Cleaning Your Home with Vinegar – Saving Money and the Environment

How to clean with vinegarAs most of you will be aware, cleaning your home isn’t cheap. There is literally a cleaning solution for every job; oven cleaner, window cleaner, shower cleaner, bathroom cleaner, floor cleaner, furniture polish, to name a few. Buying all of these separate cleaning materials can cost a small fortune.

Not only are these cleaning solutions not cheap, most of them contain chemicals that are very bad for the environment. These chemicals pollute our rivers and streams, and can be ingested by fish and other sea creatures. Not to mention the harm we potentially cause ourselves by continually breathing in these harsh chemicals.

The best way to reduce our usage of dangerous cleaners is to switch to more environmentally friendly or ‘green’ cleaners. By using natural ingredients we also reduce the amount of packaging that we dispose of, including aerosol cans that contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and plastic packaging that takes a long time to biodegrade.

One of the most popular green cleaners is distilled white vinegar. It is inexpensive (which, according to Sammy’s tips from Home Clean Expert, is great if you are cleaning on a budget), environmentally-safe, and also a natural disinfectant. Here are five uses for white vinegar around the home:

1. Cleaning Windows

Cleaning windows with white vinegar is the best way to give them a sparkling, streak-free finish.

  • First, make up a 50/50 solution of hot water and white vinegar, so one part water to one part vinegar.
  • Dip a sponge into the vinegar solution and squeeze it so that it’s wet, but not drenched.
  • Wipe the sponge along the window pane, cleaning from top to bottom. Ensure you get right into the corners and cover the whole surface of the window.
  • Using a squeegee, start at the top corner of the window pane and bring the squeegee down to the very bottom of the glass, catching any water at the bottom with a towel or rag. Move the squeegee back to the top of the window, slightly overlapping the last stroke, and repeat until the opposite corner is reached.
  • Finish by running the squeegee along the bottom of the window, from right to left.
  • Try to avoid cleaning the windows in direct sunlight, this will make the solution dry quicker and cause streaks.

2. Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Now, some of you may question me here because if you have hardwood flooring in your home chances are you know that they should be cleaned with a natural pH solution to avoid damage. You will also be aware that vinegar is an acid, so why on earth would you clean your hardwood floors with it?

If you mix distilled white vinegar with water the pH is drastically reduced, making it a completely safe and effective cleaning solution.

I definitely don’t recommend you use the same ratio of water to vinegar as you do for windows, which would be far too strong and likely damage your hardwood flooring. I use ¼ – ½ cup of vinegar and mix it with a full gallon of warm water in a bucket.

Place a mop into the solution and squeeze until the mop is almost dry. You really don’t want to get your hardwood floors soaking as standing water could cause them to warp. Mop the floor, ensuring that you cover the whole surface. Open windows and doors so that the floor dries as quickly as possible.

If you are worried about using vinegar on your wooden floors, test a small unseen part with the solution first.

3. Cleaning the Microwave

If you don’t clean your microwave after every use (and really, who does?) there will almost certainly be burnt food and stains on the walls, roof, and bottom of it. One way to clean your microwave is to scrub really hard for a long time, but I have an easier way for you.

  • Make up a 50/50 mix of distilled white vinegar and warm water (one part vinegar to one part water) in a microwave-safe jug or bowl.
  • Place a wooden spoon or other non-metallic utensil into the water. This is an optional step but I really recommend you do it as liquid heated up in a microwave can explode if it gets too hot, the wooden spoon will stop this from happening.
  • Place the jug or bowl into the microwave and put it on full power for 5 minutes. It may take longer; you just need to adjust the time for how powerful your microwave is.
  • Carefully remove the jug/bowl from the microwave, I recommend using an oven mitt or a dishcloth.
  • Wipe the inside of the microwave with a sponge.
  • To remove the smell of vinegar, you could place some orange or lemon slices in the vinegar solution before putting in the microwave.

4. Replacing the Rinsing Agent in Your Dishwasher

Instead of using expensive chemical rinse aids, simply replace it with distilled white vinegar. Much cheaper, much more environmentally safe, and even more sparkling glasses!

5. Removing Pet Urine from the Carpet

If your pet has urinated on the carpet, the main factor is the strong overpowering smell. Cat urine is notoriously difficult to remove, and the smell can last for months if not properly cleaned. The good news is that you don’t have to use expensive cleaners that are loaded with toxic chemicals; a cheaper and more economical solution is white vinegar.

  • If it is a fresh urine patch then blot up as much of the liquid as possible using paper towels or rags.
  • Mix one part distilled white vinegar with one part water. Add a few drops of lemon essential oil to mask the vinegar smell.
  • Spray the carpet with the vinegar solution and let it soak in for 10 minutes. Blot up as much of the liquid as possible.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the vinegar solution patch; leave for 10 minutes to absorb the rest of the solution.
  • Vacuum the baking soda from the carpet.
  • Depending on how old the urine stain is, this method may need to be repeated a few times to completely remove the smell of urine.

Final remarks:

Cleaning with vinegar is eco-friendly and highly efficient. It’s among the most used for DIY cleaning experts seem to recommend. It does not pose any risk to you, your family or your pets, it’s budget friendly and is always there for you to use. Of course, it’s just one of many unconventional techniques for DIY solutions (cleaning via vodka being another peculiar pick).

Thank you for visiting Cleaner Confessions!

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Nicholas Carr

Nicholas Carr is a blog meant for various domestic tips mainly but not limited to cleaning, washing and wiping dust, stains and dirt away from your home.