A few years back I wrote about a method for making scented vinegar you can use for cleaning. I loved the finished product, and it was nice to finally have a vinegar-based cleaner I could use without my boys complaining about the “vinegar smell.”
But what I didn’t love about that method was how long it took to make. Patience has never been my strong suit, the fact that it required me to wait two weeks until I could use it was simply more than my limited patience could bear.
But I eventually learned that there was a very simple way to make scented cleaning vinegar that had a significantly shorter wait period. The key is to heat up the vinegar before combining it with the citrus peels (or whatever you’ll be using as your scented element.)
When making my original lemon-scented cleaning vinegar, for example, the hot vinegar causes the peels to express their oils and fragrance much more quickly than they would at room temperature. As a result, this new and improved process only requires a 24 hour wait before straining, rather than two weeks!
So today I’ll be sharing the new-and-improved method for making scented cleaning vinegar with you, along with tips for how to put it to good use around the house. Because even though the original method still works just as well, it never hurts to have options! 🙂
How To Make Scented Cleaning Vinegar
- White vinegar
- Large glass jar or jug
- Fresh herbs, citrus peels, dried flowers, etc. for scent
Start by adding a handful or two of whatever you’ll be using as the scent for your cleaning vinegar to your glass container. I used a handful of fresh mint leaves here, but in the past I’ve used lemon peels and sprigs of fresh rosemary and it turned out great!
(This process isn’t an exact science, so don’t worry too much about amounts. When in doubt, add more of the scented item rather than less, since the smell of vinegar is pretty strong to begin with!)
Next, heat up as much vinegar as you’ll need to fill your container. You can either do this in a pot on your stovetop, or in a bowl in your microwave. Once the vinegar is good and hot, carefully pour it into the container.
Seal the container and let it sit out for 24 hours to allow time for the scent to infuse into the vinegar.
After 24 hours, pour the contents of the container through a sieve into another glass container for storage and discard the herbs, peels, or flowers. Store your finished cleaning vinegar in an airtight container.
How To Use Scented Cleaning Vinegar
There are all sorts of ways to put your scented cleaning vinegar to good use around the house. For certain applications, you’ll want to dilute it with water before using, but for others, it’s better to use it “straight up” (or undiluted.)
Here’s an overview of the various ways you can use your scented vinegar and how to dilute it if necessary:
For Everyday Cleaning
Dilute your scented vinegar at a 1:2 ratio (1 part vinegar to 2 parts water) to clean your fridge, microwave, pet stains, and floors. This dilution also makes a great all-purpose cleaner—just pour it into a spray bottle and get cleaning!
For Glass Surfaces Or Sanitizing
Dilute your vinegar at a 1:1 ratio to clean your windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces. You can also use it to clean and sanitize your reusable water bottles.
For Laundry, Dishes, And More
Use your cleaning vinegar undiluted to freshen the inside of your washing machine (both standard and HE models). Empty out the wash drum, pour 1 cup of your cleaning vinegar inside, then run a hot water wash cycle.
You can also use undiluted cleaning vinegar as a rinse aid in your dishwasher to help combat hard water. To do so, simply add a small dish of the vinegar to the top rack of your dishwasher before running it.
Scented cleaning vinegar also makes a great natural fabric softener. Just pour 1/4-1/2 cup of your cleaning vinegar into your washer’s fabric softener dispenser before starting a wash cycle.
Other ways to use undiluted cleaning vinegar include descaling your coffee maker, eliminating coffee stains from mugs, and it even makes a great natural weed killer!
What sort of scent would you use in a batch of scented cleaning vinegar?