The Simple Miracle of Vinegar

“Make it simple but significant.” – unknown

Rich started it. Let’s face it, that’s the story of my life. Already, I digress. He’s the chief product formulator (aka mad scientist) behind the MaitriSPA products. He used to make detergents and cleaners for me, but he’s gotten busy with the Farmer’s Market, online store and perfecting the formulas for his personal care products.

I buy Mrs. Meyer’s products for cleaning and the least toxic detergents I can find for laundry and dishes. During my latest cleaning and purging frenzy (my family can tell you more about these horrific phases) I relied almost entirely on vinegar and baking soda. You must be careful, in your enthusiasm, not to use them together unless you want to simulate a volcano like we all did in third grade science class. That’s also fun, but you’re going to get distracted. You will want to get your baking soda at a big box store, in the pool section, because you’ll need more than the tiny box in the spice section.

I started with the dishwasher. It had that funky smell that dishwashers get. I know you know. I cleaned the filter and soaked it in a tap water/vinegar bath while I ran the dishwasher through a sanitary cycle with a bowl full of vinegar sitting on the top rack. When that cycle was finished, I sprinkled a cup of baking soda and 20 drops of lemon essential oil on the bottom and ran the cycle again. I replaced the filter and wiped the whole thing out with warm water. It smelled great!

If your family is anything like mine, they don’t think to cover the food they’re reheating, and the inside of your microwave shows it! It takes longer to yell at them about it than it does to wipe it down if you use this method: Use ½ cup vinegar and ½ cup of water in a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Take the bowl out and wipe down the inside of the microwave with warm water and a soft cloth.

I don’t know why I have carpet. I have dogs and kids in my house and no business having carpet. I’ve removed carpet everywhere except our bedroom and the basement. Those are the strongholds Rich is fighting to keep! I was skeptical about the vinegar carpet cleaning. I’ve not had great results cleaning my own carpet. I started by vacuuming thoroughly – not the quick, “company’s coming in 10 minutes” vacuuming. I filled the container on my machine with ½ vinegar and ½ warm water and put in about ½ cup of the enzyme pet stain cleaner we use for spots on the carpet. I cleaned it as usual and put fans on it to dry. It dried within a couple of hours! The next day, I sprinkled baking soda over the carpet and worked it in with a stiff brush. This was tricky because you’re supposed to leave it there for 24 hours undisturbed so best to do if you’re leaving town for a weekend. Then, vacuum thoroughly again. My basement is beautiful and fresh again!

I’m prone to use straight vinegar on almost anything. More is better, right? It’s an acid, so Rich says no, more is not better. To clean my countertops, I use a sprayer bottle with ½ warm water and ½ vinegar and about 20 drops of lemon essential oil. It works perfectly without eating away any of the surface! Less is sometimes more! We’ve all been sick lately (with a plague-like illness), so this week-end, I’m going to put some purifying spray in the bottle rather than lemon and sanitize surfaces and doorknobs.

This one needs no explanation. It should probably be done every time I get groceries. I use the same solution that I used for the walls. Get a new box of baking soda and open it to keep in the back of the fridge for awhile if you’ve got some stubborn smells. I think that was a Good Housekeeping tip from the 70’s.

My windows! They’re always dirty. I have a friend who likes to say things like, “How hard is it to just wipe down your windows in the main living area every day?” HOW HARD IS IT? I don’t know why we’re friends. That seems like a definite line crossed. Anyway, the recipe to clean windows (when you get around to it – no judgement here!) is: ¼ cup rubbing alcohol, ⅓ cup vinegar and 32 oz. of distilled water in a sprayer bottle. Use a lint free cloth and clean as usual.
There are many other combinations to use for cleaning different surfaces. These are just the ones I’ve used in the last month. I told you – a frenzy!

After you’ve done all this cleaning and you’re done with vinegar, you’re going to need a long, relaxing bath. I call it a detox bath because I like to use it when I’m sweaty or when I’m sick – the ingredients are soothing, and your skin does all the work.

Draw a warm bath and add to it:

  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (no mint or citrus) I prefer lavender to relax or eucalyptus if I’m sick.

Soak while reading a good book for about 30 minutes. You will be so relaxed; all you’ll be able to do is go to sleep in your spotless house!


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