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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  • Penny Weymouth Fetters Penny Weymouth Fetters on Apr 04, 2019

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

  • Ruth McAlpin 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 Ernest on Sep 25, 2019

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

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  • Wisteria Wisteria on Apr 04, 2019

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

  • Talia Talia on Jun 19, 2021

    I am so excited to try this out! I can not stand using harsh chemicals around the house, especially since you never know how you or your animals might react to the products. I always heard vinegar is a good substitute but I couldn't stand the smell. Now I know how to make all different kinds of fragrant-infused cleaning supplies, thank you so much for the tips and recipes.