When it comes to eco-friendly cleaning ingredients, white vinegar rules! It’s as multi-purpose as it can get: you can sanitise, deodorise, and polish items in your home sans the toxic chemicals.
Get ready to make the switch — these genius cleaning tips will show you how to use vinegar to clean your home from top to bottom.
Why is vinegar good for cleaning?
It kills bacteria and mould
You must be wondering why vinegar is an amazing cleaning agent. The quick answer is, this wonder liquid is a strong acid. Acids denature — or break down — proteins, including bacteria. As with proteins, acids can prevent the growth of fungi. This is also why cleaning mould with vinegar is effective.
You can find white vinegar in chemistry labs by its other name, acetic acid. Another extremely acidic home ingredient is lemon. There are also a lot of ways to use a lemon for cleaning, but the science is basically the same: acids destroy mould and bacteria.
It is non-abrasive
Do store-bought cleaning products give you nasty stings and burns? Don’t lose hope just yet — cleaning with vinegar is the neat freak’s answer to sensitive skin. With cleaning vinegar, you can happily carry on with your cleaning and not have to worry about getting allergies from harsh chemicals.
It doesn’t emit toxic fumes
If coughing or sneezing right after using chemical products sounds familiar to you, it’s time to rethink your cleaning game. Those products may be releasing harmful fumes that can cause eye ailment or respiratory illness.
Vinegar is a safer alternative — you won’t run the risk of getting sick after using it! Don’t worry about the sour smell after application, it will go away after an hour or so.
It is colourless
Another great thing about vinegar is that it’s colourless. You can use it on your tiles, grout, toilet, and even marble countertops and not worry about staining them.
What is cleaning vinegar / What vinegar to use for cleaning
There are many kinds of vinegar, and all of them are great for cooking. When cleaning, however, you’ll want to stick to white vinegar. White vinegar has zero sugar content and is colourless. That means it won’t stain or leave a sticky residue on surfaces.
Leave the balsamic, red or white wine, and apple cider vinegar in your kitchen pantry and out of your cleaning supplies cabinet. These fruit-based vinegars can stain certain surfaces and may contain sugar in trace amounts. Not very good for cleaning!
How to use vinegar for cleaning
When used for house cleaning, vinegar can be applied full strength or diluted in water. It can be poured directly into drains and toilets, or sprayed on surfaces such as tubs and benchtops. Use it in the bathroom, kitchen, common areas, and laundry room — this green cleaning alternative will make your home smell fresh from top to bottom.
Cleaning the bathroom with vinegar
You can use vinegar to clean your whole bathroom. All you need are the following:
- non-abrasive scrubbing pad
- toilet brush
- bicarb soda for hard-to-remove stains.
Shower walls can have mildew and limestone stains, especially when you’re using hard water. Remove the build-up by applying warmed vinegar on the walls, then scrubbing off the stains using a non-abrasive scrubbing pad.
For more stubborn stains, dip the non-abrasive scrubbing pad in baking soda and use this to scrub the damp walls. Rinse the walls until all the residue is gone.
Bathtubs collect bacteria and should be cleaned regularly. To sanitise and remove the grimey film on your tub, apply white vinegar onto the surface using a sponge. Follow this up by
scrubbing the tub with your non-abrasive scrubbing pad dipped in bicarb soda. Rinse the surface with warm water to remove the residue — your tub is now ready to use! It’s that easy.
Faucets look much more attractive when they’re sparkling and stain-free. To achieve this, simply combine 2 teaspoons of vinegar with 1 teaspoon of salt. Apply the solution onto your faucets using a sponge and scrub off with your non-abrasive scrubbing pad. Give your faucets a quick rinse and you’re good to go!
In my years of cleaning experience, I’ve noticed that there are 2 kinds of people in the world: those who absolutely love cleaning toilets, and those who are horrified even by the idea of it. If you’re part of the second group, cleaning the toilet with vinegar just might change your mind.
For a sparkling clean toilet, start with 2-3 cups of white vinegar — you can add in a few drops of your favourite essential oil, like lemon or tea tree. Pour the liquid in the toilet and allow it to sit for 3 hours. When the 3 hours are up, get your toilet brush and start scrubbing. The stains and grime should come right off, and your toilet will look shiny as if it were brand new!
The showerhead is one of the bathroom fixtures we sometimes neglect to clean. The whole process — from disassembling the showerhead to brushing the nooks and crannies — can be a chore! Luckily, we don’t need to do that here.
Just fill a plastic bag with white vinegar and secure it on the showerhead (a hair tie will do the trick). Make sure that the showerhead is submerged in vinegar — this will loosen the mineral buildup in those hard-to-reach crevices. Leave the bag overnight and remove before you shower. Voila! Your showerhead will look good as new!
While mould removal sounds like a backbreaking task, there’s no need to shy away from stained tiles and tile grout. Cleaning mould with vinegar and baking soda is easier than you think.
To remove the stains from tiles and tile grout, apply a solution containing half a cup of vinegar and 4.5L water on the walls and floor. Use a non-abrasive scrubbing pad dipped in baking soda to scrub off more stubborn stains. Rinse the walls and floor thoroughly with water to remove any remaining residue, then allow it to dry completely.
Cleaning the living areas with vinegar
Vinegar is the perfect cleaning agent for your living room and bedroom. It is all-natural and won’t cause any allergic reactions. Because it is non-toxic, it is especially safe to use when there are kids or pets around.
For crystal-clear windows, use a solution made of equal parts white vinegar and water. Wipe the windows with a sponge dipped in the vinegar solution, then lightly scrub off any stains sticking stubbornly on the glass. Remove excess water with a moistened squeegee and allow the windows to air dry.
