WHEN it comes to spring cleaning, it can be tempting to rush out and spend an absolute fortune buying every product going to ensure you achieve the most dazzling finish.
However, the perfect solution and 'secret ingredient' to a sparkling clean barely costs a thing, and is something you'll almost definitely already have nestled in your kitchen cupboard – white or white wine vinegar.
Costing from just 40p per bottle, white vinegar is an extremely popular and effective natural cleaning aid, cutting through grime effortlessly to leave your house spotless.
Here, Queen of Clean Lynsey Crombie, author of The 15 Minute Clean, shares exactly how you can utilise the versatile condiment to clean almost everything…
If your grubby windows are the source of embarrassment, but can't afford a window cleaner or would simply prefer to tackle them yourself, there's a simple solution.
TV cleaning guru Lynsey says: "Sometimes it good to implement chemical free cleaning into your routine, especially if you are like me and clean excessively!
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"I keep a spray bottle filled with half vinegar, half water.
"Then wipe clean windows and mirrors with a lint-free cloth."
Just be sure to spray the vinegar on the cloth rather than the surface itself for more control and to avoid drips if worried about the frame.
Additionally, always double check vinegar can be used on a new surface before spraying if not certain, and always test a small area.
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No matter how careful you are, it is inevitable drinks will be spilt or marks will appear on the carpet from time to time.
Lynsey says: "White wine vinegar can really help at removing those unwanted stains.
"Simply mix water and white wine vinegar and add to a spray bottle.
"Spray the marked area and leave for a good five minutes, and then blot the stain using a white cloth or paper towel.
"I always advise blotting with white as this way you can actually see if the stain is being removed.
"Repeat the process if necessary and then rinse away using a wet cloth and a little washing up liquid."
Blitz the bathroom
There's nothing worse than limescale blocking the shower – and it can be tricky to remove.
Lynsey says: "Limescale and headwater can be a real pain to get off.
"So many of the cleaning products on the market just don’t seem to work very well.
"Soak shower heads in a bag of white wine vinegar and spray neat onto shower doors, draining boards and taps.
"If you have any mildew in the bathroom or on your shower curtain then spray with neat white wine vinegar."
Fancy a brew?
Similarly, no one wants a cup of tea with limescale residue floating on the top either, so it's important to keep on top of kettle maintenance.
Lynsey says: "I do this monthly, and this trick has never let me down.
"Simply fill the kettle with half water and half white wine vinegar and leave to sit for 30 minutes.
"Once the time is up boiling the kettle, empty and rinse thoroughly.
"This will keep limescale at bay and eliminates the need of using harsh chemicals.
"You can also try this on your coffee machine too."
Solve smelly a sink situation
If your sink is starting to smell, vinegar can also help eradicate any nasty odours.
Lynsey says: "Used with bicarbonate of soda, white wine vinegar can get rid of those nasty sink odours and keep your sink drain free of slime and gunk.
"This is something you should factor into your monthly cleaning schedule."
Cleaning the inside of your microwave can also be made fuss-free if vinegar is used in the correct way.
Lynsey says: "Using a microwave-safe bowl, fill with half a cup of vinegar and one cup of water.
"Place in the microwave put on a high heat for 5 minutes.
"Let it sit in microwave while it cools.
"You can then easily wipe down inside of microwave, and lingering odours should disappear."
A cool cleaning tip
To clean your fridge without using any harsh chemicals, Lynsey has a simple solution.
She says: "Mix a gallon of warm water and two cups of white wine vinegar.
"Then, wipe down inside of refrigerator, including shelves, walls, and packaging.
"Your refrigerator will be clean and smelling clean without harming any food with harsh chemicals."
To wash fruit and veg, Lynsey says: "Vinegar may help remove bacteria and pesticide residues from fruits and vegetables.
"Mix three parts water to one part white vinegar, and dispense in a spray bottle.
"Then rinse with water."
Despite its smell, vinegar can also be an effective product when it comes to cleaning your clothes too.
Lynsey says: "Add a capful of white wine vinegar into the machine if you feel your laundry is looking a little dull.
"Your colours will come out bolder and your whites whiter."
To remove grass stains, Lynsey adds: "Make a mixture of 80ml white vinegar and 160ml water.
"Apply the solution to the stain and blot with a clean cloth.
"Repeat this process until you’ve removed as much green as possible, and then wash as usual."
To clean the washing machine itself, Lyndsey recommends adding two capfuls of vinegar into the detergent compartment, and then run a hot cycle to freshen up your machine.
A word of warning
While vinegar is extremely effective, as with every cleaning product it isn't suitable for all surfaces however, so it's important to always double check before using.
Emily Barron, cleaning expert at Rezigo, the home services marketplace adds: "While vinegar is a great solution for cleaning around your home, it does contain acetic acid so, you should avoid using it on surfaces such as natural stone, granite and hardwood floors as this can cause damage."
Emily also recommends using vinegar to get your loo sparkling.
She says: "There’s nothing worse than a dirty toilet bowl but it’s easy to get this clean.
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"Fill the bowl with white vinegar and leave overnight.
"In the morning, sprinkle a little baking soda into the bowl and then wipe away."
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