Distilled White Vinegar
The best Vinegar to use for cleaning around the home is White Distilled Vinegar. White Vinegar usually has about 5% acidity and a pH of around 3, read my blog on Understanding Natural Cleaning Ingredients to find out more about why the pH is important.
It’s the acidity of vinegar which makes it great for removing mineral deposits and it makes a brilliant general purpose cleaner. However, it’s acidity also makes it possible for it to damage some surfaces, including stone and granite so remember never to use it on those surfaces.
Whilst vinegar isn’t the same as a commercial disinfectant it does have disinfecting properties due to it’s acidity. Studies have been carried out to test how effectively it kills bacteria and viruses. For example, a 2010 study showed that a 10 percent malt vinegar solution was just as effective as commercial cleaning wipes in killing the Human Influenza A/H1N1 virus. A 1997 study in the Journal of Environmental Health showed that undiluted vinegar was just as effective as bleach in eliminating E. coli from surfaces and sponges.
Lastly, using vinegar around the home is much more environmentally friendly and far less toxic than most commercial household cleaners. But do make sure you buy a plant based vinegar.
Warning – don’t use vinegar on stone or granite and NEVER mix vinegar with bleach as it will give off a chlorine gas
5 Ways to Use White Vinegar around your home
Now that you know all about White Vinegar here are some of my favourite ways that you can use it around your home.
Using white vinegar around the home as a General Cleaner
When I’m making a general purpose vinegar cleaner I like to infuse the vinegar with cit5rus peel or herbs first. Once you’ve infused the vinegar it can be added to your cleaning recipes or for a general purpose spray dilute it 50/50 with cooled boiled water.
- Glass jar
- White Vinegar
- Citrus peel
- Fill your jar 2/3 full with white vinegar
- Add citrus peel to the jar whenever you have some available
- Leave for at least 2 weeks (the longer the better)
- Strain to remover the citrus peel and it’s ready to use
- You can always have a jar on the go and just keep topping it up with vinegar and peel, you will need to discard the peel every few weeks.
Remember – Never use vinegar based cleaners on marble, stone, ceramic or granite surfaces
Vinegar is a great alternative to fabric softener. Add half a cup of white vinegar to your rinse drawer compartment to help keep your towels soft and fluffy.
Adding vinegar to your laundry rinse cycle will help to remove any remaining detergent in your clothes and it also breaks down any limescale in hard water areas, which is an added benefit in keeping your washing machine clean.
Vinegar is excellent for removing limescale on so many things around the house from taps to kettles.
To descale a kettle just follow these easy steps:
- Fill the kettle with 1 to 2 cups of vinegar and a cup of water
- Bring to the boil
- Switch off and leave for at least 1 hour
- Empty and rinse
If you have tricky areas to descale such as taps an easy solution is to soak a rag in vinegar and wrap it around the tap, leave for at least an hour and then rinse. But for general cleaning where limescale builds up such as shower doors just spray the vinegar directly onto the glass and leave for a while before rinsing off
Vinegar can make a great natural weedkiller but to be effective you will need a stronger vinegar than the usual 5% acidity, just look for a vinegar between 10% and 20% acidity.
It’s best to apply the solution to weeds on a sunny day and before they turn to seed. You will need to be careful of grass and other plants when spraying weeds as the solution will kill any plant not just the weeds.
Although you could just use vinegar I find that it’s better to add a couple more ingredients to make it more effective. The soap in this recipe helps to keep the weedkiller on the weeds whilst it’s doing it’s thing.
- 1 litre white vinegar
- 3 large spoons of salt
- 3 tablespoons of eco friendly washing up liquid
- Spray bottle
- Add your salt to your vinegar and stir until dissolved.
- Add the washing up liquid, and stir well.
- Pour into a spray bottle
HOW TO USE:
- Apply on a warm dry day
- Shake your solution before you start
- Spray directly onto the weeds leaves, but remember the spray will kill any plants it comes into contact with so be careful.
- This weedkiller won’t kill the roots of the weeds so you will need to reapply when they start to grow again. However, after a few repeated treatments you will be rid of them
Another use for white vinegar is cleaning leather, but you shouldn’t use it on it’s own as it will dry the leather out. So here’s a simple homemade recipe for cleaning leather.
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- A few drops of essential oil (optional)
- Spray bottle
- Combine ingredients in spray bottle and shake
- Spray the solution onto your leather and wipe off with a soft cotton cloth
Always test a small inconspicuous area first and don’t use on suede
I hope you found this recipes useful and can see how versatile White Vinegar is to have around the house.