Things You'll Need
Apple cider vinegar
Paper towels or cloths
Vinegar is used as an alternative to chemical cleaners, as its acidic nature helps deodorize as well as clean. Apple cider vinegar can be used for cleaning purposes throughout the house, ranging from wiping down the kitchen to taking the dirt and grime off outdoor furniture--it can even be used on laundry. If harsh chemical smells bother you, consider putting apple cider vinegar to work instead of commercial cleaners. Pay attention and avoid using straight apple cider vinegar on soft surfaces or fabrics, as the color can bleed into the area being cleaned.
Mix a solution of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part water and mix in a spray bottle. Do not use more vinegar, as the solution may be too strong and have a negative effect on items that you will be cleaning. Fill a separate spray bottle with plain water. Label the bottles so that you know which one contains the plain water and which one has the vinegar-water mixture.
Determine the type of stain that you have. Blot up excess liquids and remove all solids from the area before attempting to cleanse the area. For carpets, upholstery and fabrics, make sure to test an inconspicuous area before applying the vinegar solution to the whole area. Keep in mind that apple cider vinegar differs from white vinegar, as it has a slight color to it, even when diluted. Do not skip performing a patch test on soft surfaces.
Perform a test of the surface to be cleaned by spraying the apple cider vinegar solution to a small area. Let the solution soak in for 15 minutes, then blot it up with paper towels or cloths. After removing as much of the vinegar solution as you can, spray the area with plain water and blot or wipe up the water with a cloth or towel.
Use the apple cider vinegar solution for cleaning hard surfaces such as floors, cabinets and counter tops in the same manner as cleaning soft surfaces. You do not need to use the plain water on hard surfaces, as the apple cider vinegar smell will dissipate over time once the solution dries naturally.
Use apple cider vinegar in the laundry to deodorize and aid with cleaning by adding the apple cider vinegar and water into the laundry tub prior to adding items to be laundered. Use a reduced ration for laundry by adding 1 part apple cider vinegar to 4 parts water---use 1/2 cup of this solution when doing a regular-size load of laundry. Use 1 cup of vinegar to clean the washing machine itself when there are no clothes being cleaned.
Clean gold jewelry with apple cider vinegar, The Vinegar Institute suggests. Submerge the gold jewelry in 1 cup of the apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then towel dry.
Keep a spray bottle filled with a apple cider vinegar solution ready so that you have it handy when you need it for cleaning.
Always test a small area before applying vinegar-based solutions to fabrics or soft surfaces to avoid staining or discoloration.
Jennifer Hench has been writing since 1990 on topics ranging from finance to technology. Her articles have appeared in "Network World" magazine, "Electrical Contractor" magazine as well as in other print and online media. Hench holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and another in information systems from Lebanon Valley College and Lock Haven University.