Did you know that vinegar has been used for 10,000 years? If you recall some of my previous blog posts, you know I'm in love with vinegar! I use it as my primary cleaning agent (half water, half vinegar in a spray bottle). It's a disinfectant, it is nontoxic, and it costs pennies to use! Don't just take it from me, though. Here are suggestions from Vinegar Tips on using vinegar as you do your spring cleaning. Check out their laundry, garden, and other tips, too!
"White distilled vinegar is a popular household cleanser, effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity. Cleaning with white distilled vinegar is a smart way to avoid using harsh chemicals. You’ll also be glad to know that it is environmentally friendly and very economical.
To shine chrome sink fixtures that have a lime buildup, use a paste made of 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar.
Make your own scouring cleanser by combining 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid detergent. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to give it a thick but creamy texture.
Clean counter tops and make them smell sweet again with a cloth soaked in undiluted white distilled vinegar.
Clean and deodorize a drain by pouring in 1 cup baking soda, then one cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let this sit for 5 minutes or so, then run hot water down the drain.
Deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring in 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes then run hot water down the disposal.
Deodorize and clean the garbage disposal with white distilled vinegar ice cubes. Make them by freezing full-strength white distilled vinegar in an ice cube tray. Run several cubes down the disposal while flushing with cold water.
Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.
Clean the shelves and walls of the refrigerator with a half-and-half solution of water and white distilled vinegar.
Cut the grime on the top of the refrigerator with a paper towel or cloth and full-strength white distilled vinegar.
Avoid the bad smell when you heat up a newly cleaned oven by using a sponge soaked in diluted white distilled vinegar for the final rinse.
To clean a grease splattered oven door window, saturate it with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Keep the door open for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping with a sponge.
Remove soap buildup and odors from the dishwasher by pouring a cup of white distilled vinegar inside the empty machine and running it through a whole cycle. Do monthly.
To prevent good glassware from getting etched by minerals, wash then spray with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Give the glasses a hot water rinse before letting them dry or drying them with a towel.
For cloudy glassware, soak paper towels or a cloth in full-strength white distilled vinegar and wrap around the inside and outside of the glass. Let sit awhile before rinsing clean.
Get rid of lime deposits in a tea kettle by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the water and letting it sit overnight. If more drastic action is needed, boil full-strength white distilled vinegar in the kettle a few minutes, let cool and rinse with plain water.
Remove mineral deposits from coffee makers with white distilled vinegar. Fill the water reservoir with 1 cup or more of white distilled vinegar and run it through a whole cycle. Run it once or twice more with plain water to rinse clean. (Check the owners’ manual first.)
Remove stains from coffee and teacups by scrubbing them gently with equal parts of salt (or baking soda) and white distilled vinegar. Rinse clean.
For stained and smelly plastic food containers, wipe them with a cloth dampened with white distilled vinegar.
Remove odors from a lunch box by placing inside a slice of bread that has been soaked in white distilled vinegar. Leave overnight.
Remove ugly film in narrow-necked glass jars, flower vases, and bottles by letting undiluted white distilled vinegar sit in them for a few hours. Add a little rice or sand and shake vigorously to loosen stubborn stains. Repeat if necessary.
Easily clean your mini blinds by wearing pair of white cotton gloves. Dip gloved fingers into a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm tap water, and run your fingers across both sides of each blind.
To clean tarnished brass, copper, and pewter,use a paste with equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and table salt.
Make a metal cleanser by adding enough white distilled vinegar to 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar to make a paste. Rub it on and let it dry on the surface. Wash it off and dry with a soft cloth.
Polish brass and copper with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of ketchup and 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar. Rub it on with a clean cloth until dry and shiny.
Remove dark stains on an aluminum pot by boiling a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 cup hot water.
Discourage ants by spraying undiluted white distilled vinegar outside doorways and windowsills, around appliances and wherever you find the pests coming in.
Get rid of fruit flies by setting out a small dish of undiluted white distilled vinegar.
