Citrus Cleaners and Orange Oil

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What's all the hooplah about cleaing with oranges and citrus cleaners anyway?

The story goes that the founder of the Orange Glo Company, Max Appel, an environmentally conscious fellow, started out by experimenting with different kinds of cleaners in his garage about a couple of decades ago. Then, BAAAM! Mr. Appel noticed the excellent cleaning properties of pure and natural orange oil and developed his first product, the Orange Glo Wood Cleaner & Polish. The rest is history.

Well, what exactly did Mr. Appel notice? Read on...

Citrus - The Environmentally Safe Solvent

Over the last few decades, we as a society have come to care more about the environment. The use of citrus based products has come about because of this. Citrus based products are safer use than most petrochemical solvents and do a very good job of replacing many of them. Since citrus based cleaners are extracted from natural resources, they do not add any materials into the environment than what would naturally occur. They typically don't contain any ozone depleting chemicals and are also biodegradable, which is an important factor in water treatment plants.

The Magic Of Citrus

The main ingredient or major component in citrus oil is d-Limonene. D-Limonene is the chemical name for citrus oil and is extracted from lemon and orange rinds or solids and corn. This is achieved through a process of pressing, distillation, evaporation and steaming. After citrus fruits are juiced, citrus oil is pressed out of the rinds and peels and then seperated from the juice. It is then distilled and collected. Afterwards, the peels are conveyed to an evaporator and the d-limonene is steamed out. After a few more refinements, the end product is one very powerful cleaning solvent.

Over the years the use of d-limonene has increased greatly as it has many applications. However, the use of d-limonene in cleaning products has been the sector that has seen the largest growth. It has become so well known for its pleasant scent and degreasing properties that even big name fortune 500 companies use them. Citrus cleaners have even been used to help clean up oil spills.

D-Limonene can be used either as a straight solvent or as a water dilutable product. As a straight solvent, d-limonene can replace a wide variety of products, including mineral spirits, methyl ethyl ketone, acetone, toluene, glycol ethers and others. By combining d-limonene with a surfactant, a water dilutable and rinsible solution can be made. A surfacant is a surface-active substance such as a detergent, that lifts dirts out and up to the surface of the cleaning agent. In most cases these products are used in institutional and household settings in place of caustic and other water based cleaners.

What About Orange Oil?

If you take an orange peel and squeeze it, you can see clear drops come from the peel. This is orange oil. It is very flammable in this form and makes for a good solvent.

Pure waterless orange oil is a very powerful solvent. It can melt plastic, remove glues and can be overwhelming in confined spaces. Pure waterless orange oil is too strong to be of use to most consumers and can't be diluted with water. Consumer products are mixed with a surfactant that allows the citrus extracts to be mixed with water. The added surfacant determines what the product cleans and how it reacts when mixed with water. Some products are mixed with alcohol to be fast drying and still others are better at removing stains from clothing and carpets.

The method for extracting orange oil is virtually the same as extracting citrus oil. NOTE: A product can be called 'orange oil' if it contains as little as 2% pure orange oil. Orange oil can be very expensive depending on its origin. Since oranges grow on trees, they are a commodity and are subject to price fluctuations.

What Can You Clean With Citrus Cleaners?

You can clean just about anything. You can degrease your grill, oven or stove. Clean up oily driveways. You can remove stains from carpets and clothing. You can even use it in your laundry. Clean your floors or give your ol' car a wash. Clean your kitchen and bathroom. Remove gum and sticky adhesive. Heck, you can even kill bugs and other insects!

Citrus products are now being used to replace insecticides and pesticides in agriculture and home applications. They are even being used in pet shampoos for flea and tick removal.

Orange Heaven

Did you know that aromatherapists consider pure orange a tonic for anxiety and depression? It is even used to stimulate the digestive system. Orange oil is very refreshing in nature and creates a relaxed atmosphere. Hmmm... perhaps using cleaners made with pure orange oil makes for happy cleaners.

What Products Does The Orange Glo Company Make?

The Orange Glo family of cleaning products range from multi-purpose cleaners to dishwashing liquid to fabric softener. They make the Orange Clean super concentrated cleaner for multi-purpose cleaning. They make the Wood Polish and Conditioner for use on wood. They make products for use on carpets, upholstery, laundry and more! They also are the ones who make Oxiclean!

Their main goal is to provide environmentally friendly and effective cleaning solutions for your entire home! Their products have become so popular that they've gained recognition throughout some parts of the world. We repeatedly get requests for the Orange Glo products from England and Germany all the time. Not bad for a guy that started out of his garage!

The Bottom Line

Using citrus cleaners can be better for both the environment and us. Also, imagine the legacy that we'll be leaving the generations that follow us. Certainly they'll appreciate our effort to maintain our land and keep our waters clean. So give 'em a try. All in all, they'll make for a happy nose, a happy you, and a happy environment.

For more articles, reviews and tips on other cleaning products, click here.

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