You might remember that baking soda and vinegar were the basic ingredients for the homemade volcanoes you made for school projects as a kid. That same bubbly power can be harnessed to clean items around your house.
“The acid in the vinegar breaks down the baking soda and releases carbon dioxide gas that can help remove dirt from surfaces being cleaned,” said Tonya Harris, founder of Slightly Greener.
For most purposes, Harris recommended combining one part baking soda with two parts white vinegar. That combo can remove grease and remove stains even better than commercial cleaners.
Important: Never mix vinegar with bleach. If you do, you will create chlorine gas, which can be deadly.
1. Garbage Disposal
To get your garbage disposal working like new, pour a half cup of baking soda down the drain, followed immediately by a cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for ten minutes and then run water to rinse.
2. Clogged Drains
Clogged drains in your sink are cleaned using the same process as the garbage disposal. The bubbling action can loosen stuck debris and allow it to flow freely. For persistent clogs, you may need to repeat the process several times, Harris said.
3. Washing Machine
To clean your washing machine, add baking soda and vinegar to the drum, then run the machine on its highest setting. Be careful not to get vinegar on the rubber seals around the doors, Harris recommended. The acidity of the vinegar can erode the rubber and make those seals less efficient.
4. The Sink
To clean the sink, sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda on it. Then pour in enough vinegar to make a foam. Scrub with a soft sponge, making sure to clean the sides and bottom of the sink.
5. Food Stuck
For stubborn stains in the sink or microwave, mix a paste made with two tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of water. Spread the paste on the surface. Then drizzle vinegar until bubbly. Rub gently with a sponge.
6. The mosaics
Cleaning tiles (especially the edges) once a year with baking soda and vinegar will keep them looking shiny. Combine two tablespoons of baking soda with one teaspoon of Castile soap. Extend that on the edges of your tiles. Then drizzle with white vinegar. Let it sit until it stops bubbling and wipe it off. Scrub gently with a toothbrush if necessary.
Note: Vinegar should never be used on marble or granite, so be careful when cleaning the edges of such tiles. For a safer option, spray the baking soda-soap mixture with hydrogen peroxide instead of vinegar, Harris recommended.
7. Mold and Mildew in the Shower
To clean mold or mildew from the shower, spray the area with white vinegar. Let sit for an hour, then wipe with a warm, damp cloth. If that doesn't clean up the mold, make a paste of baking soda and water. Rub gently with a sponge.
Baking soda and vinegar are powerful homemade carpet cleaners. Sprinkle baking soda on a small stain, then drizzle vinegar on top.
“You can see the stain lift off the carpet,” Harris said. Pat dry with a light-colored towel, but don't rub. Always be sure to test a hidden area of the carpet first.
9. Clothing and Upholstery
The same cleaning power that works on carpets applies to other fabrics, from clothing to couches. Follow the same process as above, repeating if necessary.
10. Pots and Pans
To clean pots and pans, mix 1/2 cup of water with 1 cup of vinegar directly into the dirty pan. As long as it is stovetop safe, place it on the heat and bring the water to a boil. Then remove the pan from the heat and add three tablespoons of baking soda. Let it cool down. Once cool enough to handle, lightly scrub and rinse.
After you've cleaned your pots and pans, it's time to get your stove sparkling clean. Remove all crumbs and burner caps. Sprinkle a very thin layer of baking soda. Then drizzle vinegar over the top to activate the fizz. Wipe the solution away, repeating if necessary to remove all traces of baking soda.
12. Cook-On Stains
For particularly stubborn spots on the stove, make a paste of baking soda and water. Cover the stain and allow it to dry completely. Then spray with vinegar and wipe it off.
First, remove any crumbs or food particles. Then heat a saucepan with water in the oven for 15 minutes. The steam will loosen dirt and grime. When the oven has cooled enough to touch, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom, then drizzle vinegar on top. Rub lightly, repeating if necessary.
To make the cutlery shine, line a glass baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Arrange your cutlery in a single layer on the tray. Combine two tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of sea salt. Sprinkle the mixture over the cutlery.
Next, add 1/2 cup of vinegar, which will foam the mixture. Then add two cups of boiling water. Let the cutlery soak for up to four minutes. Remove piece by piece with tweezers and dry with a microfiber cloth.
Combine one cup of water and one tablespoon of vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Put it in the microwave for four or five minutes, watching that the mixture does not overflow.
When you're done, leave the door closed, allowing the steam to loosen any stains. Wipe with a towel. Use a baking soda paste to remove any sticky spots.
Pour two cups of white vinegar into the bowl, followed by one cup of baking soda. Add a drop of essential oils for a clean scent, if desired. Allow the mixture to bubble, then scrub with a toilet brush and pull the lever.
What to remember?
Although they don't kill germs, baking soda and vinegar create a powerful reaction that removes stains and removes grease. You can clean everything from your silverware to your toilet bowl with this mixture, without bringing harsh chemicals into your home.
“It's a great, non-toxic alternative to conventional cleaners,” Harris said.
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