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Making Infused Vinegar for Non-Toxic Cleaning

March 5th, 2012

The Non-Toxic cleaning series will be coming up soon. I’ve been taking photos of my cleaning products, writing down the recipes I use and researching answers to some of the questions that were asked in the Q & A Post (there’s still time to get questions in). Until that happens, I have a quick project for you that you can use in some of the recipes that will appear during the series.

Making infused vinegar is so simple and easy you won’t believe it. Simply add citrus peels to a jar or your bottle of vinegar. Yep, that’s it. I know so easy. For the photos I used a quart jar, but you can simply add the peels to your gallon jug of vinegar if you want to.

I’m guessing lavender, mint, or other herbs would work just well, perhaps roses would too. I’m not much of one for floral scents so I’ve never tried that. I stick to grapefruit since I buy them by the case this time of year and have grapefruit peels coming out of my ears.

You won’t believe how the vinegar smell simple disappears. This is perfect for those of you that want to use vinegar to clean but don’t like the smell of plain vinegar (my sister being among that group). This would even make a great febreeze alternative. Did you know that vinegar will mitigate odors? Mix this 50/50 with some water and spray on and around furniture to keep them smelling fresh & clean.

What scent would you like best for cleaning? Are you a floral or a fruity kind of person when it comes to cleaning products?

Stocking Your Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit
Learning to Love Castile Soap
Make Your Own: Foaming Soap
Make Your Own: Infused Vinegar
Make Your Own: Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Make Your Own: Color Safe Oxygen Bleach
Friday Favorite: Charlie’s Soap
Friday Favorite: Twist Sponges
and more to come

29 Comments to “Making Infused Vinegar for Non-Toxic Cleaning”
  1. Kathi Cook on March 5, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Lavender! I would try it with citurs also. Llooking forward to your series about cleaning products.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

  2. connie on March 5, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Ive been trying to go non toxic for several years so cant wait for this series. Going to mix up some of the above today!

    Reply to connie's comment

  3. Allison on March 5, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I have a bottle of orange infused vingear brewing on my countertop as I type!

    Reply to Allison's comment

  4. Vonnie on March 5, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Orange oil has it’s own cleaning properties and is great for removing sticky messes (particularly that horrible residue that’s left when you remove cheap, non-peelable price stickers!). Also great for restoring old dried out bare wood floors.
    Vinegar neuralises odours, so a good one to use on rugs etc., and helps prevent naughty puppies from re-soiling in the same spot (which they tend to do). A bonus when you are house-training.
    Agree lavender and rose would be great for this and both also work well in purified water in a spray bottle as scented Linen Water for ironing (if you still do ironing, which I don’t!).
    There are endless alternatives and worth researching some of the tips from domestics from old historic houses (especially in the UK) – I’m sure the English National Trust have done something in the past as they tend to use old methods to keep those valuable heirlooms spotless! : ))

    Reply to Vonnie's comment

  5. Jessica on March 5, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Love this idea. I already use a homemade cleaner of vinegar, water and a few drops of tea tree oil (which I’ve read you shouldn’t use on dark things – maybe it has mild bleaching properties?), but a clean, fresh citrus scent would make a nice change, especially as the weather’s getting warmer. I love the idea of using lavender as well.

    Reply to Jessica's comment

  6. Sincerely, Emily on March 5, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I am always amazed at how quickly the vinegar smell disappears when you throw some citrus peels into it. I seem to have about 3-5 jars going this time of year with all the citrus in season. On the kitchen counter sits a spray bottle w/vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil. That seems to be my go-to spray for anything in the kitchen. In the laundry room I use rose-scented geranium infused vinegar as a fabric softener. I have been starting more of those plants so I can keep that going through the year instead of just the summer. I also like rosemary infused vin. too. So So many options! Good thing I am collecting all those jars.

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

    • Susy on March 6, 2012 at 10:12 am

      I keep meaning to buy a rose scented geranium – I do have a lemon scented geranium as I tend to gravitate towards the citrus smell.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Rhonda on March 5, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Well, you’ve done it again. I’ve never thought about adding peels to vinegar. I’ll be doing that as soon as I get done with this post. I’ve been using vinegar and baking soda as my main cleaners for about a year now. It drives my kids crazy for a few minutes because they can’t stand the smell. But the smell soon goes away. I don’t mind the smell. I guess I’m used to it since I drink Bragg apple cider vinegar in water every day. :-). I’m going to try my hand at making some red wine vinegar this year and, not to change the subject or anything, but I’m also going to try making wine this year as well. :-)

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

    • Rhonda on March 5, 2012 at 10:03 am

      I forgot to answer the question … LEMON! My absolute favorite for cleaning.

