Blog written by Katchy.
So much of creating a welcoming home has to do with keeping your spaces clean, fresh, insect-free, and generally comfortable. If you're looking for a multipurpose cleaning option that's non-toxic, effective, and also dirt cheap, vinegar ticks every single box.
This is true whether you're cleaning with the regular distilled vinegar used for salad dressings or with the true "cleaning vinegar" available in the household supplies aisle of your supermarket. Vinegar is very tough on grease, scum, dirt, bacteria, and mineral stains, while still being a lot gentler than commercial cleaning products.
Why It's Worth Being More Eco-Friendly While Cleaning
The chemicals in traditional cleaning products tend to be quite harsh, and they can even become pollutants after being washed down a drain. The fumes from these substances are not so great for humans and pets either and may become a trigger for allergies, irritated eyes, or asthma.
Eco-friendly cleaning is all about maintaining a sparkling clean home without using as many of those abrasive chemicals. Vinegar is hypoallergenic, non-toxic and biodegradable, while still being a true cleaning powerhouse. Also, while the pungent smell of vinegar probably isn't anyone's favorite it's not irritating and generally won't last that long.
Why Vinegar Is The Ultimate Green Cleaner
Vinegar is made of acetic acid, an organic compound that's strong enough to kill bacteria. Distilled vinegar has a 5 percent acidity, which is actually similar to the acidity of many commercial products. Cleaning vinegar packs an even stronger punch at 6 percent, making it a great choice for the tougher cleaner jobs. Overall, cleaning with vinegar shines because vinegar is
- Powerful: The natural acids in vinegar can lift grease, cut through bathroom scum, make your whites much whiter, and even help unclog a drain.
- Incredibly Versatile: Cleaning vinegar is suitable for cleaning most surfaces in your home, so it's the ideal green replacement for many different types of chemical-based products.
- Cost-Effective: This natural disinfectant is very inexpensive and it's also usually diluted with water, which means a little goes a long way.
How To Clean With Vinegar
Take advantage of all the awesome cleaning powers of vinegar in 4 steps:
1. Choose Your Vinegar
Regular distilled vinegar is a great option for cleaning, but you can also choose cleaning vinegar, a non-edible cousin that's specially formulated to be more acidic. Cleaning vinegar works really well for tougher cleaning jobs while still being affordable and non-toxic.
There are other vinegar options out there, like apple cider vinegar, but they're usually too expensive to be used as a cleaning solution. Also, it's possible for dark-tinted vinegar types to leave a stain behind on some surfaces.
2. Create Your Vinegar Cleaner
The vinegar to water ratio for cleaning is usually 1 to 1, but this will depend on the type of work you're doing. For tougher jobs, you may want to use less water or add some dishwashing soap into the mix.
A simple spray bottle is the most convenient option for using your vinegar cleaning solution on all types of surfaces throughout the home.
3. Mask the Pungent Scent
This step is definitely optional, but some people like to enhance the smell of their DIY cleaning vinegar solution by adding a few drops of an essential oil like lavender or peppermint.
Even if you choose not to add these ingredients, the vinegar smell dissipates after about an hour. It's a small price to pay for a cleaner that's both effective and nontoxic.
4. Avoid Certain Materials
Vinegar is a fantastic cleaning tool all around the home, but there are some exceptions. Like other acid-based cleaning products, vinegar is too harsh for
- marble and granite countertops
- stone floor tiles
- cast iron
- electronic screens
Tips For Cleaning with Vinegar in the Kitchen
As a natural disinfectant, vinegar truly shines in the kitchen.
- The Refrigerator: Refresh your fridge without having to use any harsh chemicals in the place where you store food by spritzing the water-vinegar solution on every surface and then wiping it down with a cloth.
- The Microwave: Tackle splatters and bad odors by placing a cup of your vinegar cleaner in a glass bowl and microwaving for two to three minutes until it boils. Let the steam do its magic for a few minutes before wiping.
- Glass or Plastic Containers: Spritz with a generous amount of vinegar water to revive your plastics and leave all glassware sparkling clean.
- Cutting Boards: Remove garlic smells or disinfect after cutting raw meat by letting your board sit in the solution for five minutes.
- The Stovetop: Get rid of grease and food particles by spritzing with vinegar and then wiping down with a non-abrasive cloth. For the more serious jobs, add some baking soda as well and let the mixture fizz before cleaning.
Tips for Cleaning With Vinegar in the Bathroom
Vinegar works extremely well on most bathroom surfaces, leaving this important space fresh and clean without the use of harsh chemicals.
- Ceramic Tiles: Vinegar makes quick work of soap scum, grime, and bacteria all over the bathroom. Just spray the solution, wait several minutes and then scrub away with a bristled brush or cloth. For a deeper clean, add baking soda and dishwashing liquid as well.
- Showerheads and Faucets: Vinegar can dissolve calcium deposits and other mineral stains that make fixtures look grody. Just spray them with a generous amount of the solution, and leave overnight before scrubbing and rinsing away.
- Tub or Sink Drains: Freshen up your bathroom drains by pouring a cup of undiluted vinegar in and around a closed drain and then adding a tablespoon of baking soda. Let the mixture fizz up and sit for several hours to help loosen and dislodge all the gunk.
- Toilets: A few cups of undiluted vinegar can help deodorize the toilet and remove mineral rings around the bowl if you let it sit for several hours. You can also scrub all around the toilet with vinegar-water and baking soda.
Tips for Cleaning With Vinegar Throughout The Home
Vinegar is amazingly versatile and makes itself useful for cleaning projects in every room.
- Disinfect Doorknobs and Door Handles: When cold and flu season hits, use your water-vinegar solution to wipe down door handles, faucets, and other high-touch areas that may need to be disinfected.
- Mattresses: Refresh your mattress with a mix of vinegar, water, and rubbing alcohol. A light spritz can help you deal with mildew, odor, and even dust mites.
- Boost Your Laundry Detergent: Vinegar can help you handle the stinkiest gym clothes or remove tough stains. You can pour in one cup of undiluted vinegar during the wash cycle or even pretreat the clothes by soaking them in warm water with added vinegar.
- Refresh Carpets: Remove unpleasant odors from your carpets and rugs by spraying them with your vinegar-water solution and then sprinkling some baking soda all around. Brush the solution in, let it dry for several hours, and then vacuum.
- Clean Windows, Glass Tables, and Glass Doors: A vinegar-water solution can easily replace commercial glass cleaners and keep these surfaces streak-free and sparkling clean.
When it comes to an eco-friendly, non-toxic way to clean and disinfect most surfaces, vinegar is a true workhorse! This cleaning solution is also extremely affordable and accessible, which makes it easy to keep vinegar on hand and put it to good use all around the home. There are so many eco-friendly ways to keep your home clean, free of bugs, and smelling fresh without the excessive use of chemicals.