You probably didn’t know you already have one of the most useful, natural, and environmentally friendly cleaner’s available sitting in your cabinet. Vinegar for cleaning is easy to find at your local supermarket, inexpensive (when purchased in gallon size around $1.50), and can be used for dozens of cleaning applications by itself or combined with other normal household products to make even industrial strength cleaners.
A quick word of caution mixing vinegar with bleach will create toxic fumes. Although you will find loads of other articles singing the praises of the cleaning and disinfecting power of the combination the benefits are not worth the risks.
Using vinegar combined with other natural and commonly found household items such as baking soda or water you can make some safe and green cleaners that do an admirable job as well as save you money. The most common types of cleaners people use around the house like glass cleaner, floor cleaner, and soft scrubbing type liquid are easy to make and are included below. These are the formulas that tested well in a house with 2 adults 3 kids and a dog; they can always be diluted some with water if you choose.
This cleaner can be combined directly in the spray bottle you plan to use for cleaning or combined in a gallon container to have plenty available. Repeat combination until container is filled.
- 4 tablespoons of vinegar
- 2 cups of water
- ½ teaspoon of liquid soap
The floor cleaner works great on vinyl or linoleum type floors but when using on wood floors use less vinegar, about half, to minimize any chance harming the finish. When cleaning wood floors with any liquid it is also best use only a damp mop and not to oversaturate or pour liquids directly onto the floor.
- 1½ cups vinegar
- 1 gallon water
Soft Scrubbing Type Liquid
When making the scrubbing liquid you can make it up for each use as it only takes about a minute or so and generally just use a bowl or a cup. There are no set measurements for this combo and can be made thicker for applying and leaving applied for some time or thinly mixed for wipe on and scrub off cleaning. Fill your container about ¼ of the way with baking soda and start slowly adding equal parts vinegar and liquid soap while repeatedly stirring until desired consistency is reached.
Vinegar Weed Killer
Vinegar is an all-natural weed killer! If you have kids, pets , or get your water from a well you may be concerned about the chemicals you dump out on the ground. Undiluted vinegar does a good job of killing weeds and is environmentally friendly. The funny part is it costs $5 to $10 less, per gallon, than commercial chemical based weed killing products.
All Purpose Cleaner
Vinegar, baking soda, olive oil and lemon juice. People use all that stuff for preparing food, right? The same items that are commonly found in the kitchen pantry can also be used to create non-toxic and money-saving household cleaners. You can clean green in every room of the house by mixing these items with water, liquid soap, or borax.
For a solid, all-purpose cleaner, fill a bucket or jug with a gallon of warm water. Mix in a half-cup of borax and vinegar then add a quarter-cup of baking soda. If you like, you can add some lemon juice for that clean, “lemony fresh” aroma.
Commercial fresheners masking smells and are unhealthy, especially for those with asthma.
Do this instead:
Simmer cinnamon sticks or orange peels in water in a pot on the stove.
Put a mixture of two tablespoons of baking soda and two tablespoons of vinegar in small bowls around the house to absorb odors.
Pour a half-cup baking soda in the bottom of trash cans.
To clean windows, mirrors and other glass surfaces, mix two tablespoons of vinegar with a quart of warm water. You can also use a mixture of two tablespoons of borax and three cups of warm water.
Looking to clean your wood furniture and surfaces? Mix two parts olive oil (extra virgin works best) with one part lemon juice in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on your wood surfaces and let it sit for an hour or two, then polish with a soft, dry cloth. You can also rub toothpaste in wood furniture to remove water marks.
Are you a kitchen and bathroom clean freak? (Don’t feel bad! You’re not the only one! ) Try these eco-friendly mixtures:
Ceramic tiles – Mix a quarter-cup of vinegar with a gallon of warm water.
Basin, tub, and tile – Mix a half-cup of baking soda with two teaspoons of liquid soap.
Garbage disposal – Cut a lemon or lime (or both) in quarters and put the pieces in a plastic bag in the freezer. Once frozen, take them out, turn on the garbage disposal and toss them in. The lemon and lime will clean and freshen, and because they’re frozen, they will sharpen the disposal blades. You can also use lemon or lime juice with ice.
Mildew remover – Dissolve a half-cup of borax and a half-cup of vinegar in warm water. Simply apply with a sponge or spray bottle.
By using these simple recipes instead of traditional store-bought cleaners, you can spend a fraction of what you usually spend on supplies. You can also rest assured knowing that your home in clean-wise and green-wise, which benefits your family and the environment. With Earth Day coming up on April 22, now is the perfect time to think “clean green!”