      Reply to Rhonda's comment

    • Susy on March 6, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Making vinegar is surprisingly easy – I’ve been making my own apple cider vinegar for quite a while and have been branching out into wine and other fruits as well. I made a batch of pear vinegar with the juice from some canned pears once that was oh so tasty! Have fun with your new adventure. Someday I’d like to try to make some wine too!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. KimH on March 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Lemon scented anything is my favorite Even my current body spray is lemon scented. :D

    I use lemon & vinegar in a spray bottle but I saw a pin a day or two ago with orange peel and vinegar that I pinned & thought I’d try soon.
    Must be destined. ;)

    Looking forward to your series! Getting my Pinning fingers ready! ;)

    Reply to KimH's comment

  9. itchbay on March 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Huh! It never would have occurred to me to do this! But I have a seemingly endless supply of citrus peels this time of year, and there are only so many I can put down the garbage disposal to clean it out. What a great idea!

    Reply to itchbay's comment

  10. Lee on March 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I use vinegar for cleaning but never thought of adding citrus peels to it. I’ve got to try this.

    Reply to Lee's comment

  11. glenda on March 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    So I’m off to add my orange peels to the vinegar jar like everyone else! I’m really looking forward to the home made cleaner series. I’ve been using homemade cleaning products for years and am always interested to learn more!

    Reply to glenda's comment

  12. judym on March 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I like citrus scrnts more. floral scents have to be very light for me to use them. een doing lots os research and collecting of home made non-toxic cleaners. This spring we will be begin converting to the “old ways”. Love not only the old ways but the savings as well.

    Reply to judym's comment

  13. Miranda on March 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    I infused some vinegar with fresh lavender… man oh MAN. Love it. We use it in our homemade dish soap, and i use it as my hair rinse.

    Reply to Miranda's comment

  14. tj on March 6, 2012 at 9:01 am

    …I will definitely be trying this. Just last week I was using some off-the-store-shelf bathroom cleaner on our bathtub and I actually had to open the window nearby to get air because the fumes were so harsh. :o\

    …Thank you for sharing and I am looking forward to this series coming up too.

    …Oh, and I love cinnamon/apple scents as well as lavender as long as it’s a natural fragrance and not that soapy/sweet fragrance. :o)

    …Have a great day you two!

    …Blessings :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  15. Melanie G on March 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Great idea! I’ll definitely be trying this. This might be a silly question, but do you just leave the peels in there until you finish off the vinegar, or do you need to take them out after a while? I guess they probably end up pickled, so maybe it doesn’t matter :-)

    Reply to Melanie G's comment

    • Susy on March 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      You don’t really have to take them out but after about a week or two most of the scent/oil will be out of the citrus/herbs so you can take them out then if needed. I simply leave them in the bottle.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  16. kristin on March 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    How long will this keep? i wouldn’t want to be cleaning my counters with rotten solution? I imagine the vinegar is pretty good at preserving the orange peel but you never know…

    Reply to kristin's comment

    • Susy on March 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      This will most likely keep indefinitely as vinegar doesn’t spoil and it is great at preserving things. I have some vinegar that’s over 35 years old and it’s still good. Most likely if it does ever go “off” you’ll notice.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  17. Erin on April 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Can you do this with apple cider vinegar? Or will that just end in a horrifying smell that is worse than the smell of apple cider vinegar alone?

    Reply to Erin's comment

    • Susy on April 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Sure, I happen to like the smell of ACV, of course I make my own, so I’m not sure what storebought smells like. My mom swears by using ACV for cleaning and says it works better than white vinegar.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  18. Melissa on May 8, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Is there a specific ratio needed for this? How long does it need to ‘brew’? I put some orange peels in vinegar about 3 days ago and it still smells like vinegar, do I need to wait longer? I used store bought, white vinegar, should I use something else?
    Loving this series and looking forward to more!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

    • Susy on May 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm

      I’d let it brew for a week or two at least, I have a gallon jug of vinegar that I just keep adding peels too and it smells very strongly of grapefruit, you can barely smell vinegar now.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  19. Debra Shemeth on July 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    love your site

    Reply to Debra Shemeth's comment

  20. Audrey on August 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    LOVE this idea! I can’t stand the scent of vinegar but like making my own cleaning solutions. This is brilliant! I am making a batch of lemon thyme vinegar to clean with as I write this.

    Reply to Audrey's comment

  21. Malin on November 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I live in Virginia and just had my second open heart surgery due to a connective tissue disorder called “Marfans Syndrome”… anyway due to this illness I have a lot of STRESS and find that using any citrus scents seems to have a calming effect on me. So I was please to see this tip and look forward to using it.. I am very sensitive to certain scents since my last surgery, vinegar included, so great news!! The other great thing during these “low income” temporary food stamps times it is great that vinegar AND seeds/seedlings for growing food are included in our state food stamp list. Since you can’t buy toilet paper or toiletries it comes in handy to use the ‘simple’ things… good thing I have always loved witch hazel for astringent, bite/sting care… etc. Happy and safe cleaning America!! ;)

    Reply to Malin's comment

  22. Allison on December 2, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    This is so awesome. I use vinegar in a lot of my homemade cleaning products and this will help so much, and save some $$ on adding essential oils to mask the scent. This is especially bad in the shower since I let is soak for awhile. Woo hoo- thank you! :)

    Reply to Allison's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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