June 17, 2013

10 Vinegar Cleaning Secrets

10 Vinegar Cleaning Secrets. So many amazing ways to use vinegar! This is so good to know!
I have a confession. I'm obsessed with vinegar. I first discovered my love for vinegar when it came to cleaning our wall-to-wall white carpet. Vinegar has helped me maintain my sanity (while living with white carpet and two hot-mess-cats) until we can finally rip our carpet up for good. Over time, I discovered so many more uses for vinegar. I thought I would share some of my fave vinegar tips with you today. 







First, let me just explain why I love vinegar. Not only is vinegar dirt cheap (We're talking like $3 for a gallon of generic vinegar.), but it's all natural and absolutely amazing as a cleaning product. Because of vinegar's high acidity, it kills all sorts of germs and bacteria. It even kills mold. I love for our house to be clean, but I really don't like toxic cleaners. So, vinegar is kinda like my stinky yet safe little miracle product. Just so you know, this post isn't sponsored by some vinegar conglomerate...I just thought it was an interesting topic that I could share with ya'll. And usually if I find something useful, ya'll do, too. We're basically twins.

So, let's start with my favorite tip. 

#1. Use vinegar to clean carpet.
We steam clean our carpets about once a month. It's an unfortunate necessity, as our cats love to barf up hairballs like it's their nine-to-five job. Rather than spend a small fortune on store-bought carpet cleaning solutions, most of the time we just substitute with vinegar. Our steam cleaner has a tank where the cleaning solution is added. We just fill it with full strength vinegar straight from the bottle and then add the recommended amount of hot water. The room smells like vinegar the entire time you are cleaning, but once it dries the smell goes away and your carpets look amazing. You don't even have to rinse. As always, make sure to test a small patch of your carpet before you clean it with anything.

The secret all-natural way to get your carpet cleaner than ever before!! So good to know!


#2. Use vinegar to clean floors.
Although the majority of our house is filled with annoying carpet, we also have a lot of tile. I used to use my beloved Swiffer on them, but about 6 months ago I somehow snapped it in half. Apparently I'm an aggressive mopper. Rather than replace it, I decided to bust out my old sponge mop and try something new. All I do is mix 1/2 cup of vinegar in 1 gallon of warm water and then use my sponge mop to clean the floors. And now I can never go back....the vinegar just works so well and makes the floors so shiny. I'm hooked. 
Vinegar fo' life. 


10 Vinegar Cleaning Secrets. So many amazing ways to use vinegar! This is so good to know!


#3. Use vinegar as a fabric softener.
This vinegar tip is a total little gem of awesome. Did you know that vinegar makes a great fabric softener? I recently learned this, and it's such an amazing little discovery. As I write this, I am washing some of my towels this way. Swear. All you do is add 3/4 cups of vinegar to your final rinse cycle (or in the fabric softener slot) and it works the same as fabric softener. It makes old scruffy towels feel brand new and fluffy soft again. And guess what else? Vinegar also gets rid of mildew. Which is such great news for me due to my chronic problem of leaving my laundry in the washing machine for way too long and then smelling like a wet dog for days. 
Jesse loves when I do this. 
Do not fact check that.

10 Vinegar Cleaning Secrets. So many amazing ways to use vinegar! This is so good to know!


#4. Use vinegar to clean your dishwasher.
I clean the dishwasher about once a month by pouring a cup of vinegar inside the empty machine and running it through an entire cycle. Not only does this remove odors and soap buildup, but it's supposed to extend the life of your dishwasher. Our dishwasher isn't the fanciest of machines, and sometimes I feel like it's boycotting me. A cup of vinegar always does the trick and gets ol' boy back up and running like the clean machine he's supposed to be.
Seriously, it works.



10 Vinegar Cleaning Secrets. So many amazing ways to use vinegar! This is so good to know!


#5. Use vinegar to clean sinks and drains.
We have a sink that was painted white by the previous homeowners  (with the same stuff I painted our tile with) and it gets seriously disgusting really quick. So does the drain. I daydream about a life without a white sink. I'm kidding. Kind of. Anyways, I clean and deodorize the whole thing by pouring a cup of baking soda in the drain followed by one cup of vinegar. I let it sit for 5 minutes and then run hot water down the drain. Then, I soak a sponge in vinegar and clean the sink. It makes it sparkly clean and gets rid of any grossness.




