Commercial household cleaning agents may get your house clean, but at what cost? Commercial cleaners contain chemicals that are harmful if inhaled, ingested (think of small children and pets) and even touched. Plus, they pollute indoor air quality and can even contribute to long-term health conditions when repeatedly exposed to over time. So, how do you clean your home safely and effectively? Vinegar!
Vinegar contains acids that break down grime, bacteria, mold and fungus. Couple that with its ability to absorb and eliminate odors and you have a toxic-free, household cleaner! Many people shy away from vinegar due to its strong smell; however, once it’s dry the smell is gone. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) and white distilled vinegar (WDV) have a multitude of surprising cleaning solutions. The primary difference between the vinegars is the color – ACV is made from apples and DWV is made from diluted, distilled alcohol. Many recipes are fine to swap ACV with DWV or vice-versa; but remember, ACV is made from the juice of apples so it may stain clothing or light colored woods.
Hand prints, dirt, spills and smells have a way of leaving their mark and scents on your walls. To clean and deodorize, make a mixture of 50% ACV or WDV and 50% water and wipe your way to a fresh-smelling, clean wall!
Want a streak-free shine every time without the blue bottle? Add ACV or WDV and water to a spray bottle in a 50-50 solution and spray away!
To clean the dust off your furniture mix ¼ cup of ACV or WDV and ¼ cup of olive oil into a spray bottle. For a lemony scent add ¼ cup of lemon juice. Shake well, apply to a clean cloth and wipe the dust away!
1 cup ACV to 15 cups of warm water will clean laminate, linoleum and wood floors. If you have light colored floors, use WDV. Use ACV for darker woods. Avoid grout lines; it may erode them away.
Vinegar is a great all purpose cleaner for the bathroom. Use it in the toilet, on the mirrors, sink, counters, floors, tub, shower and the faucets. It eliminates rust, lime, soap scum, water spots and mildew.
Toilet: Flush first so the water level is low, then pour ½ cup into the bowl and allow it to sit while you clean the rest of the bathroom. Scrub with a toilet brush and flush.
For the rest of the bathroom use a spray bottle mixture of 50% vinegar and 50% water. Spray surfaces and wipe down with a wet sponge or a cleaning cloth.
Just like the rest of your appliances, the washing machine needs to be cleaned from time to time. Washing machines tend to harbor bacteria, mold and mildew in places that aren’t readily visible. The newer front loading machines, while more energy efficient, are known to become smelly if not properly cleaned.
To clean a front loader: Put the temperature setting on the hottest available, or use the cleaning setting if your machine has one, use the extra rinse cycle, fill the bleach dispenser with WDV and select the longest clean time available. Once it’s finished, open the door and wipe down the inside of the door and the rubber seal with a 50-50 vinegar water solution. Be sure to clean behind the rubber seal as well. Gently pull it back and wipe the space in between, then dry it with a dry cloth. Don’t forget to remove the fabric softener container and clean it too. When you’re finished leave the door open and let it dry completely.
To clean a top loader: Select the longest, largest, hottest setting available. Use 4 cups of WDV and allow the machine to fill and agitate for awhile. Then, open the lid and let it soak for an hour. While it’s soaking, wipe down the lid, bleach dispenser and the inside and outside of the softener dispenser from the agitator. Close the lid and let the cycle finish.
Now that your washing machine is clean, did you know you can also use WDV as a fabric softener replacement? WDV brightens and softens clothes while breaking down detergent residue. Plus it is great for families with skin sensitivities. Just add ½ cup to the softener dispenser and wash as you normally would.
To clean your kitchen, mix a 50-50 ratio of vinegar and water into a spray bottle and let the cleaning begin! Spray the counters, sinks, appliances, trash receptacle and faucet, then wipe down with a clean cloth.
To clean, remove stains, deodorize and unclog the dishwasher, add ½ cup of vinegar to the empty dishwasher and run the cleaning cycle as you normally would. WDV can also be used as a substitute for rinse aid. Fill the rinse aid container with vinegar for spot-free dishes.
To clean and deodorize the microwave, mix ½ cup of WDV and ½ cup of water into a microwave proof bowl and heat until boiling. Carefully remove the bowl (it will be hot!), use your 50-50 vinegar and water spray solution and wipe down the inside of the microwave. The bowl of water deodorizes and the steam loosens any stuck-on food, making cleanup a breeze.
To clean and deodorize the garbage disposal, pour ½ cup of WDV and ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, wait 5-10 minutes, then flush with hot water while running the disposal.
Stainless steel can be polished, buffed and cleaned with either ACV or WDV. Wet a clean cloth with undiluted vinegar and wipe with the grain of the steel.
To degrease the hood of the stove, wet a clean sponge with undiluted vinegar and wipe clean. You can also clean the vent filters by removing and soaking them in a solution of 1 cup vinegar to 3 cups water for 15 minutes. Wipe down with undiluted vinegar after the soak and put the vents back in place.
To get the best coffee flavor out of your coffee pot it needs to be cleaned to remove buildup. Add ¼ cup of WDV to the brew cycle and then follow up with a clean water brew to rinse.
To freshen the air in the kitchen, boil 1 cup of water and 1 Tbsp ACV.
To eliminate strong odors like onion, garlic and fish from your hands, rinse with undiluted ACV.
Room deodorizer: place a bowl of ACV on the floor and let it sit overnight. This method also works well in vehicles, garages and teenage boys’ bedrooms. Don’t let your pets have access to the bowl.
Clothing: If you find odors still lurking after the wash cycle, try 1 Tbsp DWV in the rinse cycle to eliminate tough odors in clothes, towels and bedding.
To make a general purpose air freshener, mix 1 Tbsp WDV with 1 tsp baking soda and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle, shake well and spray! Note: this mixture will foam – shake until the foaming stops, then spray away!
Next time you’re at the store and find yourself wandering down the cleaning isle – stop! Save your health and your dollars and grab a gallon of vinegar instead.
**The information on this website in not intended to prescribe products for specific health problems, but rather, to educate the general public concerning the historical uses of herbs as well as provide a reference tool for those who wish to use herbs to feed specific body systems.
Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.