Household cleaner, laundry aid, rug restorer


Courtesy photo

Did you ever wonder how our grandmothers cleaned their homes before harsh chemical cleaners were available?

One of the most versatile cleaning products available is regular white distilled vinegar.

Vinegar not only is versatile, but it is very affordable. A gallon-sized jug of vinegar usually is less than $3.

But what can vinegar possibly clean? Here are just a few things that this natural cleaner can do.

Erase ballpoint pen marks

Every child goes through a phase in which he or she uses walls as a huge canvas for coloring creations.

Should a child use ink on walls, simply dab the wall with some full-strength vinegar, using a cloth or sponge.

It may take a few passes, but the ink should come right off the wall.

Restore rugs

Is the carpet more than 3 years old? Does it seem dingy?

Try using a clean brush or push broom dipped in a solution of 1 cup of vinegar for each 1 gallon of water.

The solution is safe to air-dry on the carpet and should bring new life to the tired-looking areas.

Remove carpet stains

For more stubborn stains in carpet, try using a mixture of salt and vinegar.

Rub carpet stains with a mixture of 4 Tablespoons of salt dissolved in 1 cup of white vinegar.

Let the solution dry on the carpet and then vacuum it.

If the stain remains, try adding 4 tablespoons of Borax to the mixture.

To make spray-on spot-and-stain remover, which also is safe to use on most furniture, mix 5 parts water and 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle.

Fill a second spray bottle with 1 part non-sudsy ammonia and 5 parts water.

First, saturate the stain with the vinegar solution. Let the solution set for two to three minutes, then blot the surface dry.

Repeat with the ammonia solution. If the stain is stubborn, repeat these steps until it is gone.

Steam-clean a microwave

Fill a glass bowl with 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of vinegar.

Microwave the mixture for five minutes on the highest setting.

Once the bowl cools, use its contents to wipe down the inside of the microwave with a sponge.

Stop reds from running in the wash

New red clothing is notorious for bleeding its color the first time that it is washed.

To prevent that from happening, soak the new garment in a few cups of undiluted white vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes prior to its first washing.