With the warmer days and first blooms of the year that come in spring, also comes the time to do your annual spring cleaning. Each year, millions of people use the milder weather to air out their homes and do a deep down cleaning of all the things that have been bottled up for several months.
It's tempting to search out the most potent cleaners, but they are more often than not, laden with harmful chemicals you don't want to expose your family to. And you don't need to, because one of the most effective cleaning agents is in your pantry: distilled white vinegar.
Here are 25 ways to use this completely non-toxic ingredient in your spring cleaning for a sparkling fresh home.
1. Clean Chrome and Stainless Steel: Combine one part salt to four parts vinegar and wipe clean chrome faucets or stainless steel sinks and other products.
2. Polish Metals (Silver, Brass, Copper): Create a paste using one quarter teaspoon salt and one cup vinegar with enough flour to allow it to spread thinly. Coat the metal items with the paste and let sit for fifteen 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing and buffing with a soft cloth.
3. Remove Mildew: Straight vinegar applied to a toothbrush or other scrub brush and some elbow grease will remove mildew from tight spots in bathrooms, windows, and other high moisture spots.
4. Remove the Cloudy Effect on Glassware: Wrap both the interior and exterior of the glass with a cloth soaked in vinegar and let it sit for about ten minutes. Then rinse clean and towel dry for a sparkly clean finish.
5. Clean Showerheads: Soak a towel in vinegar and wrap it around the shower head. Leave it overnight and then rinse to remove the buildup.
6. Remove Water Marks: Equal parts olive oil and vinegar rubbed onto water marks will remove them from wood furniture.
7. Clean the Garbage Disposal: Think about all the things that go down the garbage disposal, and how rarely it gets cleaned! Pour one half cup of baking soda down the drain followed by one cup of vinegar. Allow the two to react (you'll hear fizzing) for a few minutes and then run extra hot water down the drain to rinse it.
8. Clean the Dishwasher: Run about one quarter cup of vinegar through the detergent compartment in the dishwasher to remove soap buildup.
9. Disinfect the Microwave: Bring equal parts of water and vinegar (about one cup total) in a microwave-safe bowl to a gentle boil which will loosen the food and grease stuck to the inside of the appliance. Then you can easily wipe down the interior with a soft cloth.
10. Window Washing: Mix equal parts vinegar and hot water in a spray bottle. Apply to window and wipe clean with a lint-free cloth.
11. De-Grime the Can Opener: All those foods that you open using a can opener splatter and build up on the apparatus. Clean it out by soaking an old toothbrush in vinegar and brushing around the blade of the can opener.
12. Clean Doorknobs: Spray straight vinegar on doorknobs and wipe with a clean cloth to remove germs.
13. Remove Lime Buildup: On everything from coffee pots to bath fixtures, scrubbing them with straight vinegar and rinsing them with hot water will remove the heavy lime buildup that occurs over time.
14. Clean Computer and TV Screens: After turning the power to the appliance off, gently apply a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water using a soft cloth.
15. Disinfect the Refrigerator: A simple mixture of equal parts water and vinegar is all you need to wipe down and disinfect the inside of a refrigerator.
16. Remove Dirt from Blinds: Soak a soft cloth or the fingertips of gloves in equal parts vinegar and warm water and wipe down each panel of the blinds.
17. De-Grease Exhaust Fans: Wipe greasy fans down with a sponge soaked in vinegar.
18. Clean Grill Surfaces: Mix equal parts vinegar and water into a spray bottle and then coat grill grates with mixture before scrubbing with a hard bristle brush.
19. Clean a Porcelain Sink: Straight vinegar applied to the sink and scrubbed with a hard-bristled brush will have it sparkling or soak the sink in a mixture of vinegar and hot water before rinsing.
20. Wipe Down Wood Paneling: Combine one part olive oil, two parts vinegar, and four parts water and then apply to wood-paneled walls with a soft cloth to dust and clean them.
21. Remove Tile Scum: Mix one half cup of vinegar with one gallon of water to create a cleaning product that will make your shower or floor tile clean as new.
22. Clean the Washing Machine: Run an empty cycle through your washing machine with one cup of vinegar to disinfect it and remove any mineral buildup.
23. Disinfect Kids Toys: Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water to remove germs from kids toys.
24. Clean Grout: To remove everything from soap buildup to dirt and mildew, use a toothbrush to scrub grout lines with straight vinegar.
25. Remove Grime from Window Sills and Tracks: Dip a paper towel or cotton swab in vinegar and wipe it down the track of sliding windows and doors to remove the dirt and grime buildup that gets trapped between indoors and out.