DIY Cleaning Vinegar

This Cleaning Vinegar is a super simple and inexpensive way to clean your home without toxic chemicals. It literally costs pennies to make and in an economy like this, saving money here and there is a big plus! You will be making an infused vinegar which is not only great for cleaning but can also be used for cooking as well - which means you can take this recipe and change up the ingredients you infuse for whatever application you want to use it in. 

Vinegar has been around for thousands of years – in fact traces of it have been found in the tombs of Egyptians dating back to 3000 B.C. and it's even written about in Babylonia texts dating to 5000 B.C. While it was often used in drinks and food there are texts that describe its use for cleaning during the bubonic plague as well as colonial American.

Vinegar is a byproduct of the fermentation process of diluted alcohol products. It contains an organic compound, acetic acid, which gives the vinegar its antiseptic qualities and makes it a good choice for cleaning. Whatever you infuse into your vinegar can boost it’s cleaning power as well!

What you'll need for this project:

  • a large mason jar (I used a half-gallon jar)
  • white or distilled vinegar 
  • infusion options: citrus peels (lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit, etc), fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, lavender, etc), conifer needles (pine is a great choice!), etc
  • spray bottles

How to make your cleaning vinegar:

  • place your chosen infusion options in a large mason jar. I used lemon peels because I've been on a lemonade kick lately, and a big sprig of thyme because thyme has some pretty great antibacterial properties. 
  • pour white vinegar over your infusion options filling your jar to the top, making sure all the ingredients are covered. cap tightly and shake.
  • allow your infusion to sit for 14 days in a dark and cool area like a cupboard - this gives the vinegar time to absorb all the yummy scents of the items you are infusing into it. if you're short on time you can also bring the mixture to a boil and let it sit for 24 hours before using.
  • once your infusion is made, strain the liquid into another jar.
  • to use simply dilute your infused vinegar 50/50 with water in a spray bottle. some say to used distilled water but we go through our cleaner so quickly that I just use filtered water. 
  • use to clean countertops (be careful with marble and granite tops - vinegar can be too strong for these materials), windows, floors (except for hardwood), bathrooms, etc. 

The size jar I made lasts us quite a long time - about 6 months cleaning the kitchen daily (my husband is a messy - but amazing - cook!!). We've also used it a few times to clean the bathrooms. So you can really save a lot of money making your own cleaning vinegar. I strain the entire vinegar into a  separate jar and then dilute as we need it which makes it last even longer. 

Likewise you can make an infused vinegar for cooking as well. Just follow the same directions, minus the dilution with water, and add your vinegar to salad dressings, marinades, and any vinegar based sauces, etc. Just make sure that if you plan to consume your infused vinegar that you are using regular vinegar and not commercial cleaning vinegar which can be found in the cleaning aisles. It has a stronger acidity and can cause stomach upset. 

This is a great project for getting creative - your choice of items to infuse into your vinegar are pretty limitless. I hope you give this project a try and love it as much as we do :)

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