Monday, April 5, 2010

Green Cleaners

I'm having some serious issues with my dishwasher lately. It's not washing the top rack and the detergent isn't diluting. I just found these amazing ways you can use vinegar, some I already knew but in the dishwasher????!?!?! Wow, I'm going to do this RIGHT NOW. I'll tell you if it works.

Here are some other ways you can use vinegar for cleaning purposes:

  • Laundry. Use 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar during the laundry rinse cycle instead of a commercial fabric softener. It'll cut down on lint and also break down the harsh chemicals of the detergent, which is great news for those with sensitive skin. For added greenness and savings, invest in reusable dryer balls (found at Target and many supermarkets and pharmacies). They may look like doggie chew toys, but they're phenomenal at fluffing up your clothes.
    Cost Comparison (per load):
    Fabric softener (washer and dryer): $.08
    Dryer balls and vinegar: $.02
  • Kitchen. Use a solution of one-part vinegar to one-part water (1:1) to clean kitchen surfaces. (Again, due to vinegar's acidic nature, test on grout and tile before using, and shy away from marble.) Instead of expensive dishwasher detergent, toss half a cup of vinegar in the bottom of your dishwasher.
    Cost Comparison (per dishwasher load):
    Dishwasher cleaner: $.15
    Vinegar: $.10
  • Bathroom. Pour three cups of vinegar in the toilet to get rid of rings. For continuous cleaning, pour three cups into the back tank once a week to keep the bowl fresh. Vinegar works great against soap scum and hard-water stains, even ones that have been around for years.
Here are some other "green" cleaning products:

  1. Lemon. Commercial cleansers have long sung the praises of citrus, hyping the presence of lemon prominently on their labels. It's no wonder: Lemon's cleaning powers extend beyond a fresh scent. Its acidic properties can cut through grease and grime better than most manmade products.
    • Living Room. Use a ratio of one-part lemon juice to two-parts olive oil (1:2) for an all-natural furniture polish; finish off with a soft, dry cloth (recycled, of course). If you have cats, lemon peels in your potted plants can deter them from digging -- or worse.
      Cost Comparison (per ounce):
      Furniture polish: $.42
      Olive oil and lemon: $.35
    • Kitchen. Halve lemon and sprinkle with baking soda to scrub dishes. Dump leftover lemon (or orange) peel into your garbage disposal to eradicate nasty odors.
      Cost Comparison (per cleaning of garbage disposal):
      Commercial cleaner: $.43
      Leftover lemon peel: $.25 (or free, if you've already used the rest of the lemon)

  2. Baking Soda. This seemingly benign white powder serves dual purposes: as an abrasive cleaner and a frontline odor fighter.
    • Kitchen. Make a paste with water for tough stains on your counter, or store an open box in the fridge to keep it smell-free. To more easily clean the stalactites that have formed in the microwave, boil two tablespoons of baking soda in a mug of water, then simply wipe out the gunk.
    • Laundry. Use a water-and-baking-soda paste on most fabrics to remove stains. Or put pure baking soda into sachets (stuff old socks or pantyhose) to remove odors from olfactory offenders like stinky sneakers.
    • Bathroom. Sodium bicarbonate can even help clear drain clogs. Just dump a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of that other clean-all, vinegar. This may take a few tries, but it should clear even the nastiest of clogs -- with a lot less fumes than chemical methods.
      Cost Comparison:
      Commercial drain cleaner: $3.00 (per suggested use -- I usually used the whole container, at $6 a pop)
      Baking soda and vinegar: $1.50
I found this article at


Anna said...

Lime is also good for those arm pit stains. Squeeze some lime juice on the arm pit area, let it sit (in the sun if possible) for a while the wash. It's amazing!!!

Aline Carson said...

Wow, thanks for the tip!!!! Never heard of it!

Liesl said...

Thanks for sharing this! I'll have to try some of these :) Has anyone tried the vinegar in the back of the toilet? Does it make the bathroom smell like vinegar? I want to try that one but am afraid it will stink.

Aline Carson said...

What do you mean in the back of the toilet? I think (at least that's what it says) that as soon as it dries there is no more smell. But, I've cleaned windows with it before and it does stink a little. You can put a little bit of scent in it though.

Greg and Sherry said...

I'm trying the vinegar in the toilet tonight. I've tried everything I could think of on the world's worse mineral build-up we have here in Rexburg's water. I'll let you know if it works.

Liesl said...

~by back of the toilet I meant the tank =) Let me know how it works Sherry!!!

Mara said...

Bom, eu gosto de usar o vinagre como item de limpeza. Acho que é barato, não deixa cheiro e é um ótimo desinfetante!
Eu misturo vinagre com bicarbonato de sódio para limpar o sofá, desengordurar o fogão e o depurador de ar. Para a louça também é ótimo! Mas eu sempre misturo só o vinagre com o detergente normal.
No banheiro eu uso a mistura de vinagre e bicarbonato só para limpar a banheira, nunca usei para o vaso sanitário.
Minha mãe usa também quando está fritando peixe, para a casa toda não ficar com o cheiro...

Mara said...

Ai, Anna... Fiquei com uma dúvida do seu comentário... Você já testou usar limão para tirar manchas da pele? Estou perguntando porque eu sempre achei que fosse exatamente o contrário: que o limão causasse manchas na pele! Uma vez minha irmã espremeu o limão, não lavou a mão e ficou no sol. A mão dela ficou com uma mancha grande escura horrível, que demorou quase 1 ano pra sair...

Aline Carson said...

Got it!!!

Mara, ela quis dizer manchas amarelas que ficam do desodorante de baixo do suvaco da blusa. hehe..Eu vou tentar essa aliás esqueci de comprar limão droga.

Mara said...

Ahhhhhh... hahaha... Pra vc ver como meu inglês precisa melhorar... Entendi tudo errado... hehehe...

The Marshalls said...

I used vinegar in the dishewasher today and it really worked. I am impressed and will keep using it. Thank you very much for this post!!!

Aline Carson said...

I know, I've been using it everyday now along with my regular dishwasher detergent and I have no more problems with the top rack. The dishes are coming out so clean and it cuts through grease very well too.