Everyday household vinegar, called “distilled white vinegar,” is a powerful cleaning and disinfecting agent. It’s inexpensive and easy to find. Vinegar is safe for you–but not for everything in your house. It’s great at cleaning because it’s an acid. This means it can damage things that have soft or porous surfaces. When in doubt, stick to cleaning the items on this list:
1. Glass and Windows: In a spray bottle, make a solution from equal parts vinegar and water. Spray lightly onto glass and wipe with a clean, dry rag. Make sure that the rag is lint-free, or you’ll leave a trail of lint on the glass. Try not to over saturate the rag–you’ll want a dry section to buff out streaks after you’ve wiped the vinegar off.
2. Coffee Makers: When it’s time for a thorough cleaning of your coffee maker, fill the reservoir with vinegar. Let sit for 30 minutes and then run the brewing cycle. Afterward, you’ll need to run a few more cycles with plain water to get rid of any vinegar residue before you make your next pot of coffee.
3. Drains: Deep clean your drains with the following process.
• Pour undiluted vinegar around the outer rim of the drain and then scrub to get rid of the scum that accumulates there.
• Then, boil a pot of water and pour it down the drain.
• Follow with 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar mixed into 1 cup of warm water.
• Plug the drain and wait 5 minutes.
• Pour a final pot of boiling water down the drain.
4. Laminate: Mix ½ cup of vinegar into a gallon of warm water and use as you normally would to clean whatever surface the laminate is on. If you need to disinfect a laminate surface, mix 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water.
5. Ceramic Tile: Just as with laminate, mix ½ cup of vinegar into a gallon of warm water and then clean as you normally would. And to disinfect, mix 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water.
There is also a product called “cleaning vinegar” that has a 6% acidity, as opposed to the 5% acidity of regular white vinegar. If you can find it and you’ve got storage space for vinegar that’s just for cleaning, choose cleaning vinegar–it’s even more effective than regular vinegar.