Week 1: Getting to Know Your New Friends - Vinegar & Baking Soda!
Step 1: Buy a jumbo grande box of baking soda and jug of white vinegar (why white--aka distilled? It is cheaper by the jug than apple cider, but you can use that instead if you prefer).
Step 2: Purchase spray bottles: 1 for each bathroom, 1 for the kitchen, plus 5 extra. Size does not matter. If you like big get big. If you like dainty get small. Plain, colored, pretty, embellished...whatever!
If you do not have covered storage containers handy, buy some small cheap ones. same number as the spray bottles. You can even purchase pretty glass or porcelain ones if you want.
If you are fond of Chinese take-out or the deli the large and small plastic containers soup, potato salad, and chow mein come in are perfect. Even old/used jars with screw top lids as long as the don't still have a odor from the original contents.. You can easily paint the lids to hide product names. Keep those coffee and powder scoops. They are perfect for the baking soda. If you don't have any improvise with what you have. spoons, measuring spoons, medicine cups, the top off of mouthwash...etc.
Step 3: With a marker, sticker, or label maker mark your kitchen and bath spray bottles: 50% Vinegar. Mark two extra as 100% vinegar. Put the other extra spray bottles aside. You will use those at a later time. If you want to, you can label your containers baking soda (one for each bathroom, 1 for the kitchen)
Step 4: Fill your kitchen and bath spray bottles 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar. And of course, fill the 100% with all vinegar. Fill your covered containers with baking soda.
Step 5: Put your new friends in their new homes. 1 of each of the 50% vinegar and baking soda into bathroom and kitchen. The kitchen also gets the 100% vinegar bottle and the other 100% bottle should go into your most used bathroom (or your only bathroom). Why so many containers? You'll clean more if you don't have to trapise all over the house to get your spray bottles and containers. Keep a set in each bathroom and a set in the kitchen, that way they are always handy.
The VAST MAJORITY of your household cleaning, dishwasher duties, and laundry care can be done using just these two powerhouses. Before you use a stronger recipe, apply more elbow grease first! As a general rule, if you want to disinfect use the 100% vinegar, for general cleaning the 50% is more than sufficient.
Use the Vinegar and Water 50% to:
- Wash mirrors, windows, glass, and fixtures.
- Spray down the shower tile and door/curtain
- Clean kitchen counters, stove, table, and refrigerator
- Quick clean the kitchen and bathroom sinks
Use the Straight Vinegar to:
- Clean the microwave (heat some vinegar in a bowl, let sit, then wipe away)
or...spray the microwave, heat it for 20-30 seconds, let sit, then wipe.
- Disinfect the cutting board; spray it on
- Put some vinegar in a small pot, throw in some cinnamon sticks and cloves
and whole allspice heat until hot, turn off heat and let sit to scent the kitchen.
- Deodorize the toilet: pour it in and leave it
- Clean your coffee maker...pour it in; run a cycle--the run 2 clean H2O cycles.
- Disinfect your counters, baby's eating area, toys, etc.
- Wash the outside of the windows that are exceptionally dirty (it cuts grime)
Use Baking Soda to:
- Scrub the tub and deep clean the bathroom and kitchen sinks
- Scrub stubborn stains or dried food off of the counter, stove, and pots
- Deodorize the garbage disposal (pour some in and go away)
- Deodorize and clear drains (pour some in, go away, return and flush with vinegar)
- Pour some in the toilet, let sit, flush, add more and scrub before the water refills.
NOVEL IDEA: Instead of a covered container, use an old jar or Parmesan cheese container or other lidded sifter for the baking soda. Poke some holes in the lid of the old jar and you have yourself a container that sprinkles on like comet.
MULTITASKER: If you are a 'poo freer you can use the same vinegar spray bottle and baking soda container to wash your hair.
CAUTION: Don't use vinegar on marble! You can however, use baking soda. And if you have a very stubborn stain go with the milder acid in a grapefruit, scrub it away, then rinse very very very well with fresh water. And of course, don't squirt vinegar in your eye so keep those spray bottles pointed away from you.
CAUTION: Granite is pretty tough and you shouldn't need to use anything stronger than a drop of plain soap and some water. Germs don't grow well on a surface like granite. A diluted vinegar solution to de-germ is probably okay such as if you got some raw meat juice spillage--but the problem is that some granite counters have sealants that may or may not be damaged by the acid. So I wouldn't risk it. Your better option is a hydrogen peroxide and water solution for de-germing purposes once in a while, like I said, for instances of raw meat spillage or to remove a stain.