My Best All-Purpose Cleaner
Cleaning the Normal Way
I professionally cleaned houses for 15 years. I started out cleaning with typical cleaners such as bleach, 409, and Comet. One day as I was cleaning a shower with Comet, I had a hard time breathing, my eyes were burning, and my heart was racing. I finally “woke up” to the fact that these cleaners were not good for me. I had been cleaning so long with these cleaners though, it was hard to give them up. A house didn’t feel clean unless it smelled clean. Sadly, my version of smelling clean involved a lot of harmful chemical smells. I knew my health was more important than a house smelling “clean” so I started researching other options. I knew it had to be possible to still get a house clean without using toxic chemicals.
My Best Friend: Vinegar
In enters vinegar to my life. Let me re-phrase that… in enters a lot of vinegar to my life. I’ve been buying it by the gallon for years now. If you see me at Target, chances are you’ll see me with 2-3 gallons of vinegar in my cart. I did try to make it several years ago, but it was unsuccessful. I’d still like to try making my own vinegar one day. I just haven’t had a chance to try it recently.
Vinegar cleans almost anything. Seriously. Google “uses for vinegar” and you’ll get hundreds of ideas of what you can do with it. Today, I’ll just chat about how I use it to make up my favorite all-purpose cleaner and what I use it for on a regular basis.
What I Do & Do Not Use Vinegar For
I probably go through an entire bottle of my cleaner each week, because I use it for so many things. It’s a great all-purpose cleaner. I use it for dusting furniture, cleaning countertops, cleaning toilets and showers, wiping windows and mirrors down, cleaning carpet stains, and even in my laundry occasionally.
What I don’t use it on is anything stone (marble, granite, etc.) and if I use it to dust wood furniture, I just lightly spray it on a rag and then wipe down the wood. I don’t usually spray directly on the wood. Vinegar is acidic so it can damage some surfaces. I also don’t use vinegar to clean my floors. I would never use it on the wood floor, but it can be used for vinyl, laminate, or tile (non-marble). The problem I run into is that vinegar streaks unless wiped dry. It’s not hard to wipe a mirror or window completely dry so it doesn’t streak, it’s another issue to wipe an entire floor dry. Usually, when I mop, I spray the cleaner and then run a rag mop over it. If I do this with vinegar, it leaves streak marks since the mop doesn’t completely dry up the vinegar spray.
If you are unsure if vinegar is safe for a certain purpose, google it… you should be able to find your answer pretty quickly.
I don’t think I can really call it a recipe, because it’s so simple. And I’m definitely not the first one to come up with it. What you need…
1 | Spray bottle: glass or plastic
2 | Vinegar
3 | Water
4 | Essential oils (optional)
Fill the spray bottle with 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar. One of my clients used to say that his house smelled like a salad after I left. Apparently, he ate a lot of salads with vinegar-based dressings! So a way to avoid having your house smell like vinegar dressing is to add essential oils. Lemon or orange works great. My favorite combination is 4 drops of each of these: orange, clove, cinnamon. It smells so good! I usually add a drop or two of dish soap if I’m putting essential oils in the bottle to help keep them mixed together with the vinegar solution.
Again, I go through an entire bottle each week at my house. We use it for so many things! Now, a clean house to me smells like vinegar (or my essential oils). I love that my kids are growing up in a house where cleaning day smells like vinegar rather than smelly chemicals. It’s safe and healthy. No worries if a small child accidentally gets ahold of vinegar and swallows some. I’m sure it wouldn’t taste good, but it won’t harm them! It’s so nice knowing that I’m cleaning the surfaces of my home with something that is completely safe and toxic-free.