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Cleaning with vinegar is beneficial because vinegar is a safe, inexpensive, and effective cleaner that is easier on the environment than many of the contents of manufactured cleaners. Many people choose this cleaning method to avoid exposing their families to the chemicals found in other types of cleaners. Vinegar can also be combined with other products, like baking soda, to expand its usefulness.
The white distilled vinegar most often used for cleaning is natural and nontoxic. Many of the chemicals that are commonly used for home cleaning can be harsh and irritating to eyes, skin, and airways. Infants and young children are especially susceptible to these chemicals, but many adults are also sensitive. Sadly, a large number of small children are poisoned by drinking typical household cleaners each year. Cleaning with vinegar is a safer alternative.
Cleaning with vinegar is also inexpensive. Vinegar and other natural cleaners, such as salt, lemon juice, borax, and baking soda, are cheap and easy to find. Vinegar can be mixed with some of these other inexpensive products, essential oils, and mild, vegetable-based soaps to create effective, non-toxic homemade cleaners. Even these "safe" cleaners should be labeled and kept well out of the reach of children, however.
Vinegar is an excellent glass cleaner and a good bathroom cleaner. A natural disinfectant, cleaning with vinegar can help eliminate bad odors, and it is especially effective on hard water stains and alkaline deposits. Coffee drinkers frequently run vinegar through their coffee makers to remove deposits and improve the flavor of the coffee.
Mixing vinegar with baking soda produces a great toxin-free drain cleaner and oven cleaner. When added to the wash, vinegar removes soap deposits from laundry. Although a few people report sensitivity to the odor of vinegar, the smell dissipates rapidly once the vinegar dries.
Cleaning with vinegar is environmentally friendly. Household chemicals can create indoor air pollution, and the long-term effect of releasing high volumes of toxic substances into the air and water supply remains to be seen. Unfortunately, these cleaners are in such common use that the chemicals are continually released in a limitless mix via aerosol sprays and disposal down household drains. Some of these substances are already found in sufficient quantities in some waterways to create a negative environmental impact.
The benefits of replacing commonly used household chemicals with vinegar include providing a cleaner, safer home environment. It can also save money on cleaning supplies and help to prevent or ameliorate future damage to the environment. Cleaning with vinegar is a good, environmentally friendly option for many people.
Besides just general house cleaning, like wiping down counters and so forth, vinegar is great for shower heads and sink sprayers. You just disconnect the shower head or sprayer head and soak it in undiluted vinegar. (If you have a massaging shower head, you might not even have to disconnect it - mine will reach into a bucket of vinegar).
It will actually be done before it quite looks done; after a couple of hours, lift it out and scrub around the water openings with an old toothbrush and that pink grub should come right off.
It's particularly nice for shower heads because a sort of nasty germy "biofilm" builds up in your shower head. This wil make it not only look better, but will disinfect it.
Here's a tip for how to clean tricky places with vinegar. What you do is you wrap a paper towel (or rag, if you are super-ecological) around what you are trying to clean and saturate it with vinegar. Then leave it sit for a few hours, keeping it moist.
The moistness (not too wet, or it will fall down from its own weight) will keep the rag or paper towel in place. This is a great way to clean things like faucets that can't be disconnected and soaked. Vinegar can take a lot time to work on hard water and other stains, and this trick gives it to the time it needs.
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