3 Ways to Neutralize Vinegar Smells After Cleaning

Love the cleaning power of vinegar but hate the smell? Try these tips and tricks to get rid of the vinegar smell fast.

Published December 20, 2022
Woman With Vinegar and Lemon Cleaning Glass Bowl At Home

You're new to the natural cleaning game. You tried a new white vinegar recipe, and goodness, the smell makes your eyes water. With guests coming over soon, you can't have your house smelling like a pickle factory. Don't worry! Get a few tips and tricks for how to get rid of that vinegar smell before and after cleaning.

How to Get Rid of Vinegar Smell After Cleaning

Vinegar is a powerhouse natural cleaner, but its aroma is definitely distinctive and, to some, stinky. Fortunately, you can neutralize the odor fairly quickly.

Neutralize It

Add a cup of baking soda to a slow cooker. Fill it with several cups of water. Plug it in, set it on low, and put it in the room with the vinegar smell for about 30 minutes. Be sure to leave the lid off the slow cooker so the baking soda can do its thing.

Absorb It

Put baking soda or coffee in a bowl. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes while you take a walk. It'll work to absorb the stink while you're away.

Mask It With Another Aroma

Are you a fan of Scentsy? Is your essential oil game strong? Now it's time to put those skills to the test. Diffuse your favorite essential oils. Turn on your wax melts. Grab your Glade plug-ins. Light a scented candle. Allow your favorite aromas to fill the air and mask the white vinegar smell while it's drying. Thankfully, if you were sparse with the cleaner, it should only take 15-20 minutes for the odor to dissipate.

Create a DIY Air Freshener

Run to your kitchen and whip up a DIY air freshener to help mask the odor. The recipes are simple and give your house a wonderful light smell. A personal favorite is the vanilla recipe.

Simmer Citrus

Cut up a couple of lemons and put them in a pan with a few cups of water. Set them to simmer on the stove while you get ready for guests. You'll come out to a nice citrus smell.

Air It Out

Another great option when eradicating that vinegar smell is letting things air out. Turn on the fans, open the windows, and let nature do its thing. Not only will the circulation dry everything out, but your house will have that rejuvenating fresh air smell.

Dry the Area

Grab your box fans, towels, and blow dryer. Put it near the furniture, floor, or mattress you sprayed with vinegar. The circulating air helps to dry the vinegar and remove the smell from the air.

Run the Dehumidifier or Central Air

Flip on the air conditioning in the summer or the dehumidifier in the winter. These will help to pull the water out of the air, and that's what that smell is clinging to.

Reduce Vinegar Smell in Cleaners

You've heard about the cleaning power of vinegar, but you don't like the smell - not one bit. That doesn't mean you need to throw the prospect of cleaning with vinegar out the window. It means you need to use it effectively, so it makes the least impact on your sniffer. There are a few things you can try.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar adds apple aroma to the mix. Therefore, some people find it less annoying or pungent than the tart smell of white vinegar. Since both work well for cleaning, you can substitute apple cider vinegar for white vinegar in any DIY cleaning recipe. Just remember, apple cider vinegar is also pungent, so give it a sniff test to ensure you can handle it.

Add Baking Soda to the Cleaner

Baking soda eliminates odors. So, you can add it to your white vinegar concoctions to remove some of the smell. Just know that vinegar and baking soda have a reaction when first mixed, so don't be surprised. You might also add baking soda to the area you cleaned and let it dry to absorb the smell. Either method can help with the aroma of white vinegar.

Add Citrus or Citrus Essential Oils

Are you a fan of lemon freshness? What about the refreshing smell of oranges? Try adding these to your cleaner to cover up the scent of the vinegar. Lemons, limes, and oranges work great as standalone cleaners. Add some lemon juice to your white vinegar cleaning spray to help neutralize some of the tangy, pungent aroma. If you don't have lemon juice, try adding lime, orange, grapefruit, or tangerine essential oil to the mix.

Dilute Your Vinegar Cleaner

Serving apple cider vinegar in glass bottles with red apples in the background.

Straight white vinegar works as a powerful acid to clean up most messes, but you don't have to use it straight. In fact, many recipes recommend you cut it with water. A 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and water isn't nearly as pungent. Add a few drops of lemon, and you might not even smell the white vinegar at all.

Use Less Cleaner

This is a big one. People often think they need to saturate the area since they're using a natural cleaner. You don't. Less is more in the cleaning game. Only use as much cleaner as you need to remove the odor or stain. Less cleaner means faster drying time, and once the vinegar is dry, the smell is gone.

Key Things to Remember

Vinegar aromas after cleaning are transient; they'll fade quickly. And since vinegar is such a great natural cleaner, it may be worth 30 to 60 minutes of vinegar aroma.

  • Vinegar is about 80% effective at killing germs, so it's a good tool to have in your cleaning arsenal.
  • Less is more with any cleaning product, including vinegar. Use the least amount of vinegar you can get away with to minimize smells.
  • If you use a light hand with the vinegar, the aroma will go away on its own in 30 to 60 minutes, particularly on solid surfaces. If it's on a soft surface, it may take a day or so.
  • Air circulation can make the vinegar aroma dissipate more quickly.
  • The vinegar aroma will go away when it's dry.

Simple Tricks to Get Rid of the White Vinegar Smell

Unfortunately, there's no way to eliminate the white vinegar smell completely if you use it as a cleaner. It's one tradeoff of going the natural route. However, there are a lot of ways to reduce and even mask the smell. So, don't take cleaning with vinegar off the table until you've given these a try.

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3 Ways to Neutralize Vinegar Smells After Cleaning