#6. Use vinegar to clean your coffee maker.
I use vinegar to clean our regular coffee maker and our Tassimo. You can also do this with Keurigs and most other coffee makers. To clean our Tassimo (which operates similar to a Keurig), I fill the water reservoir with vinegar, and then run the brewing process without any of the pods (similar to K cups) in the machine. Then I fill the water reservoir with water and run it through two times. This extends the life of your machine and keeps your coffee from tasting weird. I do this about once a month.



10 Vinegar Cleaning Secrets. So many amazing ways to use vinegar! This is so good to know!


#7.  Using vinegar to clean your microwave
Okay, I'll admit it. I had never tried this trick before writing this post. But, I had always heard about it, and since my microwave was absolutely terrifying (I made that before picture teeny tiny for a reason.), I decided to test it out. I cannot even express in words how awesome this worked. I poured 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl and brought it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. I let it sit for a couple minutes, and it was like magic. My microwave was like a horrific scene of hardened chili and easy mac and who-knows-what. And it just wiped right off. Right off, I tell ya.
Also, please tell me I'm not the only one who makes a mess in the microwave and sometimes just closes the door and creeps away like it never happened. Just goes to show that you never know what goes on behind closed doors. 
Even teeny rectangular ones.




#8. Using vinegar to clean stainless steel
Vinegar doesn't just clean the insides of appliances, but it can clean the outsides, too. There's really no need to buy the expensive stainless steel cleaners to rid yourself of greasy fingerprints all over your fridge, dishwasher, and microwave. All you need is vinegar. Just soak a sponge or cloth in vinegar and wipe 'em down. Then buff dry with a dry cloth. I've tried the stainless steel cleaners, and vinegar works just as well for pennies on the dollar.





#9. Use vinegar to clean your fridge
So, by now we all know that baking soda removes smells from your fridge. Did you know that vinegar will, too? Our fridge is a total workhorse, and deserves to get a bath once in awhile. So, about once a month, before I grocery shop, I take everything out of the fridge. I throw away all the gross stuff and take inventory of what I need to get at the grocery store. Before I put the stuff back in, I fill a little bowl with 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water. I just use paper towels and wipe down the entire fridge using the vinegar solution. Before I started this little ritual, 
our fridge constantly smelled. I blame the deli meat.
 Since I started wiping it down with vinegar every month, it has basically gone from workhorse to stallion. 
And by that, I mean shiny with robust thighs that run like lightning.



#10. Use vinegar to clean dirty paintbrushes.
This little tip is actually what inspired this entire post. My sweet Mama read my paint tricks post and told me she really loved the vinegar tip. It got me thinking about how I use vinegar for a bazillion different things, and that it would be fun to share some of them with you. 
You can see the vinegar paintbrush tip here.



And so there you have it! 
Those are my 10 vinegar cleaning secrets!  
I hope you enjoyed today's tips and I'm so glad you stopped by!

For related posts, you can check out the following:


10 Vinegar Cleaning Secrets. So many amazing ways to use vinegar in this post! This is so good to know!




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67 comments:

  1. WOW.. GET OUT OF MY HEAD! I am a new homeowner and falling back in love with vinegar for the obvious new home reasons. I just discovered your blog this week as well. So my re-found love with vinegar PLUS my new-found love with your blog is just too much to handle :) THANK YOU FOR THIS!

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    1. Ha!! I love it! First, congratulations on your new house! And second, thanks so much for finding my blog! Glad you like it!! :)

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  2. Aggressive moppers unite! I broke my swiffer too! But I still use mine even though the spray button/handle is dangling off to the side cuz I'm too cheap to buy a new one!

    I had to laugh even harder at your little mildew trick with the laundry. I am horrible about leaving wet clothes in my wash for days so your vinegar solution will come in handy. In my defense, my laundry room was built as an after-thought onto the back of my house and I have to walk out my back door, down 3 steps, go about 15 paces across my patio, and then walk into my laundry room. It's tons of fun in the rain, sleet, snow, etc.

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    1. Hahaha!! A dangling spray handle! Well, atleast you didn't snap it in half! Seriously, how does that even happen?! So aggressive. :) And yes, the mildew...it's a total problem. And I don't even have a valid excuse like you do...other than despising laundry. Thanks so much for stopping by, Katie!!!!

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  3. I have fell in love with vinegar as well! I love using it as a fabric softener and the clothes actually smell really nice afterwards. I mix the vinegar with hair conditioner and water and store it in a plastic water bottle. I also mix vinegar with dish soap and use it to clean the shower1 It works better than anything I've ever used. Love your blog. I linked it on my blog: http://www.igobymiss.blogspot.com

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    1. That's such a great idea, Christina!! Thanks for sharing! I'll have to try that asap! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  4. i just became a vinegar fan. im going to start using it on everything now. thanks for the post.

