Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Keep It Clean: The Many Uses of Vinegar

Since having children, I have definitely begun to be more aware of the chemicals I use on a daily basis to clean my house. I have not made a decision to give up cleaners that have chemicals completely, however, if I find a natural, biodegradable and safe product that works just as well or better than the chemical counter-part, I definitely will use it.

One of the household products that I use on a regular basis to clean around my house is vinegar. Vinegar is an awesome cleaner and has so many uses! Here are some of the ways I use it.

* Add about 1/2 cup of vinegar to each load of laundry. This will help get rid of smells and stains.
* Use vinegar to remove hard-water deposits. I use it to clean the water dispenser tray on my fridge. It still requires a tiny bit of elbow grease but it breaks down the build-up pretty quickly.
* Clean your glass shower doors with it. While I'm showering, I will use it on a sponge that has the thicker, rough, scrubby side. It takes just a moment to clean the doors and I can easily spray them off without worrying about getting wet since I'm wet already. You can clean the rest of your shower with it as well.
* Multipurpose and give the kids a bath and wipe down the tub walls at the same time. The vinegar is safe for the kids and allows you to accomplish two things at one time. I have even let my daughter help me scrub which is a great way to involve kids in cleaning. My daughter is 3 and almost always love to help me clean.
* I have occasionally washed my hair with vinegar. It cleanses it really well and makes it feel silky smooth. I wouldn't use it on a regular basis in place of shampoo but it does help every now and then to strip any build-up off your hair.

* Use vinegar to help remove stains. Just tonight, we were eating calzones with red sauce on the side. It was a casual evening so we were in the basement and eating over our carpet. My daughter knocked my plate off the chair it was sitting on and about 1/2 cup of red pizza sauce splattered on our beautiful 1 yr old carpet. My husband about blew a gasket, although he managed to hold it together and not show that he was mad. I casually said, don't worry about it. After carefully picking up as much sauce as I could without rubbing it in, I then used carpet cleaner and blotted. Then I absorbed as much as I could with a cold, damp cloth. Finally, I poured small amounts of vinegar over the stain and let it sit for 20 minutes. We vacuumed a short while later and our carpet looks as good as new. I wish I had taken photos documenting the process. When it happened, my husband said, "That's never coming out." It took a little work...and vinegar...but it did come out!
* Of course, I also use vinegar to cook with as well. My favorite recipe in which I use vinegar is my mom's homemade BBQ sauce. If you're looking for an amazing BBQ sauce for chicken on the grill, you've got to give this one a try. It has a strong vinegar smell while cooking and a tangy taste but if you grill with it, it's sticky, sweet and delicious! Give it a try. BBQ chicken made with this sauce is one of my very favorite things to eat in the summertime!

Just do a simple search for "vinegar uses" and you'll find so many it'll blow your mind! Here's a link to a website that's titled, 1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar. If you get a moment, read their fun facts on the right-hand column and you'll learn some interesting facts about vinegar.

Those are the ways I use vinegar in my home, how do you use vinegar in your house?


  1. as a hair conditioner. :)
    i "shampoo" with baking soda/water and "condition" with vinegar/water. for each, the ratio is 1 TBSP per cup of water. i use repurposed plastic bottles to keep a few cups of each in the shower. i have been doing this for over two years and it works great. in fact, whenever i use regular shampoo, i regret it. oh, and i also have a "leave in conditioner" called coconut oil. :) because my hair is dry and frizzy, i couldn't do without it! always very much regret if i skip this step.

    ps- i also use vinegar to clean the tub, plus anything else - sink, floor, toilet. espcially use it to clean after potty-training "accidents"! i keep two little spray bottles of 50/50 vinegar/water, one in kitchen, one in bathroom. and always use about 1 cup in the rinse cycle of cloth diapers, plus whenever washing extra messy things like bibs, dishcloths, dishtowels, husbands socks... :)

  2. Wow Georgia! Great ideas. I think it's great that you're able to wash & condition your hair with such natural ingredients. Thanks for sharing.