Natural Cleaning with Vinegar

In my quest to live an organic and chemical-free life, I decided to look up ways that I can start switching my every day cleaning items with more natural products.  Did you know that plain white vinegar is a GREAT cleaning agent?

Yup you can use plain vinegar for cleaning besides culinary uses 🙂 It’s quite amazing what a little vinegar can do!  Now I keep a jug of it in my kitchen as well as my laundry area.  Now I don’t have to worry about all the toxic fumes and residue left by chemical-based cleaners.  Vinegar is a cheap way to clean your home and save money too!

White vinegar is also known as distilled vinegar – which is a bit misleading, since distilled vinegar is a result by the fermentation of distilled alcohol.  This new fermentate is then diluted to produce a colorless solution of about 5-8% acetic acid in water, which a pH of about 2.4.

Because vinegar is acidic, it can dissolve mineral deposits from glass and other smooth surfaces.  It also has antibacterial properties…vinegar is effective against mold and bacteria.

I’ve compiled a quick list below of different ways we can use vinegar to clean.

Kitchen Uses

  1. Counter tops – cleans with a rag and vinegar.  Do not use on marble, as the acid can damage the surface.
  2. Permanent Fixtures – Shine chrome, stainless steel, ceramic or plastic fixtures with a damp sponge or cloth with vinegar and wipe away the dull film.  Polish with a soft, damp cloth.
  3. Microwave – Mix a half-and-half solution of vinegar and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring to boil, and wipe clean when done.
  4. Refrigerator – clean with half-and-half solution of water and vinegar
  5. Dishwasher – pour a cup of vinegar inside an empty machine and run through cycle.  Also use it in place of any chemical-rinse agents.
  6. Drain or garbage disposal – pour 1 cup of baking soda then 1 cup of hot vinegar.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  Run hot water down the drain.
  7. Plastic food containers – wipe them with a cloth dampened with vinegar to remove stains and smells.
  8. Lunch box – remove odors with a slice of bread soaked in vinegar left inside overnight.
  9. Cutting boards – wipe an sanitize wooden boards with vinegar.
  10. Glass – remove film from inside by letting vinegar sit in them for a few hours.  Repeat if necessary.
  11. Grease – use a sponge soaked in vinegar.
  12. Grout – let full-strength vinegar sit on it for a few minutes and scrub it with an old toothbrush.
  13. Clean fruit – kill bacteria and keep fresh fruits and veggies fresh longer by spraying them with equal parts of vinegar and water diluted solution.

Around the House

  1. Germs – spray with full-strength, and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  2. Grill – spray a solution of half water and half vinegar on the cooking surface.
  3. Wood – remove water rings by rubbing with the grain with a solution of equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil.
  4. Floors – use a solution of one-half cup vinegar and one gallon of water to mop tile or linoleum for shiny streak-less floors.  For really tough stains, apply undiluted vinegar directly.
  5. Scissors – clean off sticky residue with a cloth dipped in vinegar.
  6. Odors – place a bowl of vinegar in the room overnight.
  7. Pet stains – pour undiluted vinegar straight on the stain to clean and deodorize all in one step. Wipe clean with strong strokes, then blot with cold water.
  8. Flower – keep cut flowers blooming longer by adding two tablespoons of vinegar plus three tablespoons per quart of warm water.  Make sure stems are in at least 3-4 inches of water.
  9. Windows – clean windows and streak free with full strength vinegar from a spray bottle.  Dry with a soft cloth.

Bathroom Uses

  1. Mildew and soap scum – wipe with full-strength vinegar then rinse.
  2. Shower heads – Remove lime deposit corrosion from the shower head, simply soak it in a container filled with full-strength vinegar overnight and replace.
  3. Toilets – pour in a cup or more of vinegar and let it sit overnight.  Scrub well with a  toilet brush and flush.
  4. Mildew – spray shower walls and curtains with half vinegar and half water to clean and help prevent mildew.
  5. Shower walls – clean shower walls with a solution of 2 parts vinegar to 1 part Dawn dish soap.

Personal Care:

  1. Hands – wipe your hands with vinegar to remove strong scents like onion and garlic, and stains from fruit juices.
  2. Hair rinse agent – after shampooing, rinse your hair well with 1 cup of water and a tablespoon of vinegar. It cuts soap residue and restores the shine, leaving your hair soft and shiny.
  3. Sunburns – take the sting out of sunburn and soothe your minor skin irritations by sponge on vinegar to cool down summer’s sizzle.
  4. Swimmer’s ear – mix a few drops of vinegar with a few drops of rubbing alcohol.  Put a couple of drops in ears after swimming to get rid of water in your ears.
  5. Chlorine hair – get rid of chlorine from your hair with a  quick vinegar rinse!

Laundry Room

  1. Washing Machine – freshen up your washing machine by running it once a month empty with a cup of vinegar to remove unwanted soap residue.
  2. Baby clothes – keep clothes soft and clean by adding a cup of vinegar to each wash load during the rinse cycle
  3. Hemlines – Get rid of unsightly hem marks that remain after altering hemlines by gently rub them away with a vinegar dampened cloth. Then run a steam iron across the crease.
  4. Brighten colors – put bright-colored fabrics in full-strength vinegar before washing to prevent the colors from running in the wash.  Follow manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and test on an inconspicuous spot first.
  5. Ironing – remove starch buildup by wiping your iron clean with a moist cloth soaked in full-strength vinegar.  Make sure it is unplugged and cold.  Also keep it free of corrosion and calcium deposits, occasionally fill the water reservoir with full-strength vinegar and steam iron a soft rag.  Repeat with water, and then rinse out the inside of your iron.
  6. Remove clothing odors – pour two cups of vinegar in a bathtub of hot water, hang your clothes above the tub overnight, and let odors disappear.

Other Tips

  1. Weed free – fill a spray bottle with undiluted vinegar and spray the center of each dandelion flower with vinegar.  Spray once on the flower, and again near the ground.  Also spray in sidewalk cracks or driveways to keep unwanted grass and weeds growing.
  2. Keep ants away – Spread a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water around the ants’ points of entry – door jambs, windowsills, and foundation cracks.
  3. Frost free – keep car windshields frost-free by coating them with a  solution of three parts vinegar to one part water.
  4. Remove decals – wipe vinegar on decals repeatedly until the vinegar soaks in. Decals will peel off easily.
  5. Flea shampoo – mix dish soap, water, and vinegar to make flea shampoo. Works at keeping fleas off your pets.
  6. Pet cages – clean small pet cages with vinegar

WARNING:  Never  mix vinegar with bleach…this will produce toxic fumes!

What do you use vinegar for?  Please share with us in the comments below.

Sources:  Heinz Vinegar

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