I grew up thinking that household cleaners needed that long list of ingredients on the back of the label to be effective. Oh, how I was wrong. We’ve experimented and come up with 4 homemade cleaning vinegars that will work wonders on many of your household surfaces. As a natural, inexpensive disinfectant, vinegar is a miracle worker. It’s truly a must-have for a green cleaning routine.
If you’re on a mission to remove toxic chemicals from your cleaning regimen, infused vinegar is an excellent item to have on hand. If you’ve strayed away from using it because of its potent smell, these herb and citrus infused vinegars will certainly add a more pleasant aroma…because vinegar can be harsh. We’ll go over what surfaces you should use your homemade cleaning vinegar on below.
Use fruit peels. Instead of throwing them out, use them for infusions! Citrus oils are natural oils that lend to the cleaning process.
Use glass for your infusion. Glass can handle the acidity of the vinegar, so it’s the ideal material to use for the container of your infusions.
Choose a cheap vinegar. You’re using this solution for cleaning, so any true distilled vinegar will do the trick. This is no place to break the bank.
Dilute when necessary. For cleaning certain surfaces, your vinegar will need to be diluted with water. Make sure you’re doing so properly to protect them from damage.
Use frozen citrus & herbs. If you’re a slow collector of fruit peels, store them in a bag in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to use them. You can also freeze fresh herbs to add in.
Get creative. These are some citrus and herb combinations that I love, but feel free to experiment with other fruits or herbs you have on hand.
Don’t use the fruit flesh. While the oils from citrus peels are beneficial for cleaning, their flesh will leave your vinegar sticky.
Don’t use moldy peels. While vinegar does a commendable job at killing mold, it is not 100% effective. If you use it in your infusion, it will most likely spread and taint your solution.
Don’t use plastic. Acid eats away at plastic, so it will leach into your product. It will also leave your plastic container smelling like that vinegar.
Don’t use it on all surfaces. Diluted vinegar isn’t ideal for all surfaces (including granite and marble). If you have a question about its use, use a small amount on a small area first as a test.
Don’t make it a science. Simply put, this is just an infusion. You don’t have to be precise about the quantities of your herbs/fruits used or about the time you leave your infusion to sit. If you’re in a rush, 24 hours might do the trick. If you want a deeper infusion, 3 weeks might be the sweet spot.
A recommended dilution for your homemade vinegar is ¼ c vinegar to 4 c water for a general home cleaning spray. If you are conquering tough bathroom water stains, you can use it at full strength.
- Sinks, showers, and toilets
- As a fabric softener
- Tile or linoleum floors
- Cutting boards
- Stainless steel appliances
Since vinegar is acidic, it can do damage to porous surfaces. Vinegar is not safe for marble, granite, or natural stone surfaces. Hardwood floors are up for debate. Some use it with success and others find that it damages the finish.
- Place fruit peels & herb sprigs in a glass container. I use these 32oz mason jars.
- Fill the container with distilled vinegar to at least cover the ingredients.
- Seal it and let it sit in a cool, dark location for 1 day- 3 weeks. I tend to enjoy the scent at around 2 weeks. If you are using a metal lid, place a piece of parchment paper between it and the glass to reduce the risk of rust from the acidity.
- Use a fine mesh strainer rested inside a funnel to strain the mixture.
- Keep your strained infusions in labeled glass jars. If you are using metal lids, place a piece of parchment paper between it and the glass to reduce the risk of rust.
- Use glass spray bottles or heavy-duty plastic spray bottles when creating your diluted mixture for use.
*each to fill a 32oz jar*
- 1.5 c grapefruit peels
- 4-8 sprigs of mint
- 20-25 sprigs of mixed fennel fronds, thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage
- 1.5 c lemon peels
- 8-10 sprigs of lavender
- 2 sprigs of eucalyptus
- 1.5 c orange peels
- 3-4 sprigs of rosemary
- 6-8 sprigs of thyme
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
If the smell of vinegar doesn’t bother you, feel free to skip the infusion. Keep in mind that citrus oils do benefit the cleaning power of your solution.
The most common vinegar to use is white distilled vinegar as it is neutral in color and has a 5% acidity. You could also use apple cider vinegar, but it has a milder acidity.
You can use essential oils in addition to or in place of the infusion process. Oils such as lemon, tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint are good options.
More Posts Utilizing Herbs
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