Monday, August 13, 2007

Cleaning with Vinegar

What, you thought I was kidding?

I found this very nice website,, and got the following tips:

  • Discourage ants by spraying undiluted white distilled vinegar outside doorways and windowsills, around appliances and wherever you find the pests coming in. Get rid of fruit flies by setting out a small dish of undiluted white distilled vinegar. I'm pretty excited about these two. I've never heard of it before, but I'm trying it when I get home.

  • To clean a scummy showerhead, pour 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup white distilled vinegar into a sandwich bag and tie it around the showerhead. Let this set for an hour after the bubbling has stopped. Remove the bag and then turn on the water. Again, I've never heard of this, but I'm going to try it on our sinks' faucets because I've seen things, terrible things that made me want to unscrew the faucets and soak them in bleach before they're fit to throw it in the trash.

  • To remove paint from windows try using undiluted, hot white distilled vinegar. Give the solution time to soften the paint before removing with a razor edge tool. Seriously, I've never heard of this one either, but I want to try it because we've got some spots and it looks pretty ghetto.

  • Wash indoor/outdoor carpet with a solution of 1 cup white distilled vinegar in 1 bucket of warm water. Scrub using a brush or a broom and then hose off. Basically, I just want someone to hose off their indoor carpet and tell me how it works out for you.

  • Get decals off walls or doors by letting undiluted white distilled vinegar soak into them for several minutes before trying to peel them off. Repeat if necessary. This made me think of Sara. You can also use it to remove wallpaper, which again, made me think of Sara.

  • Remove the smell of a dead mouse or other rodent (after removing all animal remnants) by wiping down the area with either white distilled vinegar or bleach. Then place a fabric softener sheet in the area to remove any lingering odors. Naturally, this one made me think of Laine. I just really like how they tell you to remove the rodent remnants first, just in case you didn't know that would help.

  • Remove wallpaper easily by using a paint roller to wet the surface very thoroughly with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and hot water. Or spray on until saturated.

  • Soak a sponge or loofah overnight in a strong white distilled vinegar and water solution to remove dirt and slime. Rinse several times with cold water and let air dry (in the sun if possible). Now I can stop denouncing all sponges as breeding grounds for bacteria and general filth!

  • To kill germs, spray full-strength white distilled vinegar on doorknobs and then wipe them dry. I'll remember this in the unlikely event that I run out of Clorox wipes during some illness season.

  • Clean the wheel of a can opener using white distilled vinegar and an old toothbrush. Maybe if I start doing this, Cody will stop putting the can openers (yes, I used the plural, we're on our third one) in the dishwasher. Sigh.

  • To remove grime, mildew, and scum from the tub, tile, shower curtain or door, wipe with undiluted white distilled vinegar. Rinse with water.

  • Remove the smell of spoiled food from a refrigerator by first rinsing the area with soap and water. Spray surfaces with full-strength white distilled vinegar and wipe them down with a damp cloth or sponge. Fill some containers with baking soda and place inside. Close the door and leave for a few days.

  • Remove stains from coffee and teacups by scrubbing them gently with equal parts of salt (or baking soda) and white distilled vinegar. Rinse clean. My coffee cups aren't stained (yet) but this will be useful knowledge when I'm Granny and Papaw's age. Remember the hazards of drinking water out of one of their coffee cups? Ugh.

  • Wipe grease off exhaust fan grids, the inside of your oven, or anywhere grease gathers with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar. Thank you, vingegar Internet deities, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • Here's Mom's favorite: Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.

  • Clean counter tops and make them smell sweet again with a cloth soaked in undiluted white distilled vinegar. My countertops never smelled sweet to begin with, but hey....

  • Clean and deodorize urine on a mattress with a white distilled vinegar and water solution. Then sprinkle the area with baking soda and let dry. Brush or vacuum the residue after it is dry to the touch. You never know.

Now, lest you think I just worship vinegar and all of its cleaning gloriousness, I will include this note of caution from the site:

  • Never use white distilled vinegar on marble. The acid can damage the surface. Thank goodness my marble items will remain safe and unblemished.

I even found a website,, that offered cleaning advice straight from the book (which you can see up there, assuming I did everything right). I learned how to make vingear furniture polish. Calm yourselves, of course I got the instructions.

One version: mix 1 tablespoon with 2 tablespoons of (say it with me!) vinegar and a quart of water. Then you just put it in a spray bottle and let the crazy highjinx ensue.

Another version: mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts olive oil. Still another version of this would be to replace the olive oil with lemon oil for a more "vibrant aroma." I kid you not.

I also learned from this site that you can't mix vinegar with bleach because it will cause harmful gases. That actually seems pretty exciting, but I'm just going to move on the last tip: soaking tools in full-strength vinegar for a few hours will remove pretty much all of the grease and they'll be shiny and beautiful again. Maybe they'll even smell sweet again.


Mom2Four said...

Hi Sweetie,

Thanks for all of the helpful info. Now I will know where to find those long forgotten tips from the past 20 years worth of Heloise columns. I can just call you!! Mom2Four

Jen said...

Umm...yay? He he, my mom commented on my blog. That's so neat.