Making Your Own Green Cleaners: Orange Infused Vinegar

I was in the health food store looking at the all natural cleaners.  After I picked my mouth up off the floor (how much can you charge for baking soda and vinegar, anyway?) and gently put the bottle back on the shelf, I got to thinking.

Yeah, I know….scary, huh?

I use a lot of vinegar to clean with.  Because of Parker’s trashed lungs, I have to be very careful with cleaning products.  Alas, vinegar isn’t the aromatic of cleaners, iykwim.

I remembered when I used to made all kinds of infused vinegars to cook with.  My favorite?  A cranberry/orange vinegar.  All I did was slice oranges, throw in some cranberries and cover with white vinegar from Costco.

Now cranberries may not be know for their cleaning abilities, but orange oil is.

And so the idea of my experiment was born.


This time of year I always either have oranges or Cuties in my fridge. I often peel a bunch of these up and put them in a bowl on the counter for an after school treat.  Cause, if my family actually has to peel their own, they’d never get eaten.


This time, instead of throwing the peels out onto the frozen tundra that is my garden, I put them in a mason jar.

Then I covered them with white vinegar, stuck a lid on the jar and gave it a week or so.


The next step was to strain off the vinegar and put it into a spray bottle….and get to work!


I was really impressed with how well it cleaned. It cleaned the gunk off my stove after somebody ( I won’t mention any names….) fried a couple of eggs for egg sandwiches.


It even made short work of the disgusting that is often found inside my microwave. (HOW hard is it to cover your dish with a paper towel from the roll I KEEP IN THE MICROWAVE?)

I can’t say that the smell of my orange vinegar was reflected only oranges. (If you would like a stronger scent of orange, just add a few drops of orange essential oil. It’s cheap and smells great.) But I do think infusing the vinegar with orange peels did help with it’s ability to clean off greasy stuff.

I plan on continuing to make this stuff.  I really like it.

What about you?  What kind of cleaners do you make yourself?

About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.


  1. This recommendation is perfect for me! Thanks, Tammy!

    Recently I emptied a large jug of the last bit of some orangy ‘green’ cleanser that Hubby bought ages ago. Only a tad mixed with water was needed and we moved that jug between our last 2 homes!

    Do I remember correctly – you didn’t acquired chickens based on the risk to Parker? I’m wondering if you have ever considered bunnies? I’m about to spread bunny poop to feed my lawn – it is perfect natural compost. (Small reveal: my parents raised rabbits for meat – before I was born, so no memories of that.)
    Barbara recently posted..The Comics as Reference for ParentingMy Profile

    • Barbara, that’s right. Pulmo almost fainted when I mentioned chickens in our back yard. Too dusty, etc.

      I wanted them for the eggs as well as for Parker. :)

      I love the idea of rabbits though. Do you keep them outside? How are the winters where you are? Will you be raising them as meat too? Once something has looked me in the face, there’s no way I could eat it. ;)

      Bottom line though, with all of Parker’s lung issues the only pets he’ll ever have are his big brothers and sisters. ha!

  2. ummm, you keep a role of papertowels “in” the microwave? Just curious.

    • Stacy,

      I keep a roll of paper towels in the microwave to encourage my kids to use one to cover what they are mircrowaving. And then use one to clean up afterwards. :)

  3. I just want to say thank you for all you do. I love catching up on your blog for your helpful insite into everyday life and making items from scratch. I admire your strength and determination that you have regarding life and family. Thanks for the inspiration to do more at home, instead of just going out and wasting money when I can do something better for my family with just a few items I probably have already and a little time. Know that I am praying for your beautiful son and that each day he grows stronger and that you know what an amazing child you have (all of them are amazing) and that you are an amazing woman who inspires so many. Just wanted to tell you that you are appreciated. Hope you know that. ;0)
    Tabitha recently posted..Thank YouMy Profile

  4. Laura says:

    Thanks for this! I have always used just vinegar but this sounds much better! I’m a lemon fiend so I will try it with lemon and let you know! Thanks again!

  5. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the great cleaning recipe. I will definitely give the orange peels and vinegar a try.
    Also, in our family we put a small plate or saucer over a bowl of food that we are microwaving. Plates are easy to clean. It prevents the mess in the microwave and it saves trees. Paper towels aren’t free either.

    • Jennifer, that is a good idea to use a plate or saucer in your microwave. I just worry that my kids would just set what they were microwaving on top of the plate or saucer.


      With the roll of paper towels the actually have to take the whole roll out before they can put their food in.

      You’ve given me something to think about though…….

  6. We’ve just being making orange vinegar in the same manner. Thank you for explaining how you use it. We used regular vinegar for everything, but my dh doesn’t like the smell. This is still vinegary, but the orange seems to subdue it. I’m very excited to use it. I know, weird.

  7. Stefanie says:

    This is slightly unrelated to this post, but I’m hoping you can share some more of your wisdom with a beginner homemaker. Someone gave me a bottle of orange/cranberry infused vinegar as a housewarming gift, and I have no idea what to do with it. You said you used to make that to cook with… what do you cook with it?? Can you please help me? Thanks!!

  8. Hi! I LOVE this! I’m trying it today. :) Thank you so much for stopping by my community and leaving this link for us to find!

    Praying that God blesses you, Parker, and your family in a special way this holiday weekend. -Brin


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tammy Hodson and Tammy Hodson, Amy. Amy said: RT @ParkerMama: It's cheap. Homemade. Green. AND it really cleans. […]

  2. […] if you like your cleaners to smell all piney fresh, this ain’t the recipe for you.  It smells like vinegar.  I’d be willing to bet you could add a couple of drops of essential oil it you would like, I […]

  3. […] your little one’s?  All these years I’ve just been throwing those peelings away, until I saw this idea on Pinterest.   I filled up a jar with vinegar a few days ago and have added orange peels to it as they […]

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