Stop spending moola on products filled with chemicals and questionable ingredients. Instead, get a jug of inexpensive Distilled White Vinegar. It's better for your health, the environment, and your wallet.
1. Produce Wash
Combine 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Spray produce. Rinse with water. Or use to soak produce in the sink. Cook's Illustrated tested this method against water alone, and scrubbing. "...the cleaning method that worked the best was the dilute vinegar rinse... It removed 98 percent of the bacteria...it's a 30-second, 50-cent investment."
2. Fabric Softener and Cleaner
Pour 1/4 cup vinegar in rinse cycle instead of fabric softener. Kill bacteria, remove mildew smell, get rid of soap residue, soften clothes. Great for those with sensitive skin.
3. Glass Cleaner
Combine equal parts of vinegar and water. Spray windows, mirrors, the outside of auto glass, and wipe clean. Soak wine glasses and glassware for 10 minutes, scrub and rinse. Removes dirt, streaks, cloudiness. Don't use on electronic screens or tinted glass.
4. Tile and Grout Cleaner
Combine 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water in the sink. Dip mop or sponge/rag and wipe down.
5. Clogged Drains and Garbage Disposals
Pour a pot of boiling hot water down drain. Dump 1/2 cup baking soda. Let sit for 5 minutes. Pour 1 cup vinegar down drain over the baking soda (more is fine if its seriously clogged). Let sit for 10 minutes. Pour another pot of boiling water down. This one trick has saved me HUNDREDS versus having a professional come out. Beware of the fun volcano effect when you pour the vinegar down!
6. Hard Water Stains and Mineral Buildup on Sink Faucet
Soak a paper towel in vinegar (don't dilute). Wrap the paper towel around the head of the faucet covering the hard water stain completely. Leave over night. Use a tooth brush to scrub the hard water off. Use a rubber band to hold the paper towel in place if it doesn't want to stay.
7. General Purpose Cleaner
Combine equal parts vinegar and water. Spray and wipe counter tops, the microwave, bathtub, sinks, and the fridge.
Combine one part vinegar to three parts water. Add a few drops of tea tree oil for extra antimicrobial effects. Spray on counter tops, door knobs, and wipe. Spray on rag and wipe light switches, remote controls, cell phones, and anywhere frequently touched. A study that tested malt vinegar states, "our findings indicate that it is possible to use common, low-technology agents such as... 10% malt vinegar... to rapidly and completely inactivate influenza virus. Thus, [the public does not need to source specialized cleaning products, but can rapidly disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces with agents readily available in most homes.]" Also, "Malt vinegar (4–8% acetic acid) was effective down to a dilution of 10%. Previously 5% acetic acid has been demonstrated to be effective at inactivating an A/H7N2 strain of influenza," (pubmed.gov).
9. Shower Curtain Cleaner
Use laundry detergent like normal. Add 1 cup vinegar to rinse cycle. Removes mildew, and smell.
10. Toilet Bowl Ring Cleaner
Pour undiluted vinegar in the toilet until it covers the ring. Let sit overnight. Scrub and flush.
11. BONUS Suggestions!
- Flowers fresher longer: Add 2 tablespoons to vase of fresh cut flowers.
- Insect repellant: Full strength spray where ants, or other insects are crossing over into your home. They hate it and it deters them from coming in.
- Save your empty spray bottles, clean and re-label them. Fill them with the recipes below.
- I often use one spray bottle for multiple items on the list- ex. spray produce, clean my mirrors, windows, and kitchen to keep it easy.
- Never combine bleach and vinegar. It creates harmful fumes.
- Use Distilled White Vinegar for all suggestions on this list.
- Vinegar smells strong at first, but goes away quickly once its dried. Don't let it stop you from using it!
Sources: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14540742 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20126543