Hello, friends! For the past few weeks, I have been sharing some of my favorite uses of baking soda in the kitchen, bathroom, and in place of some common beauty and hygiene products. Today, I’m sharing one of my other favorite common household ingredients: white distilled vinegar. Vinegar is truly a multi-purpose cleaner, as its acidity makes it effective against most molds, bacteria, and germs.
Because of this, vinegar is great as a cleaner, in the laundry, and as a deodorizer (believe it or not). Here are some of my favorite uses:
- Laundry: We’ve all done it. You put a load of laundry into the washing machine, then forget all about it until the next day (or two…). Now your clothes that were supposed to be clean smell like mildew. The solution? Pour 1 or 2 cups of white distilled vinegar into the washing machine, let it fill up with water and agitate a few times, then let it sit for a bit (set a timer if you need to!). Turn the machine back on and let it run through short cycle. If your clothes smell slightly of vinegar before putting them in the dryer, don’t worry. I’ve never had the vinegar smell linger once the clothes have dried. In fact, adding 1/4 cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle is a great way to keep your laundry smelling fresh! And, it keeps colors brighter, because the acidity cuts the soap residue.
- Bathroom Cleaner: Vinegar’s ability to fight mold, bacteria, and germs makes it a great bathroom cleaner, where these three things can thrive if not kept at bay. And not only can it clean your counters, sinks, and toilets, it can also clean your mirrors. That’s my kind of cleaner! To make up a batch, simply pour 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar into a spray bottle, then shake it up. That’s it! If you’re switching over from commercial cleaners, you’ll want to squirt about a 1/2 teaspoon of liquid detergent (I use castile soap) into the mix (if you don’t do this, your mirrors will be streaked and you will be mad at me). The soap helps cut the residue left behind by the commercial cleaners.
- Grease Cutter: Vinegar’s acidity also makes it very effective against grease. Just soak a sponge in some vinegar, then wipe up any areas where grease likes to accumulate (stoves, microwaves, oven windows, etc.).
- Carpet Cleaner/Deodorizer: If you have any pets (or children, for that matter), you know that accidents can happen on your nice, clean carpet. When this happens, just blot it up with some paper towels, then spray on a solution of 1:1 water and vinegar, then scrub a little and let dry. This will not only get rid of any germs, but will also leave your carpet completely odorless (after the vinegar smell dissipates, that is).
- Sticker Remover: Have one of those stubborn stickers that won’t come off? Soak it in vinegar overnight, then rub it off in the morning. Voila!
- Dishwasher Cleaner: After a while, dishwashers can acquire an unpleasant odor. And if your dishwasher is anything like mine, it also acquires yellow, gooey gunk along the bottom rim fairly regularly. The solution for this is simple. Empty out the dishwasher, then fill a cup or a bowl with white distilled vinegar, and run the dishwasher through a short cycle. If you have a REALLY dirty dishwasher, you may have to repeat this once or twice. Your dishwasher will be sparkly clean and odorless. Then, make sure you do this regularly (once every couple of months?) to keep your dishwasher from reverting back to its previous, less desirable state.
There are many other ways you can use vinegar, but these are a few of my favorites. And the best part? It’s inexpensive, and you don’t have to worry about what kind of toxins you’re putting into your body. Growing up, using commercial cleaners always made me sneeze, because I was sensitive to the chemicals in them. This hasn’t been a problem since I started making my own cleaners. Now I can clean the bathroom sneeze-free! I encourage you to try a few of the suggestions above. Your body, your pocketbook, and the earth will thank you!
Have you ever used vinegar for cleaning or laundry? What are some of your favorite ways to use it? Share your comments below!