I am not a complainer.
Ok, there was that one time…
Alright. ALRIGHT. I’ve been known to speak my mind.
Fine. Have it your way. I complain a lot. But this winter actually DESERVES my complaints. I’m pretty sure I haven’t opened a window in this house for six months. Stale air and stale attitude.
Now that the thermometer is flirting with above-zero temperatures, we can all get serious about sweeping out the winter cobwebs. You can find some extremely thorough “Spring Cleaning” checklists:
Here, and even
But, I like to avoid biting off more than I can chew when it comes to household tasks. Some of those checklists can make the job of “Spring Cleaning” into a “Started in the Spring and Didn’t Finish the List ‘Till Fall” Cleaning. Reasonable expectations make me feel much more triumphant, and that is why I want to focus on using ONE household cleaner in my Spring Cleaning:
White vinegar. *heavenly choir sings and sun breaks through the nasty, dark skies we have been suffering*
Cheap, green, non-toxic, and versatile. This little bottle of grocery-store goodness is something that everyone should have in their cleaning caddy. It was good enough for your Grandmother, and her mother, so its good enough for you.
If you really don’t want to smell like a chip-shop, a Yummy Mummy Club tip suggests combining some orange peels and your vinegar in a glass container before use. So now, you have no excuses!
Here are ten miraculous things you can do with white vinegar: the little greener-cleaner that could:
COFFEE MAKER CLEAN-UP
Check your owner’s manual first. I have always had success with filling the coffee maker’s water reservoir at least half-full with white vinegar. Then, turn the coffee maker on but STOP it in mid-cycle. Allow the vinegar to sit in the coffee maker for about an hour. Then, turn it back on to finish the cycle. Run plain water through the coffee maker until the vinegar smell disappears (usually two-to-four cycles).
MICROWAVE STEAM BATH
Mix ½ a cup of white vinegar and ½ a cup of water in a microwavable container. Heat on high for three-to-five minutes (until it is boiling). The baked-on crust will steam, and then wipe clean with a damp cloth, and lingering smells will disappear!
Combine equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle (you can easily purchase empty spray bottles at the Dollar Store). Wipe the surface with a paper towel to wash away the grime. Finish by shining with a microfiber cloth.
STREAK-FREE STAINLESS STEEL
Use pure white vinegar in a spray bottle on your stainless steel appliances. A brilliant cleaning person told me to follow this with a microfiber cloth and a dab of baby oil to polish!
Mix a solution of ½ water and ½ vinegar; soak a cloth in the solution and wipe all of your fridge shelves — including the notoriously gooey condiment area.
Submerge stinky dishrags in water with ¼ cup of white vinegar, and allow them to sit overnight in the solution. Rinse, and wash in the machine the next morning. Voila! No more bacteria causing that yucky smell.
In a small plastic bag put two parts white vinegar and one part baking soda. Then tie this around the shower head. Allow the bubbly mixture to sit for the day. Remove the bag and let the hot water run for ten minutes.
DECONTAMINATION OF TODDLER TOYS
In your sink add a squirt of dish soap and a BIG splash of white vinegar to clean baby and toddler toys. Rinse your toys clean and allow them to dry.
I got a recent rap on the knuckles for cleaning my wood floor with a commercial cleaner. Apparently all I need is one part white vinegar and four parts water to get a shiny, chemical-free, clean floor.
WASHING MACHINE WIPE-DOWN
For top loading washing machines, pour two-to-four cups of vinegar into your machine and run on the hottest setting. If you have some real issues with machine smelliness, open the lid mid-way through the cycle and let the vinegar sit in the basin for a few hours before allowing the cycle to complete.
Forget the mammoth checklists for your Spring Cleaning, and welcome white vinegar into your winter send-off routine. I’m confident this little powerhouse will become a staple on your grocery list (and not just because you are making these Salt and Vinegar Potatoes with Rosemary).
If you want another eco-cleaning tip, try making your own goo-remover, or if you’re ready to bust out the summer clothes, read about seasonal clothing swaps.