If you are into green cleaning, knowing how to clean with vinegar is a must.
By the way, what is green cleaning?
According to Wikipedia,
“Green cleaning refers to using cleaning methods and products with environmentally friendly ingredients and procedures which are designed to preserve human health and environmental quality. Green cleaning techniques and products avoid the use of products which contain toxic chemicals, some of which emit volatile organic compounds causing respiratory, dermatological and other conditions.”
Learning green cleaning hacks will help us use products that are safe for our environment, our household and our family.
Using the common items you have in your pantry like white vinegar, baking soda, lemon, and soap, you can get rid of stubborn stains from your clothes, deodorize bad-smelling bathrooms, cut through tough grease, and make your house sparkling clean.
Sometimes, these products alone can do the job, and sometimes you have to make a cleaning solution combining different items depending upon the project. Don’t worry, it’s still easy and not time-consuming at all.
WHY SHOULD YOU USE WHITE VINEGAR FOR CLEANING?
White vinegar has many uses. Vinegar is,
- Cheap and readily available
- Non-toxic and safe for people and the environment
- Able to cut through tough grease and mineral deposits
- A great deodorizer
- Able to clean metal parts from rust
- A natural antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiseptic agent
White vinegar is made through a two-step fermentation process. Grains or fruits are first fermented to form ethanol alcohol. It is then fermented again using acetic-acid bacteria to make vinegar.
It’s the acetic acid in vinegar that makes it acidic. And it’s the acidic property of vinegar that makes it such a good multipurpose cleaner.
WHICH VINEGAR TO USE FOR CLEANING?
Vinegar can be made from any food that has natural sugars. The most common types of vinegar we use are white vinegar and distilled white vinegar. Read this article to find out the difference between the two.
Both kinds of vinegar can be used for cleaning, but white vinegar is stronger than distilled as it has more acetic acid content. And then there is cleaning vinegar which has more concentration of acetic acid (6-8%). You can use all these vinegars interchangeably in DIY vinegar cleaning solutions.
Now let’s move onto the cleaning hacks using white vinegar.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO USE WHITE VINEGAR FOR CLEANING
1. USE VINEGAR TO MAKE YOUR OWN FRUIT AND VEGGIE WASH
As mothers, we all are concerned about the health of our family. We want to feed more fruits and veggies to our kids. But we know that they are not safe to be eaten straight out of the shopping bags because of the various chemicals and bacteria they are exposed to.
Studies show that washing fruits and veggies under cold running water for at least 30 seconds can wash many of the pesticides and bacteria away from the surface. They also found that the commercial produce cleaners were not more effective than the normal running water.
So, what’s the point in wasting money on those? Besides, you can easily make a non-toxic and chemical-free fruit and veggie wash using vinegar. The anti-bacterial property of vinegar helps in cleaning most of the bacteria and pesticides away from the surface.
To make the wash, mix water and vinegar in 4:1 ratio respectively. You can soak the fruits and veggies in this mix for 20 minutes and then wash using running water. Dry the produce with paper towels and store in your refrigerator.
2. VINEGAR AS GLASS CLEANER
To make a vinegar glass cleaner, fill a spray bottle with equal amounts of vinegar and water. Shake it well and your glass cleaner is ready. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to make it smell good (optional).
Vinegar is effective in removing fingerprints and other dirt from glass surfaces and make it sparkling clean. I like to clean mirrors and windows using a newspaper because it doesn’t leave any streaks behind.
3. USE VINEGAR TO DEEP CLEAN YOUR DISHWASHER
Over time, soap scum, grease, and food debris can get accumulated in dishwashers. To keep it running efficiently and in the best condition, we need to deep clean the dishwasher occasionally. And white vinegar can come in handy to do the occasional cleaning.
Before cleaning, make sure that the disposal drainage is clear of food particles which get settled after each wash.
Take 1 cup of vinegar and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. Then run the dishwasher by turning on the hottest cycle possible for extra sterilization. There shouldn’t be any other dishes except for the cup with vinegar.
Now sprinkle some baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short cycle again with the hottest water possible. Baking soda is alkaline and it helps to dissolve dirt and grease in water. And it also does a good job of deodorizing your appliances.
That’s it and now you have a smell-free squeaky clean dishwasher.
Caution: You need to check if your dishwasher’s rubber hose is safe to clean with vinegar, as vinegar can break down some materials over time. Check the last section of this post, “What should you not use vinegar on?” for more information on this. This applies to washing machines too.
4. DEODORIZE GYM CLOTHES
Sweating is absolutely essential to cool your body. But who wants to smell like sweat when you put on the freshly laundered gym clothes the next morning? Ick.
But vinegar can again rescue us here. Remember, vinegar is an awesome deodorizer?
