Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Cheap, All Natural Cleaner

When I was a young girl I remember staying at a friend's house. Her stepfather was very frugal and being as young as I was, I didn't realize it was a smart way to be. After dinner we would all help to clean up & I distinctly remember the cleaner they used always smelled a lot like vinegar.
I asked my friend about this & she said it was. She said they used vinegar to clean because it was cheap and because it was good for the environment.
Now, fast forward about 21 years to last week. I ran out of my usual "all natural" cleaner that I use and love. I started thinking about how I wish I could find a really cheap cleaner that wasn't bad to spray while my daughter was within a 20 foot radius. I remembered back to when I was younger & thought of my friend and her economically minded stepfather. I quickly jumped online to read up some more on vinegar. Sure enough I found this awesome site with 1001 uses for vinegar. Click here for vinegar tips.
I mixed a solution of one part vinegar & one part water. I put the solution in a spray bottle & off I went. I cleaned everything in my kitchen. From sink, to fridge & back to the stovetop.
Then I thought, why stop there? I used it on the shower doors in my bathroom & let the solution sit on the soap scum that had accumulated on the doors. I wiped them down with a soft scrubby sponge and now I can see through them again. Woo hoo!
What I love most about this is, I can use it while my daughter is in the room with me. If I clean the counter tops with it & food drops on the counter I'm not freaked out about what kind of chemicals may be there.
At first I thought the smell would be awful. But it's not. While I'm cleaning my kitchen I'm reminded of an Italian deli. I must say I have smelled a lot worse. Besides, the smell completely disappeared after about 10-15 minutes.
Have you ever read the ingredients that go in to a lot of cleaners? It's really scary what most commercial cleaners are made of. I decided that I would bookmark the vinegar tips webpage & make a few different concoctions to use when cleaning depending on the cleaning project at hand. I am also on a new mission to find additional, all natural cleaners. If you have any ideas please feel free to post a comment. I'd love to hear about them.

*I've read though that vinegar should NOT be used on marble surfaces. I'm not sure if the vinegar is not suitable to use on other surfaces as well so always check with the manufacturer instructions on your surfaces before trying anything new.


  1. You shouldn't use vinegar on porous surfaces as it will stay in the material. Most types of flooring has manufacturers directions on how to clean them. I like this post. I found it very interesting.

  2. I have always used vinegar on the stainless steel appliance in my kitchen and it gets rid of all the smear marks. The granite work top does not mind either but marble is definately more porous and is a reason why it is never used in kitchens. Dave made some animations, my idea, that may be of interest
    We find eating Marmite keeps the mosquitoes at bay
    Like your blog
    Dot of the Dot and Dave "Acorn" team

  3. When I was first reading this article, I kept thinking, "wouldn't it smell so overwhelming?" But when you said it reminded you of a bistro, it got me interested in trying it out. Because I too get a little cautious about all the chemicals in spray cleaners. Which type of vinegar did you use?
    Thank you for sharing this awesome bit of info, by the way, very useful!

  4. Yikes! I didn't realize I didn't put the type of vinegar I used. That would've been helpful. :o)

    I used distilled white vinegar.
    Don't get me wrong it does smell when you first spray it. But I didn't think it was bad. And after I started using it a few times I didn't even notice the smell. And the smell dissipates after a few minutes.

    Just make sure you check that it's okay to use on whatever surface you plan on using it. I use it mainly on my counter tops for a quick clean but I know it's not good for certain surfaces such as marble. The website I linked in the post has a lot of great information about how to use it to clean in a whole bunch of different ways.
    Thanks for the comments everyone!

  5. Vinegar is a great cleaner and disinfectant. For general cleaning, you can use a mixture of 10-20% vinegar, rather than 50% so the smell isn't so strong. There is an all-purpose cleaner recipe that I like to use that calls for a few drops of essential oil (lemon, lavendar, etc) to make the smell more enjoyable. Actually, I was planning to post some natural cleaner recipes on my blog later this week (