Actually Cleaning with Vinegar and Bicarb

I know, I know. Every man and his dog knows about this. It whizzes around the internet and bloggosphere on an almost daily basis. And it’s not that I’m new to it, I’m not. I’m a great believer in using lemon to clean out kettles and rinsing out drains with bicarb and vinegar.

But that’s usually about where I stop when it comes to actually using bicarb and vinegar to clean. I mean, I know about it on an intellectual level, but I’ve never actually put it in to practice.

But then a combination of three things happened to change my ways.

Firstly, I made another batch of apricot jam. And as some of you may know I tend to burn my apricot jam.

Secondly, I ran out of Jiff.

Thirdly, I wanted to link up to Timber Creek Farmer’s Simple Saturdays Blog Hop.

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

And so I decided to actually try using bicarb and vinegar to clean more than just my showers and drains.


I have to admit, I was slightly skeptical to begin with. How could bicarbinate of soda and vinegar clean anywhere near as effectively as a mass of chemicals? I mean, sure, they’d probably do an ok job but I didn’t imagine that it would be as good (or require as little effort).

I started with my burnt apricot jam pot. It looked a little like this before it went in the dishwasher:



And like this once it came out:



Now that might look like a vast improvement, but I have learnt from many a burnt saucepan before that those burnt patches are almost impossible just get rid of just through using elbow grease and a scourer. Cleaning burnt saucepans is the only reason I even buy Jiff, that’s how hard they are to get clean.

When I clean with vinegar and bicarb I tend not to worry about actual quantities, though I am aware of the fact that there are a large number of websites that can tell you in great detail how much of each to use. I tend to just wing it (which is what I did here).

I sprinkled a bit of bicarb over the burnt section of the saucepan:



and then added a small amount of vinegar. I wanted a really thick paste here, not something thin and runny.



And then I grabbed a scourer and scrubbed.

In only a few minutes my paste was all thick and dirty and a lot of the burnt section had already been removed:



In total it took less than five minutes for my saucepan to end up looking like this:



And that is at least as fast as it would have been with the Jiff.

The best part? I can use the saucepan straight away (I was always a bit wary with Jiff residue in the saucepan and would wash it again afterwards) and I don’t have weird Jiff residue stuck in my cloth for the rest of eternity. I don’t know how many of you use Jiff (or an alternative cream cleaner) but once you use even the tiniest amount of Jiff you can’t ever get it back out of the cloth, no matter how many times you rinse it. It used to drive me insane. No more!

I suspect that there wasn’t a huge cost saving on the Jiff ($2-$4) versus vinegar and bicarb ($2-$4) but not having to deal with leftover residue is enough to tip the scales in the vinegar and bicarbs favour. I won’t be buying Jiff again.

How do you use vinegar and bicarb to clean? Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a natural alternative?


2 thoughts on “Actually Cleaning with Vinegar and Bicarb

  1. I use almost nothing else except vinegar and bi carb these days. That with some citrus does just about everything I need (cleans the disgusting microwave, bathrooms, timber floors, a great upholstery cleaner with just a little washing up liquid added, and yes, anything that needs to good scrub is made easier with the bicarb and vinegar treatment).

    • I’ve tried not to use it too much since Nick really doesn’t seem to like it (something about “why can’t you just be normal and use cleaning products?”).
      After this experience, I might have to just pretend like I *am* using cleaning products…at least until Nick volunteers to scrub the pots 😉

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