Hacks for the Home : Cleaning with Vinegar
I am a HUGE advocate of finding non-chemical solutions for use in my life. We have become so reliant on the cleaning supplies that we can pick up at our local super store that we forget there was a time when these products weren’t available! What have people done over the years without the aid of chemical cleaning solutions and brand name products? They found a way to make it work!
One of the best changes I ever made in my cleaning routine is the switch from the various purchased cleaners I was previously using to vinegar solutions. While vinegar can’t accomplish ALL our cleaning needs, it can take care of a vast majority!
I felt foolish when I first put two and two together here. I mean, honestly, would the generations that came before us outright laugh at us, or just shake their head and side eye us for forgetting about such a simple and effective solution to so much?
I feel like I should start by clarifying the availability of ‘cleaning vinegar’ and how it stands up in comparison to our regular day to day white distilled vinegar. Honestly? In looking at the options and putting the labels side by side, you are paying more for the slightest of differences in acidity. It just didn’t’ seem worth the increase in price to me.
Just be cautious when looking at your options – some cleaning vinegars are not food safe. I prefer a multi-purpose product, so stocking my shelves with separate bottles for cleaning and cooking is just not ‘my thing’. If that works for your then power to you! You do you!
Here are some of the ways vinegar has been incorporated into my personal cleaning routine:
Sinks: The kitchen and bathroom sinks can develop a lot of grime and gunk over time. Whether its food residue around the drain, or soap scum – vinegar can tackle it! Sprinkle some baking soda throughout the sink, focusing on the dirtiest areas. Pour straight vinegar directly onto a scrub brush and go to town. Smaller scrub brushes make it easier to focus on the drain area. You’ll see your sink shine before you know it!
Drains: Notice a funky smell coming from your drains? It happens to the best of us! Using a funnel (you can simply create one out of paper, that’s all I use) pour ½ cup of baking soda down your drain and then follow it with 1 cup of vinegar. You will likely see foaming around the drain area from the reaction. Once the foaming stops, flush the drain out with hot water directly from your tap. This will not only remove the odor-causing bacteria responsible for your funk, but is just as (if not more so) effective are your commercial drain cleaners for clearing blockages!
Countertops: Vinegar is an acid, and as such does a great job of killing off germs. When cleaning your countertops simply spray vinegar onto the surface, and then wipe it away with a warm, wet rag. **See the note below about what surfaces not to apply this to**
Carpet/Furniture Stains: I am blessed in the new house that we have no carpets, but that wasn’t always the case! A couple houses ago most of the house was carpeted with a light beige carpet – Every pet owners dream, right? Especially when living on a farm! If you notice staining on your carpet whether its mud, a drink that was accidently knocked over or more – Vinegar can help! Mix 1 tsp of vinegar, 1 tsp liquid dish soap and 1 cup of warm water. If your stain is liquid, like a glass of juice, grab a cloth and try to soak up as much liquid as possible before you begin. Spray your vinegar mixture all over the spot and then give it a chance to sit for 2-3 minutes. Blot the area with a fresh cloth. If the first round didn’t take it out, repeat as many times as needed! If your house is like mine, leaving a wet spot to dry isn’t exactly an option – so use a hair dryer on low to dry it up!
Remove Ballpoint-pen Marks: I may no have children of my own, but I am an aunt to some very energetic nieces and nephews, so this has come to be a blessing! If the little one in your life uses your table or wall as an easel, vinegar can take the ink off! Using a clean cloth, dab straight vinegar (don’t dilute it) onto the spot repeatedly and watch as the marks disappear!
Remove Stickers: Those same amazing nieces and nephews have created some amazing works of art using stickers on my furniture! We all know that removing stickers is often a challenge – unless, of course, you love the look of bits of sticker and sticker glue left behind! Apply vinegar to the stickers to moisten them and then leave them to sit while it soaks into the sticker (apply more if you notice it drying up). After waiting at least 10 minutes they will come off MUCH easier!
Microwave: Just like everyone else my microwave can sometimes become a little bit frightening. To remove any build up taking a microwave safe container and mix ½ cup vinegar with ½ cup water. Slice up a lemon and add the slices to the mixture. Place this in the microwave and run it for 2-4 minutes, or until the mixture boils. The steam from this mixture will loosen up the crud that has built up, making it wipe right off. The lemon will leave it smelling fresh!
Coffeemaker: Over time you will notice the effects of a dirty coffeemaker – Your coffee may start tasting bitter, it may be weaker than usual, or it takes FAR longer for the water to make its way through. Fun fact – You should actually be cleaning your coffeemaker regularly! Many of us are guilty for not doing this nearly often enough. Mix 2 cups of vinegar with 1 cup of water. Fill your coffeemaker’s water chamber with the mixture – this will work both for larger coffeemakers that produce a full pot as well as the single serve units like the Keurig. Run this through a full brew cycle. If this is a Keurig style unit, run it until you clear out the water chamber. Once this is completed run 2 cycles with clean water. Its just that easy – fresh, great tasting coffee is once again at your fingertips!
Tea Kettle: Maybe you are more of a tea drinker than a coffee drinker? Don’t worry, vinegar can take care of your electric kettle too! If you have ever looked into your kettle after a long period of use you will notice it begins to accumulate mineral deposits. Clean these out by bringing 3 cups of vinegar to a boil, then let it sit (with the vinegar still there) overnight. Rinse the kettle out the next day with cold water and you are good to make your morning tea!
Windows: I have dogs, which means I have dog nose art appearing regularly all over all dog level windows in my house. For this reason, window cleaning is a daily chore! Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of 50/50 vinegar and water. Spray down that dirty window and wipe it clean with newspaper (the newspaper won’t leave little pieces of lint like paper towels and some rags will). Voila – A window so clean you wouldn’t know there was glass there!
There are a couple things that you should avoid using vinegar for according to many of the experts as it can cause damage, or make the area more difficult to clean. This includes:
- Egg (it may cause the egg to coagulate, making it more difficult to clean)
- Your iron
- Granite and marble countertops
- Stone floor tiles
Do you use vinegar or another alternative to clean your home? Please share your tips and tricks with everyone in the comments below!