Spring is on the way! It is almost time to open those windows, let in some fresh air, and clean, clean, clean. Instead of buying cleaning supplies that fill the air with harmful chemicals, detox your home with the best natural cleaner you likely already have in stock. Distilled white vinegar is the ultimate multipurpose solution that will clean and sanitize almost every surface in your home. Best of all, it is inexpensive.
Here are 18 ways you can use this everyday kitchen staple as your spring-cleaning superhero.
1. Glass Cleaner
Many glass cleaning products are formulated with vinegar, but they also include harmful chemicals. You can drop the brand name and the chemicals—vinegar will do the job all on its own. Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle and spray away. Wipe with a lint-free cloth and get ready for a sparkly, no streak shine. This works for any glass surface, including windows, mirrors, shower doors, microwave, and glass oven doors.
2. Mildew Remover
Straight vinegar is a great mildew remover. Use a toothbrush to scrub the grout in and around the tub, or other tough-to-reach spots throughout the house.
3. Clean, Disinfect and Freshen a Drain or Garbage Disposal
Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup vinegar. Combining the two creates a fizzy chemical reaction that can dissolve buildup and break up gunk. Baking soda is also a natural deodorizer. When the mixture stops fizzing and bubbling, flush the drain with hot water for a few minutes, then flush with cold water.
4.Shine Your Stainless-Steel Sink
After a while, stainless steel sinks can look dingy. Sprinkle baking soda in the sink, spray with vinegar and scrub with a sponge or a scrub brush. Again, the chemical reaction of combining baking soda and vinegar dissolves buildup and gunk. Baking soda is slightly abrasive, which helps to remove stains. Rinse out the sink with hot water and wipe it dry with a cloth.
5. Clean and Disinfect Your Refrigerator
Spray a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar inside the refrigerator and wipe clean. For stubborn, stuck on spots, spray and let the mixture sit for a few minutes. It should wipe away clean.
6. Stovetops and Ovens
Make a paste from one part vinegar and three parts baking soda. Scrub the stovetop or inside the oven with the paste and a sponge or scrub brush to remove grease and baked on food. For tough spots, let the paste sit for a while, then scrub. Rinse it off with a wet cloth several times and dry to shine.
7. Steam Clean and Disinfect Your Microwave
Pour 1 cup water and 1 cup vinegar into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for approximately 4 minutes. The steam will loosen stuck on food and grease. Wipe the inside clean with a dry cloth.
8. Clean Your Coffee Maker or Teapot
Hard water minerals can build up and clog the inner workings of your coffee maker. To break up the buildup and clean your machine, fill the reservoir with equal parts water and vinegar and brew a pot. Afterwards, rinse everything twice by brewing 2 full pots of clean water.
For your teapot, fill it with equal parts vinegar and water. Bring it to a boil, take it off the burner and let it sit for 1-2 hours. Rinse several times with hot water.
9. Remove Lime Buildup on Faucets and Shower Heads
Over time, a heavy lime buildup can occur on plumbing fixtures throughout the house. To break it up and clean your faucets and shower heads, soak a paper towel or dish towel in vinegar, wrap it around
the faucet or shower head and hold it in place with a rubber band. Let it sit for an hour, then wipe clean. For stubborn buildup, pour warm vinegar into a sandwich bag and wrap it around the faucet or shower head so it’s submerged in the vinegar. Secure it with a rubber band and let it soak overnight. Both methods will also work on other fixtures throughout the house that are corroded with lime.
10. Remove Bathtub Film and Residue
Remove film and residue by wiping or spraying the tub first with vinegar, then sprinkle on some baking soda and scrub with a sponge or scrub brush. Rinse the tub clean with hot water. For stubborn spots, let the vinegar and baking soda mixture sit for at least an hour, then scrub and rinse.
11. Clean Your Washing Machine
This works for both top-loading and front-loading machines.
Run an empty, regular cycle on hot, adding a cup of white vinegar instead of detergent to the detergent dispenser. The vinegar will remove grime buildup, dirt, mildew and will act as a deodorizer. It also removes and prevents bacteria growth. If your machine smells super musty, you could sprinkle a cup of baking soda in the drum before you run the cycle. Baking soda also acts as a deodorizer.
Tip: Front-load machines are notorious for mold and mildew growth—especially on the rubber gasket inside the door. Before running your cleaning cycle, scrub the gasket with straight vinegar and a toothbrush, then wipe clean with a cloth.
12. Cleaning Floors
Vinegar can also be used to clean floors, including hardwood and laminate wood floors. Mix one gallon of water and one-half cup of vinegar and mop the dirt and grease away.
13. Remove Dirt from Blinds
Soak a lint-free cloth in equal parts vinegar and warm water and wipe each panel of the blinds.
Tip: The fingertips of old winter gloves work even better.
14. Crayon Marks on Walls
Erase the marks with a toothbrush and straight vinegar, then wipe off with a damp cloth.
15. Clean and Disinfect Doorknobs
Spray each doorknob with straight vinegar and wipe clean. This will clean the knob and remove germs.
16. Stains on Carpets
Make a paste of one part vinegar and three parts baking soda and rub into the stain. Leave it overnight, then vacuum the next day.
17. Pet Urine in Carpets
Soak up as much urine as possible with paper towels, then saturate the stain with equal parts vinegar and water. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Blot the carpet with paper towels, removing as much liquid as possible. When the carpet is mostly dry, sprinkle the area with baking soda to absorb odors. Leave it for an hour, then vacuum.
18. Clean Your Mattress
Mattresses are one of the most difficult things to clean. You can’t throw it in the washing machine or take it to the cleaner. To create a cleaner that will repel dust mites, mildew, and general odors, combine 1 cup of vinegar, ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol, and 10 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Lightly spritz the entire mattress and let dry. For extra deodorizing, sprinkle with baking soda, let it sit for an hour and then vacuum.
White vinegar should always have a special place in your pantry. There is really no end to what this inexpensive and eco-friendly green cleaning machine can do. From top to bottom, cleaning your home this spring will be a breeze!