Hi all! We hope you’re having a nice week so far! Today, we wanted to give you some tips on how to clean your home using vinegar.
But first, we hope you had a fantastic fourth of July! This is a special date to share with friends and family. In case you missed it, we created a guide for cleaning before Fourth of July, but we’re sure you will be able to use it for other events as well, so make sure you check it out.
In this article, we wanted to talk about white vinegar. This ingredient is super popular in the cleaning field, both in professional environments and in regular households.
Is it truly as effective as people make it to be? What does it exactly do? How can I clean my home with it? Today we’re giving you all the details!
What is Vinegar?
Vinegar is created by fermenting alcoholic liquids. Many types of vinegar come from fruits or cereals, and they’re used mostly for cooking and preparing salads, such as apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar.
The most common type of vinegar is distilled white vinegar, created from alcohol. The exact scientific name is acetic acid.
There are many other different concentrations for distilled vinegar, going as high as 75% which is meant for industrial work. However, around 6% is the top allowed concentration for human consumption, after that it becomes a cleaning-only product, and it is also more dangerous to handle and move around.
The type of distilled white vinegar that is safe as an ingredient is called cooking vinegar. This product has 5% concentration, which means that it’s highly diluted. It needs to be in order to be safe enough to use as a kitchen ingredient!
We’ve talked about it in the past, but we haven’t gone into depth about its properties.
For example, it’s extremely affordable and you can buy it in bulk, for just around $3 a gallon. It lasts forever so you won’t need to worry about the expiry date.
Besides, it can be mixed safely with many other cleaning agents, such as baking soda and dish soap.
Clean Your Kitchen with Vinegar
You won’t be using vinegar in your kitchen just for preparing salads anymore!
White vinegar is perfect to use as a cleaning agent in the kitchen because you can use it safely on your countertops without worrying about leaving residues of harmful chemicals near your food or other ingredients.
You can clean laminate countertops and cabinets with a 1:1 vinegar and warm water mix with 1 tbsp. lemon juice.
Remember to apply cleaning products to a microfiber cloth and then use it to wipe surfaces. Don’t apply directly to the surface because you can add too much and damage the cabinet or surface.
Vinegar works for cleaning stainless steel appliances as well. Just apply with a microfiber rag and then wipe with a dry cloth. If you want to give them a nice extra shine, use a tiny bit of olive oil, following the same steps.
You can use it to clean your kitchen sink drain as well. There’s a very well-known vinegar and baking soda trick to unclog drains, but the trick here is to use hot water before and after. This is because heat will be able to soften up grease and food residues.
For example, you can pour a pot of boiling water (around ½ gallon) and then try mixing ¼ cup of salt and ¼ cup of borax. Then, pour ½ cup of white vinegar down and another ½ gallon of boiling water.
Clean Your Bathroom with Vinegar
Your bathroom is another popular place to use vinegar as a cleaning ingredient. Vinegar is not only good at killing bacteria, but also mold and mildew! This is because alcohol is a good mold killer.
The best part is that it works for pretty much every component: floor and wall tiles, fixtures, and even your showerhead and mirror.
For tile surfaces, mix ¼ cup of dishwashing soap with one cup of hot, white vinegar. This formula is heavily concentrated, so you won’t need that much. Apply using a spray bottle and rinse with plenty of water after 15 minutes.
If your tiles a dirty and/or if you haven’t cleaned in a while, use a large brush or a clean, small broom to scrub the surface before rinsing. Keep in mind this will take some time, especially to remove all residues of soap.
If you want to clean your toilet, pour a cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl and let sit overnight. The next morning, sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, scrub and flush clean. You can use the same steps to clean your sink, as long as they’re not granite or marble.
Last but not least, you need to clean your showerhead occasionally. This is because, with time, it slowly builds up limescale, especially if you live in an area with hard water such as Memphis.
What happens is that microscopic minerals in water (calcium, magnesium) get “stuck” in the showerhead and can clog the nozzle.
If you want to clean it, heat two cups of vinegar in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. Place this inside a spray bottle and apply it to your showerhead. Scrub with a scrubber sponge or an old toothbrush, in a soft, circular motion. Doing this once a month should be enough.
Clean Your Bedroom Using Vinegar
Many items in your bedroom can be cleaned with vinegar. For example, your mattress. This is a place that shows high concentrations of bacteria, according to research. Mostly, dust mites and different types of mold and bacteria, including E. coli and staphylococcus.
In order to disinfect your mattress, you can try a cleaning solution with 3 cups of distilled water, 1 cup of vinegar, and 7 – 10 drops of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is very good for disinfecting and vinegar will kill different types of bacteria and mold and deodorize your mattress.
Make sure to do this only if you don’t have pets, as they are extremely allergic to tea tree oil.
Vinegar is really good at neutralizing odors so it’s perfect to remove any lingering smells in your closet, too. For example, if you smoke, your closet cabinets and shelves will absorb the smell eventually.
Mix ½ cup of white vinegar in ½ gallon of warm water and wipe the shelves and walls with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. Just make sure to let it air dry afterward, and allow it to receive sunlight, if possible.
How NOT to Use Vinegar
Even though vinegar is quite versatile and efficient on a variety of surfaces, you still need to be a bit careful. Some materials, mostly those that come from plants or minerals, are sensitive to acidic components. This can cause issues such as staining and decoloring.
This is why vinegar is not recommended on natural stone surfaces such as granite and marble. Vinegar should not be used on wooden surfaces either, such as hardwood floors or wooden furniture. This is because wooden, as a plant-based material, need to maintain certain conditions of humidity and temperature in order to stay “healthy”.
If you live in Memphis, you might have noticed that if temperature or humidity changes drastically during the day or the seasons, wood starts to look “dull” and just not great.
Besides this, although vinegar is mixable with many other cleaning agents, you shouldn’t mix it with ammonia or bleach. If you do, the chemical mix will release dangerous, toxic fumes.
Cleaning electronic or plasma surfaces such as monitors, phone, and computer screens are also a bad idea.
Other Uses for Vinegar
There are dozens -if not hundreds- of cleaning ideas with vinegar. We’ll mention two more: vinegar as a drain cleaner and as a laundry softener.
These are really good strategies because they both replace two specific cleaning products: drain cleaners and laundry softeners. Both are toxic to the environment and contain harmful chemicals as well (unless they come from an eco-friendly brand).
Let’s talk about drain cleaning first. Normally you would use sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda. However, you can try the very well-known baking soda and vinegar combination, especially if this is for your kitchen sink.
This is because kitchen sinks are usually clogged with obstacles that are easy to remove: mostly food and grease residues.
If you want to try this DIY solution, start by boiling water, around ½ gallon should be enough. Pour it down your kitchen drain and then create a mix with one cup of vinegar and ½ cup of borax. Wait 5 minutes and then pour ½ gallon of hot water a second time, this time with a bit of dish soap in it.
This will create different results: hot water and dish soap will remove grease, while borax and vinegar will create a chemical reaction that cleans up the drain and removes odors.
You can use it as a fabric softener too. Just add a cup of vinegar during the final rinse cycle. This is very helpful if you want your clothes nice and fluffy but without any scents or chemicals. Don’t worry! Your clothes won’t smell like vinegar afterward.
Vinegar is super versatile, and we could go on forever about its properties. In fact, we might even prepare a Part II for this article! Just stay tuned and if you want us to continue with this series, let us know on our Facebook.
Remember to check our booking page if you need a professional cleaning service in Memphis. Stay tuned for our next article!