Cleaning floors with vinegar is easy — simply add half a cup of vinegar to 4.5L water, then use the solution to mop your laminate floors. Not only will you have shiny flooring after, doing this also deodorises the room.
Vinegar is an all-natural wood polish and cleaner. Mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil, then add in 4 parts water to the oil and vinegar mixture. Dip a soft, non-scratching cloth into the liquid and use this to wipe your wood furniture. Remove any excess liquid from the surface with a soft, dry cloth.
Rugs and carpets
There’s no need to get stressed over cleaning rugs and carpets. With our DIY cleaning solution, fresh-smelling rugs and carpets are within your fingertips.
Before you start though, make sure that the fabric of your rugs and carpets isn’t made of silk or satin — these materials don’t take in acid well and may be permanently damaged or discoloured after a vinegar application.
When cleaning rugs and carpets, remember to only use cleaning vinegar. This is essentially your typical white vinegar — it is colourless and won’t stain the fabric. The fact that it doesn’t leave a strong, pungent smell is a big plus, too.
Start by pouring just enough vinegar on stained areas of your rug or carpet. Once the fabric has soaked in the vinegar, sprinkle baking soda on the vinegar-drenched sites. You’re going to hear that fun, fizzing sound when you combine an acid with bicarb soda. Let this sit overnight to allow the vinegar to evaporate completely.
As soon as the vinegar has dried up, vacuum off any remaining bicarb soda residue. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any excess powder that’s stuck on the surface. Easy peasy.
Cleaning the kitchen with vinegar
The kitchen is one of the most frequently used areas in your home. Sanitise and deodorise it naturally with vinegar. You can use this acid in its pure form, mixed with water, or combined with bicarb soda for a deeper clean.
Cleaning with vinegar is the best way to disinfect your refrigerator. When you use soap on your refrigerator’s interiors, you run the risk of contaminating your food with toxic chemicals. The smell of soap may also get into your food and ruin its flavour — detergent-tasting eggs and milk are the last thing you’ll want to have for breakfast!
For a clean-smelling and sanitised refrigerator, use equal parts vinegar and water. Dip a sponge or soft cloth in the vinegar solution and use this to wipe the interior and exterior of your refrigerator. Dry off with a soft cloth. You’re done!
Cleaning a microwave doesn’t have to be a herculean task. With your trusted vinegar and water solution, a pristine-looking microwave is literally a few minutes away.
To make the solution, combine equal parts vinegar and water. A half-cup serving for each liquid will do. Place the mixture in a glass bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes. With a microfibre cloth, wipe off the debris and splatter in your microwave.
For hard-to-remove stains (plus a fresher scent), follow this up by wiping the interior surface with a cut lemon half. Take care not to get lemon juice into any holes or crevices. Dry as before using a microfibre cloth. You’ll be surprised how sparkling your once-grimey microwave is now!
Benchtops are some of the easiest surfaces to clean. Unless your benchtop is made of granite or marble, you can do this easily with vinegar! Simply spray white vinegar on the surface and wipe off with a slightly damp non-abrasive cloth. It’s super quick, and you won’t even use harsh chemicals for this task.
If you want to go the extra mile, try adding a drop or two of lemon or peppermint essential oil in the vinegar. This removes any unpleasant odours from your countertop and leaves your kitchen smelling like a spa.
Cleaning drains with baking soda and vinegar is an all-natural alternative to using liquid soaps and corrosive declogging agents. To do this, spray vinegar into the drain and allow the acid to loosen any grime and food debris.
After a minute or two, use a scrub brush sprinkled with baking soda to remove the grease and grime from the surface of the drain. Rinse your drain with hot water and repeat if necessary.
Cleaning the laundry with vinegar
It may sound like an odd tandem, but vinegar and dirty laundry are a match made in cleaning heaven. Use this multi-purpose liquid as a fabric softener, or as a cleaning booster for your favourite detergent.
As a fabric softener
Ditch the store-bought fabric softener and use vinegar instead. White vinegar smoothens static and softens most fabrics without using harmful chemicals.
To use as a fabric softener, add a drop or two of your favourite essential oil to a cup of cleaning vinegar. Add this mixture to your final rinse and proceed as usual. You’ll have softer, fresher-smelling clothes sans the intoxicating fumes that fabric softeners are known to have.
As an all-natural detergent booster
Do you wonder why some freshly laundered clothes smell so clean? You guessed it — the secret is vinegar! Vinegar gets rid of funky smells and lets the detergent work more effectively on your laundry.
Add a cup of white vinegar to your dirty laundry, then run the washing machine as usual. Go green all the way and use biodegradable laundry soap — the environment will thank you for it! Make sure to air dry your clothes thoroughly after washing.
Go green with your cleaning
When it comes to cleaning your home, harmful chemicals are out and eco-friendly ingredients are in! There are plenty of ingredients you can find in your pantry that are a fraction of the cost of usual cleaning agents — and they’re equally effective, too.
Jumpstart your sustainable lifestyle by using good old white vinegar. It is the cleaning guru’s go-to hack for green cleaning. A bottle of vinegar will give you plenty of mileage, from sanitising the kitchen and deodorising the bathroom to polishing wood and softening fabric. It’s also completely safe — you don’t have to worry about getting skin allergies or your pet accidentally ingesting a chemical-based cleaning solution.
The next time you’re about to reach for that bottle of surface cleaner or detergent in the shops, you may want to think twice. The answer to your cleaning problems is right in front of you!