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DIY All-Natural Cleaners

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Cleaning Vinegars

Cleaning your home with vinegar is one of the easiest and cheapest cleaners you can use. It’s non-toxic and safe for the environment, so you don’t have to worry about your kiddos and pets being sensitive to the ingredients that many commercial cleaners have.

I’m a huge advocate of simplicity in motherhood and I believe that using simple ingredients in your cleaning routine contributes to that.

Plus I love how cheap it is. That’s a good thing too.

First, you might be wondering, what is cleaning vinegar? Basically it’s just simple vinegar that you use to clean your house. You can buy a big jug of the stuff for really cheap at the grocery store (I don’t recommend using anything more expensive like apple cider vinegar because it won’t make a difference in how clean things are. It’s more expensive and it just goes down the toilet, literally)

Vinegar is a great cleaner because you can use it clean almost anything in your house (except natural stone). It’s great for disinfecting toilets, wiping countertops (as long as they’re not granite), your shower, hard water stains in the kettle, a rinse aid in the dishwasher, and so much more!

BUT, there’s one problem… vinegar smells bad. Personally, I’m totally turned off by the smell of it – and it’s the last thing I want to smell when I’m trying to clean my house. Not exactly the “freshly cleaned” smell we’re looking for here.

Luckily, there’s a solution: it’s DIY scented vinegar. The process of making it is really easy and zero waste! You can literally use the food scraps that you were going to compost anyways. 

SO let me show you 3 mega easy scented cleaning vinegars to try for yourself. They’re all great scents – it will just depend on your own personal preference for smells that you like.


To make your own scented cleaning vinegar you’ll need a big jug of vinegar from the grocery store (remember, don’t buy the expensive stuff because it won’t make a difference here). You’ll also need a glass jar with lid, and the food scraps or dried plants that you’ll be using to make the scent.

Steps to make your scented vinegar:

  1. Add food scraps or plants to the mason jar.
  2. Pour in vinegar and cover scraps completely.
  3. Let sit for at least 2-3 weeks. They can sit for much longer if you want them to. The longer they sit, the stronger the smell. Open the jar and smell to test if they’re ready or not.
  4. Strain the vinegar. pour into a clean jar, seal with lid, and store in a cool place. Use this concentrated vinegar as part of the cleaner recipes I describe below.


1. Citrus Scented Cleaning Vinegar

I love the smell of any citrus fruit. Especially in cleaners. So this one is my personal favourite. It’s also the cheapest one you can use because you can just save the scraps from citrus fruits you’re using to make the vinegar.

It’s important that you make sure all of the flesh from the fruit is removed before you add it to the vinegar and that you cover the peels completely with vinegar. If you don’t, the top peels that aren’t covered with vinegar might start to grow mould.

2. Spruce Scented Cleaning Vinegar

Go outside and crab a few clippings from a spruce tree. This will make your cleaning vinegar smell fresh and like the outdoors.

The process to make the scented cleaning vinegars is easy. Just add your vinegar to a mason jar and then cram in the ingredients that will make your scent.  Store them in a cool, dark place for 3-15 days. Start checking them on day 3 to see how they’re doing. Just unscrew the lid and give them a smell. If they smell too much like vinegar still, put them back in the cupboard for a few more days and then check back in.

3. Lavender Scented Cleaning Vinegar

You can find dried lavender at specialty grocery stores in the dried herb section (many people use it for tea!). Dried lavender smells beautiful as a cleaning vinegar.

I added a lot to my cleaning vinegar so the color turned quite dark very quickly.


Now that you have your concentrated scented cleaning vinegars ready to go, here are some simple recipes to make your own cleaners!

ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 1/4 tsp dish soap and  4 cups water. Add to a spray bottle. You can use this to clean counter tops, sinks, toilets, and floors for a fraction of the price a commercial product would cost.

WINDOW CLEANER: Mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray onto windows and mirror and wipe clean.

WATER STAIN REMOVER: use the vinegar full strength to help remove water stains. 

Using caution with cleaning with vinegar:

Vinegar should not be used to clean natural stone countertops (like granite and marble), tile grout, unfinished wood, waxed wood, cast iron, and aluminum. Also, vinegar should never be mixed with bleach or hydrogen peroxide. These will emit toxic vapours that we don’t want to inhale. 

This might sound like you can’t use it for anything, but actually there is A LOT you can use vinegar to clean with! Keep on reading…

What can you clean with your scented vinegar?

  • Countertops (laminate, ceramic tile, and solid surface) – Using the all-purpose cleaner, you can clean laminate, ceramic tile, and solid surface countertops. (But again, avoid natural stone countertops like granite and marble)
  • Drains and garbage disposals: Vinegar is great for these because it will help to neutralize the odor.
  • Coffee maker and tea kettle: It’s perfect for removing hard water stains which makes it great for cleaning coffee maker and tea kettles (use it with your humidifier too!). 
  • Appliances: You can wipe down microwaves, the fridge, and the dishwasher with the all-purpose spray recipe above.
  • Dishwasher Rinse Aid: Add a small cup of concentrated vinegar to the top rack of your dishwasher and turn it on. This will act as a rinse aid, preventing hard water build-up.
  • Windows, mirrors, and glass: Vinegar is a great window/mirror/glass cleaner as it removes hard water build up, mineral deposits, and gives a streak free clean (use the window cleaner recipe I shared above).
  • Linoleum and Tile Floors: Using the all-purpose solution, you can gently remove dirt and grime from the floor. 
  • Bathroom fixtures: Hard water stains on the showerhead and faucets can be removed using full-strength vinegar.

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