The next cleaning agent that I'm going to look at is white vinegar. White vinegar has antifungal properties, cleans glass without streaking, softens hard water, and is great for attacking offensive odors. Here are some of the ways that I use white vinegar:
Bathroom Cleaner: Because it is antifungal, and a water softener, I use mostly vinegar in my bathroom. I put distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle and use it to tackle the hard water stains in the shower and on faucets. Sometimes the corners of the tub, or around the drains of the sink and tub, develop a reddish color ring. This is a kind of mold. Vinegar not only takes this film away but a spray down once a week keeps it away. It also works well in the toilet.
Cleaning Mirrors: I use the same spray bottle to spray vinegar on my mirrors, and wipe them with a microfiber towel for a streak free shine.
Rinse Aid: White vinegar is a great rinse aid for the dishwasher. It softens hard water, and is streak free on glass. I just add it as I would Jet Dry or another rinse aid, to the well in the dishwasher.
Laundry: Hard water is not so good for cloth diapers, or for any clothing. Add 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar to your rinse cycle to soften the water to prevent buildup on your clothes and cloth diapers.
Diaper Wipe Solution: I prefer to use our cloth wipes by wetting them and keeping them in a diaper warmer or other wipes container, so they are ready to go when I need them. Unfortunately, this means creating a damp, dark, warm place. A haven for mold! I add a teaspoon of white vinegar to my wipes solution to battle this. It has also helped take care of a yeast infection when Jonah was a baby.
Cleaning Drains: There is a shower in our basement that no one uses. It's a little creepy, and we have no use for an extra shower. Because no one uses it, sometimes the drain gets stale and septic can be smelled in the house. To take care of this, I boil about a quart of water and pour the water down the drain followed by a generous amount of vinegar. The smell disappears!
Fighting lingering odors: When we first moved into this house, the rugs had just been cleaned. Damp rugs equaled a musty smell throughout. If something is burned in the kitchen, or if you have some other gross smell in your house, boil a quart of water and a cup of white vinegar. Your house will smell like vinegar for a few hours, but it gets rid of the smell that would have lingered longer!
Cleaning the Coffee Maker: Again with the damp, warm, and dark place. Another haven for mold and hard water stains! About once a month, I fill the coffee pot to the 4 cup line and add a cup of vinegar. I pour this mixture into the water well of the coffee pot and run it as if I were making a cup of coffee (with no filter or grounds!)
Cleaning Rust: Soak the rusted item in vinegar for several hours, sometimes over night. Sometimes if I don't get to wash cookie cutters or cookie sheets right away, they might get a bit of rust on them. Using vinegar on them cleans it right up without using harsh chemicals on your cooking utensils. You can also use this method to clean rusty tools or bolts
Remove Chewing Gum: I was taught this trick by my friends' mom when I was growing up and we got some gum on the carpet while goofing around. Use an ice cube to harden the gum and pick off as much as you can using a dull butter knife or spatula. Pour vinegar over the remaining gum, very generously. You want to saturate it. The vinegar will dissolve the gum and you can use a damp cloth to pick it up!
Keep Flowers Fresh: Those packages of flower food that come with each bunch of flowers is dangerous for my children and pet. If it is a liquid, Jonah will drink it. We've all seen our toddlers drinking their bath water, or taking drinks from random glasses. Well guess what: a vase looks like a glass full of water. Even though it makes sense to us adults not to drink that water, it makes sense to a toddler to try it! Or if the vase gets knocked over by a rogue football, there's a puddle of water on the floor for my dog to lap up before I can utter the words "leave it." Why use a poisonous powder to keep flowers fresh? Keep everyon safe, and your flowers looking cheery and sunny, by adding two tablespoons of vinegar to your vase.