By now, most of us know that conventional household cleaners contain toxins that we don’t want to be inhaling, and that they contribute to air pollution in our home. So, there are alternatives out here, such as those found at Whole Foods and other health food stores, including Mrs. Meyers, Ecover and BioKleen. But what if you don’t have access to those products or can’t afford them? The good news is that there are some key ingredients that you already use that can be used for cleaning. These include baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar.
Today’s focus is on vinegar, because it is VERY versatile around the house. It cuts grease, eliminates odors, removes stains and is a water softener. Here are some ideas and recipes for you — and again, if you think it takes effort and talent to do these, think again! I am not a homemaker (nor do I proclaim to be a cook), but I can put these together in a relatively short period of time. Try them out and let us know what you think — oh, and use white vinegar!
All-Purpose Cleaner (a few ideas for you)
- Mix vinegar and salt together for a surface cleaner.
- Mix the following ingredients in spray bottle or bucket: 3 tbsp. vinegar, 1/2 tsp. washing soda, 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil based liquid soap, 2 cups hot water.
- Mix ¼ cup baking soda, ½ cup borax, ½ cup vinegar and 1 gallon of water.
- Mix 1/2 cup vinegar & 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2gallon water
- Use undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle
- Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
- Mix a 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 quart warm water and apply with a sponge or pour into spray bottle and spray on. Wipe dry with crumpled newspaper, buff to a shine.
Toilet Cleaner (we all loooove to clean the toilet!)
- Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then squirt with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush.
Drain declogger (forget Drano! plus it’s so much fun to watch this bubble up!)
- Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain/disposal, followed by 1 cup white vinegar. Cover drain and allow the mixture to foam for 15+ minutes (I wait about half an hour or more) before flushing the drain with a gallon of boiling water. Note: Do NOT use this recipe if you’ve just used a commerical drain opener that may still be in the drain.
Tub & Tile Cleaner (again, not one of my favorite activities, but at least now it’s not toxic)
- Use 1/4 cup (or more) vinegar to 1 gallon water to clean the tub.
- Remove film buildup on bathtubs by applying vinegar to a sponge and wiping. Then, use baking soda as a scouring powder — rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly.
Rust Stain and Hard Water Deposit Remover
- Apply full-strength vinegar or lemon juice and let stand until spot disappears, rinse.
- Dissolve half-cup vinegar with half-cup borax in warm water.
Remove Lime and Mineral Deposits:
- Soak paper towels in vinegar and apply to the lime deposits. Leave them on for about an hour then wipe away.
- Place vinegar in a cup or bowl to rid room of odors.
- To decrease cooking odors, simmer 1 tbsp. vinegar in 1 cup water on the stove while cooking.
- Get the smell of onions or fish off utensils and cutting boards by wiping them with vinegar and washing them in soapy water.
- To remove spots, add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse compartment of your automatic dishwasher.
- To get glasses even cleaner, soak them occasionally in a solution of vinegar and water
Furniture Cleaner and Polish
- Mix 3 cups olive oil and 1 cup vinegar together until well blended. Use a clean, soft cloth to apply to the furniture.
- Mix 1/8 cup linseed oil, 1/8 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup lemon juice and rub into wood with a soft cloth.
- For greasy, no-wax floors, mix 1 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup washing soda, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil-based liquid soap and 2 gallons hot water and get to mopping!
- Dip soft cloth in undiluted white vinegar. Wipe surface.
- Mix equal parts salt and flour with a little vinegar, then rub.
- Add 1/3 cup washing soda (sodium carbonate) to water as machine is filling, then add clothes and 1 ½ cups of soap. If the water is hard, add ¼ cup vinegar during the first rinse.
- Add 1 cup vinegar or ¼ cup baking soda during final rinse.
- Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray it on the stain and let it sit, then clean it with a brush or sponge and warm soapy water.
- For something heavier, mix 1/4 cup each of vinegar, borax and salt and rub paste into carpet. Leave it for a few hours then vacuum.
Now who’s going to tell me vinegar is not a wonder cleaner?! And if you’re wondering, yes, I will do a blog on baking soda and another on lemons (and maybe even borax) in the near future– stay tuned!