You might be surprised to learn that the only real cleaning product you ever need again is the one you already have in your kitchen. White Vine Vinegar! That’s right cleaning with white wine vinegar is not only easy and good for your wallet. But it helps to keep millions of plastic bottles out of landfills and protects your health and the health of your children.
The magic portion that keeps your house clean, fresh, and best it is safe around children and pets. (yep, that’s my daughter’s hand)
The more I learned about zero waste, the more I discovered how companies are trying to sell us unnecessary products. In this case, I am talking about cleaning products. We are made to believe that we need XYZ to have a clean house. To clean your car with this, and your toilet with that.
The worst part is that this stuff is full of harmful chemicals that you don’t want to get close to. Would you take a sip of bleach? So why do we use this stuff to clean even chopping boards sometimes?
All BS, if you ask me.
Something I learned from trash is for tossers. Lauren Singer made the point that you wouldn’t eat the products you clean your surfaces with. So why would you use harsh chemicals on surfaces that you; later prepare food on?
Which zero waste cleaning product do I need?
That is an easy answer, you need:
- Distilled white wine vinegar
- Essential oil (optional)
- Bicarbonate soda (optional)
The tools to get the job done
Vinegar and bicarb
The only time we used bicarb and vinegar in combination is when we have a blocked sink. Only then do we use 1/2 a cup bicarb and pour it down the drain and 1 cup vinegar to follow. Enjoy the show. I get quite a satisfaction out of watching the two react.
Once they have finished bubbling, you can run hot water down the drain to flush it out. However, sometimes you may need to redo this process until your drain is free again. But still 100 x better than pouring harsh chemicals down there.
Remember, this will go straight into the ocean. You wouldn’t want to eat fish that swam in that stuff, would you?
Another use we have for it is to soak our reusable diapers in them. After using them for half a year, we noticed that they did start to smell, and the best solution was to throw them in a bucket with bicarb and vinegar and water and let them soak. Perhaps we don’t actually need to add the bicarb. I will do a test and let you know.
What ratio does my zero waste cleaning product need?
Usually, the most common one that we do at home and that I have found during my research is the 50/50 ratio.
50 parts of water and 50 parts of distilled white wine vinegar. It is important to use white wine vinegar since apple cider vinegar doesn’t clean as well. Jokes only use white wine vinegar, please.
Optionally you can use some essential oil and dribble 15-20 drops of that in there. I use tea tree oil. I love the smell, but any oil works.
Should I clean my produce with white wine vinegar?
The simple answer to this question is, yes.
By the time the fruit has reached your kitchen basket, it has gone through many hands and most likely has been sprayed, and this residue might not be washed off from just rinsing your fruit under the tap.
Your best practice is to make a 3/1 part solution of vinegar water (3 parts of water/ 1 part of vinegar) and soak your fruit in there for 10 minutes. This will kill bacteria and even viruses the natural way. Don’t wash your fruit in soap as it will absorb it. You may end up blowing bubbles after eating an apple, funny but perhaps not so healthy :).
Rinse with water and let it dry.
P.s.: Cleaning your produce in white wine vinegar is also an excellent way to prevent fruit flies from entering your kitchen. As I have learned on the ELT podcast. Did you know that we invite them into our home from the supermarket? That’s where the fruit fly lays its eggs, and when they hatch, they call our kitchen their new home.
Items to clean with vinegar and water solution 1
- Countertops non-stone: use a spray bottle and wipe off excess.
- Flooring: uses a cup of vinegar in a gallon of warm water and mop as usual.
- Cabinetry: spray and let sit for a couple of minutes. Be careful as it may damage some wooden surfaces.
- Shower and bathtubs: spray bottle and cloth.
- Toilet: spray bottle and cloth
- Walls and doors: spray bottle and cloth. the ratio can be less vinegar
- Windows: window cleaning experts suggest cleaning the window when the sun isn’t shining to avoid streaks. Wipe off dust and then spray your 1/1 ratio on the window
- Upholstery: spray the affected area and wipe off the dirt. Ad essential oil for better smelling furniture
- Dishwasher: cleaning with vinegar: run a cup of vinegar through a short cycle. This will remove any build-up dishwashing liquid. and limescale
- Oven: spray and wipe with 1/1
- Fridge: spray and wipe with 1/1
- Cleaning your Coffee maker with white vinegar: run a 1/1 water and vinegar solution through your coffee machine to get rid of mold, hard water accumulations, and odors.
- Cooking tools: Have you noticed how your Tupperware takes on the color and odor of the food they hold? This is because plastic is very porous and absorbs the oil in the food. Soaking the item in a vinegar and water solution is an effective way to remove stains and eliminate odors without damaging it. You should avoid boiling water when cleaning plastic, as the surface can warp or leach toxic chemicals.
- Clothing: over time, clothes can change the way they feel, and this could be due to the detergent you use. An easy solution is to soak your garments in warm water in the bathtub and add a bit of white wine vinegar overnight. This will remove the soap detergent making your clothes feel soft and new again.
- Optionally, we recommend using Tru Earth washing detergent as it is the only total zero waste washing detergent and good for your clothes and the environment.
What not to clean with white vinegar:
Marble and granite. The acidity of the vinegar will eat away on these surfaces.
- Stone surfaces, like a granite countertop or slate tile floor;
- Solid wood furniture;
- Hardwood flooring, unless they have confirmed that it will not damage the finish;
- Electronics, like computers or smartphones;
- Egg spills, because the acid causes the eggs to thicken and become difficult to remove;
Alright, there you have it. Now it is all about getting down to work and keep your home and car sparkly clean and safe for your kids. If you have any questions, leave me a comment below.
If you want to learn more zero waste tips and tricks check out my Youtube channel: