Wednesday, June 13, 2012

43 ways to clean with vinegar

You can clean almost everything with vinegar. If you can't clean it with vinegar by itself, you can probably clean it with vinegar and salt or vinegar and baking soda or vinegar and dish soap.

My house has very few cleaning products in it. I buy laundry detergent and dish soap (I plan on trying to make my own, I just haven't found time yet) but I use plain white vinegar for most other things. It's cheap, it often works better than other cleaning products, it disinfects, it's eco friendly and I don't have to worry about my son getting into it. Some people are worried about the smell, but it dissipates quickly and you can always add a few drops of essential oil or some lemon juice.

Here are some things I've done with vinegar:
  1. Cleaning dried-on food off of hardwood floors and wooden furniture... no matter how long it's been there. Just lay a towel over the area of floor or over the piece of furniture and pour hot vinegar (I just heat it in the microwave for a couple minutes) over the towel. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and then use the towel to clean up the mess. Most of it should come off really easily.
  2. When something spills on the carpet, soak up as much of it as you can with a towel or paper towels and then spray with half water, half vinegar (you can buy spray bottles at the dollar store and have them filled and ready to go). Let it stand for a few minutes and then soak it up with a towel, repeat if necessary. If the stain isn't going away, try adding a bit of dish soap to the vinegar/water mixture.
  3. Unclog your drain with equal parts baking soda and vinegar. Pour down the baking soda first, then pour in the vinegar. When it stops fizzing, rinse with warm water. Repeat if needed.
  4. To clean your microwave, heat a bowl of vinegar for a couple minutes - the gunk will wipe off easily.
  5. A mixture of vinegar and salt will remove tea and coffee stains from mugs.
  6. Remove stickers from most surfaces. Use a cloth to wet the sticker with vinegar, wait 5-10 minutes and wipe it off (the sticker will not be re-usable).
  7. Clean toilets with a spray bottle of vinegar and a toilet brush.
  8. Use hot water and vinegar to mop the floor - about 1 cup vinegar per gallon of water.
  9. Place a bowl of vinegar in a room to remove odors.
  10. Use a spray bottle of vinegar as an all-purpose surface cleaner.
  11. Soak shower heads in vinegar overnight to unclog them. You can do this without removing them, too, just fill a baggy with vinegar, cover the shower head with it and hold it on with a couple elastics.
  12. Use a spray bottle of half vinegar and half water to clean windows.
  13. Use a sponge or cloth soaked in vinegar to remove grease on pretty much anything.
  14. Fill the reservoir of a coffee maker with vinegar and run it (without the coffee grinds) to clean the inside of the machine. Run it a few times with water after this so your next coffee doesn't taste like vinegar.
  15. Use full-strength vinegar to clean and disinfect wooden cutting boards.
  16. Add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of baby clothes to get rid of any urine stains or smells.
  17. If you ever die fabrics (or your kids bring tie-dye t-shirts home from camp), add a cup of water to the rinse cycle the first time you wash them. It will help stop the dye from coming out. So will putting them in the dryer, even if you normally hang-dry your clothes.
  18. Rinse empty jars that you want to reuse (peanutbutter, jam, mayonnaise, ect) with vinegar after cleaning them to deodorize them.
  19. Clean plastic with diluted vinegar - this also stops static-cling, which will make it attract less dust.
  20. Use to disinfect baby toys.
  21. Remove deodorant stains (and almost any other stain) from cotton with a sponge and vinegar.
  22. Remove stuck-on food from a pan by covering it in hot water and adding a few tablespoons of vinegar.
  23. If your dishwasher has a space for a drying agent (like Jet-Dry), vinegar is a cheap alternative.
  24. Soak glasses and vases in vinegar to remove the cloudy white build-up from hard water.
And some other things I've read about but haven't actually done yet (let me know if they worked for you!):
  1. Put a cup of vinegar in the bottom of your dishwasher and run it (empty) once a month to get rid of odors.
  2. Spray vinegar on furniture, windowsills, counters, anywhere you don't want your pets going. Note: may stain some fabrics.
  3. To clean your sink's garbage disposal, freeze vinegar in an ice cube tray. Put a few ice cubes down the disposal with it running, flush with cold water.
  4. Soak paintbrushes in hot vinegar to remove dried-on paint. Clean with hot soapy water afterwards.
  5. Wipe car windows with water and vinegar (3 parts vinegar, 1 part water) to stop them from frosting over the next morning.
  6. Clean salt stains off of leather shoes with half water, half vinegar.
  7. Wipe CDs/DVDs with vinegar too clean them - this will not work on badly damaged disks, but will get rid of dirt and help with minor scratches.
  8. Add 2 cups of vinegar to the rinse cycle of blankets and towels (cotton and wool only) to make them soft again.
  9. Soak rusted tools in vinegar overnight to remove rust.
  10. Clean your washing machine by running a wash cycle (without the clothes) with a cup of vinegar.
  11. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of vinegar for cleaning metallic surfaces.
  12. Clean eye glasses with a soft cloth moistened with vinegar.
  13. Remove rings that glasses leave on wood surfaces with one part vinegar and one part olive oil. Rub with the grain.
  14. Clean grout with vinegar and an old toothbrush.
  15. Add a tablespoon or two of vinegar to the dishwater to cut grease.
  16. Get rid of oven grease - you can pour vinegar directly on the door of your oven, let it sit a few minutes and then wipe it off. You can also use it to clean the rest of your oven, and it will discourage the grease from sticking for a while.
  17. Boil vinegar in your kettle to get rid of lime deposits.
  18. Clean can openers with an old toothbrush and vinegar.
  19. If your house has an unpleasant smell (cigarettes, pets, bad food) try boiling a pot of water and vinegar (about 1/4 cup vinegar per cup of water) on the stove for half an hour or so. 

Do you know of any other uses? Feel free to comment!

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