Like many people, I don't particularly think of what's in my cleaning supplies. For me, it's a matter of convenience. If a spill happens, I'll grab whatever spray or powder is within reach, even if it wasn't designed to actually be used on stains.
Can you tell that I'm not usually the one who cleans our apartment?
But one day, after accidentally knocking over a bucket full of cleaners -- which is no mess that any one wants to clean up -- I decided that a little simplifying was in order. Most of the stuff could be replaced by a bottle of cheap vinegar. I could not only avoid spending my afternoon comparing identical sprays in the cleaning aisle at Target, I could get back cabinet space to use for more pressing needs. Like more stuff.
We've all read (or have been forwarded) an exhaustive list of other uses for everyday items, to the point where it seems to predate all other internet content. At times, you can find a few good ideas. Other times, you roll your eyes because no one in their right minds is going to use, say, a crib bumper as a window treatment. That's just weird.
However, there are plenty of other uses for vinegar that a reasonable person would want to try. Here they are:
- Remove greasy residue from your stove, counters or cabinets. Usually, your exhaust fan is to blame for the wide-reaching oil slicks. To clean the mess (and deodorize), wipe down surfaces with a mix of equal parts vinegar and water.
- Get rid of mildew. Full-strength vinegar will get rid of the nasty stuff without the sort of fumes that send one inelegantly running for the nearest breath of fresh air.
- Remove stickers and mysteriously sticky spots. Don't ask. Just dab at the situation in question with a cloth dipped in vinegar. Dilute it to a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar if you're dealing with a delicate (or vintage) item.
- Clean scissors. Water will just rust the blades. A better idea: wiping them clean with, you guessed it, a cloth dipped in vinegar. Seeing a pattern here?
- Cleaning out the refrigerator. This is one place where you don't want strong fumes coming near your food. Instead, wipe out the interior with... yes... a cloth dipped in vinegar. And yes, the odor will go away.
- Deodorizing litter boxes. After you clean it out completely, give it a swish with white vinegar. I won't go into the details. You wouldn't want that.
- Cleaning the dishwasher. If you have hard water, this is especially necessary. Just pour a cup into the bottom of the dishwasher, then run it (on empty) to get rid of any build-up.
- Unclog the shower head. Again, if you have hard water, you'll need to do this. If possible, screw off the shower head and place it in a basin filled with vinegar. If you can't, try this trick from Lifehacker, which involves the clever use of a plastic bag.
What did I miss?
Click through our slideshow to see other wonderful new uses.
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