Cleaning with Vinegar

You probably know by now that vinegar makes an excellent non-toxic cleaner. But you might not have realized how many things can be cleaned with this cheap and plentiful substance.

Your glass and metal surfaces will be renewed with a streak-free and film-free shine with a little vinegar and warm water, and a dry, soft cloth. Use vinegar to clean your refrigerator, counters, and pretty much all of the surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom. As an added bonus, the vinegar can help keep ants at bay. You can use it to clean and disinfect your wooden cutting boards, to avoid cross contamination, and to make sure that your food doesn’t come into contact with toxic chemicals.

It’s a great way to deodorize your drains, or, with the addition of equal parts baking soda, even help clear them of minor blocks. You can also use vinegar – the plain old white stuff – to clean your garbage disposal. Just make vinegar cubes with 1 cup of vinegar and enough water to fill an ice cube tray; once you have frozen cubes, run them through the disposal periodically (and flush with water after).

Vinegar and olive oil can actually get rid of watermarks on wood. You can pair it with equal parts liquid detergent to get rid of carpet stains. Need to take a sticker off of some new plates, but there is a residue? You bet – vinegar! And if you have any nasty lime stains, a little bit of vinegar can do the trick.

The point is, there really isn’t much that vinegar can’t do. Whether you are using it to get out a stain, or to keep things clean and fresh, vinegar is one of the top natural cleaners available.

Of course, not everyone loves their house to smell like a pickle. So there are ways to make your vinegar cleaners smell a bit more subtle. For a basic all-purpose cleaner, all you need is a spray bottle, some water and vinegar (equal parts) and then 20 drops of your favourite essential oil, or essential oil combination. You can try lemon and rosemary, or orange and clove, or just plain peppermint.

You can also forgo the expense of essential oils by mixing the rinds of citrus fruits and herbs in a jar with vinegar and letting them sit for a few days, so the peels and herbs can lend their scent, and their disinfecting or degreasing qualities, to the vinegar. Then just strain and use as you would vinegar for all of your cleaning needs. Some great combinations are cinnamon and orange (and perhaps clove), or lavender and lime, or thyme and grapefruit.

Whatever you choose, know that you can have a clean, disinfected, great smelling house, on the cheap and without costing the environment.

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