5 Tips for Green Cleaning with White Vinegar

If this isn't your first visit to Holistic Spaces, you may know how much I love to use household products to create safe, non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaning materials. In fact, we've even discovered new ways of using coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice to handle household cleaning and even as all-natural beauty products. One of my all-time favorite household products for use in green cleaning is white vinegar. 

You can check out my recipes for eco-friendly washing detergent, natural shower cleaner, all-purpose cleaner and even my tips on how to use white vinegar to make a smelly chair smell new or to get rid of those pesky salt stains on suede shoes, and on top of that, white vinegar can do so much more!

Neutralize Odors

White vinegar is an amazing tool for making a place that may not smell so good, smell better! Whether you've recently burnt supper, painted with some not-so-eco-friendly paint, cooked with lots of garlic or just need to refresh a new space with icky odors, placing a shallow bowl of white vinegar in the area can do the trick. Lots of times, we dilute vinegar with water, but in this case, just let plain old, 100% white vinegar do the trick all on its own.

Disinfect Air Filters

While you're busy making the air in your home smell better, take a peek at your air conditioner filter, if you're lucky enough to have one. Air filters can collect a ton of gross stuff (think dust, germs, and if you have a pet, pet dander too)! Soaking your filter in a 50/50 water to white vinegar solution for about an hour can help get rid of these unhealthy particles and make sure you're putting clean air back into your home.   

Unclog Drains

We all know the pain of dealing with a clogged drain and a landlord who won't put that on his list of priorities. If your efforts at unclogging haven't worked so far, or if you're looking for a less toxic route than store-bought chemicals, try baking soda and white vinegar! Be careful with this combination, because it does cause a chemical reaction and will bubble and fizz, so you'll want to keep that reaction in the drain...not on your counter. Just pour boiling water down the clogged drain, follow it up with a half cup of baking soda, and a few minutes later, add a mix of 1 part boiling water and 1 part vinegar (2 cups total). Plug up the drain, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then flush with more boiling water. After a few minutes, flush with cold water, and you're good to go!

Clean Kitchen Gadgets

Some kitchen utensils and pieces are easy to clean and require nothing but soap and water. But other gadgets aren't so easy, and that's where white vinegar comes in. 

To clean a coffee maker, just run a batch of white vinegar, diluted 2:1 with water. Make sure to use a clean filter, and once the brew cycle is finished, run another cycle with a clean filter and pure water. You'll want to run two batches with just pure water after the vinegar to make sure you don't end up with a cup of black coffee and a touch of vinegar. 

Can openers are another kitchen gadget that can't be cleaned as easily as a dish wash cycle. If the rotating wheel is starting to look filthy, dip an old toothbrush in 100% white vinegar, then turn the wheel and clean with the brush. This works for manual can openers as well as electric! 

Keep Colors Fresh

Nothing's worse than buying a new red shirt and watching it turn every other piece of clothing in the washing machine a cool pink. Sometimes this can happen even if you wash it with "like" colors! If you're worried about a bright new piece of clothing fading or running onto other shirts or towels, soak it in pure white vinegar for 10-15 minutes before the first wash. A few cups should do the trick!

by Anjie Cho