How to Make Cleaner From Orange Peels

Michelle Diane

Concerns as diverse as global warming and the effects of highly toxic household chemicals on children and families have prompted millions of Americans to opt for organic cleaners. Ecologically friendly products line the store shelves, but they are often very specialized and very expensive.

Orange peels make an inexpensive and powerful base for an effective all-purpose cleaner easily made in any kitchen.


Consuming a dozen oranges at once is not necessary; the peels will keep very well for up to 10 days refrigerated in an airtight plastic storage bag. To accumulate citrus peels faster, mix lemon and lime peels with the orange peels; they won’t detract from the cleaner’s effectiveness.


Limonene, the primary chemical in orange oil, is very corrosive. Test the orange peel cleaner on small hidden areas of surfaces to be cleaned to avoid damaging certain finishes.

  1. Scrub a dozen oranges with a solution of 1 part baking soda to 3 parts water to remove pesticides and any trace chemicals. Rinse thoroughly.

  2. Peel the cleaned oranges.

  3. Put the orange peels in a clean glass jar, and cover them with white vinegar. Cap the jar tightly, and allow the mixture to rest in a cool dark place for at least one month.

  4. Shake the vinegar concoction vigorously, and strain the liquid off the orange peels into a pitcher or other wide-mouth, easy-to-pour container. Dilute with 1/2 cup water; shake or stir again, and strain the cleaner into a spray bottle for convenient use.