You’ll never guess what you can do with vinegar! Vinegar isn’t just for cooking. Did you know you can clean your bathtub, sink, toilet and chrome fixtures with it?
Now, I must tell you. I’m in love with vinegar! I even got my mom to be a “believer” in it =) She probably won’t like me telling you this…..in fact, she will absolutely KILL me if she knows I wrote this for the entire world to read. But even if she finds out, what can she do to me? She’s thousands of miles away =) No, really I told her I was writing this. So let me tell you the story: Last trip to California, I was happily excited when telling her how I discovered that vinegar could clean my scummy tub. Anyone battle a scummy tub? Here in Sicily, we have HARRRRRRD WATER, and the rings that formed around my faucets and tub were absolutely terrible… I mean, you can cut those beasts with a knife! So my mom, all of sudden hopeful there was a cure for her scummy tub, told me she was willing to try anything since none of the commercial “powerful” cleaners worked, and she was losing her hands to scrubbing. So here is what you do……(I’ll finish the story in a minute).
How to make DIY Citrus infused Vinegar:
- Get yourself a gallon of the cheapest vinegar you can find (for me, it’s white wine vinegar…hey, I live in Italy =). Distilled vinegar will work just fine. I would not recommend any colored vinegars, like balsamic or red wine as they might color the surface….not to mention make your surfaces smell like a wine cantina!
- In a glass jug, or any wide mouth container, fill to the top with lemon or orange peels. Pour vinegar over and let seep for a couple of weeks. Stain the peels so you are left with citrus scented vinegar.
Since my jar has a wide neck with an open spout, I place a small tea saucer over when straining to keep the lemons in =) After straining, I add new vinegar and repeat the process, reusing the same lemons 3-4 times before tossing.
For really bad scum: Now, if your tub is really scummy, I mean to the point where you actually see the trails white of soap scum over your white tub (…yes, it’s possible to see white on white, trust me), then you are going to need to get a spray bottle, pour the vinegar inside, add 2 TBSP of dish soap (any kind) and spray the entire tub or surface like no tomorrow, basically coating the entire surface. Wait 1 hour, then scrub with something having heavy bristles. Rinse. Repeat 2 or three times until your tub shines and you can actually rub your fingers over the surface, hearing a squeaking sound. Yes, it’s possible!
For mild scum or for regular cleaning: Fill your spray bottle with a 50:50 mixture of the scented vinegar and water, along with 1 TBSP of dish soap. Spray down and let sit for 15-30 minutes, scrub and wipe away. Yes, wipe away. I’ve found that if you wipe the vinegar solution with a rag, instead of rinsing with water, you won’t have water spots and the shine remains! I was told this technique (of wiping down surfaces instead of rinsing with water) was how hotels keep the shine and prevent water spots. Anyway, for me it works!
……back to the story, after I cleaned mom’s tub with the vinegar solution, it was sparkling and basking in its glory! My mom was so amazed and impressed, she began spraying the tub EVERY TIME she got out of the shower. During the time we were staying with them, we knew when my mom had taken a shower, because we could whiff the vinegar coming from their bedroom! Actually, before we left, she was seriously looking for a place to buy vinegar by the bulk =) =)
Clean your kitchen counter tops, sink, appliances
This works great for cleaning every day spills and keeping things nice and shiny, For the inside of the oven, just add a bit of baking soda, lightly scour, then spray with the vinegar solution. Wipe down and voilà! Instant clean!
Note: Do NOT use vinegar on marble, terracotta, or other porous surfaces, as the acid (even in mild form as found in vinegar) may damage these kinds of surfaces.
Use as a fabric softener
I’ve heard that many grandmothers used to use vinegar as a fabric softener in the rinse water. Guess what, it works! See my DIY Laundry Detergent post.
Clean the coffee maker and\or espresso machine
Ok, here’s another story…..
Finding an American coffee maker is no small task here. Italians just don’t drink the stuff. Ok, do you blame them? If you have never tasted an Italian cappuccino, put that on the list! It’s out of this world. Now, I still drink my American coffee everyday because, well, its in my blood and my husband even joins me!…..but for those of you who would like to taste a cappuccino, but may never make it to Italy, I’ll let you on a secret: Starbucks makes one VERY similar. So don’t worry, just run to the nearest Starbucks. When my husband misses his cappuccino while in California, we just go to Starbucks. (No, I’m not getting paid by Starbucks to say this….really, their cappuccino is as good as it gets). Now back to vinegar…….because our American coffee maker and our Italian Espresso\cappuccino machine live side by side on our counter, they tend to compete for attention and who gets to make more coffee. In the last months, both were giving us problems. Our American coffee maker, “Krupy”, (yes, I name our appliances) was stopping 3-4 times while brewing. Its Italian cousin, “Espressy” was even more rebellious as it threw a fit……right in front of our guests!….the last time my husband tried to use it, exploding coffee granules everywhere……needless to say mommy wasn’t happy with the both of them. I was suspecting that they both needed to be cleaned internally, and so off they went to the kitchen sink, one after the other. Both of them went through cycles of just peculating vinegar. After about three times each with just vinegar, I ran them again twice with coffee to get rid of any lingering vinegar….who wants vinegar flavored coffee right?……and the crowing moment finally came….not only were they both shiny, but they both produced cups of coffee just like when we first got them! Mommy and daddy where proud!
While we are on the subject of coffee…..this has nothing to do with vinegar: Just in case you happen to have an espresso machine and want to know what is a good brand of Italian coffee imported to the United States, check to see if you have LAVAZZA in any nearby Trader Joe’s or specialty food stores. If you happen to live near an Italian community, like Little Italy, you will be sure to find it at one of their grocery stores. I’m sure you will be able to find it on line as well. Here in Italy, it is one of the top brands that produce a really rich espresso\cappuccino. It’s a bit pricey, but worthy of special occasions or when you want to indulge!