DIY Orange Peel Cleaner-Korean Style

If you read my previous post about apple cider vinegar, you already know that I started to use it about four months into my green journey (hey, better late than never!).  After discovering its uses in the garden, I decided to try it out in other areas, specifically with cleaning my apartment. Knowing that I wouldn’t be leaving Japan for a while (at the time of me switching from chemical cleaners to ACV, I knew I would be in Japan for at least another year and two months), I got the biggest bottle of ACV I could find (and still bring home on my bicycle).  

Well, while ACV is a good replacement for a lot of the cleaners in a home, I absolutely HATE how it smells!  So I hunted around for a replacement green cleaner. I found this recipe online for an orange peel cleaner and thought I would try it out with a Korean twist.  This time of year, the tiny oranges (tangerines? I am honestly not sure what they are called in English.  I learned the word in Japanese first–mikan–and it stuck with me) are in season and it is easy to get them by the box for cheap.  So, instead of using expensive (and high emissions) imported oranges, I used these that were grown locally that I purchased from local street markets.  

I collected the peels for about three days (these are like candy for me….I practically ate the whole box in that time) in a glass jar.  Now, the recipe I linked above calls for white vinegar…but I am making a Korean version of this. And is there anything more Korean than soju??? (the correct answer to this rhetorical question is ‘no’).  Soju is often used for cleaning in households (the person I replaced in my first job informed me of that when I moved into the apartment) and is ubiquitous here. It is very cheap and comes in glass jars with metal caps.  Absolutely no plastic waste at all!

So after filling my jar with all the peels, I poured enough soju into the jar to cover all of the peels and then gave it a good shake.  Then I waited for five days. The original recipe called for three weeks, however, the peels of this kind of fruit are very thin and seem to degrade quicker than oranges from the US, so I made my first batch with the five days of waiting.  After that, I used a clean towel inside a strainer to drain the liquid and then squeezed all of the extra liquid out of the peels by twisting them in the towel. I put my new cleaning liquid back in the same soju bottle.


WARNING: if you have a natural curiosity–like me–fight it!! It does NOT taste like orange flavored soju!  I learned this lesson the hard way. It smelled so delicious that I couldn’t help myself from tasting it! And while it absolutely did not taste good, it made my whole house smell amazing when I used it to clean.  Now I have a great smelling cleaner with all recyclable or compostable materials!


What DIY recipes have you adapted to use ingredients from your host country?  Comment below!


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