Scented Vinegar

10 Materials
20 Minutes

In the last few years since I quit my 9-5 job and started working from home, I’ve tried to find ways to save money. Before Bo was born, I was making mine and Rob’s laundry detergent which was great but after a year or so I found myself going back to the convenience of buying it in the store. I’ve always experimented with natural glass cleaner and things of that nature but I hated the smell of the vinegar in the solutions. I think I may have finally found a way to make my own cleaning solutions that still smell just as nice as the store bought once and it’s amazing how easy it is to do!

-Mason jars (or any jars with tight lids)
-distilled vinegar
-citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit)
-herbs and/or spices of your choice (I used mint, cilantro and cinnamon sticks)
-knife (optional)
-spray bottle (optional)
-labels (optional)

Not pictured:

STEP 1: Peel fruit
First, I used a knife to slice an “x” into the fruits. My fingernails are so thin and brittle so I’ve always used this method to start the peeling process of fruits because I’m always afraid my thumbnails are going to bend backwards (yes, this happens and yes, it hurts!). Make sure not to peel all the way down to the inner fruit—you’ll only need the peel itself. I filled my Mason jars about half way with the different citrus peels.

STEP 2: Add herbs/spices
Next, I chose what combos I wanted to do for my scents and I added herbs/spices to the jars of citrus peels.

I made the following combos:
-lemon mint
-orange cilantro
-orange cinnamon
-cilantro lime
-mint grapefruit
I used 5-7 leaves for the mint and cilantro combos and about 2-1/2 cinnamon sticks for the orange cinnamon scent.

STEP 3: Add vinegar
Finally, I poured vinegar into each jar, filling it all the way and giving it a little stir.

The vinegar should be scented within a day or two but if you want it more potent with scent, you can let the jars sit longer (I’ve read where people have let it sit for up to a month). I let mine sit for about a week.

When I was finished mixing all of my combos, I simply wrote what each combo was on the top of the lids and stored them in my pantry while they fermented.

STEP 4: Strain and pour into spray bottle and add label (optional)
Because the fruit and herbs start to look a little nasty after a while, I strained my vinegars and threw out the fruit and herbs once they were fermented. These vinegars can be used for a number of cleaning jobs but I wanted to have at least one in a spray bottle as an easy way to clean so I bought this beautiful cobalt blue glass spray bottle on Amazon. If you decide to use essential oils in your cleaning products, I’ve read that they should be stored in dark, glass bottles so keep that in min!

After all of my vinegars were strained, I used a small funnel to carefully pour one of my scented vinegars into my pretty blue glass spray bottle (Mint Grapefruit). Lastly, I used my Silhouette Cameo machine and kraft adhesive paper to create a label for my spray bottle. Once I use this scent up, I’ll make another one.

It’s amazing to me that you can take something like fruit and vinegar, and create things like natural cleaning solutions. When you’re like me and you have tiny hands on all surfaces of your home, you don’t exactly want to have harsh chemicals around that you find in mainstream cleaning solutions (for the record: I do usually purchase natural cleaning products but wanted to experiment and see how these vinegar mixtures would work for me). I also find it satisfying to know that I can save a penny or two by making cleaning solutions myself!

Here are a few ways you can use scented vinegars in your home and yard:
PET ODOR: combine 1/3 scented vinegar & 2/3 water

TRASH CAN: combine scented vinegar and baking soda (I wouldn't measure--I'd just sprinkle the inside of my can with the baking soda and pour a generous amount of vinegar in.)

TOILET: combine 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup scented vinegar (I've read that you should let the water drain out of your toilet bowl before cleaning so you can get a good scrub.)

KILL WEEDS: spray with scented vinegar

*UPDATE: After a week, I opened the jars to smell the vinegars and I could barely smell any vinegar at all--it was mostly the fruit/herb smells; however, once I poured the grapefruit mint vinegar into my spray bottle and sprayed it, I smelled more vinegar than fruit so I would recommend letting your vinegars sit longer than a week if you plan to spray them.

*Note: I stated that it takes 20 minutes for this project but that is only the prep and assembly time.

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Have a question about this project?

7 questions
  • PilgrimBaby
    on Apr 2, 2017

    Could you use lemon peel instead of whole lemon? I think the peel would not get nasty looking if left in passed the soak time. That's just my guess. What do you think?

    • Sue
      on Apr 2, 2017

      Yes, you ONLY use the peel . Read again.

    • I'm not sure what you mean...I only used the lemon peel in this tutorial. Am I missing something? I tend to have pregnancy/mommy brain lately so I could totally be losing it lol!

    • I'm not sure what you mean...I only used the lemon peel in this tutorial. Am I missing something? I tend to have pregnancy/mommy brain lately so I could totally be losing it lol!

    • PilgrimBaby
      on Apr 3, 2017

      I'm sorry I must have been having an old woman moment. Lol Somehow I missed that it was only the peel you used.

    • PilgrimBaby
      on Apr 4, 2017

      Dear Sue & every Hometalk Viewer, I innocently overlooked the part about the peel only. Mrs. Courtney was sweet to reply to a question I asked her, let me know I missed that part. I know people intend to help the original blogger/DYI person by answering, to be helpful. Yet sometime we may want to wait until the orginal Blogger has time to reply that way we don't come across as rude. And sometime we need to remember that no one in this world is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Even though I addressed this to you-it is simply a statement meant for all Hometalk viewers/commenters. Just because we aren't face-to-face doesn't mean we lose our basic manners in the online world. Have a blessed day everyone. B

    • Maggie Smith
      on May 18, 2017

      This is something that needs to be repeated every once in awhile on all boards. Courtesy and manners haven't died yet.  At least not with me, hopefully.
    • Elizabeth Wilson
      on May 14, 2018

      Bella, thank you so much for pointing out so eloquently how to be more careful when, meaning well, people can be over zealous! I hope you don't mind me copy-pasting your suggestion. It is important enough to be spread as good word s of advice!

