Every season, we deep clean at our house. It’s mainly because I have allergies, and because we share our space with four cats. (Yes. It gets interesting.) One of the best cleaning “solutions” I use is one that my grandmother and my mother taught me: a solution of water, vinegar, and baking soda. It’s easy to make, and I put together enough for a day’s work–a couple of gallons all together. It doesn’t really “keep”, so make it every time you need it.
Generally, I make it in a plastic bucket. Granny always said not to use a metal bowl, because it might discolor both the paste and what you’re hoping to clean. Only mix this in plastic or non-reactive glass or ceramic.
It works well on hard plastics like porch furniture, outdoor toys, and pool toys too. We used it on vinyl screens too. Don’t use it on metal screens–the vinegar can promote rust! I speak from personal experience here…and replacing a few metal screens in my time.
You can reduce the liquid ingredients and make it a paste too, and leave it to work on a stubborn area, rinsing off in 5 or 10 minutes after you apply it.
The solution and paste are safe for porcelain, vinyl flooring, glass shower doors that have mineral build-up (not mirrors!), ceramic tile and Formica as well, so it’s ideal for the kitchen and bath. It works well on areas that may have mildew–it’s great on grout and caulking in the bath. Don’t use on stone surfaces, or on grouting in stone surfaces. The vinegar can bleach the stone. Don’t use on brass or pewter either–although the mix is safe for stainless steel.
I also used this to clean the cat box. I don’t like the idea of bleaching it out, so when I put fresh litter in every couple of weeks, I use this after washing out the emptied box. So far, no stinky cat box!
Granny’s Deep Cleaning Solution
2 cups warm water
1 cup baking soda
Mix well in plastic or glass container that holds 5 cups or more, until baking soda is dissolved. Wipe on, rub until grime is gone, and rinse off. (Adjust for smaller jobs accordingly.)
To make a paste, start with the baking soda and vinegar, and add water a little at a time until you have a smooth paste. You’ll want to wear gloves, and I recommend eye protection, as this is very strong, and you won’t want it in your eyes or on your skin. Because it’s super-powered, it cleans quickly. You’ll want to apply sparingly, and rinse completely.
If you live in a hard water area, you may want to make the solution with distilled water, and rinse the cleaned areas with distilled water to avoid mineral build up.