Possibly everyone remembers having a family member like Great Aunt Stella, someone who always had the advice to offer. She especially enjoyed sharing what she knew about homemade cleaning products. While mom would fall for every gimmick used to market the latest and greatest cleaning product, Aunt Stella would hold up and point to her bottle of white vinegar. I thought she was probably just a cheap old bitty whose house probably smelled the inside of a fish and chips restaurant. She was totally not cool.
Decades later, while shopping for a strong cleanser to help scrub off unwanted stains, a gentleman came up behind me and whispered, “White vinegar.” Startled, I jumped! Was this my dear aunt re-incarnated? He continued to lecture that white vinegar was a far more effective cleanser than anything on the market, today. “I swear by it and don’t use anything else,” he boasted as he proudly walked away.
White vinegar is that obscure product sitting on the bottom shelf of some miscellaneous grocery shelf. Did anyone purchase it? If so, what on earth did they do with it? Now, I religiously keep some in the pantry and use it as my primary house-cleaning product, especially in the kitchen.
White Vinegar: Cleaning Cure in the Kitchen
- Cookware – Mix equal parts vinegar, water, and white flour until it forms a paste. Use the paste to scour aluminum, copper, iron, and ceramic pots and pans.
- Coffee Maker – Place filter in coffee maker as if preparing to make coffee. Fill the coffee maker with vinegar and turn it on. Once the vinegar has “brewed,” replace the coffee maker with a fresh filter and run once again using water.
- Tea Pot – Fill kettle with equal parts vinegar and water, boil, and pour. Boil another full kettle of water before replacing it with fresh water to brew tea.
- Dishwasher – Fill the bottom of your dishwasher with two cups of vinegar. Run empty dishwasher full cycle. The dishwasher will become more effective at cleaning crusted dishes and removing soap spots.
- Kitchen Drain – Deodorize drains in your sink simply by pouring a cup of vinegar down the drain. Pour a little baking soda down the drain for added effectiveness. It’s also fun to watch the baking soda make the vinegar fizzle. Do not run your faucet for at least an hour for the best results.
- Microwave – I like to mix two cups of water, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 2 tablespoons baking soda in a large, deep bowl. Place bowl in the microwave and run for 10 minutes. Sponge the entire microwave clean immediately after removing the hot, boiling (use an oven mitt) bowl. Wipe dry. Hint: Unless your next meal is fish and chips, don’t forget to wipe the ceiling of your microwave.
- Oven – Vinegar cleans and deodorizes. If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, white cider vinegar is a dream come true. If you have an oven that cleans itself, but you’ve got a lot of spills, vinegar can still help. Mix 1/2 cup vinegar, with 1/2 cup dry dishwasher soap until it forms a paste. Spread paste throughout the oven and let sit for several hours. Using a large sponge, wipe down the oven with vinegar until all paste has been removed.
- Counters and Appliances – To clean and disinfect, wipe down counters, work surfaces, stovetops, and refrigerators with vinegar. Wipe dry.