The following post is from Emily of Live Renewed:
I can remember the first time I learned you could use vinegar for general cleaning around the house. I was pregnant with my first daughter, and was watching Jon & Kate Plus 8 (classy, I know). They had a guest on the show, Sara Snow, who was teaching them how to go green around the house. Kate and Sara were in the kitchen, and Sara told her that she could combine half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle and use it to clean her kitchen and all around her house.
At that point in my life, I don’t think I’d ever even purchased vinegar, maybe once for a recipe, but I’m not even sure about that. On the show, Sara stated that vinegar had disinfecting qualities, and Kate had remarked that she remembered her grandmother using vinegar to clean. And I figured that if they were talking about it on TV, then it must be true, and it must work well. Right?
I was brand new to the whole green and natural living thing, but I decided that using vinegar for cleaning would be a good place to start.
So, I headed to the store, bought myself some vinegar and a spray bottle, and I’ve never looked back.
Now days, I purchase vinegar by the gallon, and usually at least two at a time. I continue to be amazed at all of the many uses for vinegar around the house, and love that it is such a simple, non-toxic, and of course, frugal solution.
Here are 20 basic and easy ways you can use vinegar all around your house:
1. General cleaning
Mix vinegar 50/50 with water in a spray bottle for a great multipurpose, general cleaner that kills germs and disinfects.
2. As rinse aid in the dishwasher
Instead of using a commercial rinse aid, like Jet Dry, in your dishwasher, just pour in undiluted vinegar.
3. As fabric softener in the washing machine
Instead of using conventional liquid fabric softener, pour vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser. Your clothes won’t smell like vinegar, I promise!
4. Weed killer
Kill weeds by either spraying them with undiluted vinegar, or pouring the vinegar over them for those growing in crevices and cracks.
6. Drain cleaner
Pour baking soda into a slow moving drain and follow with vinegar. Let it foam up and set for a while, and then flush with hot water.
7. Odor remover
Vinegar can help to remove odors all around the house, either spray your vinegar and water solution into the air, use a cloth soaked in vinegar to wipe down an area that smells, or spray fabrics or carpet with vinegar to remove odors.
8. Carpet cleaner
The solution of vinegar and water makes an effective carpet cleaner, I’ve found it to be especially good on pet stains. Be sure to test a small spot first to make sure your carpet is color-fast.
9. Remove water rings from furniture
To remove white rings left by wet glasses on wood furniture, mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil and apply it with a soft cloth. Use another clean, soft cloth to shine it up. To get white water rings off leather furniture, dab them with a rag soaked in full-strength white vinegar.
10. Clean and sanitize the garbage disposal
Make ice cubes out of vinegar and run them through the garbage disposal to clean and sanitize it.
11. Make homemade soft scrub
This homemade soft scrub is my favorite scouring cleaner for the bathroom.
Vinegar is a great de-greaser. You can add some to dishwater when washing greasy dishes, it’s also great for cleaning a greasy range hood.
13. Clean the dishwasher
Pour a cup of vinegar into an empty dishwasher and run it through a full cycle to clean and sanitize the dishwasher.
14. Clean the washing machine
Fill your empty washing machine with hot water (or follow your manufacturer’s instructions) add a cup of vinegar and run through a full cycle.
15. Clean the coffee maker
Fill the water resevoir of your coffee maker with half vinegar half water and turn it on, letting the vinegar and water filter through. Rinse twice with just plain water.
16. Clean a tea kettle
Boil vinegar and water in a tea kettle to clean it and remove water deposits. Be sure to rinse thoroughly before using it again.
17. Clean mini blinds
Take your mini-blinds down and soak them in the bathtub with warm water, a few squirts of dish soap and a cup vinegar. Rinse thoroughly and hang back up to dry.
18. Clean the shower head
Remove mineral deposits from your shower head by filling a plastic baggie with vinegar and wrapping it around your shower head, securing it with a rubber band. Let it soak overnight.
19. Make citrus-infused vinegar
Soak orange, or other citrus, peels in vinegar to create your own citrus scented cleaner – great for cleaning floors.
20. Make homemade lemon dusting cloths
Make your own lemon scented dusting cloths by soaking microfiber cloths with water, vinegar, olive oil, and lemon rinds.
A few final notes
You should not use vinegar on porous surfaces like granite or marble because it can damage the surface.
Vinegar does have a very strong smell. I find that is dissipates quickly, and as mentioned above, actually helps to remove other odors around the house. Some people though (my husband included) still have a strong aversion to the smell of vinegar. Adding essential oils can help it to smell better, but may leave behind an oily residue.
If you find yourself having a hard time getting over the smell, my advice is to just skip the vinegar for general cleaning. You don’t have to torture yourself. There are plenty of other great non-toxic, easy and frugal ways to clean your home without using vinegar.
I’m sure there are so many more uses for vinegar that I haven’t even discovered yet. So go ahead, get yourself a gallon of vinegar and start using it all around your house!
Do you use vinegar around your home? Share your favorite household use for vinegar with us!
|Emily McClements strives to live with compassion and caring for creation in a way that will impact the world. She is a blessed wife and mama to three young children, and blogs about her family’s journey toward natural and simple living at Live Renewed.|