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With a cleaning product for every use imaginable, it’s easy to accumulate a ton of chemicals under the sink. And with all that clutter, how many times have you bought cleaners that you didn’t realize you already had?

Skip the clutter and the overbuying! There is almost nothing you can’t clean with just a spray bottle of white vinegar and a sprinkle of baking soda.

Vinegar and baking soda are safe to use on nearly all household surfaces including porcelain, glass, fiberglass, chrome, steel, silver, vinyl, plastic and most fabrics. They are a fraction of the cost of chemical cleaners. Both are non-toxic. And they are completely safe to use around food, babies, and pets.

Here are a few simple tips on cleaning your home with vinegar and baking soda.

Scrub surfaces with baking soda

Sprinkle a little baking soda onto a damp sponge or brush. Baking soda will not leave scratches, so you’re free to scrub tubs, sinks, faucets, tile, counters, and appliances without worry. Rinse and wipe down as usual.

Disinfect with vinegar

Combine equal parts of vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Spray tubs, sinks, faucets, tile, counters, and appliances. Let it sit for a few seconds — or a few minutes for deeper dirt — before wiping down with a clean cloth.

Clean non-wax floors

Add half a cup of baking soda and/or vinegar to a bucket with one quart of water. Mop and rinse the floor as usual. Wipe dry with a cloth.

Dissolve grease from dishes

Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to soapy dishwater and wash as usual. Let extra dirty dishes soak for 15 minutes. Or sprinkle a little baking soda to use as a scouring powder.

Melt soap scum & mildew

Spray grimy showers, vinyl curtains, faucets and counters with undiluted white vinegar. Let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse with water. For extra-stubborn stains, spray with vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda. Scrub until stains are gone and rinse with clean water.

Dissolve toilet stains

Pour 3 cups of vinegar into the toilet bowl and another 3 cups into the tank before bedtime. Let the vinegar sit overnight and scrub with a toilet brush the next morning.

Lift coffee & tea stains

Mix a quarter cup of baking soda in a quart of warm water. Pour into mugs, kettles and coffee pots. Let sit for an hour. Wipe down with a sponge and rinse. For heavy stains, squeeze a little dish soap into the baking soda solution and soak overnight.

Clean filthy ovens

Spray a generous amount of white vinegar on an especially dirty oven, stovetop, grill, exhaust fan, refrigerator or cookware. Sprinkle baking soda over the top for an extra boost. Let sit for 15 to 60 minutes (as needed) and wipe down with a damp sponge or cloth.

Remove burnt-on foods

Mix a quarter cup of vinegar with a tablespoon of liquid soap. Add just enough baking soda to create a thick scouring cream. Scrub cookware with a sponge, adding a little water as needed.

For extra stubborn foods, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda onto the bottom of the cookware. Add water and let it sit overnight. You can also fill pots and pans with water and a quarter cup of white vinegar. Boil until the food loosens and wash with soap and water.

Remove rust

Spray white vinegar onto rusty can openers, grills and metal chair legs. Let it sit for an hour and scrub with a soft used toothbrush. Add some baking soda to the scrub, if needed.

Good to know

  • While baking soda is completely safe for stainless steel, copper, cast iron and other cookware, some sources recommended using vinegar instead of baking soda to clean aluminum because the baking soda can react with aluminum and break it down over time.
  • The fizzling reaction you get from mixing vinegar and baking soda helps to loosen stains and soap film and is perfectly safe in the open air. But don’t mix them together in a closed spray bottle because this same reaction will swallow the oxygen and can cause the bottle to erupt in your hand.
  • Instead of throwing away the chemical cleaners that you’ve just replaced, donate them to your local hazardous waste facility or recycling center, where they may be given to a family in need.

Natural Living Guide

Find practical tips & natural alternatives to the everyday chemicals that invade our lives.

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