Here’s how to deodorize gym clothes with vinegar.
Before washing, air dry your sweaty clothes so that they don’t develop mildew. Putting those straight away in the hamper is a complete no-no. You don’t want to worsen the smell and make the other clothes in there stink too.
Now let’s do some soaking. Turn the clothes inside out because that’s where most of the sweat and bacteria has built up. Mix water and white vinegar in the soaking bucket in a 4:1 ratio respectively, and soak the clothes for 15-30 minutes. And then wash it with your usual detergent powder.
This helps to make your gym clothes smell good again. If you don’t want to soak, you can add vinegar to your washing machine’s rinse cycle too.
5. REMOVE STICKER RESIDUE FROM GLASS SURFACES
Do you want to remove that nasty sticker residue on your window? Or want to recycle old jam bottles?
Spray vinegar onto the glass surface. Now take a paper towel and apply some vinegar onto it and keep it pressed on the sticker residue. After 10-15 minutes, scrub the sticker residue gently with the paper towel or cloth and the residue comes off easily.
I tried this on my wall too, where my kids had pasted some stickers and left residues, and it worked like a charm.
6. GET RID OF URINE AND SWEAT SMELLS FROM MATTRESS AND COUCH
If you have kids and pets, you know how they like to make the mattresses and couches smelly by accident. Accidents happen, but don’t worry about the stink because we have vinegar.
Mix 4 parts of water and 1 part distilled vinegar in your spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the spot, scrub the area and wipe it off.
Now to remove the odor and moisture, take a cup of baking soda and add 15-20 drops of essential oil into it. Mix it well using a fork to evenly distribute the oil throughout the baking soda.
Now, sprinkle this mixture on the wet spot and let it rest for a few hours (or overnight). And later, you can vacuum it up and you have a fresh-smelling mattress (or a couch). Tip from Thrifty Couple.
7. VINEGAR HACK TO MAKE YOUR BATHROOM CLEAN
Vinegar can be used to remove limescale from the various surfaces of your bathroom. The acidic property of vinegar helps to cut through the hard water stains and remove it from the faucets, toilet bowls, showerheads, and bathroom tiles.
Faucet: Take vinegar in a bowl, dip some paper cloths (or cotton) in it and keep them wrapped around the faucet for a few hours (or overnight). And when you take the paper towels off, the limescale will be gone. Scrub with a sponge to remove any remaining limescale.
Toilet bowl: Empty the toilet bowl. And pour some vinegar into the hole if you have hard water deposits there. To remove the hard water stains on the rims, get some paper towels, soak it in vinegar and keep it pasted on the edges. Let it sit for a few hours (or overnight if it’s stubborn). And scrub using a toilet brush.
You can see that the limescale deposits will get loosened and come off easily. Do it again if you still have residues. Tip from RJ The Bike Guy.
Showerheads: Take a plastic bag and fill it with equal parts of vinegar and water. Remove the showerhead and keep it submerged in the plastic bag, making sure that the targeted areas are submerged in the solution. Tie the plastic bag around the showerhead using a rubber band and let it sit for a few hours, depending on the amount of limescale you have.
Come back later to a clean shower head. Scrub using a soft sponge to remove any remaining deposits.
Hard water stains on bathroom tiles: Take equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on the stained area. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes. And scrub it and rinse it off.
8. CLEAN GAS BURNERS
Over time your gas burners can get clogged by the spilled food particles and weaken its efficiency. This results in producing a weak flame, which means more time in cooking.
Fortunately, you can easily clean gas burners using white vinegar.
Take a bowl and fill it with enough vinegar so as to submerge the gas burners. Keep it soaked for a few hours. Take the burners and using a dishwasher soap and an old toothbrush or a scouring pad, scrub away the dirt gently. It should melt the grime and burner will regain the original color.
Now air dry it for some time and reassemble the burners.
9. USE VINEGAR TO MAKE THE KITCHEN SINK SPARKLE
To make the kitchen sink shiny and clean, you need two ingredients: baking soda and vinegar.
Make a paste of baking soda and white vinegar and apply it all over the kitchen sink using a cleaning brush. Let it sit for two minutes. After that, you can scrub the grime away using a scouring pad. Rinse with water and now you have a sparkling clean sink.
For the more stubborn grime, apply some more of the paste and scrub again.
10. CLEAN BURNT POTS AND PANS
We all have been guilty of kitchen disasters at least once in our life. But with this vinegar cleaning hack, you don’t have to pay for it with an aching arm caused by hard scrubbing.
And neither you don’t have to keep the pan nearby the sink soaking for days by keeping on reminding of your silly forgetfulness. Ouch! (I blame it on mummy brain!)
