Evergreen scented vinegar for cleaning (pine vinegar) can be made with just two simple ingredients: vinegar and fresh evergreens. Learn how to make this easy pine scented cleaner today!
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Vinegar is one of my favorite weapons in the green cleaning war.
Unfortunately cleaning with vinegar makes the house smell like…
Some people flat-out REFUSE to clean with vinegar because of the ODOR. (If you clean with vinegar you know that the smell doesn't last for long. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer… it dries scentless.)
But I get it, it is MORE FUN to clean with yummy scents of flowers and refreshing forest odors drifting through your home.
Luckily it's easy (and cheap) to make scented vinegar that is a great natural cleaner AND is less offensive to the nose.
Moving Beyond Citrus Scented Vinegar
Orange vinegar was my first successful vinegar scent. It's easy to make from leftover orange peels and popular with DIyers (You've probably seen versions of it online.) Orange vinegar cleans great due to the orange oil it contains and has a light citrus scent from the peels. (Get my favorite orange vinegar cleaner recipes HERE)
I thought about other popular cleaner scents and decided that evergreen or pine might be a nice addition to my cleaning routine. (Hello, PineSol and hundreds of other store bought cleaners!)
Pine Scent Cleaners
Do you love the smell of pine scented cleaner?
PineSol was the original pine oil-based cleaner invented in 1929. It contained pine oil as it's active ingredient. (Pine oil is is made by distilling pine stumps, boughs, needles and cones. It has a lovely piney scent and is a natural disinfectant.)
Unfortunately, the pine oil was eliminated from PineSol in 2014 so the commercially sold cleaner is now petrochemical based and with artificial fragrance.
A big whan-wa (that's my verbal sound effect for failure) for those of us who avoid both of these ingredients.
The Great Evergreen Smell Test
I decided to make an ALL-NATURAL pine scented cleaner and, after a bit of brainstorming, decided to try steeping evergreens in vinegar to extract the scent.
Evergreen Scent Tip
Have you ever gotten up close and personal with a tree? If not, let me tell you a little SECRET –>
- Some evergreens smell like Christmas and fresh clean forests (HOORAY!).
- And some smell like cat urine (BLACH!).
I didn't want my cleaner (or house) to smell like cat urine, so I conducted an evergreen vinegar scenting experiment:
- I gathered branches from my dried up Christmas wreath and a neighborhood pine tree.
- I put the needles in separate glass jars and covered them with white vinegar.
- I allowed the vinegar to steep for several weeks in a dark cupboard then smelled the results.
- In the end, the vinegar steeped for 6 weeks (or more) for the best smell to develop.
Pine Scented Cleaner Results
The DIY evergreen vinegar for cleaning smelled best when made with spruce branches from a Christmas wreath. It has a mild, piney scent. (Full disclosure: I am not a botanist… just a crazy DIYer! The wreath was labeled SPRUCE. )
The fallen pine needles also produced a nice scent, but it was much milder and still had a lot of vinegar odor. (Stronger scents helps to better mask vinegar odor.)
The Evergreen Scented Vinegar Verdict
Vinegar takes nearly twice as long to scent using evergreen needles instead of citrus peels. But it is such a simple and affordable project there is nothing to lose! (Plus it's a fun experiment!)
I will make evergreen vinegar again (especially around the holidays when I can easily get evergreen clippings).
*2019 Update: I've now made evergreen vinegar multiple time and have left jars to steep as long as 3-6 months. The spruce vinegar gets more and more pine scented (and more orange in color). The pine vinegar stays milder with a vinegar odor and light green color. Spruce is still the winner!
How to Make Pine Vinegar
You can make your own pine scented vinegar with 2 simple ingredients: evergreen clipping and white vinegar.
- Place evergreen branches or needles into a clean glass jar with a lid.
- Fill the rest of the jar with white vinegar.
- Allow the mixture to steep for at least 3 to 6 weeks in a dark, cool place. (*Speed up the process by heating the vinegar before pouring it over the evergreens.)
- Filter the branches or needles out of the vinegar.
- Store the vinegar in a cool, dark place and use for household cleaning.
*I've left evergreen vinegar to steep for up to 6 months! The scent gets better and better!
How to Make Pine Vinegar Quickly
If you have no time to gather and steep evergreen needles you can make quick pine cleaner by adding a few drops of pine essential oil or spruce essential oil to vinegar or vodka. (Pine oil was the original active ingredient in PineSol. It is made by distilling pine stumps, boughs, needles and cones and has a lovely piney scent, plus it's natural disinfectant.)
- Combine in a dark glass spray bottle:
- 1 cup of white vinegar or cheap vodka (using vodka will give the cleaner more of pine odor)
- 1 cup of water
- 5-10 drops of pine oil
Scented Vinegar Cleaning Recipes
Use pine scented vinegar in your cleaning recipes. These are a few of my favorite:
- Bathroom Cleaner – Use full strength to help remove hard water stains when cleaning the bathroom. Mix with dish detergent for a no-scrub shower cleaner.
- No Rinse Multi-Purpose Cleaner – Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 4 cups water and 1/4 tsp hand-washing dish detergent. Use to clean counter tops, sinks, toilets, and hard floors. Use mixture in “quick mop” for ceramic tile and linoleum floors (get my hardwood floor cleaner recipe here).
- Window Cleaner – Mix 1 cup water with 1 cup vinegar and pour into a spray bottle. Mist windows and mirrors with the solution and wipe clean.
- Stainless Steel Appliance Cleaner – Dampen part of a microfiber cloth with vinegar. Wipe against the grain of the stainless steel. Use the dry portion of the cloth to wipe dry.
*Use caution when cleaning with vinegar. There are a few vinegar don’ts including natural stone, wood, electronics, and grout. Learn them all HERE.
More Scented Vinegar for Cleaning
Like cleaning with orange vinegar? Check out my other favorite DIY vinegar scents.
I hope you try making scented vinegar or scented vodka. A few jars can replace commercially scented cleaners for a greener, healthier home.
Cleaning with Vinegar
Learn more about cleaning with vinegar in this guide and get recipes for great vinegar based cleaners.
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