When I started my working on creating a healthier home, I was motivated to change the way we eat. I figured I’d give it 30 days and then we’d see. I was not expecting the amazing results that we all got.
Everyone is feeling so much better and even certain behaviors have improved. Interestingly, I’m no longer craving a Pumpkin Spice Latte first thing in the morning.
With so much success in the food department, I decided to venture into more natural cleaning around my house.
Now, I’ve been using vinegar and baking soda for awhile in some capacity, but not nearly as much as I should. Did you know that you can actually clean with white vinegar? I was so surprised when it actually worked! Things were sparkling clean, my house smelled fresh (not like white vinegar, thank goodness). I was hooked. Not only because white vinegar is super cheap (seriously), but because I could finally toss the junk.
No One Wants Toxic Cleaning Crap In Their House. NO ONE.
I’m the first to admit that I love the way Scrubbing Bubbles make that sizzling sound when you spray them on a dirty shower…but the smell always makes me sick and gives me a raging headache.
I think that’s probably my olfactory system telling my body that I should NOT be inhaling them. In fact, most pre-packaged cleaning products seem to fall into two distinct categories: toxic (KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN) or extremely expensive.
So I started to do some research. I know that vinegar can clean my drains, my windows, and get the scum off my tub (Having a 3-year-old makes everything a bit scummy around here…I’m pretty sure that he’s a grime magnet!).
I was shocked at the literally hundreds of ways people had been using vinegar to clean their homes. So I decided to give it a try.
Gather Your Supplies
The first thing that I did was to make a trip to Costco (Yes, another trip. I realize that I just went, and while I purchased a 13-pound bag of baking soda and apple cider vinegar, but I forgot to pick up white vinegar. Oops!). You’ll need plain, distilled white vinegar.
If you want to clean your house, you’ll need plain, distilled white vinegar, not the fancy schmancy stuff.
Next, decide on your commitment level. Do you want to dabble? Or are you going to jump in with both feet?
For our home, I started with just two spray bottles: one of pure vinegar and one of a 50/50 vinegar and water mix. And then I added a secret weapon to my bottles of vinegar: essential oils.
Use Essential Oils to Mask the Smell
I have to admit that I HATE the smell of vinegar. Seriously. I can’t stand it. So I use essential oils to scent my spray bottles (I do not scent my large container…but now that I’m thinking about it, I might!).
I truly love peppermint, orange, or lavender for their ability to overpower the vinegar’s scent.
If you’d like your cleaners to NOT smell like vinegar, you’ll need approximately 10-15 drops for your 50/50 bottle and 20-25 drops for your straight bottle. You’ll want to add the drops, shake gently to mix and allow to sit overnight.
I’ll warn you that there is a vinegar undertone while things are still damp, but once the vinegar dries, all I smell are my oils, which I absolutely love.
Clean Your Kitchen
Clean Your Drains
Sink drains can get a little funky…especially if your kids are in the habit of pouring cereal down them. TO clean your sink drain, pour 1 cup of white vinegar down it, then wait for 30-minutes and rinse with hot water.
You’ll be shocked at how fresh it smells.
Deodorize the Garbage Disposal
No one likes a stinky kitchen. In our house, I’ve found that if I don’t clean the disposal regularly, our whole house smells. Yuck.
To clean your disposal just pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down your disposal, then turn it on for 5 seconds to move the baking soda around. Pour in 1/2 a cup of vinegar. Allow the mixture to foam, and then leave it alone for 10 minutes. Rinse with hot water and run your disposal. Voila!
Rinse with hot water and run your disposal. Voila! You can find more tips on cleaning your garbage disposal here.
Just a 1/4 cup of vinegar in a bucket of hot water will get even the toughest sticky spots off your floor. To mask the smell I always add a few drops of Thieves essential oil to the mix (as a bonus, Thieves will make your house smell like Christmas).
Natural Rinse Aid
Those rinse aid liquids that you add to your dishwasher are flat out scary. Instead, add 1/2 a cup of vinegar to the bottom of your dishwasher (in addition to your detergent).
Your dishes will come out clean and free of water spots.
Clean Your Microwave
If your kids (or husband) use the microwave, you likely have some splatters and stuck on yuck. To make cleaning this beast effortless, put a small cup or bowl filled with a 1/4 cup of vinegar and one cup of water in your microwave. Then microwave it on high for one minute.
Using a towel, wipe off the yuck. If you find that you’re dealing with stuck on stubbornness, put the mix back in for another minute and try again.
Do this and you’ll have a brand-new (looking) microwave!
Clean Your Refridgerator
I hate getting spills in my fridge. It makes me crazy. To clean them up, just use your 50/50 bottle to spray down the offending spot, and wipe. This will help you get rid of spills, gunk, and other unpleasantness.
