Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways ~
1. Kitchen: you make my salads, my soups, my pie crusts and my overall health delightful. You keep my veggies pesticide free and my eggs debris-less. Don’t forget you’re mighty skills in the preserving department.
2. Water: Thanks for keeping my dogs and my flock of chickens healthy. Apple Cider Vinegar keeps us all working just right.
3. First Aid: I use you to clean my dogs ears and in a pinch, clean out wounds and owies.
4. Cleaning: My oh my, the power you have. I use you in my laundry, in my bathrooms, in my kitchen and in my chicken coop. Wonderful, beautiful you.
Yep, that’s right, I love vinegar. This new obsession kind of came naturally with the homesteading adventure and I’ve been so amazed at the power it holds over my household. And how much I’ve fallen in love with it’s smell. Seriously.
I’ve always used vinegar in my cooking, but until recently fell short on using it as a disinfectant and cleaner. I have allergy induced asthma and I began to notice I’d have flare ups every time I used chemical saturated cleaners in my home. Um… not cool. Especially since I share my home and spaces with critters who have smaller and more sensitive respiratory systems than I do. What to do, what to do.
After some very thorough (internet) research, I found a whole wide world full of DIY natural cleaning recipes, most of which starred my long lost love, white or apple cider vinegar. It was on like Donkey Kong.
I even used it to clean out Wyatt’s ears when he got a NASTY ear infection a few weeks ago. An infection so bad we gave him the nickname Dead Body because well, that’s what he smelled like. A little solution of 1 part apple cider vinegar 1 part water helped him redeem his place as just smelling like horse poop. Phew.
In the beginning of my chicken adventures, I knew I couldn’t use harsh chemicals to clean out their coop. Chickens have very sensitive respiratory systems and I didn’t want to upset any of my soon to be hard working ladies. I ordered a book called Fresh Eggs Daily (also a great website here) as a guide to natural chicken keeping and I fell in love the ideas and recipes it had to offer. This lady knew her stuff, and the use of herbs, garlic, apple cider vinegar and white vinegar just made sense. One of my favorite recipes from the book is a Citrus Vanilla Coop Cleaner that can also be used in the kitchen. I was skeptical about the the smell because vinegar can be strong, but since vodka is so expensive where I live, I gave it a try.
The smell took some getting used to. The first time I used it I was not completely sold, but the more I used it, the more I loved it. So, I thought I’d share!
Citrus Vanilla Kitchen & Coop Cleaner from Fresh Eggs Daily
- 4 oranges (or 6 limes, 5 lemons, 2 grapefruit, or a mix)
- 2 cinamon sticks
- 2 vanilla bean (great Costco snag)
- Bottle of white vinegar (or inexpensive vodka (which doesn’t exist in Canada))
- 2 one-pint canning jars
- Spray bottle
Peel the citrus and divide the peels between the canning jars. I then proceed to juice the citrus and drink it. Break the cinnamon sticks in half and add. Slit each vanilla bean and add to the jars. Pour enough vinegar or vodka into each jar to completely cover the peels leaving at least 1/4 inch headroom in each jar. Screw on lids and set jars in pantry or on the kitchen counter to age. Shake the jars every few days to mix. The spray is ready to use when the liquid starts to turn an orangish-tan color, usually within one to two weeks. Strain the contents into a spray bottle and enjoy! The cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans can be reused for a second batch, but use fresh citrus peels.
I usually double the batch and use large mason jars… between the husband, the dogs and the chickens I go through a lot of cleaner.
There you have it, an awesome all-natural chemical-free kitchen and coop cleaner.
Thank you vinegar, I love you.
Does anyone out there have any uses I missed?