One of the most powerful, practical cleaners in your home is likely in your kitchen cupboard.
One cold evening when I was gassing up my car I accidentally dripped gasoline on my down coat. The smell was so strong that I thought I might have to toss the coat in the garbage. But it’s my favourite coat for walking so I decided to try washing it. Throwing it in the wash only seemed to make it worse, spreading the gasoline smell throughout the whole coat, and the washing machine. As a last resort I put the coat through another wash cycle with two cups of white vinegar. It came out of that wash smelling like vinegar instead of gasoline and after being tossed in the dryer with tennis balls for 40 minutes it smells as good as new.
The experience reminded me that plain old white vinegar has dozens of cleaning uses for every room, and cleaning challenge, in your house. And it’s a safe and inexpensive cleaner.
According to studies, basic distilled white vinegar (5% acidity) from the grocery store kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold and 80% of germs. It’s safe for the body and won’t harm the environment.
Vinegar can be used full strength or you can dilute it with water and the tart odour disappears when the vinegar dries. Try adding a few drops of essential oil to the mixture if you find to scent of vinegar too unpleasant.
The cleaning uses of vinegar are seemingly endless. Below are some simple ways you can put vinegar to use in your home.
10 Non-Toxic Cleaning Hacks with Vinegar:
- Make a scouring cleanser by combining ¼ cup of baking soda with a tablespoon of dish detergent and enough vinegar to make a creamy texture.
- Spray vinegar, full strength, on a cutting board after you have finished using it for the day. Don’t rinse it off, just let the vinegar evaporate. It will kill any germs on the cutting board and the smell will disappear once the cutting board is dry.
- Full strength vinegar makes a great counter top cleaner too.
- Clean and deodorize your drains by sprinkling a cup of baking soda down the drain and following it with a cu of vinegar. Let it bubble away while the kettle boils and then chase it with a kettleful of boiling water.
- Half a cup of vinegar with half a cup of water in a glass bowl and bring it to the boil in your microwave. Once lots of steam has been created simply wipe down the inside of the microwave.
- To clean and deodorize your dishwasher place a mug full of vinegar on the upper rack of your empty dishwasher then run it through a full cycle.
- Clean the inside of your fridge with a half and half mixture of vinegar and water.
- Spray the rim of the toilet bowl with full strength vinegar and let it air dry
- Before wearing new clothes, put them through the wash with half a cup of white vinegar, in place of laundry detergent. The vinegar will help to remove manufacturing chemicals. (Vinegar can’t be used on silk, acetate or rayon.)
- Remove water and salt stains from boots and shoes by wiping them down with vinegar.
Adding vinegar to your cleaning routine is an easy and inexpensive way to detox your home of harmful cleaners.
About cider vinegar:
Most of the health benefits associated with vinegar refer to cider vinegar, and specifically unpasteurized cider vinegar that still contains the “mother”, a jelly-like mass at the bottom of the bottle. In the Maritimes look for Boates cider vinegar (made in Nova Scotia) at local markets and in the natural foods section of Sobeys.