Polish Pots and Pans
Trust me on this one.
Start by dissolving 1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup of vinegar, then mix in enough flour to form a paste.
Apply the paste to the area you need to clean and let stand for 15 minutes.
Rinse with warm water and polish with a soft cloth until dry.
This trick works on copper, brass, and pewter in my house. I haven’t done a test run on anything else, but you’re welcome to try.
De-streak your Stainless Steel Appliances
I don’t have them anymore, but when I did, I used to clean them with vinegar. It works really, really well! your stainless steel appliances with vinegar and a soft cloth. I use my 50/50 bottle but have friends who use it full strength.
If you struggle with streaks and fingerprints, then all you need to do is use your 50/50 bottle and wipe with a soft cloth.
Clean Your Bathroom
If you think your kitchen is gross, you should probably check the bathroom. I live in a house with all boys, and there is literally pee everywhere. GAG. I am so glad that vinegar helps me get the gross out. Because, y’all. Bathrooms are gross.
Tub and Toilet Stains
If you have kids, you have these. Make them disappear by using undiluted white vinegar.
Spray it on your tub our toilet and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Then simply scrub and rinse with warm water.
I seriously hate soap scum. It drives me batty. To combat it, I mix 1/4 cup of salt with enough vinegar to make a paste.
Rub the paste onto faucets, showerheads, and even your shower door, then rinse with warm water.
No one wants to deal with mildew. Spray undiluted white vinegar onto your shower curtain and walls to help prevent mold and mildew.
Clean a Clogged Shower Head
I don’t know about you, but when I have water stains that are blocking the flow of my shower head, I kind of lose my mind. To get rid of these, put vinegar into a plastic bag (without holes) and tie it onto your showerhead using a hair tie or rubber band, then leave it on overnight.
Rinse the shower head off with warm water in the morning and enjoy your shower the way it’s supposed to work.
To get a streak-free shine, spray your mirrors with your 50/50 vinegar solution and wipe off with a microfiber cloth or newspaper. Sparkly!
Clean Your House
The rest of my house often gets ignored because I spend so much time cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. But with my two spray bottles, I actually find myself looking for things to clean. Weird how that works.
If you have sticky floors, this will help. Mix 1 cup of vinegar into a gallon of warm water and mop or wipe up the mess.
This may be my new favorite trick!
Put a bowl of vinegar in musty or smelly rooms overnight. In the morning, the odor will be gone. Seriously.
This is a job that my boys love. To get squeaky clean windows, spray your windows with your 50/50 mix and wipe off with a microfiber cloth or newspaper.
I cannot tell you how many times the boys have spilled a drink, or macaroni and cheese or soup…it drives me nuts. Thankfully, this trick works.
Soak up as much of the mess up as you can using a clean towel, then spray with your 50/50 bottle. Allow the vinegar to sit on the stain for 5 minutes, the sponge it up.
I’m allergic to dust, and my guess is that you don’t like it much either. Mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil and rub into wood furniture to polish and repel dust. This also works well to remove water stains!
Clean Your Clothes
Raise your hand if you’ve ever left clothes in the washing machine for more than a day. Yup. Me, too. Thankfully, this will help.
If you end up with stains on your clothes, you can use vinegar to remove it. Gently rub the stain (as long as you haven’t run it through the dryer) with vinegar and wash as usual. Check to see if the stain is gone before you toss your clothes into the dryer.
Add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle to brighten your clothes, decrease lint, and keep clothes fresh longer. This works awesome for towels, too!
Clean Your Washing Machine
Does your washer ever smell funky after you run a load of clothes? Run your washing machine’s cleaning cycle with a 1 cup of vinegar to freshen things up.
Remove Pit and Collar Stains
It gets hot down here. And we end up with our fair share of stains. To get rid of the yellow, gently brush vinegar mixed with Dawn and baking soda into the offending stain, and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes before adding to your wash.
If you use cloth, you HAVE to use this trick! It works!
Add 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle after you’ve washed your diapers. It will break down any remaining urine and your diapers will be super soft, too!
I have a 3-year-old…this WORKS.
Spray the sticker with your straight bottle and let sit for about 10 minutes, then peel off. Easy-peasy!
All Purpose Stain Remover
Mix 1 teaspoon vinegar and 1 teaspoon blue Dawn into a cup of warm water. Spray the mixture onto the stain and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Sponge up, and repeat if necessary. I recommend that you dry the area thoroughly once the stain has been removed.
Ants and other unwanted critters don’t like the smell of vinegar, so using it to clean your home will discourage them from coming in.
That’s the list! I use vinegar for a lot of things, don’t I? I will say that the smell gets better as you get used to it, but that’s no reason to skip adding essential oils to help in the beginning. I would love to help you get started!
How do you clean with white vinegar?