Vinegar 101: From saving money to saving the environment – homemade cleaning hacks making a comeback

It’s a fact, people like to be clean, and they like to keep things clean; well most of us do.

Looking back at what people used to clean with, there’s one stand-out product that has withstood the test of time: vinegar.

From ancient Rome, to early China and the Middle East, vinegar has been valued for its medicinal and cleaning qualities. For over 5000 years it’s been used to disinfect wounds, polish armor and even as tonic to ward off disease.

In the past, homemade cleaning products were often used for thrift purposes, but with people becoming more environmentally focused and concern growing over the nasties in modern cleaners, making your own cleaning products is fast becoming the way to go.

And, as you can see below, it’s so easy!

All-purpose cleaner

Polish up that mirror to better practice that selfie pout. For an all-purpose cleaner mix 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup of baking soda into 2 liters of water. Try it out on bathroom mirrors, chrome fixtures, bench tops and even those pesky streaks on shower panels. Add ten drops of lemon, lavender or tea tree oil to kick it up a notch in the disinfectant department.

 Oven cleaner

Landlord coming for a last minute inspection and your oven needs a serious clean? Don’t panic. To get started moisten all oven surfaces with a sponge and water. Use 1/2 cup of baking soda and a few table spoons of water to make a thick paste. Spread throughout oven interior (avoid bare metal and any openings). Let it sit overnight. The next day, remove it with a spatula, use fine steel wool for problem areas and wipe clean. Put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spray everywhere you still see baking soda residue. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and gently foam. Take your damp cloth and wipe out the remaining foaming vinegar-baking- soda mixture and voila!

Toilet Cleaner

You don’t need bleach to get a sparkling and fresh smelling toilet. Just mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of vinegar and add 2 drops of lemon essential oil. Pour into the toilet bowl, let sit for a few minutes, scrub with a brush, then rinse and enjoy a chemical free throne. 

Window cleaner

Spring clean your windows to lift the winter vibe. Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 litre of warm water. Use newspaper (black and white only) or a cotton cloth to clean. Hot tip: don’t clean windows when they’re warm and in the sun, as streaks will show when drying, but that shouldn’t be a problem with winter upon us!

So now that you’re inspired to go natural, save money and the environment, you’ll find there are generally two types of vinegar available: cleaning vinegar and regular white vinegar.
What’s the difference? Normal vinegar has 5% acidity and cleaning vinegar has 6% acidity, making the cleaning vinegar 20% stronger than regular vinegar. The extra strength comes in handy when you need to remove some really tough stains. And even though it is stronger, it is still safe.


No doubt you know many more homemade cleaning tricks and great uses for vinegar, please email us, we’d love to hear about them.



Main image: Jennifer Burk

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