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Monday, January 14, 2013

Vodka - Shaken not Stirred - Natural Lemon Peel Chicken Coop Cleaner


My latest all natural chicken-keeping concoction borrows it's name from the James Bond franchise: Vodka - Shaken not Stirred - Natural Coop Cleaner.

Did you know that household bleach can interact with the ammonia created by decomposing chicken feces and result in toxic gases building up in your coop? Don't despair though, there are common natural ingredients you can use that boast every bit of the antiseptic and cleaning power of bleach - without the fumes.



Last year we found ourselves at the forefront of a movement towards using natural vinegar/citrus-based cleaners for your coop instead of bleach.  In fact, my 'recipe' for Orange Peel White Vinegar Cool Cleaner is one of our most-viewed blog posts ever - and variations have appeared subsequently on other blogs and even in Backyard Poultry magazine.

Lately it seems that vodka-based cleaners are all the rage. We're a bit late to this party it seems, but I was intrigued enough to give it a try and weigh in on it.  

But to back up a bit...recently we went to see the new James Bond movie. 
It was excellent, but as I was watching, I found myself wishing the producers would include in one of the Bond movies a scene of Mr. Bond eating breakfast and requesting Marans eggs. In the original book series written by Ian Fleming, the Bond character would only eat eggs from French Marans chickens, believing them to be superior in quality and flavor.  [Read more on Marans HERE...]

I only mention this because as Bond ordered his signature drink 'shaken not stirred' I was reminded that I really should be home working on this blog post, not lounging at the movies!  (Kidding...but it sounded good, didn't it?)  In reality, I lounge just as much as the next girl....but I digress.

I have been using my vinegar-based coop cleaning concoction for months now, and while I find it extremely effective, it takes awhile to 'age' and for the vinegar scent to dissipate (which it never really completely does and I find the vinegar scent, however fleeting, to be a bit off-putting.)  Vodka on the other hand, widely used as a household cleaner, is odorless, nontoxic (at least in reasonable amounts!), inexpensive and extremely effective.  It also can be used immediately since there is no odor to worry about.

After browsing Pinterest for inspiration, HERE, HERE and HERE, and deciding that the vodka wouldn't harm our chickens (since the vodka evaporates extremely quickly and there is no odor, that's a no-brainer, I just wouldn't allow them access while you are cleaning - which is good advice regardless of what you use to clean your coop), I decided to whip up a batch of vodka coop cleaner, incorporating the same ingredients I use in my vinegar cleaner but replacing the vinegar with vodka and switching out the orange peel for lemon peel.


The Ingredients

Vodka - insecticide, antibacterial, kills mold and mildew
Lemon Peel - solvent, insect repellent
Cinnamon stick - fragrant, kills mosquito larvae
Vanilla Bean - fragrant, insect repellent

Finding a partial bottle of vanilla vodka wedged in the back of our freezer, I decided to use that.  I added the peel from one lemon, one split vanilla bean and one cinnamon stick for each pint canning jar and then added enough vodka to cover.


Although ready to use right away, I opted to let the mixture sit for a few days for the ingredients to mellow a bit and a deeper aroma to develop.


I left the jars on the counter and shook them up a few times a day.


I also mixed up a batch directly in a squirt bottle to use immediately.

The Verdict:

Several months ago, white vinegar cleaners were making their rounds of the internet, now it seems vodka is the new 'IT' cleaning ingredient.  I, for one, am sold on it.  I am heading out to buy the cheapest bottle of vodka I can find!

This vodka-based cleaner smells so nice.  Also, in addition to being odorless, vodka actually kills bugs instead of just repelling them like vinegar does.  It also cleans windows, stainless steel and granite. Our kitchen is now spotless. The cleaner works on bathroom tile, counters, tubs, showers and all other hard surfaces. In fact I just used some to clean the inside of my car windows.

I keep a bottle in the coop and one on the kitchen counter, shaking each up every few days to redistribute the contents. I have also been topping off the vodka as I use the spray and reusing the peels and spices. I'll keep  doing that until it seems I'm ready for a whole new batch.


So from now on my coop cleaning products will be shaken - not stirred. Thank you 007 and Pinterest for the inspiration!  [Cue Bond theme song and fade to black...]


Sources:

36 comments:

  1. I can't wait to try this version! Thanks.

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    1. If you like the vinegar cleaner, you will LOVE this. It smells so much nicer.

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  2. What about adding cloves? I think cloves are good for mold but maybe the strong scent would discourage rodents. I'm off to buy vodka.

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    1. I think cloves would be a wonderful addition. And discouraging rodents is good too!