Clean the wheel of a can opener using white distilled vinegar and an old toothbrush.
Remove the smell of spoiled food from a refrigerator by first rinsing the area with soap and water. Spray surfaces with full-strength white distilled vinegar and wipe them down with a damp cloth or sponge. Fill some containers with baking soda and place inside. Close the door and leave for a few days.
Wipe grease off exhaust fan grids, the inside of your oven, or anywhere grease gathers with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar.
To make cleaning the grill easier, spray a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar on the cooking surface.
To remove a label, decal, or price tag, cover with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar. Leave the cloth on overnight and the label should slide off.
Renew sponges and dishrags by placing them in just enough water to cover them. Then add 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Let them soak overnight.
Get rid of calcium deposits on faucets by soaking a cloth or paper towel in white distilled vinegar and wrapping the area tightly. Let this sit for a couple of hours or overnight.
Remove soap buildup from faucets by scrubbing them with a solution of 1 part salt to 4 parts white distilled vinegar.
Rid a faucet of lime deposits by tying a plastic bag containing 1/2 to 1/3 cup of white distilled vinegar around it and leaving it there for two or three hours. If mineral deposits don’t wipe off, scrubbing with an old toothbrush should complete the job.
Shine colored porcelain sinks by scouring them with undiluted white distilled vinegar.
Rinse away soapy film on countertops with a solution of white distilled vinegar and water.
Clean grout by letting full-strength white distilled vinegar sit on it for a few minutes and scrubbing it with an old toothbrush.
Kill germs all around the bathroom with a spray of full-strength white distilled vinegar. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
To remove grime, mildew, and scum from the tub, tile, shower curtain or door, wipe with undiluted white distilled vinegar. Rinse with water.
Spray shower doors with full-strength white distilled vinegar after you’ve squeegeed the glass, or before you step in and turn on the water. It will help release the hard water deposits so they don’t remain on the glass.
Mix up an inexpensive tile cleaner by adding 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup white distilled vinegar, and 1 cup ammonia to a gallon of warm water.
Get rid of stubborn bathtub film by wiping it with white distilled vinegar and then scouring with baking soda.
Soak a sponge or loofah overnight in a strong white distilled vinegar and water solution to remove dirt and slime. Rinse several times with cold water and let air dry (in the sun if possible).
Clean shower door tracks by filling them with white distilled vinegar and letting it sit for a few hours. Pour hot water into the tracks and wash and scrub away the scum with a toothbrush.
To clean a scummy showerhead, pour 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup white distilled vinegar into a sandwich bag and tie it around the showerhead. Let this set for an hour after the bubbling has stopped. Remove the bag and then turn on the water.
Deodorize the toilet bowl by allowing 3 cups white distilled vinegar to sit in it for about a half hour before flushing.
To make the toilet bowl sparkle, pour in a cup or more of diluted white distilled vinegar and let it sit several hours or overnight. Scrub well with the toilet brush and flush.
Freshen air in the bathroom by spraying into the air a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar, and 1 cup water.
Get a shining finish on a no-wax vinyl or linoleum floor by cleaning it with a solution of one cup white distilled vinegar for every gallon of water.
Apply full-strength white distilled vinegar directly to tough linoleum stains. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping it up. If that doesn’t work, apply white distilled vinegar again and then sprinkle some baking soda over the white distilled vinegar. Scrub the area with a brush or sponge. Rinse clean with water.
For an economical and environmentally friendly floor cleaner, mix a solution of 3 drops dishwashing liquid to 1/3 part white distilled vinegar, 1/3 part alcohol, and 1/3 part water. Spray sparingly and mop for a fast clean-up.
Some carpet stains can be removed with a paste of 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1/4 cup salt or baking soda. Rub into the carpet stain and let dry. Vacuum up the residue the next day. (Always test on an out-of-sight part of the carpet first).
