How to Get Rid of Vinegar Smells in Your Home: 11 Easy DIY Tips

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated August 31, 2022
Mother and baby open window fresh air
Photo: Studio Firma / Stocksy / Adobe Stock

Don’t let your home smell like a pickle jar

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Vinegar is an all-natural cleaning agent with a high level of acidity that can knock out stains, clear clogged drains, and give wood a brand-new shine. But it has a strong sour scent that can linger longer than you’d like. If you’re in love with vinegar’s cleaning properties but can do without its odor, here are 11 ways to de-stink your home after using it in your home.

1. Open the Windows

Open your doors and windows before, during, and after cleaning with vinegar to let in fresh air, allowing the vinegar scent to escape. If you have a fan, plug it in and let it run as well. Seems too good to be true? This simple action will make a major impact on the vinegar smell lingering in your home.

2. Install an Air Purifier

Purchase a HEPA-certified air filter to help circulate and cleanse the air in your home. Ensure you buy one that’s adequate for the size of the room you’re putting it in and change the filter according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Typically, this is every three to six months.

3. Run a Dehumidifier 

If the vinegar smell in a room is especially strong, plug in a dehumidifier and let it run for at least 15 minutes or up to a few hours. This appliance will help pull moisture from the air, taking the vinegar odor with it. Plus, it’s a great way to lower the humidity in your home.

4. Try Baking Soda

If you know which surface you cleaned with vinegar, you can try cleaning it again with baking soda to neutralize the odor. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1¾ cups of water, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar-drenched area with the baking soda solution, and wipe it dry.

5. Mix in Essential Oils

Flowers and essential oil dropper
Photo: Iryna Veklich / Getty Images

Whether you love the scent of peppermint, rosemary, or eucalyptus, essential oils are an excellent way to tone down the extreme smell of vinegar. Simply mix 20 drops of whichever oil you choose in a 1-gallon bottle of vinegar. Make sure to label it, so you don’t use it for cooking.

6. Dilute Your Vinegar With Water 

When you’re cleaning with vinegar, there’s no need to use plain vinegar, which will give off the most pungent scent. Instead, you can dilute it with water to reduce the smell without compromising cleaning strength.

  • For an all-purpose cleaner, dilute vinegar by combining one part vinegar with three parts water.

  • For a deeper clean, make a cleaner using one part vinegar and one part water.

  • Consider cleaning with vinegar and baking soda together since baking soda is a natural odor neutralizer.

7. Boil Citrus

Got an orange tree in your yard? Collect a handful of any citrus fruit—lemons, limes, oranges—and slice them up. Place them into a pot of water on the stove and let it come to a boil. Bring it to a simmer and let the fruity scents fill your home. Keep an eye on the pot to ensure the water doesn’t burn off.

8. Light Things Up

Buy scented candles or incense in scents you like—pine, lavender, you name it—and let them do the work of shifting the smells in your home. Light the candle or incense stick to begin diffusing the scent around the room. Don’t forget to blow them out before you leave the house, and never place them in a drafty spot in the home where a wind gust could send an ember where it shouldn’t be.

9. Consider Using Another Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an excellent alternative to distilled white vinegar and has a more pleasant smell—many people describe it as sweet. Even though it lacks the antimicrobial properties of white vinegar, you can create a cleaning spray for many of the same places you’d use white vinegar. Don’t forget to dilute it with water using a 1-to-1 ratio. Also, don’t use apple cider vinegar on fabrics or carpets since it’s colored and may leave a stain behind.

10. Use Less Vinegar

If you smell vinegar for a long time after using it to clean, you might be using too much of it. Aside from diluting the vinegar, you can also cut back on how much you’re using. Vinegar is a powerful cleaner on its own, so you may not need to spray as much of it to clean up messes compared to other cleaners.

11. Wait It Out

Vinegar isn’t a smell that lingers forever like cigarettes, so you won’t need to worry about hiring a local house cleaner to deep clean the smell. Over time, the scent will dissipate. After cleaning, consider going on a long walk or tackling other errands to give the vinegar time to mellow out if the scent is too strong.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.