Who knew? Vinegar was suggested by a friend for cleaning in eco-friendly ways. Turns out this stuff is amazing. It really can do a lot more than I could think of. I researched things beyond what my friend had advised. I listed my top ten below of what my discoveries were.
White vinegar. Safe, readily available and really cheap, there are perhaps hundreds of uses for vinegar, an acidic liquid originally created from wine gone bad.
For some vinegar uses listed below, you’ll need to decide how much you want to dilute white vinegar. On wood floors, for example, cleaning with vinegar requires one cup diluted with about one gallon of warm water. But for cleaning mildewed tile and grout, use full-strength vinegar.
#1 Vinegar as a Natural Weed Killer
Vinegar is strong enough to kill weeds…. And it will kill the ones you love! So be careful when spraying it around your garden and yard! Make sure to spray directly on the leaves of the weed itself or whatever plant you are trying to get rid of. For best results, use white vinegar on a day of dry, sunny weather …it needs some time in the sun to work its deadly magic on those nasty weeds!
#2 Vinegar and Pet Care
Dogs and cats can often be bothered by itchy, scaly ears! Especially dogs with floppy ears like a retriever. Dilute white vinegar in a 1:4 ratio (1 tablespoon vinegar to 4 tablespoons water) and let it soak into a clean rag. Then use the rag to wipe out the inside of your pet’s ears. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to have your pet get sprayed by a skunk, vinegar is an easier acid to use than ketchup for getting rid of the smell! Finally, if unwanted cats are creeping around your yard, spray or pour vinegar onto their favorite litter box — they hate that stuff!
#3 Vinegar in the Dishwasher
There are at least two great uses for vinegar in your automatic dishwasher. First, it can be used as a cheap, effective rinsing agent to make your glasses, plates and other dishes sparkle! Second, it can help to clean the dishwasher itself: Once a year (more if you have hard water), pour a cup of white vinegar into an empty dishwasher, then run it for a short cycle to get rid of the lime and soap buildup that can prevent your dishwasher from working at its best ability!
#4 Vinegar and Car Care
Remove bumper stickers with a few squirts of undiluted white vinegar. (You may need to reapply the vinegar multiple times to get loosen the sticker,especially if it’s been there for awhile). It can also be used as a glass cleaner and deodorizer in your car. You can also wipe down your windows with diluted vinegar in winter to keep them frost-free!
#5 Vinegar and Cut Flowers
There’s all kinds of superstitions about ways to extend the life of cut flowers. Some folks swear by a copper penny, others add Sprite or Seven-Up, and some drop in an aspirin. Many still sick to just adding a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the water, plus a dash of sugar. (Which has always worked just fine for me).
#6 Vinegar and Cleaning Tiles
Many reach for the bleach when confronted with grungy, discolored tile and grout. But white vinegar is not only effective at cleaning and whitening, it’s also safer than chlorine bleach (especially for households on a septic tank, where bleach should never enter).
- Just spray full-strength vinegar on grout and caulk in the shower or kitchen
- Let it soak in for at least an hour
- Then scrub it off with a brush.
- Viola! You’re finished!
#7 Vinegar and the Laundry
Vinegar has many laundry uses! I keep mine stored right next to the detergent. It works wonders removing stains like mustard, ketchup, tomato sauce, and grass. Just spray a little white vinegar onto the stain before washing, or soaking whites in vinegar will help bring back their whiteness. And just like in your dishwasher, vinegar helps to break down detergent when added to the rinse cycle, making clothes fresher, more colorful — and it gets rid of funky towel mildew. One cup should be plenty — add less when using a front-loading washing machine.
Warning: NEVER add vinegar to chlorine bleach — it will create noxious chlorine gas, a potentially deadly compound.
#8 Kitchen Cleaning with Vinegar
Clean your coffee maker out with diluted vinegar every month, but remember to run fresh water through it before making coffee again (or you will have a not so good surprise)! Use white vinegar and salt can clean stainless-steel cookware and sterling silver, and undiluted vinegar disinfects cutting boards. You can even use it on your wood boards! When cleaning your microwave, just pour a little vinegar into a bowl of water and microwave it for a few minutes. You can then easily wipe out your microwave. Finally, if your sink is clogged or smelly, try pouring 1/4 cup of baking soda down the sink, then add 1 cup of vinegar and cover the drain tightly — the reaction between these two compounds can power out clogs (you may need 2 or more applications for tough clogs).
#9 Hard-Water Stains and Vinegar
If your toilet bowl, bathtub or sink has lime deposits from hard water, soak or spray vinegar onto the grit. It should loosen the deposits enough to remove them easily. You can also clean any appliance or fixture that’s not working right because of hard water — especially irons, showerheads and faucets — soak or spray white vinegar and let the deposits crumble away.
#10 House Cleaning with Vinegar
Vinegar is one of the world’s best all-purpose green cleaners with dozens of cleaning uses. Diluted white vinegar is excellent for cleaning windows, hardwood floors, carpet stains, fireplace bricks, irons, shower curtains, upholstery, mattresses, and glassware.
Warning: The one exception is marble and other stone surfaces. The acid in vinegar (and lemon, and wine) can permanently damage these surfaces, so keep vinegar away from these stones.
I hope these natural tips are as useful to you as they have been for me! House cleaning sometimes ends up on the backburner in our busy and overscheduled lives. Why not leave it to professionals? Then you are able to sit back and relax, and leave the dirt and grime to them!