When my first daughter was born, I was anal about keeping everything clean and non-toxic because like many babies, she crawled around and then sucked her thumb seconds after. I only used many cleaners, detergents, soaps, disinfectants, etc for everything in our household. Not to mention that I cleaned every other day, top to bottom. You could eat off the floor in the bathroom! Oh yes, my baby did while I was in the shower!
Chemicals in Cleaners
Then I heard about how bad cleaners were for the environment and our health. Chemical cleaners contain ethylene-based glycol which is a water soluble solvent and hazardous air pollutant, terpenes that can morph into carcinogenic compounds, chlorine otherwise known as “sodium hypochlorite” or “hypochlorite,” all of which emit fumes that can irritate the lungs and is a health risk to those with pre-existing heart or respiratory problems. Other chemicals found in many household cleaners include crystalline silica, a carcinogen that irritates the eyes and lungs, butyl cellosolve which causes kidney and liver problems, and is toxic to forming cells, and the list just goes on.
The average American household contains between 3- 25 gallons of toxic materials, mostly petrochemical household cleaners designed to clean up dirt. Manufacturers of these products have no responsibility to list their ingredients or test for safety.
So what were these chemicals doing to my kid?! I have to admit, I was a completely ignorant person (not just mom) when it came to things like this – not that I’m an expert now by any means but at least I’m learning about alternatives and to ask questions. Like, what do I use now?! Is it non-toxic and safe for my kid? And then, I found the wonders of vinegar for eco friendly non-toxic cleaning.
Vinegar as a Biodegradeable Non-Toxic Cleaner and Disinfectant
Vinegar is all natural and have been around for thousands of years. It’s made from the fermentation of ethanol and the key ingredient of vinegar is acetic acid which gives it the acidic taste and also it’s fantastic cleaning properties. This makes vinegar completely environmentally friendly and truly biodegradable. It’s used in cooking and food preparation as well as medicinal and of course, our focus is on household cleaning for this article.
Vinegar that you can buy in a store (no need to get the industrial kind) kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs/viruses. Vinegar is not only a disinfectant but also a powerfully antibacterial.
Mix vinegar with water (vinegar/water ratio) in different portions and you get a multitude of cleaners for all your household needs.
Here are the wonders of vinegar for eco-friendly non-toxic Spring cleaning.
1. Window Cleaner – 1/5 mix will give you a streak free window cleaner that’s completely non-toxic so if you kids are helping with the windows, there’s no need to panic when you see them licking the glass!
2. Floor Cleaner – 1/10 solution will be great for your tiles and hardwood floors. Recall eating off the floors!
3. All Purpose Surface and Counter Cleaner – 1/4 mixture in a spray bottle to use on surfaces of all types including tables, counters, toilets, sinks, tubs, etc. Spray and wipe with a cloth. Use undiluted vinegar to remove grime, scum and mildew from tubs, tiles, showers, etc.
4. Stickers Remover – rub straight vinegar onto the stickers, labels, decals or price tags (a few coats works best) and then wash off with a wet cloth. If you have kids, you have stickers everywhere. This is a lifesaver! It also works on sticky scissors used to cut those stickers!
5. Diaper Deordorizer – adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to your last rinse cycle will help get rid of the urine/poo smell out of cloth diapers.
6. Remove film from Baby Bottles and Glasses – fill have with vinegar and half with hot water and let sit for 1 hour, then scrub with a brush and rinse well.
7. Disinfects Baby and Board Books – soak a cloth with vinegar and wipe the books whether plastic, cloth or board and then again with a dry clean cloth.
8. Remove Lime Buildups – 1/2 mix for removing lime deposits in your kettle and leave overnight or for drastic situations, boil just vinegar in the kettle for a few minutes, cool and rinse. Straight can be used for mineral deposits in coffee makers – just run the vinegar through a whole cycle and then run water 1-2 times to rinse clean. Soak undiluted vinegar on a towel and wipe kitchen and bathroom faucets with mineral buildups.
9. Drain Deordorizer – poor 1 cup of undiluted vinegar in a continuous stream down the drain, wait 30 minutes and rinse with cold water to get rid of smelly drains.
10. Removing Bad Grease – use straight vinegar on a cloth to wipe build up grease on kitchen walls, stove tops and hoods.
11. Pet Stain and Smell Remover – 1/10 mix can be used to remove pet urine stains and smells from carpets. Dampen cloth with mixture and use to blot the area several times.
12. Ant Deterrent – 1/2 mixture in a spray bottle can be used to spray areas to prevent ants and other insects from coming into the house.
13. Removes Wallpaper – 1/2 mixture but be sure to use hot water with the vinegar. Spray onto the wallpaper until saturate or apply using a paint roller to wet the surface.
14. Remove Rust – soak items in undiluted vinegar to remove rust from any metal objects.
15. Leather Bag and Shoe Polish – dampen a cloth with vinegar and rub over leather. Then wipe dry with another clean cloth.
Share with us what you are using vinegar for during your eco-friendly non-toxic Spring cleaning. We would love to hear from you.