Sunday, February 24, 2013

Herb Infused Vinegar All-Purpose Spray

My grandmother was alpha-wife.  Every single area of her home was amazingly tidy.  I'm talking 1950's TV show spotless.  Not only that, it seemed effortless!  Compared to her, I fail at cleaning.  I remember her using, and teaching us to use, heavy duty cleaners.  When I unexpectedly (seriously, completely unexpected) became a housewife and started caring for our own home, I used the same kind of cleaners.  You know the kind I mean.  Sprays that give off air-gasping fumes, harsh powders that you shake from a can, liquids that promise to get your home clean but are covered with warnings about calling Poison Control if you get them on your skin.  In the beginning, these were what I used because I didn't know there was anything else.  They had been part of my life since childhood, and honestly, it never even occurred to me that these cleaners were even dangerous.

It all began around the time we received our beloved Corgi from a rescue.  I read (but fully admit that I don't know if it is true) that dogs like the taste of pine and will lick pine-scented cleaners off the floor and drink it wherever they find it.  Did I mention I don't know if this is actually true?  Anyway, I didn't want to test the theory, and switched to nontoxic vinegar/water solution to clean the floor.

Soon after, I gave birth to Little Viking.  Around that time I started to  realize that vinegar can be used to clean lots of things.  Lots and LOTS of things!  Floors, counters, appliances, toilets!  I realized just how toxic "normal" cleaners are, and loved the idea that if they got into vinegar, it wouldn't hurt them.  After that, I branched out to use vinegar sometimes, and Doctor Bronner's other times, but never together. 

I still loved using vinegar, but the smell, oh, the smell!  Yes, yes, I know.  The smell disappears as the vinegar dries, but in the meantime it is pretty awful.  I know some people don't mind it, but it's just such a strong smell.  Then, I ran across a post by Crunchy Betty that suggested infusing vinegar with dried herbs and essential oil.  I thought, "I wonder if fresh herbs in my garden would have the same affect?"  I decided it was worth a try.  I went to the garden and cut leaves and stems of whatever struck my fancy.  If I remember correctly, I grabbed some thyme, oregano, lemon balm, rosemary, a little bit of lavender leaves, and some peppermint, and made myself some awesome all-purpose cleaner.
The result was amazing.  Whatever I cleaned smelled fresh and herbal, with just a hint of vinegar underneath.  The next time I did it, the result was still good, but completely different, since I very literally just threw in whatever herbs caught my eye and added whatever essential oils I liked at the end.  Currently I have yet another version infusing with tangerine peels and mint.

Here is my version of herbed vinegar all-purpose spray using fresh herbs, with a major hat tip to Crunchy Betty.  To see her original recipe that I based mine off of, head over here.

Herb Infused Vinegar All-Purpose Spray
Vinegar infused with...uh...random herbs 

What you'll need:

Handfulls of fresh herbs  (It helps if you use scents that work together.)
A few cups of vinegar
Large jar or container with a lid
Essential oil of a complimentary scent (optional, but nice)

Snip any long leaves and stems so they are shorter.  I tend to crumple the herbs in my hand a little bit to release some of the oils.  Place in the jar and cover with a cup of vinegar or two.  I'll be honest and say sometimes I use a cup of vinegar.  Sometimes two.  Sometimes I use a cup and a half like Crunchy Betty suggests.  What can I say?  I'm inconsistent.  However, it always works out.

Put the lid on the jar and let it sit for about a week.  Shake it once a day or when you remember.  If you let it sit longer than that, don't worry.  It will just have more of an herb smell and the color will be darker.

When you feel it is infused enough. strain out the herbs and add the vinegar to a spray bottle.  Add another cup or so of vinegar (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  I'm inconsistent).  Add some complimentary essential oil of your choice.  Go use it.

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