vinegar, water, spray bottle

The Easiest, Cheapest Natural Cleaner You’ll Ever Make

vinegar, water, spray bottle

Have you ever cleaned with vinegar? It’s one of the cheapest yet safest ways to clean that I know of. Not only that, but it’s simple, too.

Vinegar has been used for many years as a cleaning product, and is still widely used today. It is obviously a versatile food product, is a primary ingredient used to preserve food by canning, and can even be used for several health purposes. This page shares many interesting and useful facts about the history and uses of vinegar, while this one nicely summarizes why vinegar’s “acetic quality” makes it an effective, yet safe choice for cleaning.

Today I want to share a super simple “recipe” for a vinegar cleaning solution to use around your home.

You will only need:

  • vinegar (preferably white)
  • water (from the tap is fine), and
  • a spray bottle for storing and application.

vinegar, water spray bottle (up close)

I first heard this simple yet useful tip from my sister. When she came with her family to visit quite a few years ago, she told me how simple and effective (not to mention cheap!), it was to make your own mixture of water and vinegar for cleaning. Then they promptly bought me an empty spray bottle from the dollar store, mixed some up and away we went! I’ve been using it ever since!

Simply fill your spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. That’s all there is to it!

To use it, just spritz and wipe!

vinegar water cleaner and paper towels

I love it because it’s so safe to use, especially on my kitchen counters. There is no concern about dangerous residue to contaminate our food areas.

There is one small issue that some find annoying, although it doesn’t bother me. Not surprisingly, it smells … like vinegar! My husband used to say that it made him want to eat salt & vinegar chips, although I don’t recall him saying that lately (either because he’s gotten used to it, or because there’s no use commenting, as we usually don’t have salt & vinegar flavored chips in the house). So there’s that.

But to me it smells clean, and the scent goes away quickly as it dries.

I use this solution on my kitchen counters most of all, spray it to spot clean the inside of my refrigerator, and squirt a little on small spills on the floor.

One quality I find very useful is that this vinegar spray cuts the strong odor left from cutting onions. After dicing or chopping onions, I spray a little on my hands (then rinse), sometimes on the cutting board (before I put it in the dishwasher, or let it sit a few minutes before hand-washing), and on the kitchen counter where any stray onions have left their odor.

Last, but not least, I use this vinegar-water mixture on fruits and veggies in place of expensive, store-bought fruit and vegetable wash, in order to clean them and to help safely remove pesticides and chemical residues.

This simple cleaning solution can be used in other areas throughout your home, but here’s a brief word of caution to consider when using vinegar to clean around the home.

 

In summary, these are the reasons I recommend making and using this vinegar-water solution:

  1. It’s really cheap! (A gallon or more of vinegar is well under five dollars; you can use a dollar store spray bottle if you wish.)
  2. It’s extremely easy. (Fill with equal parts vinegar and water and you’re done.)
  3. It is effective. (Vinegar cuts grease, kills many germs, and combats odors.)
  4. It is safe to use. (Vinegar is gentle on humans, pets and the environment.)

 

If you wish to learn more about how effective vinegar is for killing household germs, you can read this article, which suggests that it kills many germs, but will not effect certain viruses or bacteria. It also explains that we often “overuse chemicals”, and that very often that is not necessary. It states:

“Rather than concentrating on disinfecting or killing the bugs, we should focus on cleaning with hot soapy water and good old-fashioned elbow grease to physically scrub away organic material.”

This vinegar solution fits the bill.

If you’d like to try making a more pleasant-scented vinegar spray cleaner, here’s an interesting idea from The Yummy Life. I haven’t tried it yet, as it’s a bit of a process, but it seems like a nice alternative to the plain vinegar smell. Let me know how you like it, if you go that route!

So what have you got to lose (except a few cents worth of vinegar and an empty spray bottle)? Why not give vinegar cleaning a try?

For further interest, here are a some other articles that list these, plus many more uses for vinegar:

I hope this gives you a little useful information about cleaning with vinegar and how you can easily make a versatile household cleaning spray. I know that many of you already enjoy this wonderful cleaning tool!

Next time I’ll share how with one additional ingredient you can make another useful household product that I no longer have to purchase.

*****

So tell me, have you used vinegar to clean in your home? Do you find it convenient and effective? Does the smell of vinegar cause you to want to break out the salt & vinegar chips?

 

 

 

 

cereal bowl

Don’t Throw Away Those Cereal Box Liners!

cereal bowl

Do you eat as much cereal for breakfast at your house as we do around here?

I wonder.

In fact, if left “unchecked”, my three tall men (a husband and two young adult sons), would probably consume boxed cereal for breakfast about 90% of the time. It also seems to be our go-to Sunday evening meal. It’s fast, easy and a comfort food (to them, at least), so it seems like a “no-brainer”.

While I try to supplement their “cereal habit” with more home-made and other (more) healthy options, we still eat a good amount of cereal.

When the box is empty, what do you do?

