The Wonders of Vinegar…

In case you all have been: a) living under a rock, b) have better things to do with your life than spend hours everyday on Pinterest (I don’t!), or c) just love to use manufactured chemicals as much as possible, then you MUST have heard how wonderful and all-purpose that vinegar is. How is can clean every room of your home, has numerous health and beauty uses, can benefit your pets, and can make your husband enjoy taking out the trash. Ok, that last one was a lie, nothing short of a miracle could do that. The others, however, are true!

I love to clean with vinegar. I remember that my grandmother’s kitchen floors were always spotless, crumbless, and sparkling. I think every time I saw her when I was younger I would ask how her floors were so clean, and she would always reply that she mopped with vinegar and water. I obviously just either thought she was lying or thought it was old-womanly un-cool to do so, because it wasn’t until about a year ago I began to heed her advice.

The house my husband and our dogs live in has floors of linoleum and hard-wood. Not a stitch of carpet in sight. When we moved in I tried like anything to get the floors clean and it seemed like I was always losing the battle. For one thing, I was using the wrong tools and the wrong products. I was using the “Mop that shall remain nameless” where you buy the bottles of solution and the pads and just put down more soap than you get up on the linoleum, and another product that shall remain nameless (mostly for this one, because it’s a good product but just makes an extra step) that is a soap made of something that you need to change in your car every three thousand miles…we good? 🙂 So the “mop that must not be named”  was putting WAY too much soap down that, in turn, was making my floors MORE likely to collect dirt and it was costing a lot to keep replacing the solutions; and the other stuff was just a hassle to have to drag out the mop and bucket, fill it with the stuff and mop the hard-wood while trying not to leave streaks.

After playing this game for a couple of years, and discovering the wonder that is Pinterest during this time, I decided to give the vinegar thing a shot. Lo and behold! It works fabulously to clean my floors. They are smooth and clean and not a huge deal to keep that way (well, aside from the dog hair).  I have since started using vinegar in just about every way imaginable. I buy the huge bottles from Costco and put it to use.

Here are a few of my most favorite vinegar uses (some I’m sure you’ve heard before, but hopefully some will be new and novel!)

1) Cleaning floors. Duh. 🙂 Just add a cup of vinegar to two gallons of water and mop away! You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the bucket if the smell bothers you. I tend to swap out the oil with the season, peppermint in the winter, orange in the summer, etc. I also still love an old-fashioned mop and bucket, but for touch-ups I love the O-Cedar Pro-Mist mop. (FYI–I did buy this mop myself, not being compensated to say that). I like it because you can buy the washable pads (which I prefer), but you can also buy the disposable pads. The disposable pads are good because they can be washed three times before they need to be replaced, or you can just chuck them. They were preferable while the new puppy was potty-training. We just mix up the vinegar and water solution (diluted according to the instructions) and we can do touch-ups really quickly and easily.

2) Cleaning other places in the kitchen. I have three or four spray bottles under my cabinet for a variety of kitchen messes. One that I have a general household cleaner mixture in (of course it includes vinegar), one that disinfects, one that deodorizes, etc. I will post mixtures for these soon, but I don’t have them with me to do so now. But trust me, they are great, natural, cost-effective and tough. I won’t buy the pre-mixes ever again.

3) Cleaning the microwave. This is the simplest, easiest thing to keep clean in the kitchen, so when people have dirty microwaves, please share the word! Simply take a microwavable safe bowl, put one cup of vinegar and one cup of water in it, microwave for approximately two minutes (judge for yourself per your microwave strength) until it gets nice and steamy in there and WALK AWAY. Leave it alone and keep the door shut for about ten minutes. The vinegar is a de-greaser and the steam will help the vinegar get in there and soften all the crud so that when you open the door, just get a wet sponge and wipe it clean. So easy. (Some people prefer lemon juice for this tip because the vinegar smell is a bit strong, but it doesn’t bother me. If it does you, you can always do a mixture).

4) Keeping dog’s ear’s clean. My poor Callie, the mascot of this page, has terrible allergies and is constantly scratching her ears until they bleed. It’s so sad to think she’s that uncomfortable. So, we were spending a lot of money on those ear cleaning mixtures from the pet stores, when my vet just suggested we use vinegar. NOTE: We don’t squirt it into her ear, but we put it on a clean cloth or paper towel, and just wipe her ears out. The vinegar helps deodorize them too. She still has to have them deep cleaned once in a while, but this is making the expense and the chore a lot less frequent, and more bearable for her.

5) Washing the washing machine and the dishwasher. Most of us have learned that this is a necessary part of having helping appliances is keeping them clean, but you’d be surprised to still neglects these steps! To wash a washing machine or a dishwasher,  run a cycle with hot water and add a cup of vinegar (NOTHING ELSE). This will help clean the hoses and some of the deposits in the machine. For the washing machine, follow-up with one more empty load with just baking soda and the machine will be clean as a whistle.  Don’t do this with the dishwasher however as I’ve heard (but can’t verify) that it can gum up the pipes if it doesn’t dissolve all the way and it’s harder to make sure it dissolves in the dishwasher than the washing machine.

So, hopefully these will inspire some of you hold-out to consider the wonders of vinegar in cleaning the house, the dogs, the husband, the world!

Until next time, I’m curious, what are some of your favorite ways to use vinegar?