Do you love to clean? No, nobody loves to clean, but cleaning is a necessary part of life. Cleaning helps get rid of germs, keeping you and anyone else who lives in your house safe. That said, many people clean with chemical cleaning products that contain toxic ingredients, many of which can damage endocrine function.
Instead of polluting the home with chemicals while you clean, use a homemade, vinegar-based cleaner that is 100% safe. Vinegar is frequently recommended as a household cleaner and can be very effective on certain surfaces. We are, of course, referring to distilled white vinegar, not apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar. It is important to note that vinegar is a cleaner and not a disinfectant like bleach or commercial cleaners. Because of that, it is not as effective at killing certain germs when compared to disinfectant sprays.
Why Should You Clean With Vinegar?
Vinegar is about 5% acetic acid, which works to break down the structure of some oils, dirt, films, bacteria, and stains. That same acetic acid can also harm certain surfaces, which is why vinegar cleaners aren’t meant to clean every inch of your home. Do not use vinegar on natural stone, cast iron, aluminum, or waxed wood. The “set time,” or the time a cleaner has to set on a surface in order to work, varies with a vinegar cleaner. Experts suggest that the set time for vinegar can be up to 30 minutes, especially if you use it to clean stained pots and pans.
How Does Vinegar Work?
The acidity, as mentioned previously, makes vinegar a great cleaning agent. It can help dissolve soap scum, brines left behind by hard water, and even the glue from stickers. If you want to clean your windows or mirrors, mix vinegar with water and wipe with newspaper (not a paper towel) to avoid streaks. You can also use vinegar to get rid of stubborn stains, for example, from sweaty armpits or grass. Most of these types of stains are slightly acidic, meaning they will dissolve away in the presence of another acid, like vinegar. A paste made with vinegar and baking soda can help dissolve red wine stains. You can even use vinegar to get dog or cat urine out of carpets or clothes!
When To Not Use Vinegar
Because vinegar is highly concentrated, it can stain delicate fabrics and harm other surfaces. It will scratch natural stone like marble or granite. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vinegar is not approved to disinfect surfaces. Unfortunately, there is no supporting evidence that shows that vinegar can get rid of harmful pathogens, like salmonella, that lurk on surfaces. Additionally, using vinegar on hardwood floors can eat away at the finish and make it look dull over time.
Orange Basil Vinegar Cleaner
Not only does this recipe help clean certain surfaces, but it also leaves your home smelling floral and zesty. Instead of tossing orange peels into the trash, use the peels to provide that citrus scent to your vinegar cleaner. The peels from four oranges and four to five sprigs of basil will do the job!
- 1 (16-ounce) wide-mouthed mason jar
- Peels from 4 oranges
- 4-5 sprigs of basil
- Distilled white vinegar
- Add the orange peels and sprigs of basil to the wide-mouthed mason jar and fill it to the top with vinegar. Tighten the lid and let it set for a minimum of 10 days.
- After this infusion time, prepare a spray bottle and fill it halfway with the vinegar mixture (only the liquid, not the peels or sprigs). Add water to the spray bottle to fill it up. Shake well and use when ready.
- Once you finish this solution, you can use the rest of the vinegar to create more. You shouldn’t keep your vinegar solution longer than one month, as you don’t want it to spoil.