All-purpose cleaners are popular for household cleaning because they have such a wide range of uses. They can be more economical since we don’t have to buy different products, and they keep down the clutter under the kitchen sink. But most multi-purpose cleaners get their flexible cleaning power from ingredients that aren’t the safest or eco-friendly.
What if you could find an all-purpose ingredient that is safe, natural, and as effective as many chemical ingredients and mix up some DIY cleaners? There is such an ingredient, and you’ll probably find it in your kitchen cabinet right now. The secret ingredient for creating a wide array of safe and effective cleaning solutions is distilled white vinegar. When you use vinegar for cleaning, you get all the dirt-busting and germ-fighting power you need using an inexpensive and safe ingredient.
Why Is Vinegar Such a Versatile Cleaner and Disinfectant?
Vinegar is a fungicide, disinfectant, degreaser, and cleaner all in one, and it’s about as eco-friendly as you can get. This ingredient makes it ideal for everything from deodorizing to sanitizing acetic acid. Acetic acid is a byproduct of fermentation and gives its unique taste, odor, and superior cleaning ability.
The acid in vinegar is so powerful it can break down even the toughest buildup of grime, grease, and dirt. It is also strong enough to kill bacteria, control mold, and even remove stains. It can also wipe out weeds! It truly is the swiss army knife of natural cleaners.
While different types of vinegar can be used with good results, the best one for cleaning is distilled white vinegar. It won’t stain like apple cider, and it typically has about five percent acidity, which is similar to many commercial cleaning products.
About that smell—if you’ve ever used it, you know all about the pungent odor. When you use it as a household cleaner, the odor will only linger for about an hour. That’s not a bad trade-off for its cleaning and disinfecting power. Nevertheless, if you can’t stand the odor, you can always add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your cleaning solution recipe for a more pleasant aroma.
Cleaning With Vinegar Room by Room
Whether you’re doing your weekly cleaning or deep disinfecting, vinegar can be your go-to solution for every room in your home. Here’s how you can use it for cleaning every room in your house:
Add one cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse compartment and run your dishwasher on the hottest setting and longest cycle to eliminate residue, grime, and germs.
Instead of using harsh chemical cleaners near the food in your fridge, opt for a vinegar cleaning solution. Mix a vinegar cleaning spray of equal parts and water and spray it onto a damp microfiber cloth to clean your refrigerator inside and out. And because it is so safe, you can keep your DIY cleaner right inside the fridge.
Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a bowl and microwave it until it boils to break down buildup, grease, and stains. Carefully remove the bowl and wipe away the grime with a damp cloth. Besides making your microwave super easy to clean, this method will also neutralize any lingering odors.
Drain and Garbage Disposal
Pour vinegar down your kitchen drain and use a small brush to scrub the upper part of the garbage disposal. Give it about five minutes to loosen the buildup and deodorize the drain, then rinse your sink with hot water.
As long as your counters aren’t granite or marble, you can safely use undiluted vinegar to cut through grime and disinfect in the process. Just pour white vinegar onto a damp cleaning cloth and wipe down your countertops.
Using vinegar to clean a toilet may be the easiest way ever. Pour one cup of undiluted it into your toilet and let it sit overnight. Give the rim a quick scrub the next morning and flush. Do this regularly, and your toilet will stay clean and fresh for longer.
Shower and Tub
Use a mix of one part water and one part vinegar in a spray bottle and spray down your shower walls and tub. Let it work on the soap scum and grime for 30 minutes. Rinse everything with hot water and watch happily as the dirt and germs head down the drain.
Pour enough vinegar into a plastic bag to cover your showerhead. Secure the top of the bag around the water pipe with a rubber band and leave it overnight. Dispose of the vinegar down the drain the following day, and you’re done.
Tile and Grout
Mix a half cup of vinegar and a gallon of warm water in a bucket. Mop the floors and scrub the walls and vanities with your cleaner for a brilliant shine. You don’t have to rinse the vinegar because it will evaporate, and it’s natural whitening ability will brighten dull grout.
Using it for laundry is also a safe and natural alternative to chlorine bleach. For brightening and whitening, skip the bleach and pour a quarter cup of vinegar into your next load of laundry.
For an inexpensive and natural DIY fabric softener, pour a cup of vinegar into the washer during the final wash. You’ll still get the soft, comfy towels you love without the harsh ingredients found in many commercial fabric softeners.
It can also help protect dark-colored fabrics from becoming discolored, and it helps remove detergent residue. Give your detergent and your clothes a break and use half the clothes detergent you usually would by substituting vinegar for the other half.
Vinegar and water are ideal ingredients for cutting through dirt and leaving glass with a squeaky clean shine. Fill a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar, then spray down your furniture glass and wipe away the dirt and vinegar with a clean cloth.
It works great for cleaning finished wood surfaces, but when you mix a quarter cup of it with a cup of olive oil, you create a dynamic duo that cleans and polishes. Dampen a clean cloth with the cleaner and wipe down the wood to clean and shine it to your liking.
Rugs and Carpet
To spot clean area rugs and carpet, vinegar and dish soap is a gentle but powerful stain remover. Add a few drops of dish soap and a teaspoon of vinegar to a quart of water. Dampen stains and dirty areas of your carpet using a cleaning cloth and your recipe. Let the cleaner sit for 10 minutes, then dab the area with a clean, damp cloth to remove the stain and the soap residue.
Use the same cleaning methods you used in the living room in your bedroom to freshen things up. Clean the floors and furniture, and then give your mattress a well-deserved cleaning. Mix a half cup of vinegar and half cup of water in a spray bottle, then add a few drops of essential oil. Strip the bed, lightly spray the mattress with your cleaner, and use the cleaner and a microfiber cloth to scrub any stains. Let the mattress dry before you replace the bedding.
More Ways to Clean With Vinegar
If you think there couldn’t possibly be more ways to clean with vinegar around your home, we’ve got news for you… Go ahead and ditch the ammonia-based window cleaners, harsh disinfectants, and toxic herbicides and use the following eco-friendly solutions instead. Be sure to use clean spray bottles and label each one for safety and convenience:
Mix a quarter cup of vinegar with two cups of water in a spray bottle and spray it onto a microfiber cloth to clean your windows. It will evaporate quickly to help prevent water spots and stains leaving the glass with a sparkling shine.
Mix half water and half vinegar in a spray bottle and use it to disinfect commonly touched areas like handles, pulls, doorknobs, switch plates, and more. Leave the solution to air dry to kill the most germs.
A gallon mixed with a cup of salt and a tablespoon of dish soap can help keep your garden weed-free. Mix up your weed killer in a large sprayer and spray it directly onto weeds. While vinegar is safe for vegetable and flowering plants, you’ll want to avoid getting salt on them.
Who knew there were so many ways to use vinegar for cleaning all around the house? If you’re ready to give your home a healthier clean without the use of harsh, toxic chemicals, grab a bottle and start mixing. For even more ways to use it around the house, check out this field-tested guide from TheMaids.