Take the burnt pan and add 1 cup of water to it. Then, add 1 cup vinegar and keep the pan on the stovetop and boil the mixture. Remove it from the heat. Empty the pan and add 1 tbsp baking soda. Now you can start scrubbing using a scouring pad. You should get a clean pan now.
For stubborn stains, make a paste of baking soda and water and apply on the area. Rest it for some time and scrub again. Tip from Apartment Therapy.
11. ELIMINATE BAD ODORS
Eliminate bad odors from a room by filling small bowls with vinegar and leave it open overnight in the targeted area. The deodorizing power of vinegar will help to get rid of the bad smells.
To get rid of cooking smells, take a cup of vinegar and two cups of water in a pan. Bring it to a simmer. This will help in neutralizing the bad odors. The smell of vinegar will go away on its own, you don’t have to worry about it.
To deodorize your refrigerator, empty the refrigerator and remove the stinking item. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spray it on each shelf of the refrigerator and wipe it clean with a sponge.
After cleaning, you can also place a small bowl of baking soda in the lowest shelf to keep the bad odors away.
12. CLEAN MICROWAVE EASILY
Have dried up stubborn food particles inside the microwave oven? Don’t worry, one of the uses of vinegar is to make it easy to clean inside a microwave and save you a lot of scrubbing. Let’s see how.
Take equal parts of vinegar and water in a bowl. Place a wooden spoon in the bowl (this is optional, it is done to avoid overheating). Heat the bowl for 5-10 minutes. Heating helps to soften the hardened food debris and makes it easier to clean. After heating, you can easily wipe off with a cloth or a paper towel.
13. REMOVE GUM FROM HAIR AND CLOTHES
If you have ever faced this scenario, you know how frustrating it is. Let’s see how vinegar can help.
Dip the affected part of your hair in a cup of vinegar. If it’s not possible to dip, soak it with a cloth. Keep it on for some time and repeat by slightly heating vinegar, if necessary.
To remove gum from your clothes, heat some vinegar and dab it on the area. You can try removing the gum using a blunt tool. If you still have gum left, try removing it using an old toothbrush.
14. REMOVE BALL PEN MARKS ON THE WALL
No matter how many sketch pads they have, it’s tempting for a toddler to show off their skills on the wall.
Luckily, we can remove the ink stains from the walls using vinegar. Just dab some vinegar onto a rag and scrub gently until the marks are gone.
15. REMOVE RUST FROM TOOLS
Your tools can get rusty over the years. To remove the rust, soak the tools in a container which has undiluted vinegar. Soak it for a few hours and brush the tools using a cleaning brush and dry it using a cloth or hair dryer to dry it thoroughly.
16. TO CLEAN JEWELRY
Take white vinegar in a bowl and soak the jewelry in it. After 10 minutes, scrub with a soft-bristled brush and pat it dry.
Caution: Don’t use vinegar to clean pearl jewelry as vinegar will dissolve the pearl.
17. TO REVIVE HARDENED PAINTBRUSHES
Do you have old hardened paintbrushes that you are almost ready to throw away? Please don’t. You can give it a new life with this simple vinegar hack.
Take sufficient vinegar that can submerge the paintbrush bristles in a saucepan and heat it. Once it starts boiling, turn off the heat and transfer to a bowl or jar in which you can soak the paintbrush.
Soak the paintbrush for at least 15-20 minutes. It will help to loosen the hardened paint residues. Now you can comb the bristles gently with your fingers or an old comb to remove the paint globs.
Rinse with water to wash it all away and dry it. Now you can go paint your heart out.
So, that’s my list of 17 hacks to clean with vinegar. Though vinegar is a multipurpose cleaner, you can’t use it on every surface.
WHAT SHOULD YOU NOT USE VINEGAR ON?
- Never mix vinegar with bleach or hydrogen peroxide as the resulting products are unsafe and toxic.
- Don’t use vinegar on surfaces like marble and granite as it will ruin the smooth surface, and on surfaces like stone and hardwood floors as it will damage the finish.
- Never use vinegar on waxed surfaces as it will dissolve the wax.
- The acidity of vinegar can damage the rubber parts of appliances like dishwasher and washing machine. But it is safe to use on machines made using natural rubber seals and parts constructed from silicone, fluorocarbon, ethylene-propylene, virgin Teflon, and butyl synthetic rubber seals. Read this article to learn what it’s not safe to use on.
- Don’t use it to clean pearl jewelry as its acidity can dissolve pearls.
- Don’t use vinegar to clean anything that involves egg, as the protein enzymes in the egg will coagulate and make it harder to clean up.
Now, I would love to hear your experiences about cleaning with vinegar. What’s your best vinegar cleaning hack? I would love to add it to the list. Let me know in the comments below.
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