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  5. I can;t wait to try all of these tips and I did pin it too. Thanks tons. Hugs, Marty

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    1. That's awesome, Marty!! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

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  6. Amazing! I didn't know vinegar could be this useful! I would definitely try it out myself as a green cleaning agent instead of the harmful cleansers I'm used to at my MN apartments .

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  7. I'm also a big fan of vinegar. We use the vinegar and baking soda in the sink so much. I also used a ton to wash my husband's recliner that he brought from his Mom's house when we moved in together. One of her cat's had peed on it a few times. I also love to use baking soda for cat puke. Clean up and hair or food and then pour baking soda over the wet spot. The baking soda will soak up any liquid and then when it is dry I just vacuum it up.

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  8. Because I'm probably one of your oldest readers (hee hee!) I've actually used all those vinegar tricks except the carpet shampooer. But now that I know you can do it, I'm going to use that instead of the commercial cleaner that leaves a sort of crunchy residue (yes, even after rinsing). Our really pale beige carpeting will benefit from the vinegar tip now that we have 3 dogs :-)

    Oh hey, another thing about using it for laundry--- Sometimes towels are fluffy but not absorbant. Vinegar makes them more absorbant :-) Whoo hoo!

    Thanks so much Virginia for your great tips!

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  9. I am also a huge fan of vinegar for cleaning. Love all of your ideas.
    Thanks for all your tips!

    Emily @ elizabethjoandesigns.com

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  10. This grandma not only learns little gems from you Virgina, but also from your fans who leave comments. TY Connie for mentioning that a vinegar rinse leaves towels more absorbent. I live at the beach and designed beach towels are notorious for not being absorbent. I feel the need to do a wash right now.

    Another great one Virgina, thanks...

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    1. Thank you so much, Cee! I learn a lot from my readers, too! :)

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  11. I love reading your posts...you make me laugh so hard!! We're like long lost sisters...just because we use sarcasm so much!! LOVE it!!

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  12. You, my dear, are da bomb! :) I just wrote an article for our Green Newsletter at work about the magic of vinegar and I still learned something new on your blog! I had no idea about the fabric softener trick. I just made my own laundry soap last week and now I have the green version of fabric softener to go with it. Whoo hoo! :)

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  13. This info is Great!! I do have a question, however. Do you think the vinegar solution for hardwood floors will work on black 12x12 porcelain tile floors in the kitchen (don't ask). The kitchen/ eating area black porcelain floors one day will be replaced but until then, I haven't found one product that works leaving them clean without a film...not one product. Any ideas?

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  14. I just discovered your blog and I'm in love with everything!! I have the very same dishwasher and I cannot wait to run it through with vinegar to clean it out - great cleaning tips!

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  15. Thank you for this wonderfully tidy post! I hate cleaning, and now I want to go home and CLEAN ALL THE THINGS! Just found your blog through Pinterest - you've gained another follower! :)

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  16. Virginia, I love your blog , and like you, I love vinegar, I am using it, to clean almost everything.
    keep giving us your secrets, I find them so useful, thank you:)
    To visit classica decor Design Touch e-Course my website click here

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  17. I have used most of your tips on vinager for years. But did you know that you can add it your dogs water and help cut down on fleas? Also works for cleaning shower heads

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  18. You just blew my mind right. I use vinegar to clean my microwave and my hubby's coffeemaker but I seriously had NO idea you could use vinegar for so many other things. To clean carpets?! Fabric softener?! I'm totally trying this. I just found your blog the other day and have been stalking it since. I think I'm in love. Again. Thank you for sharing your tips!

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  19. Whaaa?... flabbergasted. Carpet, towels, dishwasher, coffee maker, greasy fingerprints = all my trouble spots. They're all getting makeovers this weekend! You promise the smell goes away? Totally astounded. Who knew vinegar was such a mild mannered super hero by day?

    But, really, I just wanted to leave a comment because I giggled at the thought of someone doing the hammer dance.

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  20. So many great tips! I have one to add - it kills weeds! I use regular 5% vinegar straight in a spray bottle - just spray down the leaves and stems of whatever you want dead on a dry day with no wind - but be careful not to get it on grass or plants you want to keep.

    Just found your blog and am loving it so far.

