I have a confession to make: Before I was into “natural” living, I used to clean nearly every surface in my house with bleach. My husband would come home to the strong smell of bleach throughout the house, nearly overpowering him.
I equated the smell of bleach with “germ free”. But it didn't occur to me that I was also creating an unhealthy environment by putting toxins into my home with bleach and other various cleaners.
What first got me interested in living in a different way was when I started to research the health effects of said chemicals. I was surprised to learn that the products we were using could be harmful to our health. Forget about germs! I was now worried about autoimmune diseases, infertility and birth defects (we were trying for a baby), and cancer.
That's when I started on the path to using more natural cleaners. At first I bought natural cleaning brands. But then I found that vinegar worked just as well if not better than those pricey brands.
Benefits of Cleaning with Vinegar:
- Vinegar is cheap and found in every grocery store.
- Vinegar kills germs. Some studies have even found that it kills the flu virus just as well as common household disinfectants and bleach.
- It deodorizes – Not only does it disinfect, but it gets rid of nasty smells.
- It cuts dirt, grease, and grime – When I need a little extra cleaning power, I just spray on some vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes. When I revisit the spot with my scrubbie, it comes off easily.
Will My House Smell Like Vinegar?
I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times: “But I don't want my house to smell like vinegar!”
Short answer: It won't.
Long answer: Yes, your guests may catch a small hint of vinegar if they come into your house right after you've done some cleaning. However, the smell of vinegar goes away as soon as it evaporates into the air, meaning the smell is very short-term.
I'll take a deodorized kitchen with a faint scent of vinegar for a few minutes over the strong smell of chemicals and synthetic fragrance sprays any day. Wouldn't you?
How to Use Vinegar for Cleaning
Cleaning with vinegar is easy. It doesn't require any recipe or formula.
Basic Vinegar Cleaning Spray
For a basic cleaning spray, all I use is a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. I don't measure, just eyeball it.
This basic formula can be used as a glass cleaner or surface cleaner.
Other Ways to Clean with Vinegar
- Room/Linen Spray – Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the basic cleaning spray to make an effective room spray and linen spray. It will deodorize and add a pleasant aroma.
- Toilet Cleaning – When it's time to clean the toilet, add about a 1/4 cup of baking soda to the bowl. Then pour in some vinegar. Let it foam and sit for about 5 minutes. Come back and scrub out the bowl with the toilet brush.
- Fabric Softener – Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar to the washing machine at the beginning of the cycle. You may also soak a washcloth in vinegar and put in the dryer with your clothes.
- In the Dishwasher – Add 1/4 cup of vinegar when you start your dishwasher to prevent spots and hard water deposits on your dishes.
As you can see, cleaning your house the “green” way doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. In fact, I save hundreds on cleaning products every year because I simply don't buy them. I keep my home in good supply of vinegar (and baking soda) and we're pretty much set.