There are entire books written on the uses of lemon and vinegar. White distilled vinegar and lemon juice share a similar acidic pH of between 2.3 and 2.5. Both have strong deodorant properties that make them especially successful in kitchen and bathroom applications. Lemon and vinegar cleansing leaves rooms fresh smelling and clean, naturally.
Use lemon at full strength as a natural bleaching agent, a solvent to clean copper and polish chrome, and a stain remover and deodorizer for counter tops and plastics. Sliced lemon can be rubbed directly onto your hands before washing to remove strong odors and discolorations. You can combine lemon juice with borax and baking soda or salt to create a mildly abrasive and germ-retardant degreaser for kitchen ranges and in bathroom toilets.
Use white distilled vinegar at full strength to clean and deodorize glassware, coffeepots, and both kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Dilute vinegar with a 50/50 water solution for a streak-free shine on your windows. If there is a waxy residue clinging to your windows from years of using commercial products, clean your windows with full-strength white vinegar. Vinegar is especially effective at dissolving soap residues, so it is commonly used as a bathroom cleaner to remove scum and lime deposits.
In the laundry, lemons can power away organic stains like berries and rust. To use lemons as a stain remover, rub the site with a cut lemon or apply lemon juice directly to the site and put the stain directly in sunlight for about 30 minutes.
Vinegar has the ability to break through many commercial wax and soap residues, which makes vinegar useful as a fabric softener. One cup of white vinegar added to your rinse cycle will yield clean smelling and soft laundry. Add two cups of white vinegar to a load of cottons, wools, or baby clothes for gentle and natural fluffiness.
When you are buying ingredients for your natural cleansing products, there are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind:
1) Remember that fresh is best, so using fresh lemons for cleansing and deodorizing will give you the best results. Lemon juice from the bottle is the next best option. When lemons are out of season, bottled is often the most economical alternative. Bottled juice is easier to use for larger cleaning jobs.
2) There are many varieties of vinegar, but the most often used in housekeeping are cider vinegar and white distilled vinegar (5 percent). Cider vinegar may discolor fabric, so it should not be used in laundering.
3) Other ingredients you may wish to purchase with your lemon and vinegar are: borax, salt, baking soda and essential oils. These are commonly used in preparing cleaning solutions with vinegar and lemon.
Vinegar and lemon are generally safe to touch and ingest, but their acidity causes them to react to alkaline substances. You should never use lemon or vinegar while cleaning with bleach, these chemicals create dangerous gasses that are harmful to inhale.
The acids in lemon and vinegar can break down many stone surfaces; such as concrete, marble and granite. If you use lemon or vinegar to clean these surfaces, it can cause permanent cosmetic damage to the finish.
Lemon juice or vinegars used to polish chrome are essentially acid-etching the surface to bring out a high polish. If these chemicals are left on the surface they will damage the chrome finish. Remove acids from chrome surfaces as quickly as possible.
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