Around the House: Use White Vinegar to Create a Powerful, Nontoxic Cleaning Spray
By Yehudit Garmaise
Combining a few household items, such as vinegar, a drop of dish soap, and water, can make homemade cleaning sprays that cost almost nothing and contain none of the harmful chemicals lurking in the colorful household cleaners on stores’ shelves.
To create an all-purpose cleaner to clean many home surfaces, kill mold, and even create better-tasting coffee, make sure to have a bottle of white vinegar.
Save your apple cider vinegar, red vinegar, and other types of vinegar for salad dressings and your sweet and sour meatballs because white vinegar is not only colorless, which is crucial for cleaning, but white vinegar’s higher acidity content provides its cleaning power.
To create an all-purpose spray cleaner: for most kitchens, bathrooms, and dining rooms, first, find or buy an empty spray bottle. You can buy an empty spray bottle or re-use one that is emptied and rinsed of its previous solution to prevent creating toxic fumes.
Make sure to affix a large, name-tag-type white sticker that says, “Vinegar Cleaning Solution,” so you know what is in the spray bottle when you next use it.
Then, add 2 ½ c. water, ¼ white vinegar, and ½ t. dishwashing liquid into your spray bottle.
To make your cleaning solution smell great, add a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender, rose, or lemon, before tightly closing the bottle. Shake to combine it.
Grab a dish towel, soft brush, sponge, and rubber gloves to use the non-toxic cleaning solution.
To clean the bathroom: Spray the cleaning solution on your shower door, tiles, and countertops, and let the spray sit for a minute. Then, use a soft-bristled nylon brush or a sponge to get rid of dirt and soap scum. Rinse with clean water and dry with a lint-free towel.
To kill mold: Instead of using the spray mixture, spray undiluted vinegar directly onto the mold. Let the vinegar sit for an hour before using a scrub brush to scour.
To clean hardwood floors, tile, or laminate floors, fill a bucket with 1 gallon of warm water and add 1 c. of white vinegar. Dip a sponge or microfiber mop into the mixture, but wring the mop well so as not to oversaturate the floor. Rinse the mop head often in running water. The water and vinegar solution will not leave residue or streaks, so you do not need to rinse the floor after mopping.
To clear clogged pipes and freshen up garbage disposals: While you will need to physically remove wads of hair from your drains, you can keep drains running smoothly and smelling good by using a vinegar hack.
To remove grease, soap scum, and food residue down the drain, pour 4 c. of hot water into the drain. Then, pour 1 c. of dry baking soda into the drain, followed by 1 c. of vinegar.
The vinegar and baking soda will fizz and bubble: cleaning grease, dirt, odors, and soap scum. To keep the cleaning action contained in the pipes, cover your drains with stoppers. When the fizzing and bubbling dies down, run hot water for several minutes to flush out and thoroughly rinse the pipes.
Clean the microwave by filling a microwaveable bowl with 2 c. water and ¼ c. white vinegar. Put the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for one to two minutes or until the mixture boils and steams up the microwave’s interior door.
Leave the microwave’s door closed for 15 minutes to allow the steam and vinegar to loosen splatters on the microwave’s inner walls and glass plate. Meanwhile, lightly spray your all-purpose cleaning solution on the outside of the microwave. Use a wet sponge to scrub, and wipe dry with a dishtowel.
After 15 minutes have passed, carefully remove the bowl, which may be hot, and the microwave’s glass turntable. Use a wet, soapy sponge to wipe out the inside of the microwave, the connecting seals, the glass plate, and the interior of the door. If your glass plate needs more cleaning, you can soak it in the sink or the dishwasher.
Improve the taste of your morning coffee by using vinegar to clean your coffee maker, electric kettle, Keurig machine, and Shabbos urn. If your hot beverages don’t taste as good as they should, your hot water appliances probably need to be cleaned of built-up limescale, bacteria, and oils that can cause rancidity.
Every three months of use, unplug the appliance you want to clean. If you are cleaning a Keurig machine, remove any coffee pods in the machine.
Add equal parts vinegar and water to the water-fill line, and turn the machine on as if you were brewing coffee. Then, empty the vinegar and water solution and let your machine sit for 30 minutes. Run water through the machine two more times to completely rinse out the vinegar, which will smell but which will also thoroughly deep clean the appliances.
Before getting started, be aware that while vinegar can powerfully clean many surfaces, its acidic properties can damage some things, such as screens of mobile phones, computer monitors, natural stone flooring, cast iron pots and pans, stainless steel knives, and waxed and wood surfaces.