Whether it’s warmer weather or tradition that inspires us to tackle spring cleaning, there’s no denying that it’s a refreshing way to begin a new season. But while cleaning may typically be synonymous with chemicals, it doesn’t have to be. There are many natural ways to give your house a good scrub down.
One simple way to get your home sparkling may already be in your pantry. Vinegar is an effective, eco-friendly cleaning agent that can be used in the kitchen, bathroom, and a number of other rooms to eradicate dirt and grime.
And while its odor may have you cringing at the thought of dousing your home in the stuff, there are dozens of DIY recipes online to help you mask its less-than-pleasant scent. You can also buy cleaning vinegar (such as Four Monks) that offers the same cleaning power without the pungent aroma.
If you're ready to cut back on the chemicals and go natural, check out these uses for vinegar.
Bathrooms can often be laden with unsightly gunk, including lime deposits, drain clogs, and other grime. But consider vinegar to be an eviction notice for these unwanted guests.
- To use vinegar to clean lime deposits off a faucet: tie a plastic bag containing one-third to one-half cup of vinegar around the faucet and leave it for a few hours. Wipe down with a sponge and scrub any remaining deposits with an old toothbrush. You can also use this technique to clean showerhead buildup.
- To clean tub drains: pour half a cup of baking soda in the drain and chase it with two cups of hot vinegar. Plug the drain with a rag to keep the fizzing bubbles contained for ten minutes, then rinse by pouring boiling hot water down the drain.
- To clean shower doors: after squeegeeing the doors, spray with vinegar to help remove hard water deposits. Shower door tracks can also be cleaned with vinegar; just fill the tracks with vinegar, let it sit for a few hours, and rinse with hot water. Remove any remaining film with a toothbrush.
The kitchen is a great place to use a natural cleaner such as vinegar as it’s best to avoid using toxic chemicals in places where food is stored.
- To clean your ice/water dispenser: run vinegar through the system and flush out by running water through system for 30 to 60 seconds.
- To banish mineral buildup in your dishwasher: pour half a cup of vinegar into the reservoir and run an empty cycle.
- To deodorize the garbage disposal: pour in half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar. Let sit for five minutes, then run hot water down the disposal.
- To clean the oven: Try CrunchyBetty's easy recipe for a homemade oven cleaner. All you'll need is borax, vinegar, dish soap, and water.
From stains to mold, versatile vinegar can tackle laundry room messes the natural way.
- To get rid of stains: for coffee and tea stains, flush the area with vinegar, then rinse and repeat. For wine stains, saturate the spot with vinegar, let stand for a few minutes, then wash as normal.
- To restore yellowed clothing: soak garments overnight in a solution of twelve parts warm water and one part vinegar. Wash the next morning.
- To oust the smell of mold: if you left wet laundry in the washing machine for too long, it might have begun to smell moldy. To address this, pour a few cups of vinegar in the machine and wash the clothes in hot water. Then run a normal cycle with detergent to rinse the clothes.