One of the best ways to save money is to clean with vinegar by making homemade cleaning supplies. You can use vinegar to deodorize, disinfect, cut grease, remove rust and eliminate mineral buildup. Due to its acidity, vinegar can kill most molds, bacteria and germs.
Vinegar Versus Commercial Cleaning Products
Buying separate cleaning products for each of your needs can become expensive. A gallon of vinegar will cost between $2.00 and $3.00, while commercial cleaning products average around $3.50 per product and “natural” cleaning products cost around $5.00 per product. One gallon of vinegar can replace all of your other products, at substantial savings.
Another advantage of vinegar is that unlike commercial cleaning products where you have no control over the ingredients, you won’t find yourself inadvertently using toxic chemicals, which you’d rather not have in your home.
In the Kitchen
In your kitchen, you can heat a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to clean your microwave. Let the steam penetrate the buildup on your microwave’s walls and then wipe them clean. To freshen your garbage disposal, freeze vinegar to make ice cubes and grind them in the disposal to deodorize it. Pour a cup of vinegar into an empty dishwasher and run it through an entire cycle to remove detergent buildup and odors. Diluted vinegar can be used to clean grease and grime from your oven interiors, top of your refrigerator and stove top.
In the Laundry
For laundry, soak dingy whites, dish rags and sponges in a water and vinegar solution to renew them. Vinegar can also be used as a fabric softener by adding 1/2 cup to the rinse cycle. New clothes can be soaked in 1/2 cup white vinegar added to water to remove manufacturing chemicals and to set bright colors. Brightly colored clothes rinsed in vinegar before the first wash will bleed less and will retain their bright color longer. In addition, you can use vinegar to remove mildew on clothes that can’t take bleach. Spraying vinegar onto shirt collars and underarm areas will remove deodorant stains, sweat stains and odors.
In the Bathroom
Your bathroom is another place where vinegar comes in handy. You can use it to clean toilet bowl rings by shutting off the water to the toilet, removing water from the bowl by flushing it, and then laying vinegar-soaked paper towels on the ring for an hour or more. By pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar into a sandwich or quart-sized plastic bag, and tying it over your showerhead for an hour or two, you can remove mineral buildup. Soaking your faucets in vinegar will remove mineral buildup and soap scum, leaving them looking shiny and clean.
Around the House
Around the house, windows and glass can be cleaned with a solution of vinegar and water. You can also enhance a commercial window cleaner (and make it last longer) by mixing it with 1/3 water and 1/3 vinegar. Rust can be removed from tools, bolts and faucets by soaking them in vinegar. And, spraying undiluted vinegar on doorknobs will kill germs.
Once you start using vinegar for your cleaning needs, you’ll find it handy for many household tasks, while being easy on your wallet.
Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.