This week we will switch gears and focus on a chemical found in the peels of oranges, lemons, and a number of other citrus fruits, D-Limonene. Although this chemical has been used in cleaning products for the past 30 years, the inexpensive and harmful chlorinated solvents have taken center stage for the past 25 years because of it's lack of regulation (TSCA's recent action against chlorinated solvents here) . D-Limonene is a colorless liquid hydrocarbon, classified as a cyclic terpene. It is one of the most common terpenes in nature, which is nice because it has a wide range of practical uses. It's name comes from "Lemons" and "Limes", because of it's abundance within their rinds. D-Limonene is extracted from the peels of oranges through the use of a Soxhlet extractor. For a detailed explanation on how the Soxhlet extractor works, click here.
I'm sure at some point you have used a household cleaner that smells like orange peels. You can thank D-Limonene. Because it was extracted from orange peels, it still carries the strong natural orange scent through the extraction process. Artificial scents within cleaning products are still abundant, but there is an ever increasing use of D-limonene in household cleaners, not only because of the scent, but also because of the incredible degreasing power of this chemical. It's affinity for oil and grease, along with its very low acidity makes D-limonene an exceptional and environmentally friendly substitute for the commonly used petroleum-based and chlorinated solvents. A leading recreational vehicle manufacture replaced 25 different cleaning products with a single D-limonene solution. This proves the effectiveness and versatility of the chemical as it relates to cleaning.
Here at Cream City Soap Company, we add D-limonene to our Orange Scrub soap, and to our Power Plant All Purpose Cleaner. It is a safe and effective degreaser which is kind to our environment.