With the New Year in full swing, many people are resolving to save money, “go green” or live a healthier lifestyle. One item, which is probably in your home right now, can help with all three of these goals. Vinegar is extremely versatile, inexpensive and free of harsh chemicals. We’ve always had vinegar around, but never really used it for anything in particular. After my daughter was born, I began to research and learn about all the chemicals we have in our house, and I did not like what I learned. I began to taking steps to reduce the amount of chemicals we were exposed to, starting with making my own all purpose cleaner. Slowly but surely, I have been able to replace several household items with a safer, more natural, yet just as effective substitute. If you’re looking to save money, help the environment or reduce the amount of chemicals in your home, here are some easy ways vinegar can help you accomplish your goals.
Try using vinegar in place of some of your conventional items, starting with these 5:
- Toilet bowl cleaner: Add roughly 1/2-1 cup of vinegar to your toilet bowl, wait 10 minutes and brush with a toilet brush. I tried this one day only because I was out of my regular toilet cleaner. After I realized how much cleaner my toilet was (seriously, it looked brand new), I never turned back.
- Toy disinfectant: The go-to for toy cleaning method for most people is “bleach water”. I have read over and over again that it is safe, but I have never been fully comfortable with my baby putting toys in his mouth that have had bleach on them, no matter how diluted it was. I was elated to learn that vinegar was also effective for killing germs, without any chemicals. Now, I soak the toys in a vinegar/water solution every so often (not nearly as often as I should since the third child came along).
- Conditioner: Yes, conditioner – for your hair! I learned about this years ago, but it wasn’t until my good friend started using it that I had the guts to go for it. Her results were amazing: shinier, more manageable hair and less drying time. To make it, just add two tablespoons apple cider vinegar to 8-10 ounces of water. I put it in a spray bottle for ease of use. After shampooing, I spray my hair, let it sit for a minute or two, then rinse. If you are concerned with the vinegar smell, don’t be! The smell does not stay on your hair after rinsing, and you can always add a few drops of essential oil to the mix. My vinegar conditioner smells like lavender.
- Fabric softener: Some experts claim that traditional fabric softeners and dryer sheets can break down the fibers of your clothing, causing them to wear out faster. Additionally, though they smell great, dryer sheets are full of chemicals, which remain on your clothes and consequently, get into your skin. Since I am trying to avoid our exposure to unnecessary chemicals, switching was a no brainier. If your washer has a spot for fabric softener, you can pour about 1/2 cup of vinegar directly into that compartment. If not, you’ll have to open the washer and add it to the rinse cycle. That takes a bit of remembering, but its still pretty easy.
- Dishwasher rinse aid: this is a super easy switch as well. All you have to do is fill the rinse-aid compartment with undiluted vinegar. I was surprised at how effective this is. I haven’t had to buy Jet Dry in years, and my dishes are spot free and sparkling clean.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are literally hundreds of household uses for vinegar, but I find when I try to change too many things at once I get overwhelmed and want to give up. These five changes are fairly simple, and a great way to ease into a healthier or more frugal lifestyle.
Do you have any tips or uses for vinegar? Will you attempt any (all) of these?
I also use vinegar in my wash instead of fabric softener! And when we do a tub rinse, we put vinegar in it to get odors out. I also use vinegar diluted with water in a spray bottle to clean our granite countertops and as a glass cleaner. (it’s great for mirrors!)
I also use it to mop my pergo floors. I just pour vinegar into a bucket and then add really hot water to the bucket. I have NEVER seen floors more shiny and clean!
We also use it in the microwave. I put it in a bowl with a sponge and then heat the microwave for 45 seconds and then wipe down the microwave.
I didn’t know about the jet dry, thing, though. TOTALLY doing that!!!
Ohhhh, the microwave. That’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing your tips. And yes, you will never have to buy jet dry again. 🙂
This is great Myndee! I’ve been using all natural like Method for a while, but hate the price point. These tips are awesome!
Full disclosure- we still have Method around the house. I love that we can use vinegar and other natural items for most of our cleaning, but sometimes I need commercial stuff. 😉
You can put vinegar in a Downey Ball for fabric softener, but it’s no match for fleece. I still use dryer sheets in loads with fleece.
I also keep a spray bottle of vinegar and water on the counter for 90% of general cleaning.
I understand. Like I said to Angelina, we still have some commercial products around, but much fewer these days. Thanks for the tip about using vinegar in the downy ball. That will save me an extra trip to the laundry room!
Whaaaaaaaaaat! You can use vinegar for fabric softner? ever since Annie has had her severe allergy issues we don’t get to enjoy all the softy goodness…..Im definitely going to try this out!
Let me know how it works for you. Also, you may want to look into wool dryer balls. They help with static and unless you have a wool allergy, should be safe for your daughter.
Any suggestions on how to make it smell less vinegary?
Yes! Add a few drops of essential oils to it. I have lemon and lavender that I use most often. It will not completely remove the vinegar smell, but it helps quite a bit. Let me know if that works for you.
I hate the smell of the common bathroom cleaners! They smell like bleach with lemons or something like this and I know that they contain a lot of toxic ingredients which are bad for the health. Thanks a lot for sharing these amazing advices here! East Finchley Carpet Cleaners Ltd.