Friday, February 11, 2011

Vinegar Friday

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil


It's another Vinegar Friday...seems we just had one of those. How is it these things roll around so quickly?

Yesterday, the amazing Green Cleaning Team of my daughter, Jessica Taylor, and Erin Fitterer attacked my house with their green cleaning magic! Equipped with steamers, vinegar and baking soda, they steamed and scrubbed their way to a sparkling, disinfected and fresh home all without the use of any chemicals or toxins. Amazing! I can't tell you how good that feels. Of course, my home doesn't have that "clean house" smell it used to have after other cleaning people left -- you know, the Scrubbin' Bubbles, Lemon Pledge, Murphy's Oil Soap smell that was always welcoming upon first sniff, but inevitably would send me to bed with a headache later on. There simply aren't any odors at all. I guess that's the downside of green cleaning, although you can always add real lemon juice to the mix for a fresh lemony scent.

I was most impressed with the job Jessica did in the bathroom. She steamed the ceramic wall tiles and they literally shine. I have to admit, it has been awhile since that has happened! As I soaked in my uber clean bathtub last night, I thought about how appropriate it would be to dedicate this Vinegar Friday to bathroom cleaning and disinfecting. So here goes:

Let's start off with killing germs, which is kind of necessary when we're talking bathrooms. Full-strength distilled white vinegar is the answer here. I always have some handy in a spray bottle. Spritzing and then wiping the doorknobs will kill any germs that remain from hands that were washed in haste, or perhaps not washed at all. Eww. While you have the spray bottle in your hand, spritz the toilet seat (both sides) and all around the exterior of the toilet bowl. That will send the germs a-running.

In the meantime, fill the bowl with 1 to 2 cups of undiluted DWV. Close the lid and let soak for several hours. There will be very little scrubbing needed when it's time to lift the lid again. Vinegar's just amazing like that! For extra deodorizing power, add 3 cups of vinegar to the bowl and flush after an hour or so.

If you use sponges, loofahs or those germ-catching little poofs, fill a bucket with a 3-1 solution of distilled white vinegar and water and toss them in for an overnight soak. You might want to throw in your bath pillow and tub stopper while you're at it. In the morning, rinse the items well several times with cold water and hang them (preferably on the clothesline in the sun) to dry.

Shower door tracks can be cleaned by pouring undiluted DWV in them and letting them soak for several hours. Rinse them out with hot water and then brush away any remaining scum with an old toothbrush. If you don't have any old toothbrushes handy, you can always stock up on some cheap ones at the dollar store. But I only recommend using the cheap ones for cleaning!

And here's a quick trick to get rid of the hard water deposits on your shower doors. Simply spray them with the undiluted vinegar you've been using for disinfecting and hop in the shower. Let the steam and vinegar go to work on it, so you don't have to! For streak-free glass, squeegee them after you're done showering.

If your showerhead has seen better days, grab an old plastic bread bag, pour a cup of vinegar in, added to 1/2 cup of baking soda. Secure the bag over the showerhead and let it do its magic for an hour or so. After the bubbling has stopped, take off the bag and turn on the water. Voila! A shiny, efficient showerhead.

The tub and sink can be cleaned with straight vinegar sprayed on the surface and baking soda used as a scrub (just like you used to use Comet in your days of ignorance!). You can also fill the tub and sink with water and dump a decent amount of vinegar in them. Let them soak for awhile before draining and wiping.

Your grout will clean up nicely by saturating it with undiluted DWV and then putting the toothbrush to use once again after about an hour or so.

To rid your faucets of calcium and lime deposits, you can either use the plastic bag trick you used on the showerhead, followed by a good toothbrush scrubbing, or simply wrap the faucet tightly with a vinegar-soaked rag and letting it alone for the night.
Soap scum will come off easily by using the good ol' toothbrush dipped in some salt and sprayed with vinegar.

The mirrors and chrome will shine when you use a 50/50 mix of water and distilled white vinegar. For a streak-free shine, apply the liquid directly to a cloth and then wipe rather than spraying it directly on the surface.

Get rid of stale odors in your bathroom by spritzing the air with a mixture of baking soda (1 teaspoon), distilled white vinegar (1 tablespoon) and a cup of water.

When you are ready to get down on your hands and knees, like Jessica was for a good deal of time today, simply fill a bucket with a gallon of warm water with a cup of vinegar added to it and start scrubbing. Baking soda can be sprinkled on the floor for tough stains. Best part, other than the fact that you're not down there breathing in toxic fumes, is that there is no rinsing needed!

Ahh...the wonders of vinegar! And the wonders of a daughter who is not only a mother extraordinaire, but also industrious enough to start her own green cleaning business, scheduling her cleanings around her husband's schedule as much as possible. And on the days when he's working? Well, that's where the Green Grandma comes in, of course! Like yesterday, when I got to enjoy the company of the lovely little Lady Laura while her mommy made my house sparkle. What a good deal! And when I'm not available, there's always Laura's Aunt B. So in the end, everyone wins. And to think this whole business started out because of Vinegar Fridays! Now that's a testimonial!

Keeping it green with vinegar,


P.S. If you are in the Pittsburgh area and would like more information about the Green Cleaning Team, email me and Jess will get in touch with you.


  1. I must look for some distilled white vinegar next shopping trip rather than buying more bathroom cleaner now after reading up on this! =D As much as a bathroom needs cleanin' what better way to do than without the toxins! Thanks for the tips Hana! TGIVF ;) <3

  2. You're most welcome, Mama T. And thank you for the encouragement!

  3. I had never knew that vinegar could have been used in such ways. For me (before reading this article)
    it was simply condiment you add to your salad. At least, now I know it has also a large number of different purposes as cleaning detergent. And by the looks of it the effects of this type of cleaning are the same as if you were using cleaning detergent.

  4. You might want to check out posts from previous Vinegar'll be amazed at all the uses for vinegar!


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