    • Nannette LePage
      on May 22, 2018

      No, you did say only peel

    • Fran Valente Lowell
      on May 22, 2018

      ?? SENIOR MOMENT?? LOL... I have those & it seems more often lately. LOL.. ;)

    • Donna M Taylor-Smith
      on May 22, 2018

      I think the young lady is asking about the lemon peel you can buy in the jar. You use it for different recipes.

    • Frances Anderson
      on Apr 3, 2019

      I have used these recipes and I tend to drain the lemon or orange peel after a week. That way the vinegar has a scent but no gunge. For pet cleaning I use menthol crystals in the vinegar stops dogs or cats from urinating in same place. Amazing difference and so inexpensive

  • Kathy Thorne
    on Apr 2, 2017

    What size jars did you se?

    • I believe they're 16 oz...the regular size Mason jars.

    • Kris
      on May 14, 2018

      instead of vinegar, I mix up a formula of ¼ cup rubbing alcohol, a teaspoon of dish soap, and about 3 cups of water in a spray bottle. The alcohol functions as a disinfectant and it's inexpensive with no smell. You could also infuse it with lemon and herbs as well.

    • Fran Valente Lowell
      on May 22, 2018

      I like this one ... my husband wouldn't have a "hissy-fit" when I grab the Acohol vs the vinegar!! LOL

  • Lol22767792
    on Apr 26, 2017

    Just wanted to tell you; I had the same weak nails, and discovered Nailtiques nail Protein (Formula 2) at CVS. ONLY thing that worked for me. It's currently $11.59 in my area (southern California) seriously, your life will improve 1000%. Thanks for the vine cleaning solution tip!!!
    • lol thank you for that tip!! Definitely will check that stuff out!
    • Maggie Smith
      on May 18, 2017

      I will try it, too. My nails have been very thin all my life. I've even cut myself (drawing blood) several times over the past 50-60 years with my nails. Thanks for your vinegar tips.
    • Connie Quine
      on May 14, 2018

      Thank you, lolitastone, for sharing that great idea! I too have that problem with my nails, and I am definitely going to try this one!

    • Debbie Green
      on May 14, 2018

      Try Cuties or Halos! They are SUPER easy to peel and taste great! They are better than regular Oranges!

    • Kathy Day
      on May 22, 2018

      For those with thin nails please get a check up you could be vitamin d deficiant.

    • Darlene Turnquist
      on May 22, 2018

      I too have had thin brittle fingernails my entire life (not telling age but it's long enough to be annoyed w/my nails 😁) Anyway, try WHITE iodine once a day for 2 weeks. Then every other day. Cut back if nails gey yellow tint. The iodine strengthens the nails..hard and strong. It's actually amazing!

      Put a drop on each nail x2 weeks... then every other day x2 weeks..then like 3 times a week x2 weeks..just cut back until it's like 1-2 times a month

      Plus it's only like 1$ for a bottle. Your nails will be hard and more flaking and bending back!

      Good luck

    • Vicky Corey
      on May 28, 2018

      @Lolitastone, Thank You, I will definitely give that a try. @ Kathy, my Vitamin D has been checked. It does run very low, due to being disabled, and not able to get outside much. Im on supplements, per my Dr's instructions. Your comment is definitely worth checking into. If you have chronic pain issues, your vitamin D being low can make you hurt worse.

    • Deb
      on Apr 3, 2019

      I used Jello to harden my nails&no harsh chemicals.

    • Ginger
      on Apr 4, 2019

      How did you use Jello?

  • Lori Dumm
    on Apr 3, 2019

    Can you use fragrant flowers as well also

  • Penny Weymouth Fetters
    on Apr 4, 2019

    You mentioned essential oils. Do you know how much to add to the vinegar??

    • K
      on Apr 9, 2019

      Depending on the volume /quantity you're making, you should only need a couple drops of oil per quart. Also depends on how strong you want it to smell.

      Just remember that some EOs are not good for pets, so double check before using them near pet areas.

    • Marianne Odell
      on May 30, 2019

      Wouldnt the oils make glass smear?

    • K
      on Jun 4, 2019

      No, it's not like cooking oil or automotive oil. It's "Essence" of something.

      If the idea makes you nervous, there are some other things you can try, like soaking something (ex: lemon zest, crushed rosemary, crushed rose petals, etc) for a few days in the vinegar & strain it out before putting it in spray bottles.

  • Ruth McAlpin
    on Apr 29, 2019

    What size jars did you use for the fermenting stage? About how many oranges or lemons did it take for each jar? I love this idea and it sounds quite inexpensive.Thankyou Ruth

  • Ernest
    on Sep 25, 2019

    How do I clean old paint from concrete and bricks without using caustic products

Join the conversation

2 of 42 comments
  • Manghi
    on Apr 4, 2019

    Great job!

  • Wisteria
    on Apr 4, 2019

    Love giving pretty spray bottles with different scent cleaners for birthdays and Christmas...will definitely give this recipe a try.

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