Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Two products that clean everything

I hate using toxic chemicals to clean anything. And I was all for switching over to less toxic things, but I can't afford anything fancy, and I needed something that actually worked. And everyone knows the toxic stuff works better, right?

Turns out that's not so. It's just that white vinegar doesn't advertise.

My first revelation came in our old apartment. I had been trying to give the baby liquid tylenol, but he adamantly didn't want it, so I put the dropper back into the bottle, but didn't screw it in. John came along later, tried to pick up the bottle by the dropper, and the tylenol went all over the carpet. Sticky purple mess. I used carpet cleaner to get it out, which sorta kinda worked, until we started walking in the hallway again. That sticky gunk attracted every particle of dirt in the place and became a nasty black splash mark. I used carpet cleaner on it many more times, worrying about the baby touching the chemical-laden carpet (he was still only crawling), but it didn't work at all.

Just for kicks, I decided to try plain white vinegar. At 75 cents for a big jug, I had nothing to lose. And it came out! It did take a bit of scrubbing, but nothing like the effort I'd thrown behind the carpet cleaner. I was shocked. I had assumed you would only use vinegar for the environmental benefits, but it didn't work as well. Turns out that's not true.

I now use vinegar for practically everything. It cleans all the surfaces in my bathroom, my kitchen counter (used full strength, it is a disinfectant), and my floor. The vinegar smell disappears as soon as it dries, and there are no streaks. I also use it to presoak the cloth diapers ... and it goes great on salad.

But last week, it wasn't doing a very good job on the tub. There was a big scummy ring that was sorta kinda coming off, but it was taking a lot of work. I knew it would take me forever to get it off. So I went for the baking soda to see if it would work. I just shook the stuff, dry, onto the slightly damp tub and scrubbed it with my fingers. Can you believe, it took that ring right off with barely any work? I rinsed it off (baking soda does leave a residue otherwise) and the tub was sparkling! As a bonus, my fingers were nice and soft too. Try and get bleach to do that.

I know I'm late to the game, and everyone else already knew about baking soda and vinegar, but allow me to share my flabbergastation. (Flabbergasm? Flabbergastitude?) That stuff is amazing, it actually works, and it won't poison you. The only possible weakness it has is a lack of advertising ... which I am trying to remedy right now.

Baking soda and vinegar -- better, cheaper, and safer than the competition!


Enbrethiliel said...


Just when I was thinking that I might never find a good all-purpose cleaner for the grease that builds up on the kitchen cabinet doors behind the stove . . . I hear that it might have been in my kitchen all this time! =D

Thanks for the tip, Sheila. I'll definitely give our white vinegar a try. Do you use it diluted or as is?

CatholicMommy said...

I'd go with flabbergastitude. Have you found anything good for mildew? That's the only thing for which I still find myself needing bleach.

Meredith said...

I like to sprinkle baking soda in the tub and then pour vinegar on a sponge and scrub. It foams like a volcano and seems to work twice as well.

some guy on the street said...

mmm... volcano and salad ... there must be a poem in that, if whimsical.

Heather said...

Ooh, yay!

Sheila said...

Enbrethiel -- I dilute it for things that just need a little wipe down, but for truly dirty things, I use it straight. If vinegar doesn't cut your grease, use dish soap or castile soap. They are great with grease. Or use 1 part water, 1 part vinegar, and a few drops digh soap.

CatholicMommy -- vinegar kills my mildew just great. Use it full-strength. I do have to use a bit of elbow grease to get the black off, but I hear vinegar kills the mildew itself on contact.

Paul Stilwell said...

I know I'm a guy and everything, but uhm, try baking soda on the face. Just add a little hot water to a bunch and make a paste and get your face wet then rub the paste in and wash it off. Works wonders of velvety smoothness.

Sheila said...

It's also a great shampoo! Vinegar is a good rinse/conditioner.

Enbrethiliel said...


Stilwell, I'd try that tonight except that I ran out of baking soda while cleaning the kitchen. =P True story, too!

Sheila, I tried vinegar and baking soda tonight and love the results! =)

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