Greening Your Cleaning with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Simple products that are probably already in your cupboard can help you save money, lower the toxicity of your home and help the environment while getting your home squeaky clean. Far too many of us spend hundreds of dollars each year on cleaning products that are expensive, full of chemicals and bad for the environment and our family.

It is easier than you think to limit the amount of packaging you send to landfills, the number of chemicals the people and animals in your home come in contact with and the amount of money you spend on cleaning products.

The ideas below are ones that I personally use, but many more are available on sites such as www.vinegartips.com and www.frugalfun.com.

When considering other ways to use natural products in your home, keep in mind that, among other things, distilled white vinegar can be used to replace all purpose cleaners and as a disinfectant, and baking soda is a great replacement for abrasive cleaners, or to use as a deodorant.

And remember, the packaging for the vinegar and baking soda is recyclable.

To start greening your cleaning, all you need is:

A spray bottle

A bowl or bucket

White Distilled Vinegar

Baking Soda

Cleaning rags/cloths

Here are just a few of the ways that I use distilled white vinegar and baking soda in my home:

Washing Windows

For cleaning the windows in my home and car, I use a solution of one part distilled white vinegar to two parts water in a spray bottle.

If you have previously used big-name window cleaning solutions, the first time you clean your windows with vinegar, add a small amount of liquid dish soap to the vinegar/water solution. This will help to remove residue left behind from non-natural cleaners (if you don’t do this, you will likely get streaks from the waxy residue)

This works great for getting the film off of the inside of your windshield as well.

Pet Potty on Carpet

For cleaning up pet accidents, I use a solution of one part distilled white vinegar to one part water. First blot the spot with a rag or cloth. Then, either spray the area thoroughly with the solution and blot until almost dry, or alternatively, you can soak a rag in the solution and blot the area and then follow with a dry cloth until most of the moisture is gone. Sprinkle the area with baking soda and leave it alone for a few hours. Vacuum it up and you are finished.

Scrub that Tub (or shower, or sink, or…)

To create the abrasive cleaner I use to scrub the bathtub and whatever else needs scrubbing, I use 1 cup distilled white vinegar and �½ cup baking soda mixed in a bowl. I then follow with a vinegar soaked rag and, finally, a wipe down with a wet cloth.

Preventing Mildew in the Shower

Each time I clean the bathroom, I wipe the shower walls down with a cloth soaked in a solution of 1 part distilled white vinegar and one part water. This removes soap scum and inhibits mildew. I also use this cloth to wipe down the bottles in the shower, which can acquire soap scum over time.

Mopping Floors

I have linoleum floors in my kitchen and bathroom and use a 1:1 distilled white vinegar and water solution to clean and disinfect them. Mix the solution in a bucket and mop as usual. (It even shines!)

Cleaning lenses

I use straight vinegar and a cloth to clean my glasses at least once each week. It keeps them streak-free and even removes the little specks I sometimes get when I forget to take off my glasses when using hairspray.

Clean your Coffeemaker

Everyone seems to already know about this one, but I thought I would include it anyway, just in case.

Pour one cup of distilled white vinegar into the reservoir, and then fill with water. Run a cycle as though you were making coffee. Once the cycle has completed, fill the reservoir with water and run another cycle to rinse out any vinegar that may have been left behind. (Some people run this rinse cycle 2-3 times)

This is particularly helpful if you have hard water, which can cause icky build up and affect the taste of your coffee, as well as the cleanliness of your coffeemaker.

Clean and Disinfect Countertops

In a spray bottle, mix one part distilled white vinegar with one part water. Spray the solution on the countertop and follow with a clean, dry cloth.

Cleaning Chrome Faucets/Fixtures

Wipe down with a rag soaked in distilled white vinegar and follow with a soft, dry cloth. Alternatively, if I am being lazy, I will just spray the fixtures with the 1:1 distilled white vinegar/water solution that I always have in a spray bottle and then wipe with a soft, dry cloth.

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