Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about how to make lemon-scented vinegar for cleaning. I loved the finished product, and still use it all the time to clean all sorts of things. It’s nice to be able to use a natural cleaner without my boys whining about the vinegar smell! The only thing I didn’t love about the method I used in that post was the waiting! Patience isn’t exactly my strong suit, so needing to wait 2 weeks for the citrus to infuse into the vinegar basically felt like a lifetime. ;-)
But it turns out theres a very simple way to cut down the waiting period significantly. So today I’m sharing the new-and-improved method for making scented cleaning vinegar (even though the previous method works just as well) because I’m all about having options!
This process differs from the original one in that the vinegar is brought to a boil before being added to the jar with the citrus peels. The heat of the vinegar causes the citrus peels to express their oils and fragrance much more quickly. As a result, you only need to wait 24 hours before straining the peels out, rather than 2 weeks. Nifty, right?
How to Make Scented Vinegar for Cleaning
- White vinegar
- Quart-sized jar with lid
- Peels from citrus fruit (lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruits)
- Herbs (optional)
Start by prepping your citrus. This will go a lot faster if you have an electric citrus juicer of some kind, but a press-style juicer will work just as well. Set aside the juice to freeze and use later.
When the citrus has been juiced, cut the peels up into smaller chunks. Add the citrus peels to your quart-sized jar until it’s about halfway full. We chose to add some herbs into the mix to make things interesting, but the herbs are totally optional. We added some fresh rosemary to the jar of lemon peels, and dried cloves to the jar with the orange peels.
Now you’ll heat up the vinegar, either on the stove in a saucepan, or in a bowl in the microwave. When your vinegar is good and hot, pour it over the citrus peels in the jar.
Place your lid on your jar, and let the jar sit for 24 hours.
After the 24 hours is up, all that’s left to do is pour your vinegar through a sieve or colander to strain out the peels and herbs. What you have left is a lovely scented vinegar that you can use to clean almost anything!
How to Dilute and Use Scented Cleaning Vinegar
Here are some common uses and dilutions that may come in handy…
Dilute your scented vinegar at a 1:2 ratio (1 part vinegar, 2 parts water) to clean your fridge, microwave, pet stains, and floors. This dilution also makes a great all-purpose cleaner. Pour it into a spray bottle and get to work!
Dilute your vinegar at a 1:1 ratio to clean your windows, and clean and sanitize your reusable water bottles.
Use your vinegar undiluted to clean your washing machine! This works great for both standard and HE machines. Pour a cup of scented vinegar into the drum of your machine, or into your detergent drawer, and run a high-temp load without any clothes.
You can also use your undiluted vinegar as a rinse aid to help combat hard water in your dishwasher. We have very hard water here in Utah, so I always add a small dish of vinegar to the top rack of my dishwasher before running it. It works like a charm!
Other uses for undiluted scented vinegar include cleaning coffee pots, eliminating coffee stains from your mugs, and it also makes a great natural weed killer!