Perhaps you’ve seen articles and books about how to make your own green household cleaners. Well, if you’re like me, it’s hard to remember all the ingredients and proportions. So I end up cleaning the old-fashioned way–with commercial cleaners, and feeling guilty about it.
Well, here’s an easy way to get started with greener cleaning. You only have to buy one product–white vinegar. It’s easily available in any grocery store. And buy the biggest container you see because you can use it for a great variety of cleaning jobs. But make sure you don’t pick up wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or any other type but white. Other types of vinegar are likely to stain.
And white vinegar is cheap. I just bought a gallon today for $3.7. That’s about the same price I paid for a 32 ounce bottle of all-purpose cleaner like Fantastik or 409. The bargain is even greater, when you stop to think that for most household cleaning uses, vinegar is diluted with water.
White vinegar is truly the wonder product of environmental cleaning. I have been using it for years to clean windows and mirrors. It actually does a better job than glass cleaner, I find, because it doesn’t leave a residue. In a spray bottle I combine one-quarter cup of white vinegar and a cup of water. The solution lasts quite awhile, so I don’t need to mix up a new batch every time I want (well, need, anyway) to clean.
10 ways to use vinegar around the house
- Use undiluted vinegar to remove toilet rings.
- Keep a spray bottle of half-vinegar and half-water on hand for cleaning counter tops, cleaning the inside of the refrigerator, and for getting rid of mildew.
- Get rid of baked-on food and odors in your microwave. Just pour a cup of white vinegar and a cup of water into a bowl. Put the bowl inside the microwave, and bring the liquid to a boil for a minute or two. Let the bowl sit, and then wipe out the microwave oven.
- Clean chrome sink fixtures regularly with your 1:4, vinegar-water solution.
- Remove lime build-up on fixtures with a paste made from 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Clean copper, brass, and pewter with a paste of equal parts white vinegar and salt.
- Make cloudy glasses clear again by wrapping them in a vinegar-soaked paper towel or cloth. Put another towel inside each glass. Let the glasses sit for a few minutes and then rinse.
- Make an oven window clear again. Open the oven door. Pour undiluted white vinegar onto the glass and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then wipe with a sponge.
- Freshen the dishwasher by pouring a cup of white vinegar into the empty machine. Run for a full cycle.
- Clean stained coffee and tea cups with a paste made from equal parts white vinegar and baking soda.