Cleaning the House with Vinegar
Your grandma used it. And so did her grandma. Now it’s time for you to discover one of the most popular cleaning staples around: vinegar.
From showerheads to soapy heads, copper to microwaves, vinegar (especially distilled white vinegar) is a versatile, environmentally-safe alternative to store-bought cleaner — and it’s unbelievably inexpensive, too. Take a look at some of the remarkable uses for this cleaning wonder.
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1. Window cleaner
Mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water. Apply to windows with a sponge. Wipe clean using a squeegee. (Remember to wet the squeegee blade first so it won’t skip.)
To clean washable blinds, mix 1 cup ammonia, ½ cup white distilled vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda and 1 gallon of warm water. Using a sponge or cloth, wipe blinds with mixture. Rinse with clear water.
3. Automatic coffee makers
To dissolve minerals and oily build-up, fill the reservoir with white distilled vinegar and run the coffee maker through a brewing cycle. Empty the carafe. Rinse away vinegar residue by running a full reservoir of water through the brewing cycle. (As always, follow manufacturer’s care instructions.)
4. Kill grass
Forget store-bought grass and weed killers. Pour full-strength white distilled vinegar on unwanted vegetation. Reapply as needed.
5. Keep cut flowers fresh
Fresh flowers last longer if you add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of sugar to the water in a 1-quart vase. Trim stems and change water every few days or when water starts to get cloudy.
6. No-wax floors
For rinse-free cleaning, mop using a solution of ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water. Change water as it gets dirty.
Boil a solution of ¼ cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave until steam forms on the window. Wipe away food residue.
8. Hair rinse
After every few washings, remove shampoo build-up by rinsing hair with a solution of 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar (either white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar) and 1 cup of water. Adjust amount of vinegar to suit your hair type. Less vinegar for dry hair; more vinegar for oily hair. A second rinse with plain water is optional. Hair will be silky and shiny.
9. Cleaner dishes and glasses
For sparkling results, add 1 ½ to 2 cups white distilled vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher. Wash on regular cycle using the usual amount of detergent.
10. Copper, brass and pewter cleaner
To effortlessly remove tarnish, apply a mixture of 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ cup of white distilled vinegar and enough flour to make a paste. Apply to the metal and allow it to stand for 15 minutes. Rinse with clean water and polish with soft, dry cloth. (The flour keeps the vinegar and salt in contact with the tarnished surface.)
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11. Bathtub film
Remove bathtub film by wiping it first with white distilled vinegar then with baking soda. Rinse away grime with clean water.
12. Shower doors
To prevent soap scum build-up, wipe shower doors with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar. No need to rinse.
13. Clogged showerhead
Use vinegar to dissolve mineral build-up in showerheads. Add a cup of vinegar to a plastic storage bag. Position the bag so that the showerhead sits in the vinegar. Allow it to soak overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and turn on the shower to rinse.
14. Boiling a cracked egg
When boiling a cracked egg, add some vinegar to the water — about 2 teaspoons to a quart of water. This will keep the white from running out.
15. Pet urine in carpets
Blot up as much of the urine as possible by laying several paper towels over the area and walking on them (the extra pressure increases absorption). Replace towels and blot until most of the urine is removed.
Before treating the area with vinegar, test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous place. If colors don’t run, saturate the stain with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water. Allow it to sit on the area for 10 minutes. Blot as before, replacing towels as needed. When the carpet is mostly dry, sprinkle baking soda on the area. This will help absorb odors. Vacuum in about an hour.
16. Bumper sticker removal
To remove bumper sticker residue, saturate the area with distilled white vinegar. Bumper sticker pieces should peel off easily. Test first on an inconspicuous area of the car to make sure it doesn’t damage the paint.
17. To soften a paint brush
Soak the paintbrush in hot white distilled vinegar until brush softens. Then wash with warm, soapy water.
18. Wine stains
To remove wine stains from all-cotton, cotton/polyester and permanent press fabrics, it’s important to treat the stain within 24 hours. Sponge white distilled vinegar directly onto the area until the stain disappears. Launder according to directions on care label.
19. Clothes rinse
Remove dingy soap and detergent residue in clothes by adding 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to the final rinse. To remove soap residue from heavier blankets and quilts, add 2 cups of vinegar to the final rinse.