Vinegar – a versatile cleaning solution
Vinegar is a very common household item that is useful in cleaning many things in your house. Its non-toxic, cheap and widely available. If you are looking for non-toxic alternatives to the commercial cleaning solutions, then try vinegar.
First you should know that vinegar contains acetic acid, so it is an “acidic cleaner”. This itself explains a lot about how you should be using it.
Almost everything that can be cleaned with acids can be cleaned with vinegar, except that vinegar is a low-strength acid. Its safe on human skin and is less likely to cause any hazards when used.
However, anything that cannot be cleaned with acid, should be kept away for vinegar too. This includes mineral rich surfaces like marble and granite.
Prepare your vinegar solution
Preparing your cleaning solution with vinegar is actually simpler than you think. Just get a spray bottle and fill it with plain white vinegar and water in equal parts.
That is it. Your powerful cleaning solution is ready for job. Next you should know what all you should be cleaning with vinegar and what not.
Things NOT to clean with vinegar
First lets take a look at all the things you should not be cleaning with vinegar. Keeping these in minds should save you from lots of troubles later on.
1. Marble and Granite flooring and countertops
Anything made of mineral stones like marble, granite etc should not applied with vinegar. Vinegar is acidic and it reacts with the minerals on these surfaces.
The result would be an etched or corroded surface that looses its shine and some stains along with it. It can really spoil the looks of a finely finished surface, if used in a concentrated dose.
2. Iron and other metal surfaces
Do not apply vinegar on surfaces of raw metals like iron. The acid in vinegar can potentially react with metals and cause corrosion.
However, objects made of stainless steel like kitchen sinks can be cleaned with vinegar.
3. Wooden furniture and flooring
Wood may also react with vinegar’s acid. Wood is a natural substance and contains lots of organic chemical compounds that may get eroded with the effect of vinegar.
4. Certain fabrics like silk and linen
Delicate fabrics like silk and linen may not be able to withstand the acidic effect of vinegar and may get ruined. So if you are trying to use vinegar to remove stains from clothes, first check the fabric type.
Things to clean with vinegar
Apart from the above things, you can cleaning almost everything else with vinegar. Here is a big list of things.
Glass utensils, glass mirrors or any other things made of glass, can be cleaned with vinegar. Vinegar will lift up all the dust, scum and other sticky dirt away from the glass. Use a spray bottle to spray vinegar solution on glass and rub with a sponge.
To clean glass crockery simply take a small tub and fill it with 20 parts water and 1 part plain white vinegar. Put in all the utensils and leave overnight. Next morning clean with plain water.
2. Vinyl & plastic structures
Vinyl is a polymer used to make doors, chairs and similar furniture for households. It can be easily cleaned with vinegar. If you have plastic chairs and vinyl doors, spray vinegar on them and rub away with a sponge.
3. Porcelain tiles
Porcelain or ceramic tiles in bathrooms, kitchens can also be cleaned with vinegar. Tiles in the bathroom get dirty and due to stains cause by soap scum and water and other things. Spray vinegar and rub. Clean wash basins and bath tubs the same way
4. Mold on walls
Vinegar is an excellent cleaner for small amounts of mold on the wall. Simply spray vinegar on the mold and rub with a scrubber till its all gone. For larger molds however you would need alternatives like detergent and bleach.
5. Food stains on fabrics
Vinegar can help lift stains on clothes and fabrics caused by food items. Stains caused by chocolate, mustard, tumeric can be lifted by dabbing with vinegar. After the stain is completely gone, wash as usual.
6. Clogged drains
Vinegar together with baking soda can clear off the jam in clogged drains. Pour down about a cup of baking soda in the drain hole. Then pour a cup of vinegar. It will cause a fizzy reaction and loosen out the clogged dirt inside the drain pipe. Let it do the job for about 15 minutes and the pour in hot boiling water. This will flush out everything.
7. Stainless steel
The stainless steel sink in the kitchen, the faucet and the utensils can be cleaned with vinegar. Just apply diluted vinegar solution and rub. Vinegar will fight hard water stains and restore the original shine of the steel.
8. Plastic containers
Plastic containers like bottles, buckets, tubs etc can be cleaned with vinegar. Spray enough vinegar all over and start rubbing with sponge.
To clean plastic bottles leave them in vinegar solution for a night and clean with plain water next day. You can also use lemon juice for this trick.
9. Stains on carpets
Vinegar can be used to clean stains on carpets just like other fabrics and clothings. Just pour some vinegar on the stain followed by warm water and start dabbing with a cotton ball or sponge. This will lift out the stain. Its very effective in getting rid of stains like wine, ink, tea, coffee etc.
10. Mildew smell in clothes
Clothes that have been left in damp conditions for long will start smelling. Its the mildew smell. To get rid of it, just wash the clothes in the washer as usual but with a cup of vinegar. Vinegar will completely remove the musty odor from clothes and make them smell fresh.
Extra tips and advice
The uses of vinegar is endless and a single page article like this cannot cover it. However you are free to try it out in new and creative ways to get a clean and sparkling home.
In effect vinegar is similar to lemon/lime juice. So you can also use lemon peels and lemon juice to clean things that you would clean with vinegar. Lemon is useful in cleaning kitchen things like sinks and utensils.
If you really want to learn more about the uses of vinegar in household cleaning tasks, then I would recommend you to buy some of the those books on amazon.com about vinegar and its many uses.