Category Archives: Cleaning Products

The Wonderful World of Vinegar

By now you probably know that vinegar is pretty useful for cleaning around the house. The smell isn’t always the best, or so my husband says, but it fades away quickly as the vinegar dries, so I really don’t consider it to be a problem.

Here are some of the many ways you can use vinegar around the house. Please feel free to share any further ideas you have.

1. Clean the microwave

Water can do this pretty well too, but it lacks the deodorizing capabilities of vinegar. Just heat a cloth that you have dampened with vinegar for 15 seconds or so. Once it’s cool enough to touch again, wipe the inside of the microwave clean with the cloth. The moisture should have helped to loosen some of the splatters.

2. Clean and unplug a showerhead.

Especially if you have hard water, your showerhead may get somewhat gunked up at times. Vinegar can do a slow but good job of cleaning it up.

Fill a plastic bag with vinegar. Put it over the showerhead and attach with a twist tie. Allow to soak for at least 15 minutes.

The vinegar may still be used after for other cleaning projects. Might be a good time to finish off cleaning the bathroom while you have it there!

3. Kill weeds

This can be a bit slow, as it kills the leaves but doesn’t touch roots. Spray it on the leaves and repeat as necessary. Eventually the plant will stop regrowing if it can’t get energy from its leaves.

4. Make soil more acid

On a gentler note, vinegar is good for adding a bit of acid to garden soil for plants that love acid soil.

5. Clean up pet urine

After cleaning up the mess by soaking up the liquid and then cleaning with water, pour vinegar on the area, blot out the excess and allow to dry.

6. Hair rinse

Rinse your hair with vinegar after shampooing. It removes the last of the shampoo nicely. Some say it helps with dandruff also.

7. In the laundry

Vinegar also helps to get the soap out from the laundry. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.

8. Afraid colors might run?

Soak brightly colored clothing in a mix of vinegar and warm water before washing. You’ll soon see if dye bleeding might have been a problem. I don’t know if this works with all dye types, but it’s been amazing what comes out of some red clothes.

9. Tenderize meat

There’s a reason why vinegar is so often used in marinades. The acid in it help to make the meat more tender.

10. Clear a drain

This one takes baking soda too, but it’s wonderful! Pour a half cup of baking soda down the drain, follow with a half cup of vinegar. Allow to work for 5-10 minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain. Repeat if necessary, but I’ve never had it be needed.

11. Deodorize the air

Spray vinegar in the air to control odors, or set a small pot of vinegar and water to boil. The vinegar smell will fade away.

12. Clean windows

Use vinegar as you would any other glass cleaner. Wiping with newspaper is highly effective too.

13. Use in the carpet cleaner

Vinegar can be used mixed with water at about 1 cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. Not terribly strong, but nice for a general cleaning.

14. Remove water rings from wood furniture

A mix of olive oil and vinegar can be rubbed on wood furniture to get rid of the white rings caused by leaving a wet glass on the wood.

15. Clean the garbage disposal

Make a few vinegar ice cubes. Put down the garbage disposal and run it while running cold water down the disposal as well.

16. Clean the dishwasher

Pour a cup of vinegar into the empty dishwasher, and run it.

17. Clean the coffeemaker

Your owner’s manual may even tell you about this. Pour a cup of vinegar into the reservoir and run the coffeemaker. Run it twice more with just water in the reservoir to rinse.

18. Soothe a sunburn

Apply vinegar to the sunburned areas with a cloth.

19. General cleaning

Use vinegar to clean hard surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen. It works well on tile and many other hard surfaces. You can dilute it with water for mopping as well.

20. Toilet bowl cleaner

That includes the toilet bowl. Pour 1 cup into the toilet and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before flushing. This won’t get the areas out of the water, of course.

Enjoying My Shark Steam Mop – A Review

I got a nice hand-me-down from my mother a couple months ago. She had a Shark steam mop and just didn’t quite like it well enough. She figured I might like to give it a try.

Let’s see… cleaning my floors with steam rather than chemicals or even plain vinegar. Reusing something she doesn’t want. Yes, I’ll try!

The Shark steam mop is really easy to use. You have to push down to get steam, but that happens quite naturally when pushing the mop. I haven’t found that to be a problem. That’s a good thing because I long since gave the chore of cleaning the kitchen floors mostly to my kids. It’s easy enough they can use it, with appropriate supervision, of course. It’s hot steam but so far they show no inclination to test the heat out on themselves or each other.

