When life gives you lemons (or oranges)

Our Multipurpose Citrus Infused Vinegar Cleaner epitomises our slogan, MAKE IT BETTER, and is truly something to smile about, from every perspective. Read on to learn why.

Our Citrus Infused Vinegar is as earth-friendly a product as you can possibly imagine!

  • It works brilliantly.
  • It is incredibly versatile, completely safe and pleasant to use (you can even eat it!)
  • It’s production is not only light on the earth, but has an actively positive impact: diverting potentially dangerous waste and
  • transforming it into two useful outputs!
  • It is made using almost no additional inputs other than time,
  • and no energy source other than the natural action of slow, cold infusion.
  • We keep things pure by packaging it only in fully returnable, reusable and recyclable glass with paper labels and aluminium closures – zero plastic, and zero waste.

How we do it

Every week, we gratefully collect citrus peels (mostly orange, but we also accept peels of lemon, grapefruit, etc.) after the fruits have been squeezed for their delicious juices. Our main source is the fabulous and popular Blended Health Cafe in the south peninsular.

Citrus peels can be a problematic waste product – adding too many to a compost pile can upset its balance, and sending them to landfill is disastrous. Precisely because of the antimicrobial action of the oils in citrus peels (making them so useful to us as a cleaner and disinfectant), they degrade slowly. The volatile and potent essential oils which make the peels so useful to us, can be highly problematic in soils. As the peels rot, the oils percolate down into the soil in volume, harming plants and micro-organisms. The methane produced by peels rotting in landfills is a problematic greenhouse gas too. Often citrus peel waste is burned to try and alleviate these problems, which then produces CO2.

In some cases, limonene (the active ingredient in the oil) is leached from citrus peels before they are disposed of. This is touted as a “green” solution, making the peels safer in landfills, and a better input for making biogas. It also makes the very useful limonene available as an ingredient in “green” cleaning products (hence the many orange-based and limonene cleaners on the market).

Sounds just like what we are doing, right? The problem is, when this is done industrially, the limonene is leached out using hexane, a hazardous petro-chemical that causes nerve damage.

Instead, we soak our peels slowly, in pure, natural vinegar.

This takes a couple of weeks. When we’re done, we scoop out the peels (we can do this by hand, as we don’t use any nasties). They’re now much softer and with a much lower limonene content (we’ve captured that harmlessly, to put to good use in our cleaner). Each week, we take a batch of these “pre-treated” citrus peels to the amazing Back Area Gardens. We add them to the long, shady compost piles where Margot and her team lovingly transform them, along with their quantities of food peelings, garden and farm waste, into wonderful, rich compost.

What are we left with?

Depending on the peels of the week, after straining we get a product ranging from vibrant sunny yellow to deep amber, always with a strong, fresh and uplifting scent of citrus, and packed with the cleansing power of both citrus and the infusing vinegar itself.

The list of its uses is nearly endless, but here are a few:

The uses and effectiveness of this golden, sunshiny, fragrant product are as all-encompassing as the all-round goodness of it’s production! Unlike most orange- or limonene-based cleaners, ours is so wholesome you can sprinkle it on your salads, and we’ve found it makes a delicious ingredient in salad dressings or homemade mayonnaise. But it’s main purpose is as a very versatile, multipurpose cleaner.

  • It cleans most household surfaces very effectively, including: glass and mirrors, stainless steel, porcelain, plastic, wood and leather. (Just not recommended for granite or marble, and use with caution on grouting between tiles.)
  • It removes dirt and grime, rust, limescale and some oily marks.
  • It helps clean, disinfect and shine wooden surfaces including utensils, cutting boards and floors.
  • It helps get rid of odours in loos and and helps keep pipes and drains throughout the home clear of deposits.
  • It makes an excellent rinse aid for both laundry and dishes.
  • It is completely safe for septic tanks and grey water systems and helps counteract the many alkaline cleaning product we use around the home.
  • It makes a great hair rinse for smoothness and shine.
  • Add it to your bath or a foot bath to restore the skin’s acid mantle and fight fungal infections.

Waste not, want not.

As you can see, the production of this product is truly waste free. In fact, it is waste reducing 🙂 and helps build soils instead of polluting it.

Even the naturally brewed vinegar we use, comes to us in returnable vats which we take back for a deposit and to be reused. We know it’s good stuff, because often the sugars present in the residues of fruit, trigger the vinegar to re-enter its active phase, and “mothers” start to form. You may notice fragments of “mother” in yours after purchasing. Don’t worry about these, they are wholesome and harmless, and you can strain them out if you wish.