Don’t toss your old kitchen scraps — you can turn them into an eco-friendly cleaner.
The tip comes from Brennan Kai (@brennan.kai), a self-described “enemy of food waste” and champion of imperfect sustainability. By using old citrus peels and distilled white vinegar, she creates a clean, eco-friendly multipurpose cleaner.
@brennan.kai one of the first #zerowaste hacks I ever tried— four years later I still do it religiously! 🍊 #lowwaste #plasticfree #sustainable #sustainability #foodwaste #compost #cleantok #cleaning #cleanwithme #eco #ecohome #ecofriendly #ecocleaning #clean #diy #homemade #homemadecleaner ♬ I Hope to Be Around (Live) – Men I Trust
Kai calls this hack, “one of those sustainability hacks I’ve been doing for so long that I forget to share.” According to her caption, she’s been religiously doing this trick for four years and counting.
It starts out with a snack. Whenever she eats an orange or any kind of citrus fruit, she tucks the peels away into a jar. Then, she adds distilled white vinegar to the jar. The key to this recipe is letting the jar sit for two to three weeks.
After the mixture has been sitting for the appropriate amount of time, Kai instructs viewers to strain it and dilute it with some water. This turns the orange peels and vinegar into what Kai dubs “a great countertop cleaner.” She loves this easy, useful hack.
It’s no secret that food waste is a big problem in the U.S. According to the USDA, “Greenhouse gases generated from food rotting in landfills could be reduced to help mitigate climate change. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in the United States, food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills, where it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.”
If your old orange peels can be repurposed, you’re saving them from a landfill and reducing their environmental impact.
Using organic cleaning products can help the environment, but it’s great for humans too. Lung.org reports that “VOCs and other chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and headaches. Studies are underway to assess how these chemicals affect people who have asthma and other respiratory illnesses.”
Keeping chemicals out of your home can also keep them out of your body.
Plenty of people in the comments shared their own tips on organic household cleaners, with one person writing: “I do this with fresh pine after Christmas!”
“How did I not know this?” added another person eager to try the hack.