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These days cleaning has become a daunting task that may come with health risks for those with sensitive lungs, skin, or allergies. Commercial cleaners usually contain toxic chemicals that, when in contact with skin or lungs can cause damage. If you are chemical sensitive, have small children living at home, or just don’t want to use such harsh ingredients while cleaning your home you might wish to find something more natural. There are some great homemade cleaner with vinegar alternatives that clean just as well as the commercial ones but without any of the nasty chemicals.
Usually when I first tell people about cleaning with vinegar, their first reaction is… ewww. Ok I get it but if you really want to get the job done without it smelling like sour pickles in your home then try one of the awesome 4 ingredient or less natural recipes to scrub your house into blissful cleanliness.
Why Use Vinegar?
Typically for household cleaner, you would use white vinegar that you can purchase from a grocery store. Vinegar is a natural by-product of plant fermentation that typically contains 5–20 percent acetic acid. Because of this, it is excellent at killing bacteria found in mold, mildew and germs and dissolving grease.
The acid in vinegar also serves as a mild antiseptic that hinders the growth of some bacteria. This makes vinegar the perfect base for a multi-purpose cleaner, stove cleaner, and even a good glass cleaner.
Tips for Using Homemade Vinegar Cleaner
Depending on the strength of your cleaner (the ratio of vinegar to water) you can figure out which solution will work best for which cleaning job. For tough cleaning jobs like grease and heavy soap scum, you will want to use a stronger solution or let the spray sit for several minutes before attempting to clean. Use a scrub brush or even old toothbrush for small areas then need some extra care (like around faucets).
To disinfect surfaces, doorknobs, high chairs, toilet seats, and countertops, let the spray sit for at least 60 seconds before wiping away. This will ensure enough time has passed to kill the germs lingering on your high traffic surface areas. You can always add some baking soda to the area you are cleaning first and then spray with the vinegar solution to give some additional scrubbing action. I tend to use this method in the showers, tubs, and sinks.
To clean mirrors, simply spray on the vinegar cleaner and buff it dry with a natural, soft, lint-free cloth, such as an old T-shirt or a cloth baby diaper.
To eliminate odors, use this spray as an air freshener. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer.
Below are 4 fantastic homemade cleaners recipes that I use for different purposes and different areas of my house. I am pretty much obsessed with using vinegar as a cleaning agent. Not only is natural and efficient but its a total money saver. And don’t worry- I promise your house will NOT smell like pickles!
1. All Purpose Cleaner Ingredients:
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 cups of distilled white vinegar
- 30 drops of lemon grass oil
- 3 drops of earth friendly liquid detergent
You can assemble all the ingredients in a large spray bottle using a small funnel as needed. Shake it up and you’re ready for some cleaning. The lemon grass acts as a secondary natural anti bacterial agent but if you need something stronger, you can try tea tree oil as well. Be sure to label the bottle with a permanent marker.
This homemade house cleaner mixture is great for a variety of uses such as windows, mirrors, stainless steel, porcelain, cloth, etc. And what’s great about this home made green cleaning recipe is that it’s not only good for the environment but it only costs about $1 per bottle and you can feel good about not adding additional chemicals to your home. This is doubly important in an age where we need to take care of the environment.
I like using these amber glass spray bottles for my cleaner as they are re-usable, bpa and lead free, offer UV protection and are very sturdy. I haven’t any issues with leaking or broken nozzles, however if you do they are easily replaceable.
You can add a cute label as well with ingredients or instructions. Of course your can always use previously owned spray bottles or other ways to store your newly made cleanser. I usually use up my cleaner in about 3 months time and always make sure I store it in a cool cabinet or out of the sun. Leaving it on the counter might look pretty but the sunlight and heat can destroy the anti bacterial agents in the cleaner rendering it less powerful.
2. Disinfecting Cleaner Ingredients
- 2 cups of filtered water
- 1 cup of organic distilled white vinegar
- 20 drops of organic lemon essential oil
- 15 drops of organic basil essential oil
Simply combine materials, thoroughly stir, and pour into a glass spray bottle. Use as a disinfectant. It’s as simple as that to create your own at home cleaning spray. This homemade cleaner with vinegar is perfect for high chairs, baby changing areas, bathrooms, pet accidents, and kitchen counters. This recipe is a bit stronger than the all-purpose cleaner so I usually keep it for bathroom zones and clean often- especially when my son has his friends over.
3. Homemade Glass Cleaner
- 2 cups distilled water
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 10 drops essential oil of your choice (I tend to use lemon or orange for my glass cleaner)
Using a funnel, add the vinegar and water and shake to mix them together. Choose one or a combination of essential oils and add them directly to your spray bottle. Give another good shake and get to cleaning your glass! To use, spray any glass areas that need to be cleaned and wipe dry. Use microfiber or even newspaper for a streak free shine.
4. Natural Odor Eliminator
- 1 tablespoon white
- 2 cups distilled water
- 10 drops grapefruit essential oils
- 5 drops lemon essential oils (orange is lovely as well)
Using something stinky to get rid of smelly odors seems counter intuitive right? Well vinegar is actually an effective natural deodorizer and mild disinfectant due to its unique properties. When used as a household odor eliminating mist, the vinegar smell only lasts for a few minutes and dries leaving no bad smells or vinegar scent- just the pleasant essential oil aroma is left behind. Its perfect for leftover food smells, stinky laundry rooms, or around the trash can.
Why Use Essential Oils in Your Homemade Cleaner
Besides the fact that vinegar has a slightly unpleasant aroma and essential oils will mask the momentary smells pretty well, essential oil serve a much large purpose in being added to homemade house cleaning recipes. They can add additional antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal qualities to your homemade cleaner with vinegar.
Different types of essential oils you might want to try to include basil, lemongrass, cinnamon, lavender, eucalyptus, grapefruit, oregano, rosemary, gardenia and thyme.
Cautions About Mixing with Vinegar
Don’t ever mix vinegar with bleach. It will create toxic chlorine gas which can be very harmful if inhaled. Also remember not to combine it with additional cleaning products you might have in the house- use the cleaner alone or with baking soda.
Remember- Vinegar is an Acid
Because vinegar is an acid it can hinder the growth of bacteria and germs. But it can also eat away at very sensitive surfaces if you soak or leave it on too long. Soft or very porous surfaces like grout or hardwood should be tested prior to use. The acids in vinegar will cause certain items (like raw eggs) to coagulate and make it harder to clean up.
Homemade Cleaner with Vinegar can irritate your eyes if direct contact occurs so flush your eyes with water if it occurs.
Oh La De final tips
There are a lot of spritzes you can buy to clean mirrors, walls, clothes and upholstery. However, they probably all use petroleum based products that are bad for the environment. A homemade solution works just as well and not harmful to you, your kids, pets, or the environment.
Vinegar is a truly effective DIY green product with its powerful cleaning and disinfectant properties. It rivals any commercial cleaner for effectiveness and can be used all around your home. Scent it as you like with a variety of all-natural essential oils, which are environmentally friendly and biodegradable. Store the bottle out of direct sunlight or heat, which can change the chemical constituents in the essential oils. Enjoy your new clean!