Vinegar: Your secret household cleaning weapon!

Maia Devereux Maia Devereux
Die MÖBELHAUEREI KitchenBench tops
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You almost certainly have a bottle of the stuff sitting somewhere in your kitchen. You might think it's just something you add to salad dressings, or sprinkle over chips, but oh no: vinegar is your home's greatest weapon against all sorts of grime and stains. Vinegar is so much more than just a lowly condiment! It's a solution of acetic acid, which is what gives it both its cleaning and its antiseptic properties. It will kill most bacteria, and around 80% of moulds. It's also a brilliant stain remover. As for the smell: it disappears surprisingly quickly, and, unlike synthetic cleaners, it won't emit potentially harmful fumes that can cause as eye and skin irritation. It's also not as harsh as many synthetic cleaning solutions, which is good news for your furniture and fittings. For all of the tips below, you should use distilled vinegar—sometimes called white vinegar. You don't want to end up with balsamic or red wine vinegar stains all over your stuff!

Baths and sinks

Bathtubs are usually made from either fibreglass, acrylic, porcelain, stone, or metal. When it comes to cleaning a bathtub with vinegar, it doesn't really matter what it's is made of—the steps below will work for all of them. If your bathtub is made of acrylic or fibreglass, you'll probably want to use a soft cloth or sponge rather than an abrasive scrubbing sponge, in case of scratches. 

The first step is to give your bathtub a good rinse, and get rid of any shampoo or soap residue using just water and a sponge. Then, sprinkle baking soda all over the wet surface of the tub—the moisture will help it to stick. Let it sit for a little while (longer if your tub is quite stained) then start scrubbing. Then, dip a sponge in some vinegar, and keep on scrubbing, paying particular attention to anywhere there's major grime build-up. Give it all a good rinse with water, and stand back and admire your handiwork! If any stains remain, just repeat the process with the baking soda, followed by the vinegar, on those spots.  

Glass shower walls and windows

Vinegar's glass-cleaning properties are probably one of its best-known household cleaning uses. For windows and glass shower walls and doors, follow the steps below.

First, give the surface a wipe with a cloth (micro-fibre is good for this) to get rid of any dust. If the surface is very grimy, follow this step by giving the surface a wipe with a sponge soaked in a mixture of ordinary dish detergent and water. Then wipe dry. Next, mix one part vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle. Spray all over the surface, then give it a vigorous scrub with a lint free cloth or paper towel. Spray again if it's not entirely clean, then buff it up to a nice shine.

Clean faucets and sinks

Hard water stains and build-up are a nightmare when it comes to stainless steel sinks and faucets. Nasty white deposits (limescale) will quickly build up on the surface of the steel, particularly around the base of faucets, dulling the shine and looking grimy. These can be very difficult to remove using everyday detergents, meaning people often turn to powerful synthetic cleaners to get rid of them. But no need! Vinegar to the rescue! For stained faucets, just soak a kitchen towel in vinegar, drape the towel over the faucet, and leave to sit for half an hour (or longer if it's very badly stained). Then just wipe off the faucet with a cloth and it'll be good as new. For build-ups around the base of a faucet, again soak a kitchen towel in vinegar, and wrap it around the base, leaving it for half an hour or more. When you remove the kitchen towel, the build-up will have magically disappeared, and all you'll need to do is give it a quick wipe to have it looking as good as new.

Washing machines

Front-loading washing machines can be a magnet for unpleasant smells and mould. Use baking soda and vinegar to give yours a quick, eco-friendly clean.

Add a quarter of a cup of baking soda to the detergent drawer of your machine.

Add two cups of vinegar directly into the drum.

Turn on your machine to its hottest setting and let them do their magic! Between them, the vinegar and baking soda will kill most of the moulds and get rid of mineral build-up in your machine, leaving it sparkling clean and smelling lovely. 

Got any more household uses for vinegar? Let us know in the comments!

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