You don't have to use harsh, toxic chemicals to whiten and brighten items around your home, when white distilled vinegar can do the job. Use it undiluted or mixed with baking soda to whiten household items such as laundry, grout, ceramic tiles, and porcelain sinks or bowls.
Whitening and Brightening Laundry
White distilled vinegar mixed with baking soda and laundry detergent whitens bed linens, towels and clothing items during a normal washing machine cycle. It also serves as a natural softener, eliminating the need for commercial fabric softeners. Toss in a half-cup of baking soda at the beginning of the wash cycle; then pour in a cup of vinegar when the rinse cycle starts. Spot-clean stubborn stains directly with undiluted vinegar; then wash the item as usual. The odor dissipates during the rinse and the drying process. For extra bleaching power, hang out the clothes to dry in the sunlight.
Grout and Other Hard Surfaces
Eliminate even the most difficult stains on grout and ceramic tiles with an application of undiluted vinegar. Dip a stiff-bristled toothbrush into vinegar and use it to scrub the grout and ceramic tiles in bathrooms, kitchens and countertops. For routine cleaning before the accumulation of stains and yellowing, wipe grout and tiles with a vinegar-soaked sponge. Avoid using vinegar on porous natural stone surfaces such as marble, travertine and slate. To clean porcelain sinks and toilet bowls, sprinkle the surface with baking soda; then drizzle with white vinegar. Scour with a light abrasive or plastic-covered cleaning pad.
Wendy K. Leigh
Wendy K. Leigh is a travel writer and photojournalist from Seattle. She is the Editor of Islands America, a travel website for visiting islands within the United States. She also writes about home design, food and historical architecture. Leigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington.