If you want to start making cleaning recipes, get ready to buy a lot of white vinegar. The inexpensive, non-toxic and biodegradable ingredient has long been used to clean every room in the house.
Vinegar’s cleaning power comes from its acidity. White vinegar contains between 5–20% acetic acid. Distilled white vinegar is actually weaker, containing 5-8% acetic acid.
All you need for the most basic all-purpose spray is vinegar and water. But much like folks drink infused vinegar for its medicinal qualities, you can also infuse vinegar to make it an even better, more effective household cleaner. Bonus: it makes the smell much more pleasant.
How to Infuse Vinegar for Cleaning
Citrus peels are my favorite vinegar infusions. You were going to throw them out anyway, and the peel is where citrus essential oils are located. When those oils get released during the vinegar infusion you’re getting an extra dose of germ-fighting, de-greasing power.
Herbs – both dried and fresh – and spices are also excellent for infusions. Here are a few simple combinations for citrus infused vinegar, but you can always use what you have on hand or in the garden.
Citrus infused vinegar ideas:
- Orange peel + clove + cinnamon
- Lemon peel + oregano/thyme/sage
- Lime peel + eucalyptus
- Grapefruit peel + rosemary
Infused vinegar all-purpose spray
When the infusion is ready, you can make a super simple all-purpose spray by combining vinegar and water in a spray bottle. For an 8-ounce spray bottle, add 1/2 cup of each then replace the spray nozzle and give it a shake. It’s good to go for cleaning countertops, tubs and tile, and even windows.
Infused Vinegar for Cleaning
- Glass jar 8 ounces or larger
- 1/2 cup citrus peels and herbs
- 8 ounces distilled white vinegar
- Use an 8-ounce glass jars that's clean and fully dry.
- Add about 1/2 cup of fresh or dried citrus peels, herbs, or spices to the jar.
- Fill the jar with vinegar and replace the lid. Give it a shake to make sure everything is submerged in the vinegar.
- Keep it in a sunny spot for at least 2 weeks. Shake the jar every other day or so to help release the oils from the infused materials.
- When the vinegar is ready, strain out the infused materials and and keep the infused vinegar in a jar.
- To use, make an all-purpose cleaning spray with a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar.
17 MORE HOUSEHOLD USES FOR VINEGAR
2. Make a toilet cleaner by adding a squirt of castile soap and 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar to your toilet bowl and let sit for 10 or so minutes. Then pour in about 1/2 cup baking soda and scrub.
3. Clean your produce with a fruit and veggie spray cleaner made from vinegar and fresh lemon juice. Or make a soak that revives your leafy greens!
4. Make those windows and mirrors sparkly clean with this natural glass cleaner that’s based on vinegar and (surprise!) cornstarch.
6. These reusable dryer sheets are environment-friendly and very helpful. All they need is distilled white vinegar and some essential oils.
7. Make citrus garbage disposal refreshers by freezing citrus peels and white vinegar in an ice cube or muffin tray.
10. Make your own reusable disinfectant wipes with alcohol, essential oils, and vinegar. Soak in old t-shirt squares then wipe that grime away.
11. Say goodbye to mold and mildew with a vinegar-based spray that smells nice, too. It’s completely safe and non-toxic.
13. More than just giving flavor to your salad, vinegar can also bring life back to your sweaters. Add a few caps of infused vinegar to the rinsing water to make a sweater fluffy and new.
15. For a natural weed killer, just use white vinegar! Put it in a spray bottle and spray away the weeds from your yard.
16. When using a natural oven cleaner, finish up with white vinegar to help remove any residue before wiping dry.
17. Cleaning a coffee pot is super simple – add equal parts white vinegar and water to the water chamber of your coffee maker. Let the cycle run and partway through, stop it and let it sit for an hour or so. Afterwards let it finish the cycle and repeat several times with clean water, then say hello to a shiny, bright coffee maker.
Photos by Ana Stanciu13