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Green Cleaning 101 - Cleaning with Vinegar

By Diane Bass, Assistant Marketing Manager

Have a peak in the cabinet under your sink, or wherever you store your cleaning supplies. How many different cleaning products do you have? A spray for glass, a powder for sinks and toilets, handy pretreated wipes for countertops, a noxious foaming thing that cuts through the grime inside your oven, a few other bottles of funky colored liquids, and of course rubber gloves to protect your hands. Sound familiar? Then it’s time for a Green overhaul. Not only can you reduce the amount of products cluttering up your cupboards, you can save money and improve your personal environment.

Reenie Rogers, MS, RYT, and New Leaf Market’s resident Green Living Consultant, has been whittling down her personal arsenal for years. Her go-to cleaning kit contains: baking soda, homemade all-purpose green cleaner, essential oils, homemade furniture polish, tile and grout brush, a small container of Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap, a container of an earth-friendly hand dishwashing liquid…along with a jug of white distilled vinegar made from grains. That’s only about eight items to clean your entire home, some of which you can buy in bulk for just a few dollars.

This week let’s take a closer look at one of these powerhouse components: Vinegar. Vinegartips.com offers an extensive list of uses, including ways to shine, scour, deodorize and the following:

“Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.”

“To make cleaning the grill easier, spray a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar on the cooking surface.”

“To make the toilet bowl sparkle, pour in a cup or more of diluted white distilled vinegar and let it sit several hours or overnight. Scrub well with the toilet brush and flush.”

Vinegar is also an effective mold and mildew reducer. “Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold.” Apply to mildewed shower walls (or any other moldy area) and do not rinse. Be sure to open windows if you can, as vinegar can be pungent, but the smell will eventually fade.

Please note that vinegar should not be used on marble, as it is acidic and can damage the surface.

Coming up in our next eNewsletter, Green Cleaning 201: Intermediate. Also, don’t miss Reenie’s upcoming seminar, “Getting Rid of Plastics“ on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

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