Cleaning with vinegar
White vinegar is a great multi-tasking household cleaner. Photo: Google Commons

There is a liquid in your home just sitting there, so unassuming in its bottle, but secretly magical. Not wine (that magic isn’t a secret anyway), but white vinegar. If you’ve never tried cleaning with white vinegar, here are a few ways to start.

 

Microwave

Mix 1/4 cup vinegar and one cup of water and boil in the microwave. When things get steamy, open the door and wipe away the gunk. The heat and moisture will have loosened the grime so you don't have to chisel it away.

 

Window cleaner

Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water. You can mix in a bucket, apply with a sponge and squeegee off (be sure to wet the squeegee first) or mix in a spray bottle and wipe off using paper towels, microfiber clothes, or newspaper.

 

To avoid streaks, don’t do when the window is in direct sunlight. Still seeing streaks? You might have buildup from your previous cleaning products. Go with warmed up full strength vinegar.

 

Mopping the floors

If you have no-wax floors, this is an easy trick for rinse-free cleaning. Mix 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water. Use a mop or do it the old-fashioned way: with a rag or sponge.

Change the water when it gets dirty.

RELATED: 10 things in your home you probably forget to clean (and how to clean them)

Bathtub cleaner

This is a two-parter: First, wipe the tub with white distilled vinegar; second, follow up with baking soda, and rinse.

You can even clean shower doors with vinegar. Soak a sponge in white vinegar and wipe. You don’t even need to rinse!

Unclog the showerhead

Add a cup of vinegar to a plastic storage bag and soak the showerhead in the vinegar overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and turn on the shower.

Pet stain removal

Once your puppy piddles on the carpet, he’s going to smell that spot and think it’s his personal toilet. Getting out the odor is more important than getting out the stain, unless you’re cool with your living room being used as a lawn.

First step: blot, blot and blot. Using paper towels, blot up as much of the urine as you can. Walk on the paper towels to really soak it up.

Next, make sure your carpet is colorfast. If you don’t know, dab some vinegar on a spot that isn’t very visible. If the color stays, you’re good to move on to the next step.

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, wet the spot thoroughly and let it marinate for about 10 minutes.

Repeat step one.

If you feel fancy, sprinkle baking soda on the area when the carpet is dry and vacuum. This will zap any lingering smells from Spot's accident.

Clean your automatic coffee maker

Water can leave minerals and coffee can leave behind oils, both of which can mess with your morning enjoyment. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions, so if vinegar is on the list of things not to use with your machine, don’t do the following. For anyone else, this is an easy way to clear out the grime for the truest-tasting joe you've had in a while:

Empty the coffee pot and fill with vinegar. Pour it in the water reservoir and run a cycle. Dump the carafe again and fill with water. Run another brewing cycle. Err on the side of rinsing too much to ensure the vinegar taste will be gone before you brew your next pot.