Sometimes we get so caught up with expensive, new and “improved” products that we forget the best cleaning products for us (both economically and environmentally) are probably already in our cabinet at home. I always thought the only good uses for vinegar were soaking cucumber slices and making volcanoes explode. It is extremely versatile and inexpensive. You don’t want your home completely rid of germs, as weird as it sounds, we need to be exposed to some germs to stay healthy. Since we have slipped into a recession, more and more of us are looking to save money anywhere we can – without really having to give anything up. Seems to me that going “green” means just going back to the old way of life. I no longer buy floor cleaner, tub cleaner, toilet cleaner, counter top cleaner, weed killers, or drain cleaner. The list goes on and on. You don’t have to buy a specific cleaner for each item you wish to clean; most of us are just throwing our money away. Here are some tips for using vinegar instead of buying expensive alternatives.
In the Back yard:
1. White distilled vinegar kills weeds beautifully. You just pour full-strength white distilled vinegar on the grass/weeds you wish to kill or pour it into the cracks of walkways and driveways.
2. It deters ants, and you can pour it into an anthill to get rid of them completely.
3. Love eating blackberries, but can’t stand staining your hands? Use a little of the vinegar on your hands and rub them together. Once you rinse, you’ll have clean hands again!
4. You can rid any gardening tool, spigot, screws, etc. of rust just by soaking it in an undistilled white vinegar solution for 4-5 days.
5. Clean your birdbath by scrubbing it with vinegar often. Make sure to rinse it well afterward. You can soak a fountain water pump in vinegar to clean it as well.
6. Kill slugs by spraying them with a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part white distilled vinegar.
7. Keep outdoor pests like cats and rabbits out of your garden by soaking cotton balls or a sponge in vinegar and placing them around the plants.
8. Clean furniture with a cloth soaked in vinegar.
9. Remove stains from sports equipment by applying a paste of 1 part white distilled vinegar to 3 parts baking soda and scrubbing.
In the Kitchen:
1. Add white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle and clean your counter tops, refrigerator, sinks, and faucets just as you would with any other cleaner. Wipe them down with a wet cloth. You can add a splash of lemon juice to the mixture to temper the smell of the vinegar. (although the vinegar smell does not linger long)
2. If you have stained or smelly food containers, use a cloth soaked in vinegar.
3. Remove stains from aluminum pots and pans by boiling 1 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup hot water in the pot.
4. Clean splatters and stuck food from the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave to loosen the stuck food. All you have to do is wipe it clean.
5. You can easily clean grout by letting the vinegar sit on it for a few minutes, then scrubbing it with a tooth brush or nail brush.
6. You can mop linoleum, laminate, vinyl, tile, and wood floors with a solution of 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1 qt. of water in a bucket. It might not smell the best at the time of cleaning, but the fumes aren’t toxic and they don’t last long. I usually open up a window to let air in. I would refrain from using vinegar on finished hard wood floors; because the acid will slowly eat through the finish and you’ll be looking to refinish your floors sooner than you had planned. With vinegar, there is no need to rinse the floor after mopping. It will be streak and odor free.
7. For tough linoleum stains, apply the vinegar, leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then wipe it up. If that doesn’t completely remove it, apply white distilled vinegar again and sprinkle some baking soda over the white distilled vinegar. Scrub it with a brush, then rinse clean with water.
8. To clean the oven, first dampen the inside by spraying with water. Next, apply generous amounts of baking soda all around the inside of the oven. Let that sit for about 3-4 hours. Next, spray vinegar over the baking soda. This will cause the baking soda to “fizz”, and will help pull the dirt build-up. You just wipe it down with a damp cloth and your oven is clean!
9. If you have soap buildup and odors from the dishwasher, just pour a cup of white distilled vinegar inside the empty machine and run it through a whole cycle. I do this at once a month and it keeps the dishwasher looking and smelling new.
In the Bathroom:
1. To remove mildew or soap scum from the tub, tile, or door, just wipe them down with full strength white distilled vinegar. You can mix up good tile cleaner by adding 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup white distilled vinegar, and 1 cup ammonia to a gallon of warm water. You don’t have to scrub much to get everything nice and clean.
2. To clean a plastic shower curtain, put the curtain in the washing machine with 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar and your regular amount of detergent. Wash on the gentle cycle, then hang it up to drip-dry.
3. If you have a loofah or sponge that feels slimy and/or dirty, just soak it overnight in a white distilled vinegar and water solution. Rinse it a few times with cold water and let air dry in the sun. (if at all possible)
4. Deodorize your toilet by pouring 3 cups of vinegar into the bowl, let it sit for half an hour or so and flush. To make it sparkle, pour 3 cups of vinegar into the bowl and let it sit several hours or overnight. Scrub with the toilet brush and flush.
5. To clean glass and windows, make a solution of equal parts distilled vinegar and warm water and put into a spray bottle. Wipe them with a microfiber towel or dry cloth and you won’t get the usual film or streaks.
6. You can clean the tracks on a shower door by pouring a little vinegar in the tracks, letting it sit for a couple of hours, then pouring hot water into the tracks to wash the scum away. I use a toothbrush to get in there and completely clean the tracks.
7. Deodorize your drains by pouring in 1 cup baking soda followed by one cup heated white distilled vinegar. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then run hot water down the drain.
1.Bring out bright colors by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle.
2. Substitute your fabric softener with about 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar added to the last rinse. It helps to prevent mold and mildew, and prevents yellowing.
3. Treat tough stains by rubbing them with a cloth soaked in vinegar with a little water.
4. Add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water and bring it to a rolling boil to whiten socks and washcloths. Let them soak overnight then wash them as normal.
General Cleaning Tips:
1. Loosen chewing gum stuck to carpeting or upholstery by soaking it in white distilled vinegar.
2. Remove wallpaper by using a paint roller to completely wet the surface with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and hot water. You can also spray it on until the wall paper becomes saturated.
3.Rid your home of stale odorsby wiping down all of your walls with undiluted white distilled vinegar on a cloth.
4. Easily clean your mini blindsby wearing pair of white cotton gloves and dipping your gloved fingers into a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm tap water. Then run your fingers across both sides of each blind.
I hope you find these tips useful. Just remember vinegar is an acid, and you should keep just about everything in the kitchen out of a child’s reach.