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5 Things You Didn't Know You Could Clean Using Vinegar

New ways of using vinegar—a safe, nontoxic green cleaner—for house cleaning.

Take your green, nontoxic house cleaning to the next level with these new ways to use vinegar.
 
 
By Jeff Potter, Rodale's Organic Life
 
Our favorite household cleaner is in the kitchen pantry: Nontoxic and inexpensive, distilled white vinegar erases stains, soap scum, and mold.

[post_ads]What makes white vinegar good for cleaning? Vinegar is 5 percent acetic acid—a safe, weak acid—and its effectiveness hinges on the reaction between acids and bases. That’s the principle behind many cleansers’ relationship to dirt: The hydrogen ions in acids bond with alkaline substances, turning them into compounds that can be removed. Since most dirt is acidic, glass cleaners, detergents, and baking soda work because they’re alkaline.
But if you’re attacking a stain that is basic, vinegar goes to town on the alkalies, dissolving them with its hydrogen ions.

Remember, if you’re cleaning with vinegar, don’t mix it with basic alkaline cleaners like castile soap or baking soda: because one is basic and the other is acidic, when combined, they cancel each other out. If you want to use both, use the alkaline cleaner first, then follow with the acidic vinegar. (And there are some things vinegar doesn't do well—here are 5 vinegar myths worth busting.)

Here are 5 ways to use vinegar for cleaning tough spots around the house:
 
 
Hard water deposits

Water spots are caused by dried mineral accumulation. To remove them, fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, spritz ceramic tiles and other bathroom surfaces, and wipe them down. Poured into the dishwasher’s rinse aid, vinegar also removes mineral buildup from your dishwasher-clouded glasses and tableware.

Related: 7 Genius Cleaning Tips That Will Change Your Life
 
 
Soap buildup
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Soap is alkaline, so you can erase its residue with a vinegar-soaked rag or sponge. (And remember, vinegar isn't safe for every type of surface—here are 9 times never to use white vinegar for cleaning.)

Related: The Only 10 Things You Need To Buy To Make All Your Own Natural Cleaning Products 


Mold control

Spray a mixture of one part vinegar and three parts water in showers and tubs and on other bath surfaces after use to inhibit mold growth. (Try these 8 DIY cleaning recipes for every room in your house.)
 
 
Pet and diaper stains
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Acetic acid reacts chemically with the ammonia in urine. On carpet, use a sponge soaked in vinegar to blot the affected area, then vacuum. On linens, soak the stain in vinegar for 10 to 20 minutes before laundering.

Related: Exactly How Often You Should Wash Your Clothes—According To A Stink Scientist
 
 
Polish tarnished silverware
 
Scrub tarnished metals with a paste of three parts salt and one part vinegar (spot-test to check that it won’t mar the surface), then rinse them off. (For stainless steel appliances, you’ll want a gentler approach—check out these tips for how to clean your stainless steel appliances without toxic chemicals.)
 

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Lifestyle Magazine: 5 Things You Didn't Know You Could Clean Using Vinegar
5 Things You Didn't Know You Could Clean Using Vinegar
New ways of using vinegar—a safe, nontoxic green cleaner—for house cleaning.
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