My mother taught me an important lesson when I was young. While I was growing up Mom worked as a cleaning woman at a local hospital. Everything had to be clean. What did we use to do the cleaning at home? Most often it was Vinegar and baking soda. I will touch on the baking soda on another post but wanted to share some tips especially since it is spring cleaning season. Vinegar is a great way to clean on a budget and stay toxic free as well.
Why vinegar? Vinegar is a weak form of acetic acid that forms through the fermentation of sugars or starches. It is completely edible, and cannot harm your stomach. And we are fortunate as many things can be cleaned using it.
I have 2 spray bottles for my vinegar: One is a mix of 50% vinegar and 50%water, the other straight up vinegar.
So how do you clean with vinegar? Here are some of my tips for a spotless home with vinegar:
In the Kitchen:
1. When washing them greasy dishes, add just a few tablespoons to your dishwater. It cuts the grease.
2. Got a dishwasher? Vinegar reduces soap build up, so throw a cup of vinegar in your dishwasher and let it run a full (empty) cycle once a month or so.
3.Clean and disinfect your wood cutting boards by rubbing them with vinegar. If your board has groves you can soak it for 10 minutes.
4. Clean your microwave: Place a microwave-safe bowl with 2 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar inside the microwave and microwave on full power for 3-4 minutes (it needs to boil). Keep your microwave closed for a few minutes to allow the steam to loosen the grit and grime, then open your microwave and clean.
5. A mix of salt and vinegar will clean tea and coffee stains from your china.
6. Have hard water stains on your faucet? Put vinegar on a cloth and let it sit on the back of your facet, and it will help you get rid of them.
7. Deodorize your sink drains: Pour a cup down your drain, let stand about thirty minutes, then run cold water.
8.Wipe your hands with vinegar after chopping. It will remove strong scents like onion and garlic, as well as stains from fruit juices.
9.Vinegar is an excellent cleaner for all kitchen surfaces – counters, refrigerators, stovetops.
10.To keep ants away, spray vinegar along doorways, windowsills, countertops – anywhere that ants are likely to appear. If you find an ant trail (path that ants use repeatedly), clean it with vinegar.
11.Clean the fridge by using a solution of equal parts water and vinegar.
12. Clean and shine no-wax vinyl or linoleum floors: Mix 1 gallon of water with 1/2 cup vinegar in a bucket, then mop or scrub your floor with the solution.
In the Bathroom
13.Clean the toilet rim: Put straight 5% vinegar in a squirt bottle and use it to clean the rim of the toilet. It disinfects, too.
14. Prevent mold and mildew in the shower: Wipe down tile or Formica shower walls with a sponge or cloth dampened with water and vinegar. The vinegar will clean the walls and inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.
15.To remove corrosion or chemical build-up from showerheads, soak in vinegar overnight.
16.To decrease lint on clothing and keep our brights brighter, add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle.
17. For cleaning cloth diapers add 1 cup of distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle, it gets rid of uric acid and remove both lingering stains and smells.
18. Got a smoker in the house? To remove the smell of smoke from clothing, add a cup of vinegar to a tub of hot water. Let clothing hang in the same room for several hours.
19.Many stains can be tackled with vinegar: coffee, chocolate, ketchup, jam, cola, wine. Gently rub stain with vinegar, then wash.
20. Have a scorched iron? Clean it with a mix of salt and vinegar.
21. Take grease off suede by dipping an old toothbrush in vinegar. Gently brush the affected area.
22.To remove soap residue from the washing machine, run an empty (no laundry) cycle with one cup vinegar added.
23.To keep cats off windowsills or other surfaces, spray with vinegar. This will also keep them from scratching upholstery (spray an unnoticeable area of the fabric first to make sure the vinegar doesn’t cause a stain).
24.Has your dog had a run in with a skunk? Vinegar will take care of the smell better than tomato juice. Using vinegar diluted 50% with water, rub the dog’s fur. Rinse with warm water. Repeat as needed.
25. Have a fishbowl? You can eliminate the ugly deposits by rubbing them with a cloth dipped in vinegar. Make sure you rinse well.
26.Polish your car: Rub vinegar on chrome to clean and shine it.
27.Clean rust from your tools by soaking them in vinegar overnight.
Around the House
28.Clean windows: Mix 1 cup vinegar with 5 cups water, and you’ve got a great window cleaner. If you must have blue window cleaner, just a few drops of blue food coloring.
29.Got a stinky room. Leave a bowl of vinegar in it overnight.
30. For spills on carpet, use a sponge or cloth to soak up as much liquid as possible. Then spray with a mixture of half vinegar, half water. Let stand for about two minutes, then blot with towel or sponge. Repeat as needed.
31.To get rid of stickers or decals moisten with vinegar. Let sit for at least ten minutes, then remove.
32.To clean wood paneling, use a mixture of 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 2 cups warm water. Apply to paneling with a soft cloth. Dry with a clean cloth.
33.Polish patent leather purses and shoes: Place vinegar on a clean cloth, then rub over patent leather. Wipe dry with another clean cloth.
34.Have a stubborn ring from wet glasses being placed on the wood furniture? It can be removed by rubbing with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and olive oil. Rub with the grain and polish for the best results.
35. Clean your glasses: Place a drop of vinegar on the lens, then rub with a cotton cloth.