Your Ultimate Guide to Cleaning With Vinegar

ultimate guide to cleaning with vinegarWe’ve all see the Pinterest posts glorifying the virtues of cleaning with vinegar and talked to friends who insist on using all-natural cleaners, but does it actually work? Is it really safe? And for pete’s sake, when should you use it? When shouldn’t you use it? It’s time to hash everything out once and for all so you can clean your home safely, confidently and cost effectively!

Distilled White Vinegar: A Multi-Purpose Cleaner?

Yes! DWV makes a wonderful all purpose cleaner because it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that affect your health. It’s easily available and much less expensive than other cleaners. And if you dilute it with water, it becomes even more cost effective.

Vinegar Has a pH Value of 2.4

This means it’s highly acidic, which is why some people get acid reflux after eating dishes that include vinegar. However, this also means that it can damage some of the surfaces in your home.

Don’t Use Vinegar on These Surfaces

Vinegar should never be used on natural stone surfaces like marble or granite because it can etch the stone — even if you dilute it with water. It can deteriorate your grout and damage the finish on sealed hardwood floors. And don’t bother trying to clean up spilled eggs with a vinegar solution; it’ll just congeal the egg and make it even harder to clean.

Test It Before You Use It

So before you use vinegar to clean, always test your solution in an inconspicuous spot on the thing you want to clean. Let it dry fully and if there’s no sign of damage, go ahead and clean the whole thing.

Deciding Whether to Dilute Your Vinegar

A 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar is perfect for as an all purpose cleaner. So if you use 1 cup of vinegar, add 1 cup of water. Yet if you’re going to do any of the following, Heinz recommends that you use vinegar at its full strength.

  • Remove stains on pots and pans by soaking for 30 minutes
  • Eliminate streaks on your windows by spraying and wiping with a microfiber cloth
  • Clean soap scum off glass dishes by adding 1 cup pure vinegar to the bottom of your dishwasher
  • Eradicate toilet bowl stains by letting 1 cup of vinegar sit in the bowl for 5 minutes

Using the Right Cleaning Tools

How you use vinegar will depend on what you’re actually trying to clean. Windows, countertops (not stone ones!) and other small areas are usually best served by a spray bottle full of vinegar. Floors and other larger areas can be cleaned with a gallon of warm water and a cup of vinegar in a normal size bucket.

Vinegar in the Kitchen

Aside from making some delicious dishes, you can also use vinegar to clean and deodorize a lot of the stuff in your kitchen.

Get that funky smell out of your garbage disposal by pouring a cup of full strength vinegar down the drain. Come back in about an hour and run hot water down there after it.

Spray your cutting board with undiluted vinegar and wipe it down for a superior clean.

Fill a bowl with ½ cup vinegar and 1 cup water and pop it in the microwave until it comes to a boil. This will help break up any stuck on food particles (sauce splatter, anyone?) so you can easily wipe it down with a sponge to get it clean. It’ll also get rid of that popcorn smell.

Spray stainless steel appliances like your toaster or fridge with vinegar and wipe down with a paper towel or soft cloth, making sure that you follow the direction of the grain. This will get rid of fingerprints and any caked on foodstuff. Then, if you really want your stainless steel to be mark-free and shiney, dab a tiny bit of oil on your cloth and (following the grain) rub it into the surface.

Vinegar in the Bathroom

If you’ve got a slow moving shower drain that keeps you ankle deep in water, try this. (Heads up, it won’t work on really bad clogs, but it will keep a finicky one working well.) Start by pouring a pot of boiling hot water down the drain and follow it with a half cup of baking soda. Let it sit for about 5 – 10 minutes and then pour a solution containing 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup very hot water down the drain and quickly cover the drain with a plug. (This will keep the cleaning action where you need it.) Let that work for another 5 or 10 minutes and then flush it out with one more pot of boiling water.

The baking soda and hot water will loosen up all that grimey, sludgy, shamoo and conditioner-y stuff that’s collecting at the bottom of your drain and the vinegar will cause an explosive chemical reaction that will knock it loose. The last rinse with hot water gets everything outta there so you can take a shower without standing in that cruddy water. (You’re welcome!)

You can also use vinegar to remove hard water deposits. Fill up a zippy bag with pure vinegar, hang it over your faucet or showerhead and secure in place with a rubber band so that the fixture is sitting completely in the vinegar. Let it soak overnight.

If you don’t have natural stone in your bathroom, you can use the all-purpose vinegar cleaning solution to get rid of yucky soap deposits in your shower and tub as well.

Other Ways to Use Vinegar

You can use vinegar to clean your stinky washing machine. Just run a hot water cycle with a full cup of vinegar. If your clothes could use a little softening, a ½ cup of undiluted vinegar in the rinse cycle will do the trick (and reduce the amount of lint you see in the dryer!)

Ants hate vinegar, so if you’re having a little problem with these guys you can spray some undiluted vinegar in the areas where you suspect they’re entering your home. It will also destroy their trails, which means it won’t be so easy for them to find their way back to you.

And if you absolutely hate the way it smells but love the way it cleans, check out our post on how you can mask the smell of vinegar!

If you’re tired of cleaning and want to see what a professional maid service can do for you, contact 1st Class Cleaning today and ask us about our services, schedules and pricing.

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