There are all sorts of ways to use vinegar in cleaning, since it is an excellent all purpose cleaner which can deodorize, remove stains, kill bacteria, and bring the shine back to everything from tile floors to glassware. When using this liquid in house cleaning, make sure to use distilled white vinegar, not cider or wine vinegar, as these types can stain or leave interesting odors behind.
One way to use vinegar around the house is to mix it with water in a spray bottle to create an all purpose cleaning solution which can be sprayed on appliances, counters, bathroom fixtures, and so forth. Generally, the mixture should be about half vinegar and half water, although stronger solutions may also be used. To remove stubborn stains, spray the solution onto the stain and allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping the stain away. This mixture is great for window cleaning.
Vinegar can also be used in scrubbing and abrasive mixtures. Mix it with baking soda to create a smooth, foamy paste which is safe for a wide variety of fixtures, including porcelain, or with salt for a more aggressive scrubbing compound to remove scaly deposits on faucets and showerheads. A vinegar and baking soda mixture can also be used to clean and deodorize drains, as the mixture will froth up as it travels down the drain, removing scum. Follow with a kettle full of boiling water to further scour the pipes, if desired.
As a rinse agent for removing scum, vinegar can be quite useful. If you own a dishwasher, run a cup (about 236.5 ml) through it once a month to remove buildup, and use it as a rinse on glassware to prevent scum and buildup. Vinegar can also be used to treat soap scum and stains in the bathroom; soak a towel in it and leave it on the stain for a few hours to loosen it before scrubbing. It is also an excellent rinse for floors and counters, and it can help to loosen stains on ovens, bakeware, and microwaves.
Although many people associate vinegar with a strong odor, it is actually a great deodorizer. For stinky microwaves, a small dish heated on high for a few minutes can make a big difference. It can also be used to deodorize pet messes after one has cleaned up; sprinkle the area with baking soda, spray on some vinegar, and allow the solution to sit briefly before wiping or vacuuming it away.
Vinegar can replace many household cleaners, from window washing solutions to drain clearing products. One big advantage is that it is an ecologically sound cleaning agent, and in addition to being good for the environment, it is also safe around children and pets. A large jug is also much easier to manage than an assortment of bottles of various cleaning fluids, so for people who are trying to reduce clutter and streamline their housekeeping, vinegar is certainly something which should be explored.