Clean naturally with vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide

Save It, Fix It, Keep It, Use It


Don't spend money on toxic cleaning products. Clean naturally with vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide instead. With just these three ingredients, you can have an inexpensive cleanser for everything in your bathroom.

How it works

Chemistry plays an important role in cleaning. To remove fatty or oily grime, get down to basics. That means using solutions with a pH greater than 7, the neutral value of water. Borax, baking soda, ammonia, and bleach fit into the basic, or alkaline, category. Cleaning products like all-purpose cleaners, oven cleaner, and laundry detergent also have a basic pH. These products get rid of most common messes, including dirt, soot, fats, cooking oils, food stains, and baked-on grease.

In your home, acidic cleaners fight rust, mineral deposits, water spots, and soap deposits. Unlike basic solutions, acidic solutions have a pH less than 7. Household examples of acidic solutions include vinegar, which contains acetic acid, and lemon juice, which features citric acid. Toilet bowl cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, and cleaning products that fight hard water, mineral deposits, and mold are also acidic. As a bonus, acidic cleaners also act as disinfectants. They change the pH of the environment, making it tough for many microorganisms to survive.


Wrinkled clothes? Homemade formulas aren’t just for cleaning. You can have a wrinkle-free outfit without an iron using just a spritz of the solution found on page 330 of Save It, Fix It, Keep It, Use It. It’s great for travel and harried mornings!


Clean it naturally

  • Toilet bowl. Chlorine bleach may be a great disinfectant, but it can dull porcelain sinks and tubs. Dulled and roughened surfaces become tougher to clean. Fortunately, the acetic acid in white vinegar helps fight many kinds of bacteria. Pour one to two cups of vinegar into your toilet, let sit for a few hours, scrub with a toilet brush, and flush. Acidic cleaners like vinegar are good at breaking up mineral deposits, rust, and stains that commonly appear in toilets, so this inexpensive cleaner will leave the porcelain sparkling. If you do not have time to wait, pour both vinegar and baking soda in the bowl, and scour with a brush.
  • Chrome and stainless steel. Polish with a cloth soaked in vinegar.
  • Tile and grout. Sprinkle baking soda over flat tile surfaces and rub with a damp sponge. For vertical tile, apply baking soda to a damp sponge and wipe. To clean grout, make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water and scrub it into the grout.
  • Bathtub. To clean unsightly film off your tub, wipe it down with vinegar, then baking soda, and rinse clean.
  • Sink. Sponge it down with baking soda for regular cleaning, and use vinegar to remove hard water deposits.
  • Windows and mirrors. Clean with equal parts vinegar and warm water for a streak-free shine.
  • Shower head. Thoroughly wet a towel with vinegar, and wrap it tightly around your shower head to help remove mildew and mineral deposits. If you’re not happy with the results, fill a resealable bag with vinegar and completely submerge the shower head. Use a rubber band to attach the bag to the shower head so it can soak in the vinegar overnight. Remove the bag in the morning, and use an old toothbrush to scrub it clean.
  • Mold and mildew. Apply a mixture of four parts hydrogen peroxide and one part water directly on mold or mildew. Let sit for several minutes and scrub. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Stay safe

Practice smart safety habits whenever you’re working with chemicals.

  • Never combine chlorine bleach with acidic products — including vinegar, toilet bowl cleaners, and rust removers — or with ammonia cleaners, such as window cleaners and some hand dishwashing soaps.
  • Don’t reuse empty commercial cleaner bottles to hold homemade brews. The new cleaner could interact with the old. Plus, you might forget what’s really in the bottle.
  • Whether you’re using commercial cleaners or making your own, wear proper gloves and eye protection and have good ventilation.


Save It, Fix It, Keep It, Use It

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  • FC&A Staff Writer