They love that it picks up the many sticky spills they make on the floor so easily. And believe me, they do leave some messes about, and they had to really scrub in the past with the old mop. It may take several passes with the steam mop, but that’s still easier than the scrubbing they had to do with the other one.

They use washable cloth pads, which is another great feature. They also let me know just how much yeeech was on the floor. They don’t generally come back perfectly white for me after a wash, but hey, they’re just for cleaning the floor.

The water container is kind of small, but so is our kitchen, so that works for us. Just about everything else in our house is carpeted so we don’t have a lot of tile or other hard floor surfaces to worry about.

Reading some of the steam mop reviews on Amazon, it’s clear that many steam mops get hotter than the Shark, and that can be important. If you have a lot of hard surface floors, you’re probably going to want one with a bigger tank. But for our situation the Shark is quite good.

Save Money on Environmentally Friendly Laundry Detergent – Money Saving Mondays

I made the switch recently to using Country Save HE Laundry Detergent rather than whichever brand I could get cheap at Target. In part that’s because you have to be picky with cloth diapers so that you can avoid buildup on them, but also because so many detergents really aren’t kind to the environment.

Then I found out how much of an advantage there is to buying laundry detergent online through

There’s a trick to it, you see. If you subscribe to the product you know you’re going to need regularly, you get a discount and free shipping. But if you decide to cancel the subscription, even after the first shipment, there’s no penalty. If you delay the shipment, no penalty. If you request it sooner, no penalty. You still get a great price and free shipping.

It amazed me just how much that came out to with my Country Save. They ship in it a box of 4 – 10 lb. boxes of detergent. It works in HE and regular washing machines and is very popular with people who are cloth diapering.

I’ve been using it a while now, to see how it works, rather than reviewing it after just one round. You don’t really know a detergent after the first load unless it’s an utter disaster, after all. But I started out pleased and remain pleased. So far as I can tell it is cleaning as well as any other detergent I’ve used.

And I love that it uses such a small amount. The scoop is so tiny! You’re supposed to only use a quarter scoop for cloth diapers, otherwise follow the instructions for your machine.

There are a lot of products you can subscribe to through Amazon, so it can be worth a look to figure out if having it shipped directly to your home will save you money and errands.

Easy Floor Cleaner

Cleaning floors is not one of my favorite things. Somehow my kids always manage to make it just a little pointless, generally by getting particularly dirty in the back yard later that day or the next, and tracking in tons of dirt, chalk and/or mud. They’re talented that way. And I love it.

They’re some of the big reason why I love making my own floor cleaner rather than buying it. No nasty chemicals, cheap, and I can even make my kids use it if they mess things up too quickly.

Here’s my basic formula for tile. Just as easy as mixing something bought at the store.

Basic Vinegar Floor Cleaner

Add about a half cup of white vinegar per gallon of water. My husband hates the smell of vinegar, so I add a bit of lavender essential oil to cut the vinegar scent until it dries. Mop as usual.

This mix is generally safe for tile and wood floors; just make sure that you don’t get the wood excessively wet. Your mop should be just damp. Some people like to add some vegetable oil to give wood floors a bit more of a shine.

Teaching the Kids to Clean the Bathroom with Vinegar

Cleaning the bathroom with vinegar

Like most kids their age, my kids can make a rather horrendous mess in the bathroom. The biggest part of it lately has been due to their rediscovery of the process by which dirt becomes mud.

Lots and lots of mud. To dig in or even smear on their skin.

I’ve had to haul the hose out a few times to get them clean enough to even be allowed in the house. Yep, it’s pretty cute and the times I’ve taken the camera out for it has made for some great pictures.

But it sure leaves a mess in the bathroom when they’re washing up from being just slightly dirty.

This lead to a quick decision by my husband and I. They get to clean their own bathroom from now on.

It’s a nice help. They both make quite a mess in there, and my son creates the additional messes that little boys are prone to creating. They’re old enough to do it. And vinegar is so safe I don’t have to worry about their health as they clean.

It’s a pretty easy skill to teach if you don’t expect perfection. I presented my kids with paper towels and a spray bottle of vinegar. I plan on moving to microfiber towels one of these days, but haven’t quite made it yet.

Then I showed them what I wanted done, helping them figure out how to do it and how to notice where dirt was still clinging to surfaces. That was actually one of the bigger challenges. My kids aren’t much worried about dirt these days.

Results were pretty good. Sure, it took longer to supervise and help them than to do it myself, but it’s a way to help them learn to be responsible. And it’s nice to have them cleaning with something that they won’t be hurting themselves with.