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  3. I wonder how it would work in a dog bath for my little dog? It'd be a lot cheaper than the flea/tick medicine I buy for him. What about spraying it in the yard, think it'd work to eliminate or reduce ticks and such? Love your blog, you come up with some great ideas. I miss my chickens, but your blog helps. :-)

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    1. I think it wouldn't hurt your dog one bit. I would try it...and I'm going to keep that in mind and trying spraying both our cat and dog come spring.

      Thanks for following along. Sorry you don't have chickens any longer.

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  4. Just a caution...the alcohol in the vodka may harm plants.

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    Replies
    1. Fortunately there aren't any plants in our coop!

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    2. oops. I meant this as a reply to devotedtoquilting. Hmmm. Vodka instead of Round-Up...I wonder...Who know playing with alcoholic beverages could be so practical?

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  5. Mint is suppose to repell flies. I think I will try this with some mint mixed in!

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    Replies
    1. Mint does repel insects as well as rodents. You could add mint in, or make some of my lavender mint refresh spray. http://fresh-eggs-daily.blogspot.com/2012/10/lavender-mint-coop-refresh-spray.html

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  6. Does vodka work on hard water stains?

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  7. The alcohol could dry the skin of animals. Make sure you do not get it in the eyes. I use alcohol in my dishwater all the time. Helps clean the dishes and cuts grease and odors.

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  8. Will this work cleaning bird cages and not harm the birds?

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    1. I would certainly remove the birds while you're cleaning but there is no lingering fume, so I can't see why not.

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  9. Also how much of each ingredient do you mix? I'm always looking for something for cleaning the house and birds I can also try it on my dog. Thanks

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    1. You just use a peel from one lemon and a stick of cinnamon and vanilla bean for each canning jar or squirt bottle. No real set amount.

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  10. The orange, lemon, lime.... doesn't make it sticky? And did I read it right that it can be used all over the house?

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    1. You're only using the peel and citrus oil is a solvent so it actually takes up stickiness. And yes, I use it in our kitchen and bathroom also.

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  11. I can't get past the 20.5 % spirit tax added onto 8.4% sales tax in Washington state! I wouldn't dream of giving the government that much in taxes on a beverage, much less on a household cleaner!

    There has got to be a non-taxable alternative! Any ideas?

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    1. Well not entirely nontaxable but you can either use white vinegar instead of vodka, or learn to make your own vodka! I wouldn't imagine its very hard.

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    2. Karen, there is one alternative... get out of the lion's den ASAP ;-)

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  12. Some of the vodka bottles are really pretty. Get a cool bottle and recycle it as yard art.

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  13. Just a new follower from the hump-day-hop :) Check out my blog sometime and follow back if you'd like!
    The Real McCoy(s)

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  14. I don't need coop cleaners but enjoyed your photos and post a lot! Very creative & entertaining.

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  15. Thanks soo much for this recipe! I'm dying to test it out around my house!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream To Reality! I'm looking forward to seeing what you link up tomorrow evening!

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  16. Do you know if everclear or moonshine would work too?

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    Replies
    1. I suppose it would. It's alcohol so it would be similar.

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  17. Hi Lisa, :)

    By letting the ingredients sit for a few days and shaking every day, what you just made was actually a weak tincture. :) Vodka (as well as everclear) is a solvent for medicinal components in herbs and spices. What that means is that the vodka "pulls" the medicinal compounds out of the plant material. 100-proof vodka is 50% alkahol and 50% water. Water is a solvent for nutritional properties and vodka is a solvent for medicinal properties. Either 100-proof or 80-proof vodka will work. Typically, you let the tincture sit for about 6 weeks, shaking every day for the first few weeks and then shaking whenever you think of it until the time is up. Then you can strain and use your tincture but adding a dropper-ful or two to a cup of water. Some tinctures can be used internally and some are better used externally (without diluting with water). Depending on what you wanted to treat, I'm guessing you could change the herbs to help with other chicken issues too. :)

    Thanks for joining Wildcrafting Wednesday this week. :)

    ~ Kathy

    Thanks

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  18. It's good to know about the bleach and ammonia. I know better than to mix bleach and dish soap, but never thought about the gas in a chicken coop! Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you back on Thursday :)

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  19. Lemon is not good for cats. Their liver cannot metabolize it. Google it please.

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    1. Um, yeah that's why people use citrus peels to repel cats in their gardens...but we're not talking about cats here...OR about any animals actually drinking this...

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  20. I have 2 bottles of vanilla vodka I've never used this could be a good use for it. I wonder how this would work in the garden to keep pest away from plants

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Thank you for your kind comments and joining along with Fresh Eggs Daily as we live our wonderful, natural country farm life.

Lisa of Fresh Eggs Daily
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