Simple, Natural Cleaning

Natural CleaningI like a clean home.  My mind doesn’t function well when there’s clutter so I do my best to keep things orderly and clean.  Once upon a time, before children entered my home, I had a shelf lined with cleaners.  Glass cleaners, bleach cleaners, chemical filled cleaners.  A year or so before we brought a child home, I started researching more natural ways to clean.  I kept stumbling upon vinegar.

Admittedly I was not convinced that something natural and simple could do a good job at keeping my home clean, but I decided to try it regardless.  What I found was that this simple, natural product could do just as good of a job cleaning my home as the more expensive, chemical filled products could.  It’s naturally deodorizing, has antimicrobial properties, and is strong enough to cut through grease and grime.  People often assume that if you clean your home with vinegar then that’s what your home will smell like, but this isn’t true.  Once vinegar dries, the smell goes away.  If you still prefer a fresh, citrus smell, you can make citrus infused vinegar that will leave a light lemon, orange, or even grapefruit smell in your home.  You could also add essential oils to your vinegar cleaning solution.

Citrus Infused Vinegar

Making citrus infused vinegar is SUPER simple and easy.  After you’ve juiced your lemons, oranges, or eaten a grapefruit, stuff the peels into a glass jar.  I stuff as many as I can fit into the jar to create a strong solution.  Once you have your peels stuffed into the jar, pour vinegar over the peels making sure they are completely covered and put a lid on the jar.  Let it sit undisturbed in a cool, dark place for about two weeks.  When the two weeks are up, strain the solution to get out any seeds or pulp (you can use a sieve or a cheese cloth).  I store the solution in a clean glass jar until I’m ready to use it and then I use equal parts citrus infused vinegar and water.  I simple pour them into a spray bottle for cleaning.  I’ve found citrus infused vinegar works great for counter tops or mopping your floors, but can be streaky on windows so I prefer to use a plain solution on my windows.

How much and where do I use it?

  • Cleaning with vinegar really is simple.  I just buy regular ol’ white vinegar.  Many stores will also carry vinegar specifically for cleaning which has a higher acidity content, but I have never found it necessary.
  • For counter tops, windows, mirrors, and toilets I mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  I spray the surfaces down, let the vinegar sit for a few minutes and then wipe them clean.
  • If there’s a super sticky or hard to clean mess, I mix three parts vinegar to one part water or even use pure vinegar.
  • To clean my floors, I mix two parts vinegar and one part hot water with just a squirt of dish soap.  It works great on our linoleum and leaves the floors clean and fresh.
  • When our trash cans get stinky, I pour a little vinegar into the bottom of them and let them sit.  The vinegar is naturally deodorizing.
  • I even use vinegar as a natural fabric softener.  It really works and NO our clothes do not smell like vinegar.  I put a little in my fabric softener dispenser and let it do it’s thing.  Vinegar can cause wear and tear on elastics or PUL (if you cloth diaper), but I really haven’t seen this happen for us and I’ve used it for over five years.
  • I add a little vinegar to the rinse aid dispenser of my dishwasher as well.  It helps keep food particles off clean dishes.

Have you tried vinegar to keep your home clean yet?

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