A wide array of cleaners is available on the market, with formulas and specifications to meet any cleaning needs. The problem is, many of these cleaners are created using harmful chemical ingredients that may be dangerous to humans or animals coming into contact with them. Furthermore, the cleaners often come at a high cost. A safe, inexpensive cleaner using boric acid and vinegar is simple to make in your own kitchen.
While a bottle of store-bought household cleaner may cost several dollars, it takes only pennies to whip up a bottle of boric acid and vinegar cleaner. Aside from being budget-friendly, this homemade cleaner is also environmentally friendly. The ingredients used in this cleaner are all natural and biodegradable. Boric acid disinfects and even acts as a pesticide, while vinegar disinfects, deodorizes and whitens. Finally, a cleaner made with these ingredients is safe for use around pets and children, as it is nontoxic and nonirritating.
This cleaner may be mixed in different variations to serve different purposes. Boric acid and vinegar cleaner disinfects hard surfaces throughout your home, including tabletops, countertops, sinks, toilets, tubs and even pet cages or litter boxes. It wipes clean spots left on those same surfaces or even on dishes. Boric acid and vinegar cleaner is effective on windows or other glass surfaces. When mixed with a few other ingredients, boric acid and vinegar combine to make a dish detergent, disinfectant for wounds and even an ear wash for pets.
A simple household cleaning spray is made using 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar and a Tbsp. of boric acid. Dishwasher detergent uses 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup boric acid, 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup citric acid. Clean glass surfaces with 2 parts water, 1 part vinegar and 1/2 part boric acid, wiping the surfaces with old newspapers to remove spots and streaks. Make a pet ear wash and disinfectant solution with 1 cup isopropyl alcohol, 2 tsp. boric acid, 1/3 cup white vinegar and 1 tsp. Betadine. An effective carpet cleaner contains 1/4 cup grain alcohol, 2 tsp. boric acid, 1 cup white vinegar and 4 tsp. citric acid, and can be used to rinse carpets after washing.
Vinegar, no matter how diluted or how combined with other ingredients, always has that characteristic sour smell. While the odor may be pleasant to some, others find it very displeasing. Vinegar also has a slight bleaching effect; if it is used in too strong of a concentration, it may discolor some fabrics. Remember that no ingredient, natural or not, is particularly safe if consumed in large quantities by animals or humans. Finally, using a boric acid and vinegar cleaner means the cleaner does not contain some of the chemicals that make cleaning easier, so it requires a bit more elbow grease to get the job done.
Jamie Conrad is a professional writer and artist, having over 10 years of experience in both writing and performing arts. She has worked as a news anchor, newspaper reporter, freelance writer, and theatre artist, veterinary technician, and teacher. Her work has appeared in various local newspapers and extensively on eHow. Conrad studied at West Virginia University and holds a B.A. in theatre and journalism.