In our family we like to find natural ways to clean both ourselves and our home. My daughter and I like to experiment with different recipes for body scrubs and we use a lot of essential oils for different things from insect repellent to sinus decongestants. So when it comes to cleaning the home, we try to find natural solutions whenever we can, both because it is good for the environment, but also because it is good for us, and it’s so much less expensive than buying detergents. The one requirement, outside of those benefits is that it works, just to make sure we are all on the same page. In this article we are going to talk about cleaning with vinegar, we will talk about what to clean, what not to clean and then I will give you some recipes to try, with things you might already have in your kitchen.
The vinegar you use to clean with is white vinegar, it’s very cheap and you can find it in your grocery store. It is acidic with a ph of about 2-3 and is often used diluted with water and soap. Vinegar is made from grain alcohol that has been fermented into acetic acid. It’s a mix of water and acetic acid. Vinegar should never be mixed with bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
Vinegar helps remove smells, it is great to put in the rinse cycle of your washing machine if your kids have had an accident in their clothes or if they have thrown up on sheets or towels. It helps both get rid of smell and to kill germs. You can even clean spills on your rug for example with a mix of vinegar and water, spray it on and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off. If your kid as thrown up on a rug or in your living space it can really help remove the smell to put a bowl of vinegar in the room. Same goes for getting rid of smells in the fridge, put a cup of vinegar in the fridge and it will get rid of nasty smells.
Vinegar is great for decalcifying things like your kettle and your coffeemaker if you have hard water like we do where we live. Just let is soak for a few minutes and clean it out, it works very quickly. To clean your coffee machine run a cycle with half water half vinegar. Then do a cycle with just water. It is seriously one of the fastest and easiest things, I am super lazy when it comes to projects at home, I like to think that I will do complicated things, but I don’t. Decalcifying with vinegar is perfect for me.
I mentioned that we have hard water where we live, which often leads to clogged shower heads. A few times per year we unscrew the shower heads and soak them overnight in vinegar and water and they are like new in the morning. You probably don’t even need to soak them that long, it’s just become a routine here.
If you have a clogged drain pour a cup of vinegar and a cup of baking soda down the drain and rinse with warm water. If your dishes are starting to get dull in the dish washer you can put a cup or so of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher and then run the cycle.
There are a few things you should not clean with vinegar however, because of how it reacts with some materials.
– granite, marble and porous stones. Vinegar is acidic and will make them dull and can cause pitting.
– messes with eggs; vinegar will make the protein coagulate and make it sticky and messy. Use soap and water.
– some appliances like an iron to iron clothes can get damaged inside by vinegar, see the instructions to be sure.
– cast iron an aluminum will get damaged by vinegar.
You should always use caution with acids like vinegars, you don’t want to dispose of it on your lawn for example, it is actually a really potent weed killer and will kill plants it’s poured on. We often use it if we have persistent weeds in some areas as a weed killer.
Here are some recipes I like to use:
For an all around cleaner, put one part water, one part white vinegar, some lemon peel and a few rosemary sprigs (these are things that grow in our garden, easy.) Put it all in a spray bottle and let it sit for about ten days. It’s great as a general cleaner and is great for stains. If you don’t have rosemary at home, you can use an essential oil that you like. It’s supposed to be easy, experiment and use something that works for you.
For a window cleaner put 2 cups of water, half a cup of white vinegar and a quarter cup of rubbing alcohol with a few drops of essential oil for a nice smell. It works great on both windows and mirrors.
For our floor cleaner I use a mix of water, a few cups of vinegar and some soap for a great clean.