Pine Needle Cleaning Solution
I intended to write a recipe for a zero waste Pine Needle Cleaning Solution. Then I realized what makes it zero waste is that there really isn't a recipe, you use what your Christmas tree has given you.
Start by collecting as many fallen pine needles as you can, I don’t have a Christmas tree but I ended up with 2 cups of dry needles from a tree in my yard. Give them a quick rinse and pat dry.
Pour the pines into a clean jar, I used an old jelly jar, and top with our 30% vinegar diluted to 5% (5 parts water to 1 part vinegar), leaving about an inch of space. Make sure your jar has a secure top so you can shake it without spilling.
Give the jar an initial shake and store in your fridge for at least 4 weeks, shaking every two days or so. I usually just leave it in the fridge until I run out of my prior batch of cleaning solution.
When you’re ready to use it, strain the needles out with a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, compost or throw away the needles. Pour the vinegar solution into a spray bottle and cut 3/4 vinegar with 1/4 water and you’re ready to clean!
Other Lovely Zero Waste Cleaning Solutions
Orange and Grapefruit Peel (with rosemary)
For orange and grapefruit peels I just add them to the vinegar as I go. The peels also take up more space than the pine needles so fill a clean jar about 2/3 of the way up with vinegar. As you eat your oranges and grapefruits add the peels to the jar. Make sure to give the jar a good shake each time you add peels so they become fully covered in vinegar.
I have a friend who likes to add a sprig of rosemary to hers. When I did it the scent felt just a little off to me. Next time I will try adding the rosemary when I’m a day or two from filtering the peels out.
Lemon and Lime Peel
When adding the peels of citrus fruits you’ve used for cooking be sure to remove all the pulp, you don’t want that sugar getting in your cleaning solution. Otherwise, the process is the same as the Orange Grapefruit solution.