Lately I have been looking for recipes to make my own natural homemade cleaning products. I'm sure you all have seen the orange peel vinegar cleaning spray all over pinterest. In fact, if you google 'homemade orange peel cleaner' 4.4 million hits appear. 4.4 million. So this idea certainly isn't original. But it seems effective and won't harm the environment, our lungs or our pets. I whipped up a batch using the instructions from one of the 4.4 million links and set it aside to 'age'.
Then thought I would kick it up a notch and make some for cleaning the chicken coop. I already clean the coop with white vinegar and water but thought the orange peel would make a nice addition since citrus oil is a natural insect deterrent and proven solvent.
I also decided to add some cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon oil kills mosquito larvae. Vanilla beans went in next because vanilla repels flies, mosquitoes and other insects.
Here's my 'recipe':
Four oranges (or six limes, four lemons or two grapefruit or a mix)
Two cinnamon sticks
Two vanilla beans [I buy mine here inexpensively in bulk on amazon]
Bottle of white vinegar (or substitute inexpensive vodka)
Two canning jars
Peel the oranges and divide the peels between the two canning jars.
Break the cinnamon sticks in half and add two halves to each jar.
Slit the vanilla beans, cut in half and add two halves to each jar.
Pour in enough vinegar to completely cover.
White vinegar is a natural disinfectant. It has antibacterial properties, kills mold and is also an ant repellent. Apple cider vinegar, while great for adding to your chickens water and drinking yourself for all its health benefits, shouldn't be used here - only white vinegar. Apple cider vinegar will attract fruit flies. You can substitute vodka for the white vinegar. Vodka, in addition to being odorless, kills bugs and has many of the same properties as white vinegar.
Then set the jars in your pantry, in the cupboard or on the kitchen counter to 'age' for about a month. Shake the jars every few days to reinvigorate the contents. The mixture should start to turn orangish-tan and smell fragrant.
When ready to use, strain the contents into a spray bottle to use full strength or pour into a bucket and dilute with water. I will use the spray bottle to spray my roosts and then use the mixture diluted in a pail with a mop to scrub the coop walls and floors.
I hope you'll whip up a batch of this safe and natural cleaner for next time you clean your chicken coop. Right now I'm off to add some cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean to the batch I made for our kitchen ! I like the idea of insect repelling qualities as well as the fragrant scent for us as well as the chickens.
Quick Update: It's now about a month later and I just sprayed the whole inside of the coop. It smells wonderful ! I also used it in our kitchen and this stuff WORKS! Wow. It degunked the top of the stove that even that icky-smelling chemical cleaner couldn't handle. I'm sold. Good for us and our pets, good for the environment AND it works!
Note: I reused the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean for a second batch but used fresh citrus peels.
I also make a Lavender Mint Refresher Spray for in between cleanings.