Appalachian Sufficiency: How to Make Natural Orange Cleaner

PHOTO courtesy: Appalachian Mountain Roots
PHOTO courtesy: Appalachian Mountain Roots

Appalachia has always been the land of self sufficiency.  Whether it’s the coalfields of West Virginia or the Smokies of Carolina, the people who call these mountains home have been forced to get by with what they had — even when what they had wasn’t much.

Kim Holloway Stalcup, an 8th generation resident of Cherokee County, North Carolina, runs the blog Appalachian Mountain Roots, where she shares the history, recipes and traditions of the mountains she calls home.

Stalcup recently wrote, “The isolation that comes with mountain living didn’t give residents any choice. It was do or die. The only way people got around in early Appalachia was by foot or horse and wagon. The roads were steep and narrow but even if they could have gotten to town easily and often, there was little money to be spent for the things they needed. When a family did have money, it was spent on necessities that they couldn’t find or make such as coffee, sugar, lamp oil, and shoes.”

With this thought in mind, the Appalachian blogger wishes to share the following recipe for an all natural (and effective) cleaner, made from orange peelings.

“I recently bought some organic oranges & instead of throwing away the peels, I laid them aside to dry. Once I had enough to fill a quart size Ball jar, I poured white vinegar over them, screwed on the lid, & put it in a cool dark place. After around 2 weeks, I drain some of the new orange cleaner into a clean spray bottle at a 3:1 ratio of vinegar to water. That’s it…I now have a naturally anti-bacterial cleaner that is also non-toxic & very frugal. Vinegar can be used on its own but I’m not a fan of the smell. The orange peels add a nicer aroma to the cleaner. You can also use the peels from lemons and limes!”

Pretty awesome huh?

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  1. Thanks for the story. Question? You poured some of the solution out of the quart bottle and diluted with water. Can you refill the quart bottle with white vinegar. Any idea how long it will keep “producing”? Thanks so much for your magazine. love it~

    • Hi, I haven’t ever just added more vinegar to the jar because I usually remove the peels after the 2 weeks. Adding more vinegar to that jar would just dilute the original orange scent. You really aren’t going to get any more of the oils from the peels after 2 weeks of them having been in vinegar either. Hope that helps!

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