 

This could be the waxed paper liners from your empty, small cardboard cereal box, or those from the larger (bulk or family-sized), cereal boxes left after you pour your cereal into a cereal-keeper container.

cereal and cereal container

We all know the importance of recycling in this day and age. Most of you will agree that it saves money and is easier on our environment. And when you can reuse something, it’s a win-win on both counts for you!

So I propose a little tip that I heard several years ago. I don’t quite remember where I first heard this idea, but I’ve been doing it ever since.

Save your cereal box liners!

 

When you empty a box of cereal, go ahead and recycle the box (I know you will!), but save the liner.

But why, you may ask?

pouring cereal into cereal container

Waxed paper liners are great to use in place of store-bought waxed paper! Just shake out the crumbs, fold and store, and you have for yourself a FREE, pre-cut piece of waxed paper!

cereal and waxed paper liner

If this seems gross to you, then go ahead and throw out the liner (we can’t recycle waxed paper here), and have a blast paying for crumb-less waxed paper. To each his own. No hard feelings. 🙂

I personally haven’t bought a roll of waxed paper since I can’t remember when.

Now when you need a piece of waxed paper, simply remove a bag from your storage container, unfold and carefully pull it apart at the seams, forming a good-sized rectangle of perfectly good waxed paper!

It even works wonderfully for covering dishes to heat in the microwave (probably our main use for it), if you just pull it open a little and kind of slide your plate or dish in to reheat; sort of like a little shaped cover.

reheating food in microwave with waxed paper (cereal liner)

You can use a cute or fancy container or bin in which to store your waxed paper, or be like me and just reuse whatever suits your fancy at the time. I have re-purposed empty containers such as tissue boxes, plastic snack jugs, and my current favorite, an empty, square biscotti jar. (Why does my computer constantly tell me that “biscotti” is not a word??? Silly dictionary!)

cereal liners in container

Mine lives right in one of my pull-out shelves in my kitchen pantry cupboard.

kitchen cupboard with waxed paper liners

I hope you find this little tip as helpful and money-saving as we have!

*****

Am I the only one who’s done this? Do you think it’s gross to use waxed paper that may have some tiny cereal crumbs on it? What are you going to buy with all the waxed paper money you’re going to save???

 

lettuce wrapped in paper towel

One Way to Make Your Lettuce Last

lettuce wrapped in paper towel

Stick a paper towel in it. Or two or three.

There.

End of story.

Do it.

Today’s post just may be the shortest, easiest blog post I’ll ever write!

Of course I’ll include some wonderfully exciting photos of myself (or my left hand at least; I had to use my right hand to snap the photo), inserting paper towel into a lettuce container. I’ll bet you can hardly wait!

opening greens

First, open your lettuce or greens.

 

inserting paper towel into lettuce container

Insert one or more clean paper towels.

 

paper towel in lettuce container

Close lid and you’re done.

Where on earth did I get such a weird idea? I don’t rightly know for sure. It may have been from my dear father-in-law (who has been gone for several years already). He would open one of those handy, already-washed salad bags and then close it up with a paper towel inserted. I think he was the first.

But try it, already. It just works! (Do I really need to do the research on this one?)

Haven’t you noticed how after you’ve opened a package (bag or plastic container), of pre-washed salad greens little droplets of water form on the inside of the container, then begin to moisten and eventually rot the nice little leaves???

I bet some of you don’t even purchase the ready-washed lettuce anymore because you’re so tired of throwing away spoiled lettuce!

It even seems to be the case when I wash my own head of lettuce and place the leaves into one of my plastic containers or lettuce-keepers, so I add paper towel there, too.

If it’s a larger container of lettuce, I usually gently wrap a clean paper towel around each side and place another on top.

salad with paper towel

One other important note if you are washing your own lettuce (rather than buying pre-washed), is you must get it as dry as possible! A salad spinner works wonderfully and I don’t know what I’d do without mine!

Sometimes if I’m cleaning very large greens (that would not fit in the lettuce spinner), I just lay them out on clean tea towels and let them air dry. I still put a paper towel into my storage baggie, and squeeze the air out before sealing it.

This is also a great storage tip for many other types of veggies, too. But that may need to be discussed further in another post. 🙂

My completely scientific answer to why the paper towel method works is this: the paper towel absorbs the little droplet-thingies and keeps them from overly-wetting the lettuce leaves, hence helping to prevent them from rotting and getting all gross and slimy. (Don’t quote me on this.)

So that’s it, folks! Grab a container of lettuce and some paper towels and have yourself blast this weekend! Now you can enjoy your salads more as you know your lettuce won’t spoil before you’re done eating it. And don’t forget, your greens will last longer for more delicious smoothies.

That same precious father-in-law I told you about also had a cute habit of writing on and leaving notes on paper plates. So maybe we should try that one, too.

*****

Am I the only one who has found that a paper towel or two totally makes the lettuce last longer??? If you have any other ideas for preserving salad greens or know of any scientific studies to back up my theory, please share!