Making Scented Vinegar for Homemade Cleaners


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When you make your own cleaners, it’s always nice to add a little scent to them too. Adding essential oils is the most common way to do this, but sometimes I opt for a more frugal method. For homemade cleaners using vinegar, I just make homemade scented vinegar using orange peels that would have just been otherwise discarded anyway!

A bottle of homemade cleaning spray made with homemade scented orange vinegar

How To Make Scented Vinegar

To naturally add fragrance to vinegar for cleaning, you’ll only need three things: A jar with a lid, some white distilled vinegar, and some citrus peels. I always use orange peels because I often snack on oranges and it’s easy to just save the peels when I’m done.

A pint jar, an orange, and vinegar to make your own scented vinegar

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, follow these easy steps:

Step 1: Place the peelings in your jar. I used a pint size canning jar and placed the peels from one orange inside it.

Putting orange peels in a pint jar to make scented cleaning vinegar

Step 2:  Add the white vinegar to the jar. I like to use ¾ cup of white vinegar when I make a batch. It’s a good amount to cover the peels, and it’s just the amount I need to make a batch of cleaning spray once the scented vinegar is complete.

Pouring vinegar over orange peels to make scented vinegar

Step 3: For the final step you’ll put the lid on the jar (I like to use this type of screw-on canning jar lid) and then be patient and wait for about one week. (If you want to add a few more peelings during this time, that’s OK too!) After the one week is complete, you can discard the orange peels and you’ll now have a batch  of vinegar that’s been infused with the natural scent and color of the orange peels.

Using orange peels to infuse vinegar

Of course you can make your scented vinegar in as large or small of a batch as you wish. Just simply add your peelings to your jar, and add enough vinegar to make sure the peelings are covered. As mentioned above, I prefer to just make about ¾ cup of scented vinegar at a time rather than make a larger batch and then I can use it all at one time to make a bottle of cleaning spray.

 I also prefer to just stick with my orange scented vinegar, but you can also branch out and try other citrus peels (such as lemon or lime), or try adding herbs or spices to the infusion too (such as cloves or thyme).

How To Use Scented Vinegar to Make A Homemade Cleaner

Now that you have some lovely homemade scented vinegar, it’s time to make your own scented vinegar spray for cleaning. To do that, simply combine equal amounts of scented vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  Easy peasy!

Your new cleaning spray will still smell a bit of vinegar, but it will now be a little gentler on the nose and tempered with the natural scent of the fruit. And you can rest easy knowing that the scent is completely natural too.

A homemade vinegar/water cleaning spray can be used on most hard surfaces in your home too, with the exception of soft stone surfaces such as granite or quartz.

making homemade scented vinegar

I’ve always liked the smooth, clean feeling a surface will have after using this vinegar and water spray and I always keep a mixture of this type ready to go on my cleaning shelf. It’s cheap, easy, and works great too!

This post was originally published April, 2012 and was updated July, 2022.

Scented Vinegar for Homemade Cleaners

Don't want to spend money on essential oils to add fragrance to your homemade cleaners? Try this frugal method instead that uses discarded orange peels to infuse vinegar that can then be used in a homemade cleaning spray mixture.
Yield: 6 oz
Author: Beverly


  • 1 Jar with a lid (I use a pint size canning jar)


  • 3/4 cup White Distilled Vinegar
  • Peels from one orange (or 3 small clementine oranges)


  • Peel the orange(s) and place the peels into your jar.
  • Pour the 3/4 cup of vinegar over the orange peels.
  • Put the lid on the jar and let the orange peels and vinegar soak together for one week. (It does not have to be refrigerated during this time and can just set out at room temperature).
  • At the end of the week, the vinegar should have turned a light amber color and should now also be infused with some of the scent from the orange peels. You can now drain off the scented vinegar and throw away the orange peels.
  • To Make A Homemade Cleaner: To use your 3/4 cup of scented vinegar to make a homemade cleaning spray, simply combine it in a spray bottle with an equal amount of water.
    Note: A homemade vinegar cleaning spray can be used on almost all hard surfaces in the home, however do not use it on soft stone surfaces such as granite or quartz as the acidic nature of vinegar might eventually cause etching on those type of stone surfaces.


Scented vinegar can be made in larger batches too. Just be sure to use enough vinegar to cover any amount of orange peels you may have in your jar.
You can also try this method with other citrus peels too such as lemon or lime, and you could also try adding other spices or herbs such as cloves or thyme.

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  1. I think this is a great recipe for cleaning with vinegar but would add the following tip. If you twist the orange peels as you drop them into the jar, you release more oils from the skin. You will see the oils bead up with each twist. I learned this from a bartender!