Simple ingredients from the pantry can be used to make cleaning products that are kinder to the environment for a fraction of the cost.
Diluted White Vinegar
Mildly acidic white vinegar dissolves dirt, soap scum and hard water deposits from smooth surfaces, yet it’s gentle enough to use in solution to clean hardwood flooring. White vinegar is a natural deodorizer, absorbing odors instead of covering them up. (And no, your bathroom won’t smell like a salad. Any acid aroma disappears when dry.) With no coloring agents, white vinegar won’t stain grout on tiled surfaces. Because it cuts detergent residue, white vinegar also makes a great fabric softener substitute for families with sensitive skin. In the kitchen, use vinegar-and-water spray to clean countertops, lightly soiled range surfaces and backsplash areas. In the bathroom, spray countertops, floors and exterior surfaces of the toilet. For really tough bathroom surfaces such as shower walls, pump up the cleaning power by heating the solution in the microwave until barely hot. Spray shower walls generously with the warmed solution, allow to stand for 10–15 minutes, then scrub and rinse.
Undiluted White Vinegar
Used straight from the jug, undiluted white vinegar makes quick work of tougher cleaning problems involving hard water deposits or soap scum. Use it to clean the inside of the toilet bowl. Before you begin, dump a bucket of water into the toilet to force water out of the bowl and allow access to the sides. Pour undiluted white vinegar around the bowl and scrub with a toilet brush to remove stains and odor. Use a pumice stone to remove any remaining hard water rings.
Clean showerheads that have been clogged with mineral deposits with undiluted white vinegar. Place 1/4 to 1/2 cup vinegar in a plastic food storage bag, and secure the bag over the showerhead with a rubber band. Let stand for 2 hours to overnight, then rinse, and buff the fixture.
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