By Barbara Pronin
White vinegar, the kind found in most kitchen cabinets, is great for whipping up a quick salad dressing. But it’s also one of the cheapest, most eco-friendly, and super-useful allies for cleaning up around the house – and safer to have under your sink than bleach, ammonia, or other toxic cleaning products.
So switch to vinegar for a host of household chores:
Windows – Mix two tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water. Apply with a spray bottle and scrub with newspaper.
Window blinds – Put on a white cotton glove and dip your fingers into a mix of equal parts vinegar and water. Run your fingers across the blinds, dipping them occasionally into clean water to rinse.
Laundry – A mix of one-third vinegar to two-thirds water will remove even grass stains from clothing. Pour it on and blot, then wash as usual – and add a capful to a laundry load to get whites whiter and colors brighter.
Carpets – A mix of vinegar and water may be the best way to take out even red wine stains.
Sticky labels – If peeling a label off a product leaves a sticky residue, use vinegar as a solvent to dissolve.
Electronics – Unplug devices. Mix equal parts vinegar and water, dip a clean cloth, wring it out and use it to clean and disinfect the computer, mouse, printer, fax machine, and other office equipment.
Fireplace – Dusty brickwork? Clean it fast with a cloth dipped in one cup of white vinegar and a gallon of water. Good for any exposed brickwork.
Drains – A combination of vinegar and baking soda will unclog and deodorize drains. (It’s also gentler on your pipes and your wallet than commercial drain cleaners. Use a funnel to pour 1/2 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup vinegar into the drain. When foaming subsides, flush with hot tap water. After five minutes, flush with cold water.
Stainless steel – A light misting of undiluted vinegar from a recycled spray bottle will leave your stainless steel kitchen appliances sparkling. Spray and then buff with a soft cloth.
Microwave – Steam clean it by placing a glass bowl filled 1/4 cup vinegar in one cup water inside. Zap it for five minutes on high. Once the bowl cools, dip a cloth or sponge into the liquid and use it to wipe away stains and splatters.