Vinegar is a fantastic cleaner because it kills most mold, bacteria, and other germs due to its high acidity. Using vinegar also allows me to avoid using unnecessarily harsh chemicals. Unfortunately, distilled white vinegar smells awful.
To improve the smell, put distilled white vinegar in a covered quart-sized canning jar, leaving about 2 inches of space at the top. Add lemon, orange, and lime peels to the jar and stir or shake every 2-3 days. Your vinegar will begin to smell like citrus. How much time this takes depends on how many and how often peels are added to the jar.
Once the scent of the vinegar is sufficiently citrusy, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and start a fresh batch.
For minor kitchen cleaning, I simply spray down the counter and wipe it down with a damp clean, damp cloth. However, distilled white vinegar can also be used in a 409-like solution, as a drain cleaner, for soap scum removal, for microwave cleaning, and for many other uses.
- For big kitchen messes and degreasing, add 2 Tbsp vinegar and 1 C hot water to a spray bottle; fill the bottle most of the way with cool water; add 1/8 C Dawn dish soap last (do not shake).
- To clean and deodorize drains, pour 1 C baking soda, and then 1 C vinegar down the drain; let sit for 5 minutes, then flush with 3 gallons of very hot water.
- T0 deodorize and clean the garbage disposal, freeze full-strength vinegar in an ice cube tray; run several cubes down the disposal while flushing with cold water.
- To clean the microwave, mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl; bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave; wipe clean.
- To clean the shelves and walls of the refrigerator, mix a half-and-half solution of water and white distilled vinegar, spray all surfaces and wipe with a sponge or damp cloth.
- To remove soap buildup and odors from the dishwasher, pour a cup of vinegar inside the empty machine and run it through a whole cycle.
- To remove odors from a lunch box, place a slice of bread that has been soaked in vinegar inside and leave overnight.
- To discourage ants, spray undiluted vinegar outside doorways and windowsills, around appliances, and wherever you find the pests coming in.
- To get rid of fruit flies, set out a small dish of undiluted vinegar.
- To clean the wheel of a can opener, use vinegar and an old toothbrush.