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DIY Orange Peels Cleaner – Simple, Healthy and Affordable Green Living 自製橙皮清潔劑 – 簡易家居環保 經濟又健康

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A few years back, my oldest daughter came home from kindergarten and looked distressed. She just learned the hard truth from school about how much damage the mankind has done to the planet we live in. She begged us to plant some trees, in hope of improving the air quality and save the earth. She worried about there will be no clean air for breathing when she grows up. Looking at her scared little face, I decided to get rid the bad reputation as a “plant killer”, started to learn gardening skills and how to live a green life with the kids. To our surprise, green living is not as hard as we thought, it even helps us to stay healthy.

Apart from green basics like limiting plastic bags use and sorting trash for recycling, many families face the daily trouble – food waste. The most common problem is we can eat less than what our eyes can see. We cooked way more food than we can consume, then we sent them off the garbage disposal or the junk bay. To avoid food waste, I started to pay better attention to portion control and tried to buy more fresh and package-free products. With these changes, our diet has improved as an indirect result.

My children are sensitive to chemical cleaners, they broken out in hives quite a few times before I learned the correlation. To avoid those harsh chemicals, we learned to DIY natural cleaning products to use around the house, such as “Orange Peels Cleaner” (you can use any citrus peels). This little green cleaner saves the environment and greens in your wallet and it is super easy.

To prepare, you will need:

  1. 20180409_230215_resizedI love this amber spray bottle. Why?
    - Sturdy and well made
    - 2 spray settings: wide spray and stream
    - Made in USA 
    - Amber color blocks UV light (great for essential oil cleaners) 
    - Glass bottle won't react to acid or essential oils 
     You can get it here

How to make it:

  1. In a empty glass jar, fill it up with saved orange peels and/or citrus peels.
  2. Add white distilled vinegar to cover the peels.
  3. Close with lid and place it in a cool dark place for 2 weeks.
  4. Strain orange peels and pour the infused vinegar into a glass spray bottle (buy it here.)

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How to use it:

[Attention]
* Always test on unnoticeable area first before use, acidity in vinegar could damage or dull the finish. For example, sealed wood flooring, granite counter top or delicate surfaces *
** Do not use on unsealed wood flooring or furnitures.**
    1. Use it directly on tough grease or hard to clean surface, such as stove top, kitchen sink or bathroom tiles and toilet bowl. Rinse with water.
    2. Dilute it with 50% water, use it for general cleaning. For example, wipe down door knobs, table and chairs, wash dishes, clean windows.
    3. Use it as fabric softer in washing machine (use white vinegar for light and white clothes), simply fill the fabric softer slot with vinegar and run the wash cycle as usual.

Why it work?

Vinegar is one of the safest products (also great for cooking) to use around children, pet and as a general household cleaning agent. It can kill many microorganisms, as effective as commercial cleaning products to kill E. Coli and H1N1 virus, thanks to its pH 2.0 acid content. Those hidden bacteria and mold sitting around the humid corner at your shower? Spray some vinegar instead of bleach to get rid of them. (Attention: DO NOT mix blench with vinegar, it releases “Toxic Chlorine Gas”)

However, not everyone like the smell of vinegar (I am not a fan), so we combined other powerful natural cleaning agents (orange peels, lemon peels, lime peels, grapefruit peels or pretty much any citrus peels) into the mix, making the cleaner more effective and smelling good.

Many food wastes are useful too. If you have small house plants or a garden, start saving your coffee grounds, egg shells and banana peels. Just put them in the soil, it will decompose and become nutrition for your plants. You can also make a indoor compost bin (buy it here) or outdoor compost bin (buy it here) with a metal or plastic bucket, drill some holes at the bottle and start filling it with food wastes. Combine food wastes mentioned above along with other fruits and vegetables wastes, tea (loose leaves tea or biodegradable tea bags) and some soil in the compost bin, stir every 2 weeks and let it break itself down for at least 3 months (add some worms to help along if you desired, but keep the citrus and onion away from the compost, the worms won’t work hard around them). When they composed, you have your own organic matters to make your plants thrive. Pretty awesome, isn’t it?

This blog post is a slightly detailed version of my published Chinese column in newspaper. You can read the original column post below.

Family Column, Page a24 , <am730>Newspaper(Published on Friday, April 13, 2018)
am730專欄(刊登於2018年4月13日,星期五,a24版面)

美國教育著重環保意識,孩子從小已明白保護生態環境的重要。數年前,大女兒上完首堂幼稚園環保課,回家後憂心忡忡地哀求父母多種幾棵樹,希望改善空氣質素,救救地球,擔心日後沒有清新空氣可供呼吸。看著女兒驚恐的神情,我決意擺脫植物殺手的惡名,努力專研園藝,綠化家居,與孩子一起學習家居環保。原來,實行家居環保沒有想像中困難,更幫助我們保持身體健

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康。除了少用膠袋,垃圾分類等基本功,很多家庭都面對廚餘浪費的惱人問題,最常見是眼闊肚窄,煮得太多浪費食物,把剩菜廚餘直送堆填區。為減少浪費,我們開始認真控制煮食份量,盡量選購新鮮蔬果食材,避免預先包裝的食物,間接改善了飲食習慣。由於孩子對化學清潔產品有過敏反應,我們動手自製天然「果皮清潔劑」,經濟又環保。做法很簡單,只需留起橙皮、檸檬皮等裝滿玻璃瓶,加入白醋浸過果皮,蓋好置於陰涼處2星期,隔渣後可直接倒進玻璃噴霧瓶使用,亦可加入50%水份稀釋。其實,大部分「廚餘垃圾」均可廢物利用。假若家中種植小盆栽,可以把咖啡渣、蛋殼和切碎蕉皮等埋在泥土中,它們分解後會為植物提供養份。另亦可將它們混合其他蔬果廚餘,茶葉和小量泥土,放進底部鑽有數個小孔的有蓋金屬箱,每隔2星期攪拌1次,待分解後(至少3個月)作有機肥料使用。

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