Since becoming pregnant, I was encouraged by my midwives to find alternative cleaning products instead of using harsh chemicals. This was definitely a shift for me because I was so used to spraying Lysol kitchen cleaner (or something similar) on my counters, using bleach in my shower, and using other harsh chemicals when convenient.
On a chemical-free mission, I decided to buy a big jug of white distilled vinegar from Wal-Mart (which was very cheap by the way). I also bought a squirt bottle from their cleaning supply isle for $1. When I got home I labeled the bottle “vinegar” so the contents of the bottle would be known to my husband and I.
I chose vinegar as my #1 cleaner because of its high level of acidity which kills germs, bacteria, and mold. Also, it is very inexpensive. I have to say, I LOVE using vinegar in the kitchen. I am not worried about getting chemicals on food anymore AND my countertops are clean!
Here are some other ways I have successfully used vinegar as a cleaner:
Coffee Maker: Pour vinegar in the coffee maker (in the same place you pour water to make a pot of coffee) and run it through a full cycle. Pour out the vinegar and run water through it for two additional cycles. This will clean out the insides of your coffee maker without the fuss!
Dishwasher: I use vinegar two places in the dishwasher. The first is in lieu of a rinse agent cleaner. I find that using vinegar helps make less spots on dishes without using a chemical. The second place that I use vinegar is in the drain in the bottom of the dishwasher. I pour about a cup of vinegar on it and shake some baking soda over it. I watch the bubbles and smile as it cleans and unclogs the drain. Fantastic!
Fabric Softener: Use vinegar in your Downy ball or liquid fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine. Vinegar will soften your clothes, but don’t worry – they won’t smell like vinegar when it comes out! This method will come in handy when our new baby comes. Small babies tend to have sensitive skin and react to fabric softener and other perfumed detergents.
Cleaning Windows and Mirrors: Tear off a piece of newspaper (about the size of a cereal box) and crumple it up into a manageable size lump. Spray your windows and mirrors and go to town. It really does work! Better yet, go to your local newspaper company and get a roll of extra unprinted newspaper and use that. No ink on your hands!