floors?

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  34. IS this safe to use on hardwood floors? Right now I use a vinegar/water mixture to mop with but was hoping this mixture would be even better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carrie,

      I have used this on my hardwood floors with no problems. I'd say try in a small area first if you are concerned. I like that it leaves no residue!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  35. We have our own citrus trees and I have been trying my own method - not very successfully! So now I know it is the vinegar that is the preservative keeping the peels from "molding". I tried boiling just the peels and then putting that water in the spray but the orange peel molded after just a couple of days! I will try this method for sure as we just paid for a similar orange solution from an industry that sells commercially.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So exciting to have your own citrus trees! And yes, the vinegar is the magic ingredient to preserve the orange peels. I think vinegar also has some very valuable cleansing properties. Let us know how you like the recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  36. I never knew about the oranges being a deterrent for cats. I know what I'm spritzing on my furniture now...though with the comment about them peeing everywhere...I think I'll just leave the cleaner part out and use it as just a cat deterrent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like another good use for the solution, Rose! I'd love to hear how it works for you. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  37. My husband tried this, but he didn't boil the vinegar. He just put it together and put it in a window. Can it be used? Can this be rectified? I have had a jar full of oranges and vinegar for about 3 weeks now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Misty,

      No worries! The solution will be fine. Vinegar has preservative properties so it shouldn't mold. If anything, it will just take longer to develop.

      You can do one of two things - 1) Boil the whole solution and let sit for another few days 2) leave it alone and check it periodically.

      I can't tell you exactly when it will be done to your liking. Mine just reaches a certain smell (more like oranges, less like vinegar) and thickness (the vinegar gets an almost thin gravy like consistancy).

      Please do let us know how it worked for you, we love to hear about any alterations you made or helpful tips!

      Thanks for stopping by Misty!

      Delete
  38. Thank you for all tips and hints especially the white vinegar and orange peel :))

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    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Andie! Thanks so much for visiting!

      Delete
  39. I made a huge batch of this as soon as I had seen it on Pinterest, did not boil the vinegar first, and did not dilute it with water when I put it in the spray bottle. I infused it for about about 2 weeks if I remember correctly and then used it; loved it. Since then, I've been keeping peels in vinegar for whenever I need to replenish my spray bottle. I just emptied another mason jar and when I emptied out the orange peels, I noticed there were white spots on them like maybe they were rotting?? The solution still smells great. And mine has never gotten a "gravy like consistency"; but it does turn orangish when I only use orange peels. I would think it would still be safe since it was only in vinegar?? Can fruit peels actually turn rancid in vinegar and if so, does that mean I need to throw out the whole batch? Wonder if I could boil it after I strain it and make it safer? Any thoughts? Maybe there was still some pulp or fruit on the peel??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would think that the orange peels wouldn't go rancid in vinegar but just to be sure, boiling the solution would definitely make it safer if you've somehow cultured an unwanted bacteria. I'll do a little research on this because I've heard of rotting oranges to extract an enzyme for cleaning. I'd be curious to know if this was what was happening to your orange peels. Any thoughts from other readers?

      Delete
  40. If you want more information about Wonders of Fruit peels,then searching the web can definitely a great ideas you can visit them also at http://newshealthtoday.com/wonders-of-fruit-peels/

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  41. It is effective without any doubt..One of the safest and best cleaning solution

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  42. where do you store the vinegar/orange peel solution while it is "sitting" for a couple of weeks. Fridge or counter?? Thanks ;)

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  43. Where do you store the solution for the two weeks? Fridge or counter?? Thanks ;)

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  44. The counter :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  45. I got my oranges off the tree, with no wax or other chemicals added for sure. I squeezed them and made about a quart of juice and kept the shells for the cleaning fluid. This is the first time I am making it. However, I did once make limoncello with lemon peel and vodka. That turned out great!

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