Vinegar is an environmentally friendly, non-toxic, multipurpose cleaner that you can and should be using to clean your home. It’s affordable, readily available, and edible—so you know it’s safe for you, your kids, and your pets.
Vinegar can remove dirt, grease, and grime, dissolve mineral deposits, and kill bacteria. The reason is that it contains naturally occurring acetic acid, which is an ingredient in some household cleaners!
But wait! Before you reach for the bottle, check out these tips that include recipes for creating your own cleaning solutions with vinegar as well as the dos and don’ts you need to know.
First, know that white distilled vinegar is best for cleaning. Dark kinds of vinegar like balsamic, red wine, or apple cider vinegar can stain since some have added coloring agents.
If you’ve ever smelled vinegar, you know that the pungent aroma isn’t pleasant. Luckily, you can counteract it with a few drops of essential oil.
1.Clear Drains and Promote Healthy Pipes
From the kitchen sink to the shower, and even the toilet, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda can help you clear clogged drains.
After pouring in the baking soda and vinegar (one at a time), follow up with a rinse of almost-boiling water. For some households, letting the regular hot water run will be enough.
2. Rejuvenate Faucets and Showerheads
Water brings life—all kinds of life, including bacteria, mold, and grime.
Because of your perspective, as you stand over the sink, you rarely see the grime and mineral deposits that build up where your water comes out.
Remove hard water stains and calcium deposits from fixtures with a mixture of 2 parts vinegar and 1 part salt.
To get the head of the faucet, fill a plastic bag with your solution, slip it over the faucet, and adhere it with a rubber band. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and see the grime fall right out.
3. Make Glass Windows and Mirrors Sparkle
Vinegar also functions as an eco-friendly glass cleaner! Combine one part water and two parts vinegar. Then, add your mixture to a spray bottle for easy use. This leaves no streaks and is perfect for making picture frames, glass top tables, windows, and mirrors sparkle.
4. Shine Showers, Tubs, and Bathroom Tiles
Tackle soap scum, mildew, and stubborn stains in the bathroom with undiluted white vinegar. Spray it on your shower, tub, and tiles. Then, let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Scrub the areas you want clean, and rinse.
If stubborn stains still don’t go away, mix some vinegar into a cup of baking soda until it forms a paste. Apply the paste to all the trouble areas, then scrub the first spot you started, using the paste like an exfoliator. Make sure you give each spot enough time to sit.
5. Clean Countertops, Tables, and Other High-Traffic Surfaces
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, and it’s perfect for counters and tables. Use before and after food preparation to help remove odors. As a bonus, it also deters ants and other pests!
However, be careful. Never use vinegar on granite or marble. The acid can harm natural stones and protective coatings, making them less shiny and less durable.
6. Disinfect and De-Gunk Your Dishwasher
Does your dishwasher give off an unpleasant odor even after you’ve emptied the trap?
While shelling out for the more expensive and specialty dishwasher cleaners like afresh and finish can do a better job, this discount cleaner can help in a pinch.
Deep clean your dishwasher by running an almost empty load with no detergent and no heat dry. The only thing you should put in there is a glass cup or bowl filled with 2 cups of vinegar.
The vinegar will mix with the water, run through the whole system, and give it a good deep clean. Afterward, the smell of soap scum and rotten food residue should be gone.
Don’t do this too often, though. The acetic acid could eat away at rubber parts over time. Always check your manual for care instructions.
7. Fluff Up and Soften Clean Towels
Stiff towels are unpleasant, and the scratchy texture can be caused by detergent residue and mineral buildup from your water system. For soft towels, put your stiff ones in the washing machine with ½ cup white vinegar and no detergent.
8. Remove Laundry Odors and Stains
You can also remove fabric odors and stains by adding 1 cup vinegar to your usual wash.
Don’t do this frequently because any rubber components in your washing machine (like hoses and seals) could corrode over time.
Front-load washers are more prone to damage from continual vinegar use than top load washers—but you shouldn’t use vinegar frequently no matter what type of washing machine you have.
9. Clean Stubborn Carpets Stains
Carpet stains from spilled drinks like soda and wine are a pain. Luckily, you can get them out with this simple method.
- 1/2 tablespoon liquid dish soap
- 1/2 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 cup warm water
Then, you’ll need two clean cloths. With one, apply a small amount of the solution to the carpet. With the other dry cloth, gently dab at the stain. Alternate between applying and dabbing until the stain is gone!
10. Protect Your Produce
Vinegar removes the bacteria, mold, and pesticides that are harmful to your body and make your produce wither quicker.
Keep your fruits and veggies fresh and safe with a mixture of three parts water to one part vinegar. You can apply the vinegar mixture with a spray bottle or soak your produce for 10 minutes.
11. Get Rid of Sticky Things
Vinegar can also help remove adhesives and glue. If you like to keep glass jars for reuse, vinegar can help you remove the labels.
This trick is also helpful for recently purchased products and craft messes.
12. Freshen Up Your Floors
For ceramic tiles, mop with a solution containing a ½ cup vinegar to 1 gallon water.
For no-wax linoleum floors, use a ½ cup vinegar to ½ gallon water.
But be cautious. It’s not safe to clean all floors with vinegar. Never use vinegar on hardwood floors or natural stone floors!
13. Take on the Toilet
To clean your toilet, dump 2-3 cups of vinegar into the bowl, and let it sit for 3 hours. Then, use the toilet brush to scrub. This trick is good for your pipes, too, because it can break up any clogs that may be forming.
You can also use a vinegar solution to disinfect the outside of the bowl, seat, and lid.
14. Clean Small Appliances
Does your coffee maker, blender, toaster, or microwave need a pick me up? Vinegar can help!
For the microwave, boil 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water in the microwave, then wipe away the softened food residue. You can run vinegar through your coffee maker (followed by several rinses) to clean out the parts you can’t reach.
Never Use Vinegar
It’s important to note that you can’t use vinegar on everything. Here are a few things you should never clean with vinegar.
- natural stone (like marble, limestone, granite)
- stubborn stains like grass, ink, or blood
- touch screens
- low-quality stainless steel
- kitchen knives