Everyday Cleaning: Vinegar

Now for the second part in our Everyday Cleaning series:

You may have heard stories of your great grandparents using vinegar to clean, and guess what? They knew what they were talking about. Vinegar is perhaps one of the most popular household cleaner alternatives out there. Not only is it environmentally safe and incredibly cheap, but it has a wide variety of uses similar to Hydrogen Peroxide. Vinegar is great at disinfecting surfaces, removing foul odors, removing grime, and leaving a sparkling clean finish.

 Now there are a lot of different kinds of vinegar out there, so which one should you use? I will give you a hint, it’s not the one you put on your salad! The best type of vinegar used for cleaning tends to be distilled white vinegar, but there are plenty of other types that will work just fine for cleaning. 

One of the most popular uses for vinegar is cleaning up pet messes, particularly on carpet. Not only does it help to disinfect the area and remove stains, it also removes the bad odors that comes with pet urine.  Simply blot up as much urine as possible and spray the area with vinegar diluted by 50%, until saturated. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes and blot the area with a towel. You may have to repeat the process, but it will leave your carpet looking and smelling much cleaner than many of the cheap-brand pet cleaners. If you have a room that persistently smells bad, try placing a cup of vinegar in the room overnight and the odor should improve.

One thing vinegar is great for is removing sticky things. Do you have unwanted stickers around your home from your kid’s art projects? What about that black crud that almost seems glued to the kitchen floor? All you need to do is moisten the surface with vinegar and let it sit for 10 minutes. If it doesn’t come off right away, soak it in vinegar for another five minutes.

When you want to pull out the nice set of silverware for thanksgiving but are worried about how to clean the tarnished silver, look no further! One overlooked use for vinegar is using it to clean natural metals, such as brass, copper, or silver. Simply mix 1 tsp. salt into 1 cup vinegar. You can then add flour or cornstarch until it turns into a paste. Rub the paste on the metal and let it sit for about 20 minutes. When you rinse the paste off, the metal should be smooth and shiny and easy to polish! Clearly I could go on and on when it comes to vinegar, as it is a personal favorite, but these are some tricks to get you started!

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