3 Herb Mamas

Herbal Vinegars for Cleaning

on February 14, 2014

Certainly plain white vinegar, along with a few other simple, inexpensive ingredients like baking soda, can fit the bill adequately for most home cleaning chores but adding some common herbs and plant parts can increase their beauty  as well as their effectiveness. Some people object to the sharp odor of vinegar. In truth, it dissipates quickly. The addition of herbs or essential oils allows your cleaning product to leave a lingering, pleasant fragrance once the vinegar smell is long gone. In some cases, depending upon the additions you make, there is little or no vinegar smell at all.

Making your own herbal vinegar could not be simpler. Place the herb of your choice in a jar, cover with inexpensive white vinegar, cap, label, and allow to steep for a week or two. Be generous in the amount of plant material you put in your jar but there is no need to measure exactly. A big handful, probably a heaping cup or more, of lavender leaves, stems and flowers in a quart jar is a good start. For citrus-scented vinegar I recently used the skins of 1 grapefruit, 3 oranges, and 2 lemons in a gallon of white vinegar and it came out with a strong strong citrus scent that overpowered the vinegar one within a few days.


When you are ready to use your herbal vinegar, strain through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer, compost the plant material, bottle your vinegar in whatever form you prefer such as a spray bottle, sprinkler top narrow opening bottle. Remember to label it. If the scent is not strong enough for you, feel free to add essential oils. Lavender is naturally disinfectant and anti-microbial. Citrus peels smell wonderful and add even more grease-cutting and crud-loosening power to your acidic vinegar. Pine needles add a forest freshness. Rosemary is woodsy as well and Mints are uplifting and have the added bonus of repelling ants and mice. Experiment freely to find the scent or combination of scents you like best.

Making your own herbal vinegar for cleaning will save you money, contribute to your health, reduce the amount of trash going into landfills from all the bottles and packaging not to mention the questionable chemicals, and enhance your appreciation for the wide variety of ways that herbs can bless your home and your life. How many other commercial household cleaners can double as an ingredient in a fabulous salad dressing or marinade? I’m will to bet ZERO!

When it is time to use your vinegar to clean here are some handy ways to apply them:

  • Use it in a spray bottle either full strength or half and half with water to clean counters, appliances, stove tops, etc.
  • Add about 1/2 cup to your fabric softener receptacle in your washing machine for fresh, soft laundry without chemicals.
  • Spray soiled clothing, bedding, or rugs and allow to soak in before laundering to remove pet odors.
  • Sprinkle tubs and sinks with baking soda and/or borax and then spray with herbal vinegar. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes or so and then scrub and rinse.
  • Clean windows and mirrors using herbal vinegar in a spray bottle and polishing using crumpled newspapers.
  • Spritz the inside of food jars that have had something oily in them like mayonnaise to cut the grease before washing. This works well to remove strong food odors like Horseradish or Garlic as well.

Lift your spirits and fragrantly bless yourself with these natural cleaners while caring for your home!

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