Store-bought cleaners often contain harsh chemicals that can potentially harm us, our pets and the environment. Chemical cleaners may even ruin our prized floors, kitchen counter or furniture. And so, it’s not surprising when most of us would turn to DIY cleaning agents like baking soda and vinegar. They’re readily available, non-toxic and consumable. So, if you have tough stains, grimy pots and clogged drains at home, here’s how these two ingredients can help.
Baking Soda and Vinegar for Household Cleaning
The natural components of these household items make them efficient cleaning agents. Alkaline baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, for instance, has a mildly abrasive property for gentle scouring of most home surfaces. The acetic acid in vinegar, on the other hand, has a stain-removing power.
Baking soda and vinegar can also neutralise odours. Since you can use them for cooking and baking, you don’t have to worry about toxic fumes or severe damages. Prepping them for cleaning is super easy, too.
1. Grimy Fridge
Is mildew a constant fridge problem at home? Vinegar might be the answer. Try combining equal parts of water and white vinegar to make your vinegar cleaning solution. Now use it to wash the fridge walls and bins. Aside from preventing mildew growth, this technique can remove built-up grime and odour. Finish your cleaning with a container of baking soda placed inside to absorb food smells.
2. Greasy Oven
After all that baking and roasting, you now have a greasy, smelly oven to clean up. Here’s a cleaning process you can do before your next round of delicious bakes. Start with emptying your oven. Next, make a spreadable paste by adding a bit of water to half a cup of baking soda. Use a soft cloth to apply the paste all over the interior (except the heating elements).
Let it sit for at least 12 hours. In the meantime, you can clean the oven racks and tray. After 12 hours or so, use a damp cloth to remove the dried baking soda paste. You might need a rubber spatula to scrape it away. Spray vinegar inside to remove any baking soda residue. Wipe down with a clean cloth before putting the oven racks back inside.
3. Dirty Pots and Pans
The bubbly power of baking soda and vinegar also works on dried food particles and baked-on grime. To do this, sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda on damp pots or pans. Spray them with vinegar to initiate the reaction, then scrub each with a sponge.
The foaming action can help soften stuck-on food and make them easier to clean. Do you need advice when washing your stainless-steel pans? These cleaning dos and don’ts can help remove tough stains and bring back their shine.
4. Clogged and Smelly Drains
Remember your volcano explosion project in school? Well, we can do that same fizzy effect to our bathroom or kitchen sink. Only this time, we get high points for an unclogged, odour-free drain! Start by pouring one part of baking soda (about half a cup) into your kitchens or bathroom drain. Next, pour two parts of vinegar (about one cup) to initiate the bubbling reaction.
When the fizzing action stops, wash the loosened gunk away with a kettle of hot water. Keep in mind, however, that this technique works for mild clogs only. You can also adjust the amount of baking soda and vinegar as long as you keep the 1:2 ratio. And while you’re at it, you might want to get the entire sink squeaky clean, too. These tips on removing sink stains might help.
5. Dingy Bathroom Surfaces
Soap residue and mildew often leave unpleasant stains on our bathroom surfaces. A DIY bathroom cleaner should do the trick. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 and 2/3 cup baking soda with a half cup of dish soap. Next, add half a cup of water plus three tablespoons of vinegar. Use a fork to mix everything and remove the lumps.
Transfer your mixture to a spray bottle. Now, spritz your cleaner on dirty bathroom spots and scrub the grime away with a damp sponge or brush. Once done, rinse the cleaner away with water. You can also use the baking soda and vinegar combo in other areas of your bathroom:
- Showerhead with limescale build-up. Pour enough vinegar in a resealable bag, put the showerhead in, seal, then leave it soaking overnight. The next day, sprinkle some baking soda onto the showerhead surface. Once the fizzy reaction stops, use a small brush to scrub stubborn stains away, then rinse with warm water.
- Dirty toilet bowl. Wet the inside of the toilet bowl with sprays of white vinegar. Pour some baking soda onto the surface to start the bubbly effect. Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a toilet brush.
- Stained grout. Brighten up your bathroom tile surface by making a paste out of baking soda and water. Apply the paste onto the grout line, add a few sprays of vinegar, then scrub. Rinse with clean water.
6. Soiled Laundry
Baking soda and vinegar can work their magic on our dirty clothes, too. So, the next time you do your laundry, add half a cup of baking soda to every wash load in a top-loading machine. Use ¼ cup of sodium bicarbonate for front-loaders. Doing so can brighten clothing colours, increase bleach potency and soften hard water. Finally, during the rinse cycle, pour a cup of vinegar to soften fabric, remove odours and kill bacteria.
7. Stained Carpets
Accidental spills and pet stains can easily ruin your beautiful (and expensive) carpet. But not to worry. You can stir in enough baking soda into vinegar to make a paste-like mixture. Ideally, apply the cleaning paste first to an out-of-sight carpet spot, then let it dry overnight.
If everything’s good, go ahead and apply the paste to the stubborn carpet stain. Once dry, use the vacuum cleaner to remove the stain. Alternatively, you can dampen the spot with vinegar, then sprinkle baking soda on top. When dried completely, vacuum the area thoroughly. The best part is, you’ll be removing the bad smell, too!
Do you love DIY cleaners as much as I do? Then make sure to add this list of homemade kitchen degreasers to your cleaning repertoire!