Every spring when the snow finally melts away and spring is almost upon us I know it is just about time for a big chicken coop clean out. The clean freak in me secretly loves emptying out the coop and giving it a deep clean. What I don’t love is having my head stuck in the coop scrubbing the walls while holding my breath because of the horrible vinegar smell. I don’t want to use chemicals in the coop, so I use diluted white vinegar as a natural disinfectant. With its high acidity levels it can knock out mold, germs & bacteria just as well as bleach & commercial cleaners. As a bonus, it only costs pennies when compared to commercial cleaning products. To fix this problem, I decided to mix things up – literally – it’s time to mix some things in with the vinegar to help it smell (and work!) better.
It’s not just about smelling nice
In addition to helping it smell better, I wanted to pick some ingredients that will have additional benefits. Citrus is my favorite scent, it smells so clean & fresh to me, so I knew orange peels had to be a part of this. I included fresh vanilla beans because vanilla is known to be a natural insect repellent. Finally I added fresh lavender because it is a natural calming stress reliever, and happy hens are relaxed hen (so they lay more eggs!). Alternately, you could use lavender essential oil.
I went to the craft store and got the biggest Mason jar they had, it is a half gallon jar and it cost about $4.
I split open four fresh vanilla beans. By splitting them, it will help the fragrance release into the vinegar.
Lavender isn’t in bloom right now, but the leaves of a lavender plant are plenty fragrant on their own. I put several large sprigs of leaves in the jar next. If you don’t have access to fresh lavender, you could also use dried. When you are infusing something like oil you want to only use dried botanics as the fresh ones contain too much moisture which can harbor mold. Vinegar has antibacterial properties that will halt mold growth so you can use either fresh or dried lavender.
Next, I put in the peels of 5 small oranges and filled the jar to the top with distilled white vinegar.
Now you wait
The ingredients need to sit for a few weeks so all the goodness can infuse into the vinegar. Put the jar in your cabinet and give it a shake every so often to stir up the ingredients. When you open the jar and notice the smell of the vinegar is gone, you will know the mix is ready to go! Pour the mixture through a strainer to get rid of all the used peels & leaves. Fill a spray bottle with the cleaner to use it full strength, or dilute it with water if desired.
Ann R Hastings
Friday 8th of April 2022
Hi how long will this keep? Thanks.
Tuesday 12th of April 2022
I've never had a bottle more than a couple months, but most water/vinegar sprays are good for at least 3 months
Friday 13th of August 2021
Can it be used on bird ages to clen
Monday 16th of August 2021
Yes you could also use this on bird cages
Monday 1st of February 2021
Hi, thank you SO much for sharing all your info on Angora rabbits! I found this page in your links, and will definitely use this to clean in our house (we have a room we converted for them to live in, so they hop around on the linoleum.)
I feel like I should point out that orange scent is an invigorator, while lavender is a relaxer, so they tend to cancel out each other's benefits. I would recommend making the citrus for when you don't mind your animals being rambunctious, and a separate batch of lavender for when they're TOO rambunctious. Otherwise, you're not getting the most out of the fragrances.
Thanks again for all your valuable information! We have learned so much from you!
Monday 1st of February 2021
Definitely good points on the aromatherapy, I just liked the way the smell together lol!
Wednesday 23rd of December 2020
Do you scrub the whole coop with this cleaner? Our coop is kinda big. This is our first winter with them; they are so fun! Anyway, I can see trying to clean the perches (they get pretty nasty), but the whole coop? I'm not ragging on you; I just wanted to know how serious I should be!
Thursday 24th of December 2020
When I wrote this article we had a much smaller coop - about 4 foot by 8 foot and about 4 feet tall. I would clean the whole thing with the cleaner - floor, walls, and windows. We now live in a house with a barn and the chicken "coop" is 10 foot by 30 foot with about 15 foot ceilings. I am not cleaning the walls with this anymore unless there is poop on them lol. I do clean up the roosts, nest box area, and I have the feed & water on two pallets I covered with plywood and then vinyl flooring. This works great on the vinyl. Beyond that for cleaning the large barn coop it's just changing out the straw a couple times per year and I use a long extension duster to keep cobwebs down.
Friday 29th of May 2020
My ducklings are 3 weeks old. Our outside temp low is 65 degrees . Can I move them to their backyard coop?
Saturday 30th of May 2020
As long as the temps don’t dip below 65 they will be fine at this point to move to their outdoor coop ?