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  21. I had encountered several of these wonderful uses for vinegar before but was excited to read it will clean carpets. Thanks for the info! In exchange I wanted to share how I've used vinegar for the last twenty years. My company uses it to clean lenses in the assembly of our world class optics business, but we call it acetic acid. Our glass lenses are made from the finest sands found in Asia but the vinegar cuts the grease and dirt to make a beautiful clarity that enhances our product.

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  22. Great post, Virginia. I always joke that my house smells like a salad after I clean. Since I broke my Swiffer (too aggressive?) I use vinegar and water in my Rubbermaid Reveal mop (like a Swiffer but with washable/reusable cleaning pads). I recently bought a carpet shampooer and I'm looking forward to trying vinegar in it, too.

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  23. Merci pour vos conseils avec le vinaigre. J'en ai découvert de nouveaux. Bonne journée.

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  24. I just recently started using vinegar while cleaning a home we just purchased. The house REALLY needed a good cleaning. I found that the grocery store sells a gallon of vinegar for $2!. A mixture of vinegar and baking soda took care of the pee pee walls in the bathroom, the kitchen/bathroom counters and the shower and tub. I use 50/50 of vinegar and water for the windows though out the house. Everything looks grreat!-It took away the smoke smell in the house too

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  25. Great blog read! I've been using vinegar for cleaning for several years. I also fill spray bottles and clean mirrors and bathroom vanities with it. You can do it for a quick clean in this area without worrying about moving your toothbrushes in the event that they get some spray, unlike with other cleaners. I also do a quick spray down of my kitchen counters every night. Between vinegar and baking soda I don't need to buy a whole lot of expensive cleaning supplies. I love your tip on using it as a fabric softener, and will give it a try. .....and oh yes, I have a problem with leaving towels in the washing machine all too often also....

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  26. I learned the vinegar-as-fabric-softener in the past year when I needed to figure out how to get rid of the smell that happens when you leave laundry in the washer for one (or three) days too many. I also use vinegar and dawn dish soap to clean our bathtubs/showers - it wipes clean like magic - no more scrubbing! There are some really great ways I can use vinegar even more in my home here - thanks for sharing!

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  27. I find my teapot occasionally needs a good vinegar soak to get rid of the hard water mineral deposits at the bottom. shines like new!!!

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  28. Why did I not know all of these secrets about vinegar! It is amazing. I have been looking for specialists in carpet cleaning in NYC (where I live) but it seems like there are ways to DIY!

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  29. ok when I read your blog...it's like you we speak the same language. I love it!!!!

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  30. Goin' to Costco and buying in bulk! Cheap and natural and has multiple uses, ahhhh yes please!!!!!

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  31. Great ideas! I also use vinegar to clean just about everything. I didn't know about the stainless steel or the steam cleaner. Someone else posted about how wonderful it is to clean bathtubs and it does work great for that. I also use a little Dawn detergent and vinegar to pre-treat stains. I use a little scrub brush to scrub the solution into whatever is stained and it works great! It does make great fabric softener, but did you know that it can be used to rinse your hair? It gets rid of build up from hair sprays and mousse and leaves your hair soft and shiny.

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  32. These are great ideas! I have used most of them except for the stainless steel and steam cleaning carpets. It is also great on tubs. I also use it to pretreat tough laundry stains. I mix Dawn and vinegar and scrub it into the stain prior to washing. It works great. I don't remember when I have bought name brand stain removers. Vinegar is also great to rinse your hair. It gets rid of any hair spray or mousse build up and leaves your hair soft and shiny.

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  33. Great ideas!
    I use vinegar on my windows. I never have bought glass cleaner or paper towels. Nope. Newspaper and 1:1 vinegar/water will do the trick quite nicely, thank you very much, and I'll keep a few extra George Washingtons right where they belong--in my wallet, waiting for me to find some garage sales.

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  34. These are such great ideas!! I loved this so much I included it in my blog post round up of “Lovely Links” today! Hope that’s ok! Thanks for sharing them :). http://www.mayricherfullerbe.com/2013/08/lovely-links_23.html

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  35. Thank you so much for sharing your secrets! I am a new wife and am still learning and looking for effective ways tips to clean and save around the house! I love your blog post!! I have a question though, when you use vinegar as fabric softener, is the smell very noticeable? Actually, with everything in general, does it leave a strong scent? If it does, is there anything I can do to mask the scent? I have a big issue with the smell of vinegar :-(

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  36. I recently discovered your blog through Pinterest and love it, you reinvigorated my love of organizing, painting furniture, etc and inspired me to repaint this hutch I got on Craigslist for $15 and repurpose it into a safe alternative to the bookshelves in my office that is keeping my toddler at bay in there. I just wanted to say thank you!!!!!!!

