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I Put Flowers in Sugar, Vinegar, Bleach, and the Refrigerator…Here’s What Happened.

There’s just something about fresh flowers. I’ve been keeping fresh flowers in the house since the start of spring, and I smile every time that I see them. Taking care of my flowers on a daily basis is one of my favorite forms of self-care. It’s so relaxing to spend those few minutes tending to them every morning. I’m sharing my daily flower care tips at the end of this post, but let’s get into what we’re here for.

I tried three tricks to make flowers last longer, so you don’t have to.

When I got my first bouquet of fresh flowers this spring (the gorgeous hydrangeas to the left), I wanted them to last as long as possible. I searched for things that I could do to make them last longer, and found some interesting ideas. The internet suggested adding everything from pennies to aspirin to the water.

The Setup

I bought four bouquets of daffodils from Whole Foods, where I’ve been buying my flowers since the beginning of spring, and put each one into a glass with a different treatment. I settled on trying out a sugar and apple cider vinegar mix, bleach, refrigerating overnight and plain water for comparison. I left each bouquet in the same area on the counter for a week, and let them do their thing. I did not change the water for this experiment because I wanted to see what would happen if I only did the treatments with no other variables. But, I do recommend changing flower water every 1-2 days for longevity of your bouquets.

Plain Water

Water – Day 1

Water – Day 4
Water – Day 7

This was my comparison bouquet. I did absolutely nothing to this glass so that I could have a baseline to really compare each of the other treatments against.

Sugar & Apple Cider Vinegar

Sugar & Apple Cider Vinegar – Day 1
Sugar & Apple Cider Vinegar – Day 4
Sugar & Apple Cider Vinegar – Day 7

I mixed one tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into the water for this bouquet. The sugar is to feed the flowers and the vinegar kills bacteria. The most unexpected result from this one was on the very first day. Within minutes of me putting the flowers into the sugar and apple cider vinegar mix, they started to open up like crazy! You can see how much more open they are on day 1 than the plain water bouquet.

There’s pros and cons to this. Pro: This is a great trick to keep in mind in case you ever want to make flowers open up quickly. Maybe if you bought flowers same-day for a brunch?

Con: Because they opened up so quickly, they also died more quickly.

BIG CON: The water looked disgusting.

Bleach, yes, bleach…

Bleach – Day 1
Bleach – Day 4
Bleach – Day 7

I added an eighth of a teaspoon of bleach to the water. Google said that this would keep the flowers fresh by eliminating bacteria from the water. While the water from this bouquet was definitely crystal clear, the flowers did not like being in bleachy water at all. They started shriveling up and by the end of the week, it was just sad. Strongly do not recommend.

Refrigerating Overnight

Refrigeration – Day 1
Refrigeration – Day 4
Refrigeration – Day 7

I put this bouquet into the refrigerator every night before I went to bed and removed them in the morning. They didn’t open up as quickly because being in the refrigerator slowed them down at night. Slowing down the process made them last longer and by the end of the week, this was the only bouquet that had some decent looking flowers left. I’ve been refrigerating my flowers overnight all spring, and it’s my favorite method to keep flowers beautiful for as long as possible.


  1. Overnight refrigeration is the easiest and most effective way to make flowers last longer.
  2. Sugar and apple cider vinegar is a quick fix to make flowers open up quickly, but change that water daily.
  3. Don’t put flowers in bleach. Just don’t.

More Flower Tips

  1. Cut your flowers on an angle to help them absorb water better.
  2. Add cut flower food to your water and change the water every 1-2 days.
  3. Prune brown leaves and petals daily to stop the spread and keep your bouquet looking beautiful longer.
  4. Keep your flowers away from direct sunlight, harsh lighting, and even fruit (the fumes from the fruit impact the flowers!)

What are your favorite flower care tips? Comment below and share the knowledge!

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a commission if you visit a link and make a purchase. There is no additional cost to you, and I only recommend products and services that I trust.


  1. I tried to be optimistic about the bleach!! SMH! It is such a harsh chemical so I should’ve known! This was such a neat experiment. More & more, you’re encouraging me to try out this fresh flower life!


  2. Ohhhhh!! I was wrong..lol I thought it would be the sugar vinegar!! Anywho, fridge for the win…works for me !!


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