White vinegar is a very effective cleaner. Here are 14 ways it can spruce up your home

February 1st, 2017
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One staple that’s in everyone’s kitchen is a bottle of white vinegar. Whether it’s a plastic or glass bottle, it tends to hide in our pantry unnoticed, often forced to the back of the cabinet or shelf. But using vinegar for everyday purposes is a cheap and organic way to spruce up around the house. By mixing vinegar with other typical household products, you’ll have DIY cleaning solutions always on hand. It’s due time to put that inexpensive liquid to good use!

Here are a few quick tips for truly making vinegar all-purpose.

1. Keep your cut flowers fresh.

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We all want to keep fresh flowers lively for as long as possible, but after a few days, they often begin to droop. Simply add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar to 1 quart of water and pour into your flower vase. You’ll give your fresh flowers a much-needed pick-me-up!

2. De-crud your dishwasher and coffee pot.

There’s nothing worse than pulling clean dishes out of a stinky-smelling dishwasher or questioning the freshness of your morning joe. To clean, simply pour 1 cup of vinegar into your empty dishwasher and run a full cycle, and/or your coffee maker and turn on. Doing this monthly will keep your dishes clean and your coffee tasting as it should!

3. Freshen your fridge.

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It’s scream-worthy when you open your fridge only to find that you forgot about that cucumber you put in the crisper a few weeks ago, or that your ketchup bottle inexplicably leaked. In order to keep it clean, wipe down your refrigerator with equal parts white vinegar and water, remembering to give the side walls a good cleaning as well. It’s best to keep this week’s groceries in a sparkling clean appliance!

4. Renew stinky sponges.

When a sponge is used one too many times to clean dirty dishes, bacteria can start to breed. So, what to do when sponges start to stink? Instead of tossing away your smelly dish sponges, simply renew their life! Put the sponge in a dish (with just enough water to cover it) and add ¼ cup of white vinegar. Soak overnight and your sponge will smell like new in the morning.

5. Shine your scissors.

Household scissors, especially those kept in the kitchen, often get sticky or appear to have some sort of questionable residue present. Simply wipe the blades with a damp cloth soaked in white vinegar and dry. This will avoid rusting the metal and give your scissors a sharp, new look!

6. Ice cube tray rescue.

Are your ice cubes starting to taste funny? Is the bottom of your ice cube tray coated in residue? Give those trays a refresher by soaking them in undiluted vinegar for 4-5 hours. Then, rinse them with water and let dry. Use this trick and you’ll have the clearest ice cubes around.

7. Scrub-less bathtub cleaning.

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For an easy way to clean your bathtub – even with soap scum build-up – without having to use too much elbow grease, simply mix a ½ cup white vinegar, heated in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, with a ¼ cup of liquid dish soap (Dawn is recommended). Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray into your tub, on shower walls and fixtures. Let sit for 30 minutes and then wipe clean with a sponge. Your tub will surely sparkle!

8. Un-gunk your showerhead.

Sometimes during a shower, we feel that the pressure is slowing or look up at the showerhead and see cruddy, green or white residue. To combat this, soak the showerhead in a solution of a ½ cup of vinegar to 1 quart of water. Bonus tip put the solution in a plastic bag and tie around the showerhead to soak. Make your shower time so fresh and so clean!

9. Toothbrush hygiene.

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Most of us use the same toothbrush for several (or more) months before discarding. So, it’s a good idea every now and then to sanitize your toothbrush. In a glass, mix together a ½ cup of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Let your toothbrush soak for 30 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. It will feel good to use a clean toothbrush on your pearly whites!

10. Deodorize drains.

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When your kitchen still has that lingering smell a day after you took out the trash, it might be time to turn your attention to the sink drain. Just pour ½ cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar down the drain. Once the foaming subsides, run hot tap water down the drain for 1 minute. Wait 5 minutes and then run the cold tap for another 60 seconds. This dual-purpose trick can be used to deodorize and unclog drains!

11. Wipe your washing machine.

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High-efficiency, front-loading washing machines are great for saving water but tend to develop a musty smell. Let vinegar come to the rescue by wiping down the rubber seal around the door with equal parts vinegar and water. Also, make sure to remove any debris from the crevices around the rubber. Bring the fresh scent back to your laundry!

To learn more about how to wash your washing machine, visit Dr. Karen Lee’s website. She has a very thorough explanation. You can view it here.

12. Hardwood floor care.

Hardwood floors require care and many of us prefer to use non-toxic cleaners that are safe for kids and pets. After sweeping, dusting and/or vacuuming your hardwoods floors, you’re ready to start mopping. To create the solution, mix a ½ cup of white vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water. Next, dip your mop in the solution and ring out, leaving a bit damp; never use a soaking wet mop on hardwoods. Mop in the direction of the floorboards, rinse the mop frequently and freshen the solution if it begins to appear dirty. You’ll have the cleanest (and kid/pet-friendly) hardwoods in the neighborhood!

13. Outdoor weed upkeep.

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Have pesky weeds and grass growing through the cracks in your sidewalks? Simply pour full strength white vinegar in the areas where unwanted grass and weeds are peeking through. Keep your outside walkway looking neat and clean!

14. Deter bugs.

Insects such as ants, spiders, and other bugs are opposed to the smell of vinegar. So, to deter them from creeping to your home, spray this mixture around window sills and the thresholds of doors. In a spray bottle, mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and add 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Mix it up and start spraying your way to a home free of creepy-crawlers!

Please SHARE these helpful tips with everyone you know. Simply using vinegar, a common household staple, can save time, money and elbow grease!

Featured image credit: Dr. Karen Lee