White vinegar is a zero waste cleaning staple. From windows to counter tops, loos to skirting boards there's very little this fantastic cleaner can't do* (with a little elbow grease thrown in).
At home we buy it in bulk 5 litre bottles and dilute it 1:1 with water for every day cleaning and neat on particularly tough tasks liked baked-on food or the inexplicably mucky oven door.
Marvellous and frugal though it is it has got a slight draw back. It smells, well, vinegary. I know - that's a bit inevitable and it does disperse after ten minutes or so. (Why do blogs always say it'll be gone as soon as it dries? I've always found it hangs around much longer than that.) So I was really ready to give scented cleaning vinegars a go as soon as I found out about them.
The first one I tried was citrus:
- 500ml white vinegar
- Rind of one orange
- Zest of one lemon
You pour the vinegar over the citrus peels, shake together and leave in a sunny place for a week.
This resulted in a warm yellow brew with a much nicer scent than plain vinegar. As it evaporated it left subtle orange hints in the air long after the vinegar had skedaddled which gave the house a perky, clean feeling. Definitely a keeper.
But my next project was lavender and this was the game changer:
- 500ml white vinegar
- One handful dried lavender flowers & stalks.
Same technique as before - pour over, shake well and leave to sit.
The vinegar began to change hue almost immediately. After a few hours it had taken on a blush and after a week it was the colour of a rather nice rosé. As I watched it darken I realised this wasn't going to be the product for getting stains out of carpets or dabbing ketchup off white t-shirts.
When it came time to open the swing lid and give the resulting brew a sniff I was sold. It smelt of lavender and nothing else. The vinegar had retreated leaving a really pleasant smelling cleaner.
I kept half of it neat and diluted the other half 1:1 in a glass spray bottle. I've used the spray to great effect on windows and kitchen cupboards and used the neat solution on almost every surface in the bathroom - I just pour a little onto an UnSponge and it lifts the ring off the bath double quick (oh the joys of a hard water area!)
After I finished cleaning our patio door and began inspecting for streaks I noticed the eucalyptus in the garden...would that make a good vinegar cleaner?..going zero waste has certainly changed how I view the world!
*There is one thing it definitely can't do - porous surfaces. Don't use vinegars on granite, marble or similar surfaces - you can really damage the finish.
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