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  37. 1 part of vinegar plus 1 part of washing up liquid boiled in the very burned pot works miracles. Just cover the pot with a lid. I will now try it on stainless steel and as fabric softener - smell or no smell. Thank you for those ideas!

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  38. Great post. I have been using natural cleaning products suct as vinegar, baking soda and lemons, for cleaning for many years and i have always encouraged my friends and family to do so. Vinegar is my favourite, because, as explained above, it can clean almost everything.

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  39. Just found this post and can't wait to try these tips. Can you tell me what steam cleaner you have for your carpet? I've needed to get one for a long time and you have prompted me to do it. I figure if yours holds up, it must be a good one. Thank you!

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  40. I buy the cleaning vinegar at walmart. It has a higher acidity. I haven't looked back!

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  41. I too use vinegar as my go-to cleaner. It works wonderfully in the toilet bowl and leaves it sparkling white. Pour in about 2 cups after cleaning and let it sit. I usually buy the huge bottles from Costco.

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  42. I just recently learned that vinegar also gets rid of hard water stains/spots. Just rinsing dishes in vinegar does the trick. I'm going to try adding it to the dishwasher while cleaning to see if that works, too. Vinegar is the best!

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  43. Wow, I love vinegar too!! You can also put a few drop of essential oil to make it smell better when you're using it. I put lavender with in in the laundry rinse/softener receptacle, and grapefruit in with the floor wash, mmmmm....and tea tree oil for things I want to smell really clean like icky bathroom stuff. And boiling it with water on the stove will get rid of any airborne smells, like if you were cooking fish!

    However, I had no idea about the steam cleaner and stainless steel. I had bee using mineral oil for the stainless which works great for appliances but not so much for the kitchen sink. Thanks so much!

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  44. Oh, and you can use vinegar as your rinse agent in your dishwasher, works great!!

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  45. oh AND, just an add on for laundry stuff: just use about crumpled up foil (into a loose ball shape) instead of bounce sheets. I use 4, and I've never had a problem with static between the vinegar and the foil!

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  46. Looks like I am going to the store to get more vinegar. Especially since you can use in the steam cleaner! WHOA! We have three dogs and sometimes the other humans in the house can't seem to let them out enough so.. BAM...wet spot on the carpet. And of course the others don't use the steam cleaner for whatever reason so Mom gets to do it. Yay me! I am also going to try in the washing machine. I have a load of towels in there now that will need to be rewashed. So nice to know there are others among us that leave their laundry sit. I have walked by it how many times this week?

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  47. I'm moving into my own place by new year. Thanks for the cleaning tips because I'm a clean freak. I'll save a lot on household cleaners. Ohhhhhh.........the anticipation. .....NOW DO YOUR HAMMER DANCE

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  48. I am also a huge fan of vinegar for cleaning. Love all of your ideas. Thanks for all your tips!

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  49. My Momma uses vinegar all the time on all her floors. She swears by it! Thanks for these other great tips!
    Cant wait to try them out ;)

    All my heart,
    Deborah

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  50. I'm just learning how great vinegar is for cleaning! It got rid of the dog pee smell in our bathroom, wanting to try on our wooden floors too, do you have any suggestions? I also heard you can use it to clean your washing machine... is there a certain amount to use?

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  51. I love vinegar too! I just used it remove rust from my metal bathroom shelves. Just spray and cover with paper towels, and in a few hours it wipes clean away.

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  52. Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful tips. Even i love vinegar now. :)

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  53. Thanks so much for these amazing tips. I love vinegar too! :)

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  54. Vinegar is great - another way to use it in laundry: it gets ride of armpit sweat stains and smells. I just put straight white vinegar in a spray bottle and saturate those smelly yellow arm-pitted shirts before throwing them in the wash - gets rid of the smell and stain!

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  55. I know this is an old post, but your vinegar in the fridge idea just saved my life! My fridge smells so much better now, thank you thank you thank you!

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  56. Another great way to get stainless steel looking amazing: baby oil!

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  57. We have the same fridge!! Ok, I'm also obsessed with using vinegar for the mildew towel smell thing... I may be at risk of leaving laundry in the washer just a lil while longer after it's done too.... :) :) :) Thanks for the great tips!

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Thanks so much for leaving a comment!! I do the hammer dance every time I read one.

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