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Friday, June 29, 2012

My All-Purpose Wonder-Cleaner

I wish I remember what blog I first read about using vinegar for cleaning!  Since my first discovery of it a few months ago, I've done a bit of reading into it (and I mean just a little), and a little more experimenting with it myself.

Growing up, the only thing my family really used vinegar-water for up vomit stains from the carpet.  Sorry.  Anyway, it took a while for me to get excited about using vinegar for anything else, because of the smell association!  Vinegar smell had always been associated with vomit smell.  Yuck, I know.  Well, I've gotten over that, and now I've been raving about the wonders of vinegar (combined, fairly often, with baking soda--my second-favorite cleaner) when it comes to cleaning.

(And yes, I do usually use Walmart's or another store brand.  It's cheaper!)

Some of these may be ways you use vinegar already.  I hope some of them will be new ideas!  If you have any suggestions I haven't listed, please share them in the comments!  So, without further ado, my top uses for vinegar:

1) All-purpose cleaner.  I mix about half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle and use it all over the bathroom and to sanitize the kitchen counter and table.
2) Toilet bowl cleaner.  Undiluted, a cup-ish in the bowl when I start cleaning, then I swish it out.  One of these days I'm going to drain the bowl, make a paste of baking soda and water, and really get that thing clean.
3) De-scummer on kitchen/bathroom faucets (use with baking soda for best results).  I did this on my kitchen faucet the other day and oh. my. goodness.  It's so shiny now.  The tub faucet is going to get shined up soon!
4) Floor cleaner.  When I scrub the floors (which is on hands and knees, with a rag), I fill a bucket with hot water, add a cup or so of vinegar, and sometimes a few drops of dish soap and a sprinkling of baking powder.  That helps cut dirt and grease better than plain vinegar-water.
5) As a tub cleaner.  Especially when mixed with baking soda, this is an impressive one.  My tub was VERY soap-scummy.  I sprayed it with the vinegar-water to moisten, sprinkled liberally with baking soda (lovely foaming action!  Just like Scrubbing Bubbles, lol), and then used a sponge with a "scrubby" side to it to scour the tub.  I did this barefoot, in shorts and a t-shirt, and used my foot to do a lot of the work.  Saved my back that way, plus my legs are stronger than my arms!  It worked really well.
6) To remove urine stains from toilet.  This goes with being a toilet/all-purpose cleaner, but the vinegar spray, when used with a little baking soda, whitens those spots on the floor by the toilet like a charm.
7) As a window cleaner.  Just plain vinegar-water, rubbed vigorously with a dry cloth, shines windows and mirrors beautifully.  Newspaper also works wonderfully to dry the windows as well!  Something in the ink (and you must use regular newsprint, not magazine-like paper) helps keep the windows from streaking.  Lovely way to recycle, too!
8) To clean the top of the refrigerator.  I don't know about you, but the top of my refrigerator gets covered in a nasty grime from the combination of dust and grease that floats around the kitchen.  Once again, vinegar spray, a hefty sprinkle of baking powder, and a lot of paper towels got it cleaned right up.  (And in case you look askance at me for using paper towels, I'm in the process of (gradually) transitioning to using more rags.  But I don't have my own washing machine yet.)
9) To clean the rest of the refrigerator!  I did a quick wipe-down of mine the other day with just vinegar-water, and it got a lot of grime and gunk out.  The whole fridge needs a more thorough cleaning, but that will come.  Soon. :)
10) Microwave cleaner.  For those of you who use a microwave, this is SO much quicker than anything else.  Put a cup or so of vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl, add some water, and microwave on high until the mixture boils.  Let it sit for a minute or so before you open the door--the fumes will be strong--but then take it out and quickly wipe out the inside.  Scrubbing should be hardly necessary!
11) Drain freshener/de-clogger.  Pour that hot vinegar down the drain when you're done cleaning the microwave!  You can also pour straight vinegar, and then boiling water, down drains.  It doesn't remove all clogs, but it will clean them and freshen up any nasty smells.
12) Sanitize and freshen kitchen dishrags and sponges.  For a while I was using disposable sponges to do my dishes.  I didn't like how, even when well-rinsed, they'd get smelly after just a couple days.  So I tried soaking one in some vinegar for several hours, and that cleaned it enough to give it a longer usage time.

These are the main ways I use vinegar in my home.  What are some of your favorite cleaning tips and tricks?
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  1. You can also pour vinegar over your sunburn to help with the stinging!

    Now I want to go clean my whole house with vinegar!

  2. I read this and it totally made me want to clean! I use a regular cleaner from the store at the moment, and have tried vinegar but haven't been totally impressed with the results. Though, I have had great results with vinegar and baking soda as a toilet bowl cleaner! I sprinkle in baking soda and then add vinegar, shut the lid and wait awhile then scrub with a brush. It always works marvelously!

  3. I also use vinegar to clean my washer. I have a top loader. Fill the tub with hot water, throw in 3-4 cups of vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda. Let it agitate for about 5-10 mins and then turn the machine off and let it sit for about an hour. Advance the cycle to spin and drain, let it finish & it's done. I usually wipe down the inside when it's done to clean up any gunk it's picked up. I try and do this about once a month.


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