Vinegar is my most go-to cleaner for the home. I’m a huge fan of vinegar because It’s natural and non-toxic, plus it pretty inexpensive. It’s what I use on my stovetop since it’s a wonderful degreaser. You can also use it to remove hard water stains. I put some in my dishwasher to clean the build-up off of the coils. I basically use vinegar for almost everything, but I have a couple of other tricks for you too. Read more to see my natural cleaning tips!
The Difference Between Cleaning and Sanitizing
Typically cleaning means using water, a cleaning product, and some scrubbing action. Cleaning doesn’t kill germs, they are used to remove germs, and place them elsewhere typically down the drain.
Disinfecting and sanitizing are methods of killing germs. These are chemicals we use to help us eliminate the germ population.
Normally, we clean a hard surface first, and then later either disinfect or sanitize it. Another reason we would need to sanitize or disinfect an area is when we know it was exposed to germs. Such as if a surface is exposed to raw meat, eggs, poop, etc…
Simple Tips For Natural Cleaning
Another thing I use to clean with is Dr. Bronners. It’s definitely one of my favorites! It’s powerful, and you can use it to clean a multitude of things. It’s really good at getting coffee and tea stains out of your favorite coffee mug, or decanter.
When using a new cleaner on surfaces, it’s a good idea to do a test spot, somewhere that’s hidden or not easily seen. Check for signs of fading, spotting, or changes in color.
Warning: Never mix bleach, ammonia, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide, since combining any of these can cause toxic gas.
Simple Tips for Natural Sanitizing
For sanitizing and killing bacteria purposes use vinegar and peroxide undiluted.
Both undiluted vinegar and peroxide can be warmed (not hot) for a more effective cleaner. A warmed vinegar solution can help eliminate Listeria, E. Coli, and Salmonella, with one minute of contact time. Whereas room temperature vinegar can help kill Salmonella, only if it has contact with bacteria for 10 solid minutes.
Warm peroxide can also help eliminate Listeria, E. Coli, and Salmonella, with one minute of contact time. Room temperature peroxide can help kill E. Coli and Salmonella with 10 minutes of contact.
*When I say “help kill or help eliminate” that’s because these methods are rated to kill about 99.999%., according to my source.
How to heat vinegar and/or peroxide. Both of these will produce an odor when heated, but it’s not harmful to humans. Although, vinegar feels like it’s burning my nose hairs off!
Heating Vinegar OR Peroxide Instructions:
This method uses undiluted vinegar or peroxide.
- Heat 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar OR hydrogen peroxide in a small saucepan, to 150ºF.
- Once heated remove from heat.
- Use a funnel to pour the liquid into a spray bottle.
- Spray kitchen surfaces while the mixture is still warm.
- Allow liquid to sit on surface for at least 1 minute for efficacy.
- Wipe clean.
Warning: Never Mix Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar Together!
Natural Cleaning Shopping List
It’s very important to know that you should never mix cleaners together unless you know what you are doing. Many mixes can cause harmful situations, and even death!
Natural Cleaning Recipes I Use
Natural Vinegar Cleaner Recipe:
White Vinegar Spray: 1 part vinegar, to 3 parts water
Natural Peroxide Cleaner Recipe:
1 part peroxide 1 part water
The Natural Cleaning List:
- Toilet bowl – Add a little vinegar spray and a little bit of baking soda. Allow it to foam, and then scrub away the scum!
- Countertop – Spray vinegar spray and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and then it wipes clean with minimal scrubbing. It’s a good idea to rotate cleaners. Also using peroxide spray to clean countertops can help keep it a little cleaner.
- Stovetop – Same as countertop instructions.
- Fabric softener/odor remover – Put 1/4 cup vinegar into your washer to soften clothes.
- Bug Repellent – Check out my homemade bug repellent. I also have a roll-on recipe!
- Dog bed cleaner – My dog is extra stinky. I take the inserts from her bed spray with my vinegar spray and lay in the sun to dry. Works great! You can also wash the covers is they come off in the washer and add the vinegar to the washer. It will not only cut down on the stench, but it can help make it softer.
- Vegetable/fruit wash
- Clean dishwasher – Fill a small bowl halfway with vinegar and run a full cycle.
- Microwave – Fill a small microwavable bowl with vinegar, and cook until the vinegar boils. Do not open the door, let it sit there for 5-10 more minutes. Then wipe clean! Vinegar is really strong smelling when heated. You can clean the microwave without the stinky cleaners too!
- Walls/baseboards/door handles/light switches – I just wet the rag with the vinegar spray and wipe away. For spring cleaning add some soap to your rag. The vinegar worked well in my old house. My new house has a different type of paint and wallpaper everywhere, and I find that Dr. Bronners cleans better on the walls and doors here. I have 3 boys so you know how dirty they can be! Pretty sure my door was black at one point!
- Bathtub Cleaner – 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup soap, 1-quart water, 2 TBSP baking soda.
Other Cleaning Tips
Coffee pot – Old school hack ~Clean that decanter with Ice, salt and lemon! Swirl it around for a few minutes let it sit, swirl it around again. Repeat until stains are gone. Dr. Bronners is really good at cleaning decanters too. It doesn’t leave a film like most cleaners. It washes away clean, and doesn’t leave a soapy taste!
Kitchen sink – I like to wash with soap and water, but for a deeper clean I will put some Bar Keepers Friend in the sink and scrub it really well.
Bar Keepers Friend is a natural cleaner. The active ingredient is called oxalic acid. It’s a natural compound found in spinach and rhubarb. Oxalic acid works by breaking down the molecular bonds of stains like rust and lime deposits. It’s important to note, that even though this is a natural option to use, it’s still considered an irritant. Also, it smells! And not in a good way. I mean it’s not super bad but, ew.
The active ingredient is oxalic acid, a natural compound that’s found in rhubarb and spinach and works at a molecular level to break the bonds of stains like rust and lime deposits
Bathroom odor control – Place just a little of baking soda around the bottom of the toilet. Just on that little lip where the bolts are. I have all boys and let’s face it, they MISS!
Baking soda not only deodorizes the pee smell but it also soaks up some of the miss. When I clean the bathroom I just sweep it off clean it up and apply more. I know it is gross. That’s life with boys. #boymom
Salt – Can help reduce moisture. Less moisture means less opportunity for microbes to grow.
Tea tree oil – A tea tree solution can be used to prevent mold and mildew from growing back.
Well, I sure hope that this helps you. I am super happy to not be using really strong chemicals. I’ve been cleaning for many years, and I swore by the nonsense of harsh chemicals.
I really thought that was the only way to really get things clean. I wish I had known about vinegar and it’s magical powers then!
I leave you with a very handy infographic about natural cleaning ingredients.
Source: Fix.com Blog
Check out 6 thing to never do with rubbing alcohol.
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