When it comes to creating your own natural cleaning products, it’s important to understand the basic principles of the ingredients you’re using.
White vinegar (not White Wine Vinegar) is one of the most popular ingredients thanks to its wide-ranging benefits. It has had many uses for over 10,000 years; the Babylonians used vinegar for its very important food preserving properties, the Romans drank it and the Greeks used it to preserve meat and pickle vegetables.
White vinegar can dissolve limescale and grease and is a great alternative to stronger, harsher chemicals, however, as an acidic substance it isn’t always suitable for all surfaces. Here, we take you through the basic do’s and don’ts of cleaning with white vinegar to help you on your natural cleaning journey…
Expect immediate results
White vinegar is a fantastic alternative, however it doesn’t always work immediately - you still need patience and elbow grease. It’s also worth noting that there are some very ingrained problems (such as cloudy glasses and old stains) which might never be solved, even with harsh chemicals.
Use as a disinfectant
White vinegar has brilliant antibacterial properties and can kill some germs, however, it shouldn’t be used as a disinfectant against diseases like Covid-19. For general domestic use, a vinegar-based surface spray is perfectly adequate, but you may wish to use something stronger when disinfecting bathrooms and frequent touch points around the home.
Mix with a base
Avoid mixing your white vinegar with a base (e.g. bicarbonate of soda) as the two will react together, essentially forming a useless mixture of diluted salty water and carbon dioxide. You should also avoid mixing vinegar with hydrogen peroxide and bleach; these combinations will create highly toxic and corrosive solutions.
Use on granite, marble or stone surfaces
When using white vinegar on some natural surfaces such as granite, marble or stone, the vinegar can cause it to lose its shine, dull and etch over time, diminishing the beauty of the natural surface.
Use to absorb odour
White vinegar naturally absorbs odours by neutralising alkaline odours and truly removing the odour, rather than just covering it. Simply boil a solution of vinegar and water for five minutes in a pan to remove kitchen odours - you could even add some essential oils to bring a touch of fragrance to your home.
White vinegar is a highly effective and eco-friendly way to polish and clean glass, leaving it shiny and streak-free. Simply mix one part vinegar with one part water before spraying onto glass and wiping with a lint-free cloth (if you’re cleaning a mirror, be careful not to let the vinegar come into contact with the metal frame).
Use as a descaler
Limescale can be easily dissolved using a mild acid solution, such as diluted white vinegar. For example, when descaling a kettle, simply fill the kettle with equal parts vinegar and water and leave for an hour before boiling and then letting stand for another 20 minutes. Pour the solution away before rinsing thoroughly. White vinegar is also brilliant for removing limescale from taps, kitchen surfaces and other appliances including coffee machines.
Use to remove stains
Whether it’s a red wine stain on carpet or residual yellow stains from perspiration or mildew, white vinegar is a cheap and effective stain remover that’s gentle on fabrics and safer to use than chlorine bleach. Adding one cup of distilled white vinegar to the final rinse will leave clothes feeling soft and smelling fresh.
Scent with natural ingredients
If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, add a few drops of pure essential oil or citrus peel (orange, lemon or grapefruit) to the bottle and leave for a week before using.