Vinegar is the ultimate cleaning product. Not only can it clean just about anything, but it is also inexpensive, natural, easy to find, and safe for pets, family members, and the environment. In fact, I would be tempted to call it the perfect all-in-one cleaner if it weren’t for its distinctive, unpleasant odor. Luckily, the odor does dissipate quickly, leaving you with a clean environment that will inhibit the growth of nasty bacteria like E. coli and salmonella as well as mold and mildew. Although we’ve already mentioned that vinegar can be used to clean laminate floors, windows (and it doesn’t leave streaks!), and is a great cleaning product to keep in the office, today we’re going to look at the many, many uses for vinegar around the house.
What is Vinegar?
Before you start running around the house and spraying everything with vinegar, let’s take a quick moment to figure out just what vinegar is and why it is such a useful product.
We start with the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. The acetic acid (CH3COOH) produced is combined with water to create a liquid known as vinegar. The fermentation can either be fast (20 hours to 3 days) or slow (weeks or even months) depending on the type of vinegar desired. There are many different varieties of vinegar available, most of which are made specially for culinary use. Common vinegars that are easily found at the supermarket include apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, white vinegar, and wine vinegar.
If you’re still weary of vinegar, just consider all of these fantastic selling points before we get to the uses for vinegar around the house:
- It is inexpensive.
- You can find it at just about any supermarket.
- It has a very long shelf life (it may look cloudy at 42 months, but it’s still safe to use).
- It is natural and environmentally friendly.
- It is nontoxic, edible, and biodegradable.
- It is safe for use around children, pets, etc.
- It is gentle on the skin.
- There are many uses for vinegar around the house (as you will see below).
Uses for Vinegar Around the House
Now that we’ve gotten you on-board with vinegar, let’s take a look at all it can do. Prepare yourself to be shocked and amazed! Vinegar really is an all-in-one cleaner.
- Spray on windows and wipe for a streak-free clean (Use a 50-50 combination of water and vinegar. Spray on and wipe off).
- Clean your coffeemaker (Pour equal parts water and vinegar into your coffeemaker’s water chamber and turn on the brew cycle. Turn it off halfway through and let sit for 60 minutes. Turn it on and complete the cycle. Run several times with water afterward).
- Clean your dishwasher (Empty the dishwasher. Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into the reservoir and run the cycle).
- Clean floors (Add 1/4 cup vinegar to warm water and clean with a dry mop like a Swiffer. This works on all floors except marble and hardwood).
- Clean glassware (Rinse glassware with water and 1 cup vinegar for a spotless shine).
- Clean shower heads (Pour vinegar into a grocery bag and knot over the handle of the shower head. Secure with rubber bands if needed. Let soak several hours. Rinse. Vinegar helps combat mineral deposits).
- Clean your iron’s interior (Fill the iron with equal parts vinegar and water. Press steam button a few times. Turn off and allow time to cool. Empty and rinse. This will help get rid of mineral deposits).
- Clean your microwave (Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring to a boil in the microwave. Wipe clean).
- Clean your shower of soap scum (Heat vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into squirt bottle. Add blue dawn detergent soap. Shake gently. Spray in your shower. Let sit. Rinse).
- Clean countertops and tiles (Use a 50-50 combination of water and vinegar. Scrub).
- Clean up pet urine stains (Blot up urine. Flush with warm water. Apply equal parts vinegar and cool water. Blot up. Rinse.)
- Clean your fridge (Use a 50-50 combination of water and vinegar. Wash interior and exterior to prevent mildew growth and bacteria).
And these are just some of the uses for vinegar around the house! It really is the best all-around cleaning product. If we’ve convinced you, be sure to pick up plain old white vinegar. Speciality types like balsamic and apple cider may leave behind unwanted scents and residue. With all of these uses for vinegar around the house, you’ve got a busy day ahead of you. Happy cleaning!