Vinegar is one of the most versatile, inexpensive, environmentally friendly and effective products in your home. It’s likely you have both distilled white vinegar and cider vinegar in your kitchen or laundry room. If you don’t, you should.
Both variations have multiple and varied uses—internally and externally; and in cooking and cleaning. This time, let’s talk about white vinegar. There are enough wonders of white vinegar to fill a book. Here, I’ll just whet your appetite for more.
People have discovered vinegar’s value in their arsenal for beauty, internal health and cleaning issues. This post covers some of the household aspects. More, later, about other uses in future posts.
First, don’t fear the smell. It dissipates quickly. Keeping vinegar’s powerfully anti-bacterial, disinfectant and cleaning properties, and economical price, in mind might help. As detailed in the chart below, vinegar is effective as bleach in killing some nasty germs.
Some people mix vinegar with lemon juice to offset the initial aroma. When using it for a household cleaner, I like to add essential oils that maximize antibacterial qualities, such as tea tree. With lavender added in for a lovely scent. Both in the regular vinegar mixture below and the one with bleach at the end.
Many recipes suggest equal parts of vinegar and water to fill a spray bottle. I use 1 ¼ measures vinegar to ¾ measure water. Add essential oils, if desired, for aroma; ¼ to ½ teaspoons per half-gallon for sprays. Do make sure that whatever you’re cleaning isn’t adverse to vinegar (granite) or essential oils (some plastics). Otherwise, clean with abandon wherever you use overpriced, wet chemical cleansers. That includes everything from your counters (except granite) to kitchen and bath areas to moppable floors (except marble.) Let’s take a couple of the dirtiest and “germiest” locations.
In the kitchen, freshen the microwave’s interior by boiling ½ cup of the mixture. Do remember to put it in a microwave safe container. Wipe down the counters. Spray to disinfect drain boards, cutting boards, exhaust fan covers and the like. Mix a cup or two into a gallon of mop water for the floor.
In the bathroom, use the solution to clean the bathtub and attendant soap scum on the walls (even the shower curtain!) Make the fixtures sparkle with a spritz and a swipe. Remove all the built-up grime and make-up from the sink and counter. Your toilet will never be more pristine than after you pour in 2-2 ½ cup of this mixture with baking soda, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Full strength vinegar even vanquishes mildew.
Should you need sudsing action as you clean, add in ½ teaspoon (more, or less, depending on amount of suds you want) of castile or organic soap. If you add in essential oils, both rooms will smell as inviting as they are clean. Clean, without chemicals or toxins. Refreshingly earth friendly.
Try this recipe for cleaning floors*:
2 gallons boiling hot water (1 gallon kept in reserve and at low boil)
1 cup white vinegar (or vinegar/bleach mixture if desired)
½ tablespoon liquid soap (if desired)
¼ teaspoon lavender or peppermint essential oil (Additional 1/8 teaspoon kept in reserve**)
¼ teaspoon tea tree oil (Additional 1/8 teaspoon tea tree oil; or ¼ teaspoon if used alone**)
(Use ½ tablespoon of tea tree only if desired)
*Make certain that use of all above ingredients allowed for your flooring type.
Mix all ingredients (except reserve gallon of water) and mop immediately, making certain to thoroughly cover the area. Let the solution sit on the floor for a few minutes.
Empty bucket and add in additional essential oils if desired for additional aroma and disinfectant)
Refill bucket with remaining boiling hot water. Rinse floor.
You could also use ½ cup of strong peppermint or rosemary tea instead of the essential oils. Now, you have two all-purpose cleaners that you can make up at any time (as long as you keep white vinegar on hand). At a price that your wallet can appreciate.
For those still in a love affair with bleach; who believe only bleach can get it clean or disinfected enough, try this. Vinegar also boosts the anti-bacterial, disinfecting and whitening power of bleach. Plus, it dilutes the chemical component of the product. Mix ¾ cup bleach to ¾ vinegar and add water to fill a gallon container. As you can guess I use a full cup+ of vinegar, but that’s just me. The solution works for household cleaning and laundry. One thing. Together, these compounds look more like water or vinegar, but don’t be fooled. My nephew decided to take a sniff to figure out the big deal. It took him a little while to recover, but his sinuses were the clearest they’ve ever been. And from now on, he’ll use his aunt’s potions as she directs!
If you’re interested in specific cleaning tips or recipes, give me a shout and I’ll email some to you. Happy, non-toxic cleaning.
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