Making Thieves’ Vinegar for Spring Cleaning

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March is still a few days away, but I can feel it … spring is coming, and this is the time of year that stirs my soul to take stock of the indoors … before the season’s first warm days beckon me outside.

Here at least, there’s is a certain need for spring cleaning … the traces of a long winter are all around. Cats and kittens have left little pawprints on the mudroom floor and little noseprints on the windowpanes, while piles of boots, mittens and hats are drying on the hearth daily.

And while I don’t recall exactly when I fell in love with aprons, I do know that slipping on one with pretty pink polkadots or cheery blue checks, just seems to make the work of tidying up a bit more fun. I have a long homespun pinafore apron with a ruffle along the bottom that rustles with each step. That apron seems to transport me back 150 years … just right for spring cleaning an 1864 farmhouse!

Something new I’m cleaning with this year is a twist on an ancient recipe for Thieves’ Vinegar. It’s said this vinegar was used to fight the Black Plague, and while there are more than a few dust bunnies that need shooed away, trust me, the old farmhouse isn’t THAT bad! 

What I’ll use my recipe for is to kill germs in the kitchen, bathrooms, and anywhere else that needs some extra cleaning power … even the chicken coop will get a heavy spritz of this once spring is truly here. 

It’s oh-so-simple to make. I added some fresh herbs that I brought inside to overwinter (lavender, rosemary, lemon balm, and mint) to a quart-size canning jar. I simply covered the herbs with distilled vinegar to the top of the jar and secured the lid.

I placed the jar in a sunny window for 2 to 3 weeks … because the fragrance was strong enough, I strained the herbs from the vinegar using a colander. If it wasn’t quite fragrant enough, I could have let it sit in the sun for another week. Once the herbs have been strained out, the vinegar was poured into a spray bottle and use it as I would any modern disinfectant.

I hope you’ll give it a try … it couldn’t be easier to make, and I feel good knowing exactly what’s in the cleaner I’m using in our home!

Mary is a Midwest farmgirl who enjoys the simple pleasures of living in the country. “For us, living where there is plenty of room for gardens, animals, and for kids to play and explore is the best kind of life.” You can visit Windy Meadows Farm here, Windy Meadows Farm.