The Indispensable Vinegar

Now that the kids are back in school, I’m trying to take a few days to get the house back together. It’s been a mess with all the gardening, dogs, painting, and constant activity, so I’m a green cleaning machine (my family’s working their elbow grease, too). At the same time, I’ve been adding some new pages to my blog’s sidebar with some tips for going green. I’m always looking for ways to be eco-wise in my home, but I’m still learning and incorporating, too, trying to make it all routine. Being eco-wise is obviously important to our planet, but sometimes it’s hard to get started or hard to think beyond what you have done all your life. So if you find a useful tip or two, I’m happy! Part of the reason I decided to work on these pages was to remind myself to continue helping my family take positive strides toward reducing our negative impact on the planet.

To launch the new pages, I’d like to pay homage to the Indispensable Vinegar. It might not be fragrant like that rose in your garden, but it’s oh so very useful. Take a look at all it can do for you!

vinegar.jpgInside the home, vinegar can be used to:
Clean kitchen counters and sinks
Clean mirrors
Clean bathroom counters, sinks, and bath tub – either use diluted spray or making a scouring cleanser with baking soda, liquid detergent, and vinegar
Get soap scum off of glasses
Break down bodily fluids, such as vomit or feces, in the carpet or on your floor (dilute 1:1 with water)
Clean and soothe irritated skin after working in the garden (or touching poison ivy)
Deoderize a garbage disposal
Clean the inside of a refrigerator
Keep ants out of the kitchen
Soak pot stains to get them clean
Soothe itches from bug bites and poison ivy
Clean toothbrushes (and dentures!)
Laundry – add to your wash cycle for stubborn smells in your clothes or in your machine. Use dilute vinegar to loosen stains on your clothes before washing
Clean windows
Absorb smells – just put a bowl out overnight!
Clean litter boxes
Clean toilets, inside the bowl and on the exterior
Remove stains and smells from counters, pots, dishes, and hands
Mop the floor (particular useful on ceramic tile with grout; however, don’t use on marble)
Clean stains from carpet

Outside the home, use vinegar to:
Clean your barbeque grill
Clean upholstery stains
Clean birdfeeders (always rinse well, regardless of how you clean)
Keep pests away from your garden bed, including rabbits and cats (be careful where you place, and don’t spill – it’s a natural plant killer)
Clean your trash bin
Clean stains off concrete
Clean clay pots
Remove ice or bugs from car windows
Kill weeds — no need for Round-Up! Spray directly on weeds (careful of your other plants), on stubborn tap roots, and even on poison ivy! Some people use a combination of vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and salt on their poison ivy, too. Others heat the vinegar first to strength the acidity.
Clean windows

7 thoughts on “The Indispensable Vinegar

  1. Thanks for all this extra info, Meredith! We do use vinegar for several inside cleaning chores, but I didn’t know so many other uses for it existed.
    The other thing I use all the time (in a spray bottle) for cleaning countertops, cabinet doors, baseboards, etc is diluted food-grade (35%) hydrogen peroxide, which I dilute 11 parts water to one part peroxide. We also use this as mouthwash, and I routinely spray it on dishwashing brushes, toothbrushes, trashcans, etc.

  2. i just scrubbed the bathrooms with vinegar and baking soda. my favorite cleaners! vinegar also gets rid of pesky weeds, just have to be careful not to get it on other plants so we stick with it in the cracks in the patio and walkways..hehe
    green living is good! i’ve actually been trying to do the same around here to get ready for winter. we are cleaning closets, decluttering and donating alot right now. feels good to lighten the load!
    i love the comment about using peroxide too! going to try that one…;)
    let me know when you are up for another nursery expedition. i’ve tried to be good, but then of course discovered barton springs..LOL

  3. I love cleaning with vinegar. I don’t even mind the smell anymore. Vinegar, baking soda and various essential oils comprise the bulk of my cleaning arsenal. I’ve never been a big fan of the perfume smell of many cleaners and cleaning with natural products is better for our septic tank.

  4. Great green post Meredith! Some fabulous ideas and thanks for the reminder. We all need to be more mindful of our environment. I’ve always used vinegar for my windows and in the laundry rinse cycle to help clothes from fading. Thanks for the tips!

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