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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Spring Fever: The Magic Cleaner

One of my personal faves, as far as cleansers go, is definitely distilled white vinegar.  It is beyond multi-purpose.  Like, you can literally use it for just about everything.  This isn’t really a secret though.  Vinegartips.com says this, “White distilled vinegar is a popular household cleanser, effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity. Cleaning with white distilled vinegar is a smart way to avoid using harsh chemicals. You’ll also be glad to know that it is environmentally friendly and very economical.”  That website is rather awesome… you should check it out sometime.  I love that vinegar is kid-friendly, well as kid-friendly as a cleaning agent can get, right?! 

Here are my top ten uses:

- Laundry.  I adore using vinegar in the laundry.  Especially My Mr Right’s Army laundry or Little Monkey’s occasional blow out.  And it’s a life-saver when I pull clothes out off storage.  Vinegar will kill odors.  I’ve found that some of the laundry detergents I’ve used just mask odors, but vinegar get rid of them.  I put in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar in each load.  I also use detergent still, but about 2/3 to 1/2 of what is marked on the cup.  Vinegar is a heck of a lot cheaper than laundry detergent, so that saves us some money.

- Cleaning the Stove.  We had a gas stove at our last home.  It was amazing, I loved it.  It had instant heat, no waiting for the coils to warm up.  It was also really easy to clean.  Fill the sink with enough water to submerge all the pieces.  Pour in about a cup of vinegar and let it all soak for about 20 minutes.  Use a scouring pad and wipe everything up.  It all comes off pretty easy and if it doesn’t let it soak a little bit longer.  And you can wipe out the sink after you’re done, too!

- Deodorize Cutting Boards.  Cutting boards often collect food fragments and odors.  I soak my cutting boards in a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water for 15 minutes every month or two.  I wash them in the dishwasher between uses, as well, but the vinegar cuts down on odor and bacteria.

- Clean the Microwave.  This is one of my faves.  Put a bowl of 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl.  Bring the water to a rolling boil in the microwave.  Wipe down all surfaces.  Also deodorizes and loosens cooked on food.

- Deodorize the garbage disposal.   Disposals collect all sorts of little chunks of food that can sit and smell up your house.  Deodorize it by pouring in 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hot white distilled vinegar.  Heat the vinegar in the microwave before you pour it in the disposal. Let sit for 5 minutes then run hot water down the disposal for 1 minute to rinse it all out.

- Clean out your dishwasher.  Sometimes soap and food odors build up in the dishwasher.  The water doesn’t drain as well and it smells icky.  Fix this by running a cup of white distilled vinegar inside the empty machine through a whole cycle. I do it at least monthly.  When we lived in Idaho, we had REALLY hard water and our dishes were always cloudy and spotty.  Run a capful of vinegar in with the soap and it will help cut down on water spots.  If It’s really bad, soak the dishes in vinegar for fifteen minutes before rinsing with hot water.

- Clean narrow-necked bottles and vases.  One of my favorite vases is very narrow and hard to clean out.  I solve the problem by letting undiluted white distilled vinegar sit in them for a few hours. If there are stubborn water spots and plant stains, add a little rice shake vigorously while holding a towel over the top. If it doesn’t come clean, repeat.

- Deodorize Dish Rags.  You’ve probably used a dish rag that smelled less than fresh before?  Yuck, right?  Sometimes it’s hard to get those odors out.  Renew sponges and dishrags by placing them in just enough water to wet them. Then add 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Let them soak overnight and rinse thoroughly with warm water.  Ring out the extra water and lay them out to dry.

- Clean Countertops.  I keep a spray bottle of one part vinegar to one part water in my kitchen to wipe down my countertops.  I like knowing that they are cleaned and disinfected, but it won’t hurt my family to eat food off the counters.  Sometimes I worry about that with bleach solutions.  Maybe that’s just me though.

- Deodorize the toilet bowl.  Pour 3 cups white distilled vinegar into the toilet bowl and let it sit for about a half hour before flushing.  I lay a towel over the closed lid to remind me not to use it.  I’ve also locked the door to the bathroom to keep kids out while it sits.

There are endless possibilities for vinegar.  Vinegar is effective and affordable, it’s safe and multi-purpose.  It’s like the superhero of cleaning agents! 

Cheryl at TidyMom posted a similar post a little over a week ago.  Check it out.
So, what do you use vinegar for?

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