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How to make a cleaning product out of an orange

Oranges are an excellent example of a wasted resource. Here, we will show you how to make a cleaning product using oranges.
A rubbergloved hand holding a yellow and orange spray bottle
© University of York/BioYorkshire

Oranges are an excellent example of a wasted resource: after extracting the juice, around half the fruit is discarded. Here, we will show you how to make a cleaning product using oranges.

It’s estimated that, in Brazil alone, eight million tonnes of waste peel is discarded every year. Yet a wide range of commercially valuable compounds can be produced from orange peel. One such compound is limonene, which can be used as a natural solvent as well as providing an ‘orangey’ smell.

Put some leftover orange peel to good use by making your own orange peel cleaner. This recipe also uses vinegar. Most vinegars contain acetic acid produced by fermentation. Historically, sugar was fermented to produce alcohol for wine production and then the alcohol was fermented again to produce acetic acid.

You will need

  • Orange peels
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Fresh herbs (optional)
  • A large jam jar with a lid
  • A sieve
  • An empty spray bottle

Instructions

  • Add your orange peel to your empty jam jar and fill with white vinegar. Add the herbs if you’re using them.
  • Store in a cool dry place for up to three months. The longer the mixture is left to infuse, the better the smell and the darker the solution will be. If you want it to smell more citrusy you could add a drop or two of lemon or orange essential oil.
  • Strain the mixture through your sieve and transfer a portion of the liquid to your spray bottle. Dilute with an equal quantity of water.
  • Your cleaner is then ready to use.

You can use your cleaner to clean stovetops, sinks, glass and sanitary ware. It should not be used on granite, quartz or marble countertops. You can use it diluted (20mls per bucket of water) on tiles and lino (always test an area first and avoid using it on stone or wood flooring).

Excluding cleaning products, can you think of any other products that might contain limonene? 

© University of York/BioYorkshire
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