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Orange Peel Vinegar Coop Cleaner

Whip up a batch of homemade orange peel white vinegar coop cleaner for a cleaner coop ... naturally!

Chicken coops certainly can get messy and need regular cleanings. But using bleach or other  commercial (chemical) cleaners is a really bad idea.

Chickens have pretty fragile respiratory systems and you don't want them breathing in, or otherwise coming in contact with, dangerous chemicals.

To make matters worse, chicken droppings are jam-packed with ammonia and you likely are aware that certain household cleaners, including bleach, will create toxic fumes when combined with ammonia. That could literally be deadly to your flock.

Since I try to use natural, safe products in our home, garden and around our animals as much as possible, I knew I needed to find a safe alternative to use to clean my chicken coop.

Vinegar Coop Cleaner

So a couple of years ago, I started looking for recipes to make my own natural coop cleaning products. I needed something that would be safe for my flock, but also be effective. 

The idea of using vinegar as a safe(r) cleaning product certainly isn't original. But it seemed like it would be perfect to clean the coop with. It's effective and won't harm the environment, our lungs or our pets.  

So I started using plain white vinegar and water to clean my coop, and to scrub out the feeders and waterers. And it worked really well, but didn't really smell all that good! 

Orange Peel Vinegar Coop Cleaner

But I'm sure you all have seen the orange peel vinegar cleaning spray all over Pinterest. In fact, if you google "homemade orange peel cleaner", more 4.4 million hits appear. Literally. 4.4 million. 

So I thought, why not use that to clean my chicken coop?


I thought that would kick my vinegar/water cleaner up a notch and make it really optimal for cleaning my chicken coop.

Coop Cleaner Ingredients

Orange Peel |

Some orange peel would make a nice addition, since it not only smells good, citrus oil is a natural insect deterrent and proven solvent. You can substitute in other citrus peel like lemon, lime or grapefruit.

White Vinegar |

White vinegar is a natural disinfectant. It has antibacterial properties, kills mold and is also an ant repellent. 

Fun Fact: You can substitute vodka for the white vinegar. Vodka, in addition to being odorless, kills bugs, mold and has many of the same cleaning properties as white vinegar.

(Note: Apple cider vinegar, while great for adding to your chickens water and drinking yourself for all its health benefits, shouldn't be used here - only white vinegar. Apple cider vinegar will attract fruit flies and is also way more expensive than white vinegar, so stick with cheap, plain white vinegar for cleaning.)

Cinnamon Sticks |

I also decided to add some cinnamon sticks to my coop cleaner. Cinnamon oil will actually kill mosquito larvae and smells really nice. 

Vanilla Beans |

Vanilla beans went in next because vanilla repels flies, mosquitoes and other insects. Yes, vanilla beans are really expensive right now. Yes, you can use vanilla extract instead if you want. But also know that you can reuse the vanilla beans in a few batches of the coop cleaner to get more use out of them. 

So here's how to make orange peel vinegar coop cleaner.



Orange Peel Vinegar Coop Cleaner

What you Need |

Four oranges (or six limes, four lemons or two grapefruit or a combination)
Two cinnamon sticks
Two vanilla beans [I buy mine here inexpensively in bulk on amazon]
Bottle of white vinegar (or substitute inexpensive vodka, yes really!)
Two canning jars with ring lids
Spray bottle

What you Do |


Peel the oranges and divide the peels between the two canning jars, so each jar is about half full.  Break the cinnamon sticks in half and add two halves to each jar. Slit the vanilla beans, cut them in half and add two halves to each jar. 

Pour in enough vinegar to completely cover the ingredients in each jar.   Then set the jars in your pantry, in the cupboard or on the kitchen counter to age for about a month. 

Shake the jars every few days to reinvigorate the contents.   The mixture should start to turn orangish-tan and smell fragrant.

When the vinegar smell has mostly dissipated and the solution is ready to use, strain the contents and pour the liquid back into the mason jar.

 Note | If you use vodka instead of vinegar, the spray will be ready sooner. You can use it as soon as the scent is to your liking.



Cleaning the Coop with Orange Peel Vinegar  Coop Cleaner

You can use the cleaner full strength (I like to pour some into a spray bottle) on problem areas like the roosts or other areas with caked on poop or dirt.  Then you can dilute some in a pail of water to scrub or mop the walls or floors. 

The Verdict on Orange Peel Coop Cleaner

This coop cleaner really smells wonderful and is super easy to make ! I'm sold.

Good for us and our pets, good for the environment AND it works!  

I hope you'll whip up a batch of this safe and natural cleaner for next time you clean your chicken coop.  (It also makes a pretty darned good kitchen and bathroom cleaner too!)





And try experimenting with other combinations of herbs. I particularly like lavender mint with lime and lemon thyme. You really can't beat citrus oils when it comes to natural cleaning!

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If you liked this recipe, you'll love my book 101 Chicken Keeping Hacks! 

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