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How to Use Environmentally Friendly Products: Vinegar and Sidewalk Chalk

Updated on July 20, 2012
White vinegar in a dollar store spray bottle.
White vinegar in a dollar store spray bottle. | Source

Vinegar and Bathroom and Kitchen Clean-up

There are two products I have always kept in my house and used often but for reasons that differ from their predominant use now. Vinegar and most recently white sidewalk chalk have become essential staples in my cleaning arsenal.

My family and I live on a farm with a septic tank into which all water waste travels. Toxic chemicals can be damaging to the system so I worried about using too much. Vinegar has become a trusted part of bathroom and kitchen cleanup. It is environmentally friendly while cutting through grease and killing most mold and bacteria. It is also an economical alternative to the harsher prepackaged cleaning products.

I keep a spray bottle of vinegar in every bathroom and in the kitchen. Every day, the bathroom mirror and sink get a quick spray with vinegar. Toothpaste spatters from messy boys and soap scum easily disappear with the swipe of a sponge I also keep handy under the sink. Vinegar is also handy for keeping the toilet stain free but a long handled sponge is used to mop up the inside of the toilet. Frequent use of vinegar will reduce but probably will not eliminate the need for a harsher cleaner in the toilet once a week.

Vinegar is also essential in kitchen clean-ups. It is effective in cutting through greasy mess on the stove top, counter tops and exterior of all appliances. Drains can be kept clog free by pouring baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. I also get rid of coffee grinds down the sink. Their rough texture scrapes the pipes clean. Build-up in dishwashers can be kept reduced by adding a cup of vinegar inside the washer before every load. Finally, I boil vinegar in my kettle and coffee machine frequently to remove calcium build-up which reduces the efficiency of the heating elements and leaves a gritty residue in tea and coffee. Pour vinegar to the fill mark in your kettle and boil. Let the solution sit over night and then dump down the sink and boil fresh water which again will be dumped down the sink. Your kettle is again ready for use. The same method can be used for an automatic coffee machine.

Chalk is not just useful in the classroom or for the creation of sidewalk art!
Chalk is not just useful in the classroom or for the creation of sidewalk art! | Source

Sidewalk Chalk and Grass Stains

I now keep white sidewalk chalk handy in my laundry room. While watching my youngest son at football practice, I was fortunate to meet the mother of one his team mates. Having been responsible for washing the football pants of her son's entire team while living in Western Canada, she learned a tip from another about the usefulness of white chalk in removing grass and dirt stains from football pants. Now, before I wash the pants, I rub the stains vigorously with white sidewalk chalk. Ordinary chalk works okay as well, but is much thinner and breaks more easily making it harder to use. If the stains are deep, I also use Spray and Wash on top of the chalk and then soak for a couple of hours. Later, I wash as usual. Even in cold water wash, most or all of the stains are removed and the pants are much whiter. This method works well on other whites as well!

For less toxic and more cost effective clean-up, vinegar for everyday clean-up and sidewalk chalk for stubborn stains are essentials in your cleaning arsenal!!!


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    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I didn't believe my football mama BFF until I tried it!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've been using vinegar to clean my windows for many years now. Sidewalk chalk is a new one and can't wait to try it.

    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for the welcome Denise. Yes, the acreage is beautiful and provides many opportunities for keeping in tune with the environment.

      Glad to hear it Chin chin. Vinegar is great for so much more than cooking!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      What a great hub, Teresa. I read your profile page and your home (acerage) sounds intriguing. Welcome to HP

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      Good tips on this hub. I would certainly use more of vinegar as cleaning ingredient from now on.

    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks both of you for the thumbs up. Enjoy the experiment in chalk. Make sure to use white!!!!

    • lonnierakestraw profile image


      6 years ago from South Florida

      I found this hub while "hopping" and have to say it is one of the more interesting hubs I've read. I really enjoy eco-friendly tips. I am going to test the chalk tip tonight!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      6 years ago from Northern, California

      Who knew? Sidewalk chalk works for stain removal...I can't wait to give it a try. Cool read, thanks for sharing.



    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      If it hadn't been for my football buddy who spent many hours cleaning young boys football pants I wouldn't have known the secret of sidewalk chalk either! I'll have to investigate the science behind its power.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Whoah! Sidewalk chalk to remove grass stains... that's so cool!! Thanks for sharing that one- I had never thought of chalk as a potential cleaning material before!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi, Vinegar is great isn't it? I never knew about the chalk though, what a great idea! cheers nell

    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for the vote of confidence and for the follow. I've been incorporating environmentally friendly practices in our home for years now. Drying clothes on racks, recycling where possible, composting and raising chickens for their eggs but also as a means to get rid of food scraps and turn them into liquid gold!

    • GoGreenTips profile image

      Greg Johnson 

      6 years ago from Indianapolis

      Great Hub! Vinegar is a great cleaning substitute for many of the toxic substances that we buy in the stores. Amazingly these simple products like vinegar, baking soda and soap crystals cleaned just fine until after WWII when all the new chemicals were pushed.


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