Published on January 21st, 2014 | by Julie Finn8
DIY Home + Garden: Make Infused Vinegar for Cleaning
If you make your own cleaning supplies, do you ever get jealous that you can’t have all those fancy-sounding, clean-smelling orange and lemon and pine cleaners?
If you buy your cleaning supplies, don’t you wish that you were using products with fewer unknown, probably toxic ingredients, perhaps products that you could quickly (and cheaply!) make for yourself?
Everyone should know by now that vinegar and water make probably the best all-purpose cleaner ever, but you can easily jazz up even that vinegar, resulting in an even more powerful, even nicer smelling, specialty cleaner that rivals any of those toxic cleaners at the store.
1. Start with a clean glass jar. A Mason jar is perfect, of course, but any upcycled glass food jar with a well-fitting lid is also fine. Here’s how to clean the labels off of glass jars.
2. Add something to infuse. You might be surprised by what you have in your kitchen that you can clean with. Lemon peels are pretty obvious, but have you thought about orange peels, lime peels, and grapefruit peels? Citrus makes a great cleaner because of its acidity, and it smells great.
Have an insect problem? The dried-out garlic bulbs at the bottom of your refrigerator and that wilted basil both are natural insect repellents.
Time to clean out your spice cabinet? Bay leaves are another good insect repellent, while cloves and cinnamon sticks have both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
3. Add vinegar. If you’re cleaning out your spice cabinet (you should do this every now and then), you can simply dump the rest of your cloves, say, into a glass jar and fill the rest with vinegar. But the citrus peel-infused vinegar involves the most epically awesome process of all. Check it: Every time someone in your house eats an orange (or juices a lemon), put the peels in a glass jar and pour vinegar over to cover. When your jar is about halfway full of peels, fill the rest of the jar with vinegar and start a new jar.
4. Let the vinegar infuse. Sit the glass jar somewhere out of the way and let it infuse until it’s changed color significantly. I actually sit my jars on a sunny shelf in my kitchen, because I think that they look nice when the light shines through them, and I’ve never had a problem with the sunlight altering them.
The amount of time that you let your vinegar infuse is completely up to you. I generally forget about my jars until one day I walk by, think, “Oh, that orange peel vinegar is nice and orange!”, and then decide that it must be ready!
5. Strain the vinegar. The infused vinegar can be poured into a fresh glass jar or spray bottle, and the peels and other organic matter can be composted or put down your garbage disposal for some bonus cleaning.
To use this infused vinegar, I pour it into a spray bottle, add white vinegar until the spray bottle is about two-thirds full, then add water to fill the bottle. I use this spray for all-purpose cleaning, but I really like it in our family room and bathroom, since it smells so nice.