Tag Archive for: vinegar

Vinegar: The miracle cleaner!

Why vinegar is the powerhouse of DIY home cleaning solutions.

Distilled white vinegar enjoys a well-earned reputation as a cleaning superstar. But why is that?

For starters, it’s strong and it’s green. Not literally of course, but white wine vinegar can be used to clean many household surfaces and items that other DIY solutions just can’t hack. And it does so whilst managing to stay tough on grime without harming the environment.

However, it’s not perfect and does come with a few constraints and you could do some damage to your home if you go around applying it too liberally.

That’s why the cleaning experts at Merry Maids are here to give you some of the biggest “do’s and don’ts” for using white vinegar. And, to help you on your way, we’ve also provided a few DIY cleaning recipes using vinegar that can make your housekeeping a little easier.

Vinegar: The Faux Pas (or, what not to clean)

Green cleaning solutions have become more and more popular over the years. As a result, you can now find hundreds of vinegar cleaner recipes on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. Although vinegar has many advantages over conventional cleaning products, it’s important to keep in mind that vinegar is still an acid and a chemical – and therefore has the power to corrode some surfaces. For example, it can “etch” expensive marble or granite counters, leaving discoloured and dull spots behind.

  1. Avoid delicate surfaces

Here’s a quick list of surfaces that you shouldn’t clean with vinegar:

  • Any type of stone surface (including slate, marble, granite, and ceramic)
  • Linoleum & hardwood flooring
  • Unsealed grout
  • Clothes irons
  • Electronics and screens
  • Waxed or finished wood furniture
  • Carbon steel knives
  • Cast iron cookware
  • Aluminium (often used in appliances)

Of course, this list of surfaces isn’t exhaustive: Many materials can be warped, damaged, or dulled by using an acid such as vinegar. To protect your furniture, always do your research before applying vinegar to an unidentified surface. You can also (and should) perform a small patch test before you start cleaning, ideally in a hidden spot. That way, you’ll know exactly what to expect from your vinegar-cleaning efforts.

  1. Never use vinegar with bleach

A lot of cleaning and sanitising solutions contain bleach, thanks to its incredible properties as a disinfectant. But whatever you do, don’t ever mix white vinegar with bleach products – and especially don’t mix these two chemicals in a DIY solution. When combined, vinegar and bleach create toxic chlorine gas, which is deadly.

  1. Does vinegar harm plastic?

Many repair technicians will tell you never to use vinegar in plastic compartments, such as those found in your dishwasher or washing machine. While it isn’t outright dangerous to use vinegar with these appliances, traces of vinegar can weaken synthetic rubber seals over time. However, if your plastics are made from natural rubber or a substance such as polypropylene or silicone, it’s probably safe to use vinegar.

  1. Egg?!

Vinegar cleaners and food don’t always mix. For example, vinegar can react when mixed with the protein enzymes in egg spills and cause them to coagulate. In plain English, you’ll have an even harder time cleaning up a Saturday morning omelette disaster. The same applies to pearls, which can dissolve or dull when cleaned with vinegar.

How to clean with vinegar

But don’t let all that stop you, vinegar does come in handy when cleaning many different areas of the house. And it’s inexpensive and all-natural to boot!

White vinegar is a great stain remover for certain fabrics. When added during the final rinse of your laundry, the acetic acid in white vinegar will eliminate alkaline residues from soap, which has the effect of brightening up the colours of your clothes. Not only that but vinegar can also be used as a spot treatment for yellowing underarms, as it helps to break up the leftover deodorant on clothes.

Here are a few other stains and spills that can be removed with vinegar:

  • Gum: Soak leftover sticky spots for at least 10 minutes and then launder.
  • Grass: You can loosen grass stains by giving white clothing a half-hour pre-soak with vinegar.
  • Coffee, tea, and juice: Dilute vinegar to 1/3rd strength with water before applying to a dried spot, then launder.

DIY Vinegar Cleaning Solutions

Ready to try out the wonders of vinegar on the rest of your household? Our Merry Maids cleaning experts have come up with three DIY uses for vinegar that can help with your cleaning routine. These are:

  1. Chrome and Stainless-Steel Cleaner

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • A spray bottle
  • Microfiber cloths

What to do:

First, pour the vinegar into the bottle and spray it directly on your chrome and stainless-steel surfaces. Then, wipe the vinegar away with a microfiber cloth. Finally, buff any streaks with a clean microfiber cloth.

  1. Window and Glass Cleaner

What you’ll need:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Water
  • A spray bottle
  • Microfiber cloths or coffee filters

What to do:

First, mix equal parts vinegar and water in your spray bottle. Then, mist the windows with the liquid, making sure you don’t apply too much solution, or you’ll end up with streaks. Finally, working from top to bottom, wipe the windows clean using a microfiber cloth or coffee filter. If you start to see streaks, then you should switch to a fresh cloth or filter.

  1. Toilet Bowl Cleaner

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar, separated into halves
  • A toilet brush
  • A spray bottle
  • A clean microfibre cloth

What to do:

First, pour ½ cup of the vinegar into your toilet bowl. Let this sit for about three to five minutes. Add the remaining ½ cup of vinegar to the spray bottle, and mist the rim of the toilet. This should also sit for three to five minutes. Scrub the bowl with your toilet brush, and wipe down the rim of the toilet with your microfiber cloth. Flush when you’ve finished.

When used correctly, vinegar can be great for your household – and your wallet. Affordable, convenient, and non-toxic, it can allow you to have a cleaner home, all whilst keeping your products streamlined and eco-friendly. Of course, there’s always the risk that your vinegar-cleaning efforts will backfire, adding more time to your busiest days.

If you’re having trouble keeping up with the daily housekeeping, or run into some trouble trying a DIY solution, your local cleaning professionals can help clean up! Find your nearest Merry Maids business to book a free quote today, or call 0800 021 3072 to learn more.