Keeping a clean RV with natural cleaning products isn’t just about protecting the environment. When you live in a small space and have chemical sensitivities, children, or animals, the traditional toxic cleaning solutions just won’t do. Most standard household cleaning products are ‘designed’ by chemists to use artificial smells to cover up the very toxic chemical cleaning detergents they include to make your countertops squeaky clean. You’re going to need to pop your roof open like a tin can in order to get the kind of ventilation most of those products require.
That’s only half of the issue… travel in an RV can be a messy thing depending on how well you have your cabinets’ inventory locked down. With a greater risk of splashes and spills, you also increase the risk of your children or pets getting into substances they shouldn’t be around. Do you locate your nearest hospital and veterinary hospital every time you pull off the road? I personally don’t find the possibilities worth the risk of keeping that kind of junk around.
These days, with a renewed heavy focus on preserving the environment, many supermarkets have begun to offer all-natural cleaning products as an alternative to the traditional kind. However, if you live on a tight budget like we do, you will find that staying ‘green’ will require more ‘green’ than you might be willing to part with on a regular basis. Additionally, unless you read every label and know a good deal about science, you might find—like I did—that these products aren’t as earth-friendly as their labels imply.
What Is The Best, Cheap, Non-Toxic Cleaning Product?
White vinegar—just like your grandma used to use. Don’t believe me? Google it and behold the plethora of articles discussing and praising the multitude of amazing and fantastic uses for white vinegar. You’ll find list after list of all the things you can do with this liquid—including a few dinner recipes. This article is all about how to use it for household purposes… so don’t wander too far away before you finishing reading.
What About Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is touted far and wide for it’s health benefits, household uses, and delicious food recipes. Good ACV for human consumption should always be organic, unfiltered, and include ‘the mother’ (strands of enzymes, proteins, and friendly bacteria) to get the most from the health benefits it has to offer. Apple Cider Vinegar is not only lovely in a salad, it’ll keep your hair shiny, keep your body’s pH in balance, and it’ll even keep the fleas off of your dog or cat. In this article, I’m specifically referring to white vinegar because when you get to spraying it all over the place, you’ll thank me when you’re not spending $9.00 a bottle.
Are There Any Downsides To Using Vinegar?
So far, the only downside I have found to using vinegar to clean your RV is the smell—but that’s relative because I don’t consider it a bad smell. I personally associate vinegar with many delicious foods and whenever I clean with it, it only serves to leave me craving Salt ‘N Vinegar chips, Italian subs, and pickles.
For those of you who don’t like the smell of vinegar, the natural odor could be a problem for you. If this is the case, I recommend putting some lemons rinds or orange peels in the bottle of white vinegar you’re going to clean with. Let it sit for a week or so and mix in a spray bottle with 50% water. The more rinds you use and the longer you let it sit, the more the vinegar will adopt the smell of whatever citrus fruit you used.
Why Use Vinegar As a Cleaning Product?
The Cost: White vinegar is cheap. When you compare all of its many uses to the cost of similar, and sometimes inferior products, you are getting a great deal. No matter what kind of a sale your local store is slapping on your favorite brand-name cleaner, pound for pound, white vinegar will always come in as the cheaper option. Plus, for most cleaning purposes, you are going to want to dilute it with water anyway so essentially, it’s almost always half-price!
Availability: White vinegar is available almost everywhere and you don’t need to get a particular brand to ensure its quality. From the dollar store, to Walmart, to your local grocer, and sometimes even gas station convenience stores, you can get white vinegar readily and in quantity with little to no problem.
Hypoallergenic: Thanks to very rich corporations buying their way onto grocery store shelves, you have to really watch what you spray around your house. Not only are many products completely untested, it’s nearly impossible predict in advance if (or in some cases when) a member of your family will develop an allergy to a particular product you use. Even your pets are at risk for developing allergies. With vinegar, you can literally spray it directly on you or your animal’s skin.
Naturally Non-Toxic: Since vinegar is essentially sour wine, you can—though it’s not recommended to do so in large quantities—literally drink it. You’re certainly not going to need to get your stomach pumped and you definitely don’t have to bust out the Mr. Yuk stickers.
Multi-Purpose: When you live in an RV, space is an absolute premium and multi-taskers become worth their weight in gold. The more stuff one item can do, the more valuable it is to keep around. There are many different lists around the internet for the thousands of uses for vinegar but keep on reading to learn about my favorite uses for this magical potion.
How Can I Use Vinegar To Keep My RV Clean?
For the purposes of general cleaning, I use a small spray bottle with a 50/50 vinegar and water mixture. Basically, you just spray it on whatever surface you want to clean and then wipe it down with a cloth or paper towel. This on/off approach works great for all of the following:
- Cleaning Interior Windows
- Streak-free Mirrors
- Shiny Stainless Steel Sinks
- Removing Pesticides from Produce
- Remove Cooking Oil from Your Stovetop
- Keeping Car Windows Frost-Free (Exterior Use)
A 15 minute soak in that 50/50 vinegar mix works great on the following:
- Unclog Shower Heads from Mineral Deposits
- Treat Finger or Toe Nail Fungus (Daily Use)
Finally, there are a few full-strength vinegar applications that work well. Just put the vinegar on and walk away.
- Deodorizing Drains and P-Traps
- Preventing Mold and Mildew
- Removing the Scent Trail from Ants
- Dab on Mosquito Bites to Stop Itching
Pretty neat, huh? This short list is by no means the entire list of things you can use white vinegar on. It’s cheap, it’s safe, and it’s easy to use. Give it a try and you’ll find that with this one simple household item, you’ll find your RV much sparklier for a lot cheaper.