Vinegar is one of your home’s most useful cleaning products. If you check your cabinets, you probably have some in your pantry right now. But why is vinegar useful as a cleaning agent? You might have tossed some in a homemade salad dressing, or used it in a marinade, but the idea of using it to clean the stovetop might leave you scratching your head.
So why use vinegar for cleaning? We’ll answer this question in the article to come and provide some handy tips about how to get the most out of vinegar as a natural home cleaning solution.
Why Vinegar for Cleaning is Best
Vinegar is good for cleaning because it is a mild acid. White vinegar is about 2.5 on the pH scale, making it more acidic than orange juice, but less acidic than the contents of your stomach.
As you might imagine, this puts vinegar in a “sweet spot,” where it’s corrosive enough to disrupt messes, stains, and baked-on foods, but not so acidic as to burn your skin or eyes. As a big bonus, it also does not contain bleach or other potentially harmful chemicals that you don’t want inside the home.
But before you go and buy just any vinegar, you need to know that different kinds of vinegar have different pH values.
White vinegar is the most acidic and one of the best. White vinegar has no extra culinary characteristics (like apple cider vinegar) and no additives (like many cultured Italian vinegar products).
If you were to taste white vinegar, it would have a simple, tangy taste. In fact, the taste is almost a sensation more than a flavor. But what it lacks in flavor it makes up for in a low price. Food-safe white vinegar is available at almost every grocery store and can often be found in bulk quantities; the type you find in home improvement stores is no recommended for food and may be even less expensive.
How to Use Vinegar to Clean
Vinegar is perfect for removing greasy messes and things of that nature. Stains are another application for vinegar. In both cases, vinegar erodes the very structure of the mess, breaking its proteins down in the process and making it much easier to wipe away.
However, straight vinegar is probably a little too strong for most messes, and can be an irritant if you handle it directly. Some stores sell white vinegar that is undiluted in glass jars. You may also find it pre-diluted in plastic containers.
No matter the case, always use gloves and test a small area of the surface before going to work. You don’t want to damage your floors or furniture.
If the vinegar is not diluted, mix half a cup of white vinegar into one gallon of water into a glass spray bottle. Use for simple surface cleaning (floors, countertops). Use up to a ½ mix of vinegar and water for difficult messes and stains around the kitchen and the bathroom.
Add More Cleaning Power
Add lemon juice or citrus oils to the vinegar and water solution for additional power and a pleasant aroma. If you are dealing with troublesome stains, apply baking soda to the area and spray with the vinegar mix, then let sit overnight before scrubbing – ensure that the surface can handle this!
Your favorite essential oils can be added to the mix for additional antibacterial, antimicrobial, or other effects. Feel free to play around with the blend and ratio of these various natural ingredients.
These are the essential oils brands that NHC trusts because they meet our practitioner standards for quality, purity, and potency:
While citrus-based oils are the most acidic and will work better, you can add a few drops of any oil to create a pleasant aroma.
Essential oils are created for cleaning because working with simple, natural ingredients means avoiding bleach, synthetic additives, and potentially harmful chemicals sometimes that you don’t want in the home or going down your drains where they can affect the environment.
With these products in your pantry, there will be nary a mess that you won’t be able to wipe away. We hope that this article has unlocked the power of vinegar for you and your family.