Scented Vinegar for Cleaning

Orange scented vinegar for cleaning

If you are considering using simple basic cleaners for your household cleaning, you can easily add a nice smell by infusing with herbs or other aromatics.

My children and I have been making and using herbal cleaning solutions as chemistry lessons. Yes, very sneaky! The cleaning is part of the lesson as we figure out which solutions work on which problems.

We started out by adding herbs to a quart of white vinegar. We have been learning about the properties of herbs, so everyone got to choose one herb and say why they chose it. We used fennel seeds from our own garden, and a few other herbs. It smelled OK, but now it just smells like food when we use it. It’s a very muddy smell. No one is excited to wipe this all over our kitchen.

So, we made a new vinegar cleaner. This time we wanted a fresh scent. We chose orange and grapefruit.

Rather than cutting up peels, we zested every piece of citrus in the house and added to a pint of vinegar. We learned our lesson, and we’re making smaller amounts at a time until we know we love the scent.

It’s easy to make your own scented cleaning vinegar. Add ½ cup to 1 cup of dried herbs or whatever you have. We ended up with about a 1/4 cup of citrus zest. We’ll let it sit for a couple of days then strain it before we use it. Combine. Sit. Strain. Easy.

Orange zest

Zesting an orange releases the essential oil. Orange oil is mostly limonene, which gives oranges their characteristic aroma and is an effective natural solvent. The more you learn about the natural properties of herbs, foods, and other ingredients you already have in your house, the more you can tailor your homemade cleaning products for specific uses.

For now, we have a new, fresh-scented all-purpose cleaner.

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3 thoughts on “Scented Vinegar for Cleaning”

  1. That’s a good idea! I am going to try this the next time we get oranges. What about adding a little essential oil to the vinegar? It wouldn’t be as interesting for a science lesson, but maybe it would work quickly. Eucalyptus oil is great for covering up the stinky lanolin smell when I wash our wool diaper covers. Maybe it would take the edge off vinegar too.

    • I haven’t added essential oils yet. Do they mix with vinegar? It’s an an experiment, isn’t it. I’m going to leave this batch as just orange, but I was thinking that orange and vanilla might make a nice creamsicle smell. Vanilla is such a smooth scent that it might take the edge off the vinegar, too.

  2. We use vinegar, tiny amount of castille soap and essential oils. My favorite combo to date is lavender orange. I also use a few drops of lemon oil with baking soda and vinegar to clean the bathroom.


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