Now that the holiday season is officially underway, there has been a lot more visiting going on at our house. Now I don’t know about you, but when I invite people into my home, I like for things to be kind of clean. The last couple of weeks have been a cleaning extravaganza, transforming our house from shit-hole chic to comfortably tidy. A few months ago, POM wrote about her experiments with using vinegar instead of commercial cleaners, and I decided to give it a try. Everything she says is true, especially the thing about the towels. It takes a little more elbow grease, but, overall, it’s a very effective cleaner. Truth be told, I have turned into a bit of a vinegar zealot. The fact that I no longer feel like a victim of chemical warfare after cleaning the bathroom is incredibly exciting. When I tell people about my new-found love, there are two questions that invariable come up.
1. What about the smell?
It’s really not that bad. It may be hard to believe, but when it dries, it really truly stops smelling like vinegar. If you are worried about having to smell vinegar while you are cleaning, there are a few things you can do. First of all, you don’t have to use it full strength for it to be effective. A half and half vinegar and water mixture works fine and has a pretty mild odor. You can also add some essential oils to the mix and customize your cleaning aromatherapy experience. Currently, I am using my own Holiday Spice blend, which consists of cinnamon leaf oil, sweet orange oil and a little bit of clove oil. I chose these because they smell like the Christmas potpourri Mr. B. likes to make, and because they were the cheapest oils at the health food store (I wanted to test the theory before I spent more than a few dollars on stuff to make my vinegar water smell better). Since you only need a few drops of oil to scent a whole bottle of cleaner, all it does is make the room smell nice; there’s no oily residue left behind.
2. What about germs?
Vinegar is acidic and, as it turns out, germs, mold, and bacteria can’t live in acid any better than we could. If you really want to KILL ALL THE GERMS WITH FIRE, spray straight vinegar on it and let it air dry. The same goes for any mold you may need to get rid of. For everyday cleaning, half vinegar/half water works just fine. If you add a little tea tree oil to the mix, it works even better. Apparently, the only reason Heinz doesn’t put “Disinfectant” on the label is because they haven’t registered vinegar as a pesticide with the EPA.
After much experimentation, I am 100% on the vinegar bandwagon. My lungs don’t burn when I clean the bathtub, my towels don’t smell mildewy, my carpets are clean with no soap residue to make them stiff and/or sticky, and I can design my own cleaning aromatherapy. What more can you ask for?