Bring out the color in carpet by brushing it with a solution of 1 cup white distilled vinegar for every gallon of water. (Always test on an out-of-sight part of the carpet beforehand).
To reduce soap bubbles in a steam cleaner add about 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Use the same amount in the rinse water to remove detergent residue and make carpets stay fresh longer.
Wash indoor/outdoor carpet with a solution of 1 cup white distilled vinegar in 1 bucket of warm water. Scrub using a brush or a broom and then hose off.
Clean up pet accidents by first blotting up the area and then adding a white distilled vinegar-and-water solution. Blot until it is almost dry. Then sprinkle baking soda over the area and let it dry. Vacuum up the residue the next day.
Create your own window cleaning solution by combining 1/2 cup non-sudsy ammonia, 1 cup white distilled vinegar, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a gallon of water.
Remove the wax residue left by commercial window cleaners with a solution of 2 cups water, 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent.
To remove paint from windows try using undiluted, hot white distilled vinegar. Give the solution time to soften the paint before removing with a razor edge tool.
To remove paint splatters from windows apply full-strength white distilled vinegar with a clean paintbrush.
Get rid of mildew, dust, and stale odors by wiping down walls with undiluted white distilled vinegar on a cloth or a sponge mop.
Clean woodwork and walls with a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar, 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup ammonia and 1 gallon warm water. Wipe on with a sponge or damp—not wet—towel.
Clean wood paneling with a solution of 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar, and 2 cups warm water. Wipe on with a soft cloth.
Remove wallpaper easily by using a paint roller to wet the surface very thoroughly with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and hot water. Or spray on until saturated.
Get decals off walls or doors by letting undiluted white distilled vinegar soak into them for several minutes before trying to peel them off. Repeat if necessary.
Remove white water rings from wood with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and vegetable oil. Rub with the grain.
Remove fireplace soot and grime with undiluted white distilled vinegar. Use a brush to scrub and a towel to blot up the wetness and dirt.
Clean fireplace glass doors with a solution of 1 part white distilled vinegar to 2 parts water. Spray or wipe on, then wipe clean with a dry cloth.
To kill germs, spray full-strength white distilled vinegar on doorknobs and then wipe them dry.
Remove the smell of a dead mouse or other rodent (after removing all animal remnants) by wiping down the area with either white distilled vinegar or bleach. Then place a fabric softener sheet in the area to remove any lingering odors.
Never use white distilled vinegar on marble. The acid can damage the surface.
Before painting old concrete, clean with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Let it air dry.
Clean hardened paint brushes by simmering them in a pot with white distilled vinegar. Soak them first for an hour before bringing the white distilled vinegar to a simmer. Drain and rinse clean.
Remove mud and stains from plastic, fiberglass, or aluminum sports equipment by applying a paste of 1 part white distilled vinegar to 3 parts baking soda. Wipe off with soapy water and rinse with clear water.
Clean your grill by spritzing white distilled vinegar over wadded up aluminum foil and scrubbing the grill vigorously with it.
To remove film in glass baby bottles, fill with equal parts hot water and white distilled vinegar. Let sit for at least an hour. Scrub with a bottle brush.
To clean and disinfect baby toys add a good-sized splash of white distilled vinegar to soapy water.
Clean vinyl baby books or board books by wiping with white distilled vinegar. Wipe clean with a damp sponge or cloth.
Clean scissors that have become sticky (after cutting tape, for instance) with a cloth dipped in undiluted white distilled vinegar.
Clean and deodorize urine on a mattress with a white distilled vinegar and water solution. Then sprinkle the area with baking soda and let dry. Brush or vacuum the residue after it is dry to the touch.
Shine pennies by soaking them for a couple of hours or overnight in a glass or bowl of undiluted white distilled vinegar."
More on spring cleaning with household products:
Spring Cleaning Using Household Items - Dryer Sheets
Spring Cleaning Using Household Items - Lemons
Spring Cleaning Using Household Items - Baking Soda
Three Steps to Clever Cleaning