I am using pine needles in this video because it is in my Pine Tree Series, but you can use citrus fruit peels like orange, lemon, or grapefruit also. Of course you could add rosemary, lavender, or other fragrant herbs to change the smell as well. Experiment with different quantities of different herbs and see what smells you can get out of it.
The main thing people try to use to justify not using vinegar to clean with is the smell, but do not fret! The vinegary smell doesn’t linger, and when you infuse it with herbs and fruit peels, it can take on a lovely smell with only a little bit of a vinegary bite. Vinegar is much better than bleach, the latter of which doesn’t actually disinfect much, and you aren’t using harmful chemicals in the areas where you prepare food and bathe.
Video tutorial is first, and written instructions are below that. Enjoy!
I don’t generally wash herbs for cleaning vinegar unless they are actually dirty. Moisture in your vinegar can cause problems, so I also harvest after the dew has evaporated.
*Check out my Oxymel post for a quick how-to on collecting pine needles at the beginning of the first video.
Fill a clean glass jar up 1/4 to 1/2 way full with chopped herbs.
*If I am using something like orange or lemon peels, I fill it up to the top, because the peels aren’t as compacted together as chopped herbs. I don’t usually chop the peels up though. I just shove the peels into the jar as I peel the fruit and eat them over the course of a few days and add enough vinegar to cover the peels, leaving room for more peels as I go. You can do it however you want though.
Chop or cut you plant material so that more of it is coming in contact with the vinegar.
*Bigger chunks take longer to infuse into your vinegar.
Pour white vinegar in, leaving about a half inch head space.
*I have seen vinegar labeled for cleaning in the detergent aisle at the store. I have never tried it, but it should do the same in this instance. I always get the vinegar from the pickle aisle, however.
**It’s your choice if you want to add a barrier to prevent oxidation. I do sometimes, and sometimes I don’t. The oxidation can cause discoloration in your vinegar though, so fair warning, if that is important to you.
Let sit 4-8 weeks at room temperature, shaking occasionally. Strain, and pour into a clean jar.
Use a new barrier if you are using one, and cap with a clean lid.
Oh, and I know I don’t always say it, but label and date everything. You will forget what’s in that one jar you don’t have a label on.
I know. I’ve done it.
USES: There are many more uses than I have listed, I just wanted you to get an idea of how it can be used.
-Pour about a 1/4 cup into mop water, and add essential oils. My oil choices differ every time, but I almost always add Pine Essential Oil to bring the scent out even more over the vinegar. Orange, Sage, Rosemary, and Lemon are good EO choices as well.
-In a spray bottle, I use 1-2 parts vinegar to 3 parts water, and add essential oils, which are totally optional in any of this, by the way. I use this spray to clean off the counter before prepping food or making balms and whatnot. I have also used it along with baking soda to clean the bathtub. Spritz around tub, and sprinkle with baking soda. Scrub and rinse. Voila!
I hope this helps you to weed out some of the chemicals in your cleaning closet! Drop a comment and let us know if you have tried infusing cleaning vinegar with other things and what you use it for!
This post is part of a series on Pine Trees. The other posts can be found below:
Pine Needle Tea & Medicine
Pining For You
Pine Tar Salve DIY
Pine Pitch Candles
Pine Needle Oxymel DIY
Identifying Pine Trees
All About That Pine Bark
Collecting Pine Pitch