If you take a trip down the cleaning products isle in any store you might be fooled into believing you need a different cleaner for just about every surface in your home. Counters, bath, toilets, kitchen, wood, windows all have a different cleaners all with a million choices for each. Well I am entirely too cheap to buy all of those products. I would also prefer not to add on a wing to my home to store all of this clutter, and I would also not like for myself or my family to breath in all those nasty fumes. There are “green” cleaners now available for about $5 a bottle to which I think you have got to be kidding me. Here is my simple, easy, green and frugal way of making my own.
I’m sure I am not the first to tell you that vinegar is pretty much a miracle product. Mildly acidic white vinegar dissolves dirt, soap scum, and hard water deposits from smooth surfaces, yet is gentle enough to use in solution to clean hardwood flooring. It is a natural deodorizer. As soon as the vinegar dries you can no longer smell it. My grandmother smoked for YEARS in her home yet it NEVER smelled like it. She placed bowls of vinegar around the house and it naturally neutralized the smell.
For an all purpose cleaner:
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
There are variations to this recipe. Some use add a squirt of dish soap or even a bit of lemon juice. Both are fine but I stick the the simplest solution. I use an empty spray bottle of cleaner but any spray bottle will do. This cleaner is great for bathroom and kitchen anywhere spray. For stubborn shower/bath or microwave cleaning jobs you can warm your vinegar solution in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds (take sprayer off before microwaving) Then spray your tough spots and let stand for about 10 minutes. The heat helps loosen the hard water, soap scum, or caked on food.
Full strength (undiluted) vinegar can be used for tough jobs too. I pour straight from the bottle to clean the toilet. We have hard water and the only way to get totally rid of that nasty “ring” around the toilet is to use a pumice stone which by the way is quite possibly the worst chore ever and should be used as punishment in prison. I have found adding a bucket of water in the toilet to raise the water level over the “ring” then adding about 2 cups of vinegar and letting it sit overnight significantly helps get rid of the hard water ring. I then scrub off with some added baking soda to scour the ring away.
To get the hard water deposits off your shower head put some full strength vinegar in a plastic baggie. Place shower head in the bag and secure with a rubber band. Let stand for several hours or over night and viola!
Undiluted vinegar can also be used in the laundry room. Add about a cup to the laundry rinse cycle instead of commercial fabric softener. White vinegar softens clothes and cuts detergent residue. This is especially nice for baby clothes, cloth diapers, or family members with sensitive skin.
There are 1001 uses of vinegar. It is super cheap, not harmful, easy to come by, and it works in many cases better than the alternative. Sign me up for that!
Stay tuned as I dive into alternative uses for baking soda and salt. That’s right I said salt.