One day, shortly after moving to Arizona, I was scrubbing my shower with some heavy duty chemicals. A few minutes later, I was on my hands and knees in the hallway dizzy, gagging, eyes on fire. It made me think, “Whatever it is in those cleaning chemicals that kills germs, is also seeking to kill me!” Bleach is as much a toxin as it is a cleaner. It is linked to respiratory infections, headaches, nervous system damage, vomiting, and some may even be linked to some forms on CANCER. Ugh, thanks, but I’ll take my chances with the critters on my counter.
I have replaced bleach containing products with this super fancy, super expensive, super eco/human friendly product called….vinegar. Wait a minute, vinegar isn’t fancy or expensive! White distilled vinegar is an excellent household cleaner and it won’t make you sick or broke! Another amazing benefit is that it won’t harm your child if they accidentally ingest it or inhale too much of it (can you think of a better reason to get rid of bleach?) I always have a squirt bottle of vinegar water on hand. I’ve been compared to the crazy dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding who thinks Windex can fix anything (the vinegar version of him). Here are a few different ways to use it:
- Surface cleaner and air freshener: Combine equal parts white distilled vinegar and water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (I love using lavender). Spray in on any surface you would normally use chemicals on—kitchen counter, fridge, sinks, bathroom surfaces, door knobs, kids toys… really, anything. I also like to just give a good spray though out our apartment to freshen things up—sans nasty chemicals. For extra zest and more anti-bacterial power, add lemon juice.
- Mildew Remover: I recently discovered that vinegar would take the mildew out of clothing. Josh’s tri-suit got a little moldy after being crammed in a bag while it was still wet. No worries! I just soaked part of a clothe in vinegar and rubbed it on his suit—out came the mildew.
- Clogged Drains: I hate clogged drains. I have a pretty tough stomach but gross drains make me gag. To fix this, without calling in the heavy duty and toxic Drain-O like products, I sprinkle a fair amount of baking soda in the drain and then dowse it with vinegar. Problem solved.
- Laundry: If I have a particularly smelly load of laundry, I pour in ½ cup or so of vinegar. Does the trick every time.
- Coffee/Tea Stains and other items that get messy after a while: My mugs/tea cups are always looking like they need a scrub. I don’t mind if it’s just me but it’s a little embarrassing when I have company over and the cups look dirty. When I want to impress my guests with clean cups, I pour some vinegar in and let it soak for a while before scrubbing. I also soak my retainers in it every once in a while to get rid of the mouth grime (Ew. Sorry for that).
These are just a few ways vinegar can change your life for the better! Skip the expensive and toxic cleaning chemicals and invest in a Costco size bottle of white distilled vinegar. You won’t be disappointed.