Green Cleaning with White Vinegar


Green Cleaning with White Vinegar — a Modern Mrs.
Over the last few months I've been experimenting with some homemade household cleansers. First I tried deep cleaning my microwave, then I tried a DIY furniture polish — both with fantastic results! I'm no green queen by any means, but I was curious if I could limit my family's exposure (and the environment) to harmful chemicals, while effectively cleaning my house, and saving money in the process.

Since many pantry items are the primary ingredients in DIY cleansers, I thought I would create a "Top 10" list of uses for cleaning with vinegar. Vinegar is very common in homemade recipes, and has many more uses than the ten I'll mention today, but this list is a pretty wide range list sure to touch on most of your concerns.

White vinegar is environmentally-friendly and extremely inexpensive. It's effective in killing mold, bacteria and germs, and it deodorizes. It's gentle enough to clean hardwood floors, and it's a great alternative for fabric softener if you have sensitive skin!

(Be sure to check owner's manuals and/or test small areas first to ensure your property won't be damaged.)

Here are 10 Uses for Cleaning with White Vinegar:

1) Clean a Grimy Shower Head

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 sandwich bag
  • 1 rubber band
Fill the sandwich bag with the baking soda and vinegar, and use the rubber band to attach it to your shower head. Leave it there for a minimum of one hour (or till the bubbling has stopped), then wipe clean. Boom! No more grime.

2) Clean a Deodorize the Dishwasher

  • 1 cup white vinegar
Fill a measuring cup with the vinegar, and place it in the center of the top rack of your dishwasher. Run a regular cycle. Boom! No funky smells, and no scrubbing necessary.

It is recommended to do this once a month as part of your monthly routines.

3) Clean and Disinfect Baby Toys

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 gallon of water
Fill a vessel with the gallon of water and white vinegar, and soak baby's toys for 10 minutes. Then, wipe them down with a sponge. Rise, and air dry.

This is best for hard surface toys, or toys meant get wet/be wiped down. Please use caution with electronic toys, or soft surface toys such as plushies or baby dolls.

4) Drain Cleaner (a.k.a. Slow Drain and Clog Stopper)

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
Pour the baking soda first, then follow with the vinegar, quickly covering tightly until the fizzing has stopped. (You can stuff a rag into the drain, or use the stopper.) Follow with warm water until all of the mixture has rinsed clean. Boom! Your slow drain or clog has ceased.

5) Hardwood Floor Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 30 ounces warm water
Mix the water and white vinegar together in your vessel of choice, and go to town! No, not literally. I just meant start mopping those floors!

6) Homemade Spray Cleaner

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
Mix together and pour into a spray bottle. Use to clean and disinfect kitchen and bathroom countertops, refrigerator surfaces, children's books, and more. Spray onto fixtures and mirrors to clean and provide a streak-free shine!

7) Remove Mineral Deposits from Coffee Makers

  • 1 cup white vinegar
That's all you need! Simply fill the water reservoir of your coffee maker with the vinegar, then run it through a regular cycle. Follow with one (or two, if needed) cycles of plain water to rise clean. Boom! No more yuckies in your beloved cup o' joe! 

8) Remove Water Rings from Wood Surfaces

  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 1 part vegetable oil
Mix together, apply to a soft cloth, and rub with the grain. Boom! Those pesky water rings should be gone now. Next time use a coaster, why don't ya? Sheesh.

I've also heard mayonnaise does wonders for water rings. Just tossing that one out there as a just-in-case.

9) Removing Stains from Coffee and/or Tea Cups

  • 1 part baking soda
  • 1 part white vinegar
Mix together into a paste, and use a soft bristle toothbrush to gently scrub the cups. Rinse clean. Ta da!

Another just-in-case is Barkeeper's Friend, but I have feels about using that stuff in/on anything that will be housing something I'll be ingesting. Personally, I'd stick to the vinegar, and if that doesn't get all of the stain(s) off, purchase darker mugs. *Snickers...

10) Vinyl Floor Cleaner

  • 1 cup white vinegar per every gallon of water
Mix together in whatever-you-use-to-mop-floors-with, and get busy. Well, don't get busy. Get cleaning. You know what I mean.
Pssst. Are you worried that cleaning with vinegar might leave a not-so-pleasant odor behind? Worry not, friend! The smell of vinegar will fade as the product dries, and then there will be nary a foul odor.... at least not from the vinegar. 

Have you used vinegar in any of these ways? How do you use vinegar at home?

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