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Degreasing And Deodorizing Cleansers
Author: Susan Barclay-Nichols
Sunday, October 15, 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Feasting season is upon us as we celebrate holidays with fun, friends, family, and - most importantly - food. Make your post- party clean up so much easier by using my secret weapon against grease – d-Limonene! 


This cyclic monoterpene – an organic compound composed of two isoprene units – is found in the peels of citrus fruits like grapefruit, mandarin, lemon, lime, neroli, and orange, as well as small quantities in lavender, eucalyptus, and lemongrass. It combines with oil soluble compounds like oils, gums, and waxes to create a simple emulsion that washes away when you rinse leaving behind sparkling clean dishes and fresh smelling hands. The best part is that it’s a natural, green, and environmentally sustainable ingredient that’s easily biodegradable and generally regarded as safe (GRAS). d-Limonene is colourless, lighter than water with a wonderfully strong orange fragrance, and oil soluble, so you’ll need to include a solubilizer, like polysorbate 80 at equal amounts, when mixing it into water based products to avoid separation.

Please note that some people may have allergic reactions to d-Limonene when it’s oxidized, so keep all essential oils that contain it in opaque or darkened containers in a cool, dark place or the fridge and use as per the suggested shelf life.

You can buy d-Limonene on its own, or you can add some of these wonderful citrus essential oils to your product at up to 1% in hand cleansers, or up to 2% in body washes and shampoos for someone with really oily hair and skin. One of my favorite blends is equal parts pink grapefruit, lime, and lemon for a bright punch of fragrance with all kinds of degreasing power, while my best friend favors equal parts lime and eucalyptus for a fresh, green scent that’ll make your kitchen smell amazing. In your products, you could add up to 1% of your favourite citrus essential oil or come up with another combination to create your own signature scent. Adding a little tea tree oil at up to 1⁄2 part will offer some anti- bacterial power with a slightly medicinal edge. Liquid soap and surfactant based cleansers can generally accept up to 2% essential oils, so you don’t need to add a solubilizer like polysorbate 20 or 80 unless otherwise noted.

There are some applications in which you’d use more than 15% - say in a wax or gum paste cleanser for furniture, carpet, or clothes and stain removal sticks - but this level isn’t a good idea for body or hair cleansers.

d-Limonene also acts as a deodorizer to remove oils from foods like garlic or onions, as well as essential or fragrance oils, from our hands, utensils, and containers, which is why it always has a place in my kitchen and workshop, and why I encourage you to package these in fancy pump or foamer bottles for all the wonderful cooks making your holiday feasts.



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