As much as I like the idea of cleaning with vinegar I have to admit, I don’t like the smell of it. When I use it for cleaning the counters I feel like the whole house smells like a pickle factory. Yuck! And yes, the smell dissipates fairly quickly if you are just doing a bit of spot cleaning but if you clean the whole kitchen and then can’t open the windows to let it air out you are stuck with that smell for a while. Its awkward when you have guests over and they ask if you’ve been dyeing Easter eggs*. I’ve experimented with adding essential oils and fragrance oils to vinegar spray and this works okay but you have to be careful not to use too much or it can be overpowering and some of the fragrance oils smell good at first but then start smelling kind of sickeningly artificial.
Remember when I bought a ton of lemons and made lemon syrup? Well I didn’t throw away the peels. Instead, I stuff them in a big glass jar, filled it up with white vinegar and put a lid on it. Its been a couple of weeks and the vinegar has absorbed lots of the lemon oils and smells more like lemon than vinegar. I plan to let it sit for longer and continue to absorb oils, topping it off with more vinegar as I use it up. I imagine that the combination of the acidic lemon and the acidic vinegar will prevent anything nasty from growing in the mixture for a good long while so it should be safe to leave out on the counter in my laundry room.
To use, I pour some of the mixture through a strainer (to get the lemon bits out) into a spray bottle. I add some water to thin it out (about 1part water: 1 part vinegar mix) and start spraying. This mix is great for all those little spills in the kitchen where you just need a spritz of something on a cloth to get things tidy. If I were to have a really nasty mess– like, say, spilled raw chicken juice, I’d probably reach for something more heavy duty to ensure that I got all the germs and other ickyness completely cleaned away. But for the countless times during the day that I spill a few drips of milk or set a sticky jam knife down on the counter this stuff is priceless (except that its actually really cheap).
*why does the smell of vinegar remind me of dyeing Easter eggs? Was vinegar used in the dye solution or am I confusing east egg dyeing with egg salad making?