Published on October 9, 2019

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photo by cody guilfoyle

It’s one of those secrets that’s passed down like folklore: The only things you really need to keep your home clean in a pinch can be found in your pantry and costs just a few bucks. Lemons, baking soda, and, above all, simple white vinegar are the O.G.s of scrubbing out stains and stuck-on messes, and now the latter is looking better than ever.

Vinegar cleaners are popular for a reason. One, they’re a natural alternative to harsher chemicals, and two, they’re impossibly easy to DIY. All you need to do is mix a concoction of vinegar with water, castile soaps, and some essential oils. It seems virtually foolproof—until it’s not. Because the truth is that most homemade options will make your home smell like you’ve just ripped open a bag of especially potent salt-and-vinegar potato chips.

This is precisely why a few cleaning companies have taken it upon themselves to reinvent the formula. Schmidt’s—known for its natural deodorant that, yes, actually does work—just launched three scented vinegar cleaners, while nontoxic brand Aunt Fannie’s offers a whole line of vinegar-infused goods, from a classic spray to cleaning wipes, in such scents as lavender and eucalyptus. “The acidic pH of vinegar makes it an effective cleaning agent, by breaking down soap scum and grime,” says Gabriella Metraux, head of product development, personal care at Schmidt’s. “We leveraged our expertise to carefully select blends of essential oils that actually complement the vinegar.” So you can use these to clean anything from the kitchen table to your bathroom tiles (just be careful with granite and marble, which don’t do too well with acidity) and, for once, no one will be the wiser. 

Your new favorite way to clean house might just be the oldest trick in the book—with a few fragrant tweaks.

See more cleaning advice:
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Not to Be Dramatic, But Using a Chore Chart Literally Saved My Relationship
Dear Skeptics, Chic Toilet Brushes Do Exist

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