40+ Cleaning Uses for Vinegar

Ahhh, white vinegar – quite possibly one of the most perfect and natural household cleaners ever! Most store bought cleaners fall into either one of two categories: toxic or really expensive..but vinegar breaks the mold when it comes to the norm. It’s cheap, non toxic, available to purchase at almost any store and it perfectly safe for people, pets and the earth! The uses of vinegar are almost endless, but for this post, we will be covering some of the amazing uses it when it comes to house cleaning. From the floors to the walls, from the living room, office and kid’s rooms- vinegar comes to save the day again, and again and again- and for less than $3 for a gallon, you really get a lot for your money!

We all want to have a more natural household with less chemicals floating around in the air and cleaning with vinegar can help us do just that. By swapping out vinegar for some of your day to day cleaning, you can really help lessen the amount of chemicals that you and your family are exposed to, and the best part is that these recipes are simple and effective. No fancy materials needed: just some vinegar, water, a spray bottle, rags and sometimes baking soda and you can have a fresh and clean house in no time! Not a fan of the smell of vinegar? Remember that the smell disappears when it has dried, and you can also try adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to mask it some. 

So grab your vinegar and let’s get cleaning!

Kitchen


  • To rid the kitchen of yucky cooking smells, leave a bowl of vinegar on the counter overnight.
  • To keep ants away, spray some vinegar anywhere they are likely to appear.
  • Clean clogged drains, pour some baking soda down into it and add in some vinegar, place a warm cloth over top of the drain and let it sit for 5 minutes and then rinse with boiling water.
  • Clean and disinfect wood cutting boards by wiping with vinegar.
  • To clean your microwave, put a microwave-safe bowl of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 cup water inside, and cook long enough to boil. In addition to removing any lingering odors, this will loosen any baked-on food from the microwave’s walls. Wipe down the walls with a solution of half vinegar and water when you are done.
  • Clean your garbage disposal with vinegar cubes! Vinegar cubes are made by filling an ice tray with a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and enough water to fill the ice tray and then freezing it. Run the mixture through the disposal, and then flush it with cold water for a minute or so. This will help keep your disposal clean and odor free.
  • Clean and sanitize your fridge by washing the shelves and walls with equal parts of water and vinegar.
  • Keep stainless steel shiny and streak free by wiping them with a solution of 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar.
  • Eliminate grease stains from your stove, broiler or counter by wiping them down with a cloth dampened in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. In addition to removing the grease, the vinegar will neutralize any odors on the surface as well.
  • Have a stinky lunch box on your hands? After you wash it out, soak a piece of white bread with vinegar and leave it inside overnight, the smell should be gone by morning!
  • To eliminate lime and mineral deposits in a teakettle, bring 3 cups full-strength white vinegar to a full boil for five minutes and then leave the vinegar in the kettle overnight. Rinse out with cold water the next day.
  • Pots and pans need some love? Combine equal parts salt and flour and add just enough vinegar to make a paste then work the paste around the cooking surface and the outside of the pan, then rinse off with warm water and dry thoroughly with a soft dish towel.
  • Want to reuse a mayonaise, peanut butter or sauce jar but dread the thought of scrubbing it out? Or, have an old flower vase that has seen better days? Fill them with equal parts vinegar and hot soapy water and let soak 10-15 minutes, then use an old bottle brush to scrub off the insides and they will look good as new!
  • Clean off the blades of a well-worn can opener with an old toothbrush soaked with full strength vinegar to help remove dirt and grease.

Bathroom


  • To clean hard water on shower heads, soak them in a plastic baggie of straight vinegar overnight, run with hot water the next day.
  • Remove stains from the toilet with vinegar. Stubborn stains can be removed by cleaning with white vinegar and brushing vigorously. The bowl can be deodorized by adding 3 cups of white vinegar and allowing it to sit for a half hour and then flush.
  • To remove soap build-up from faucets, clean with a mixture of 1 part baking soda to four parts vinegar. Scrub the paste on and wash off for a brighter faucet.
  • To help prevent mildew in the shower, keep a spray bottle close by and spray the shower walls and shower curtain after you are done with your shower!
  • Clean your tub with a paste made with vinegar and baking soda- rub on your tub and scrub the dirt away naturally!
  • Rub down shower doors with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar to remove soap residue.
  • Clean out your rinse cup or toothbrush holder with equal parts vinegar and water, let it sit for a few hours and then rinse with cold water before you use it.

Windows, Walls and Floors


  • To help remove spills on carpet, soak up what you can first with a cloth and then use a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water and let it sit on the stain for 2 or 3 minutes, blot off and repeat if necessary.
  • To clean tile or linoleum, use a gallon of water with 3/4 cup of vinegar and mop as usual.
  • To clean glass, use a solution of half vinegar and half water and spray on, wipe off with newspaper or a microfiber cloth. Good bye stinky blue bottle cleaner!
  • To clean silver, pewter, copper, or brass, dissolve 1 teaspoon salt in one cup vinegar. Add a bit of flour to create a paste (1/4 cup or more). Apply the paste to the metal item, and let stand for at least fifteen minutes. Rinse with warm water and polish with a soft cloth
  • To clean wood paneling, use a mixture of 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 2 cups warm water. Apply to paneling with a soft cloth. Dry with a clean cloth.
  • Clean your window blinds simply by soaking the tips of a clean cotton glove with equal parts of vinegar and hot water.
  • Clean the stones around your fireplace with a solution of 1 cup vinegar and 1 gallon of water and a cloth.

Office, Playroom and Bedrooms


  • To remove stickers that were placed on things they shouldn’t have been, try dabbing them with some straight vinegar and letting them sit, then scrapping them off.
  • Help remove stubborn rings resulting from wet drinking glasses on wood furniture by rubbing them with a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and olive oil. Rub with the grain and polish for the best results.
  • Polish wood furniture by mixing olive oil and vinegar in a one-to-one ratio and polish with a soft cloth. Try in an inconspicuous place first, just in case.
  • Clean and sanitize your computer keyboard and mouse by wiping them down with a slightly damp cloth with equal parts of water and vinegar- never use a spray bottle because you don’t want water to get inside the mechanisms.
  • Use full strength vinegar to remove ball point pen marks on furniture.
  • Remove sticky residue from scissor blades with a cotton ball soaked in vinegar. This will not only clean them but help prevent them from rusting like water can do.
  • Accidentally drip some wax from your new candles? Remove it by first softening the wax using a blow-dryer on its hottest setting and blot up as much as you can with paper towels. Then remove what’s left by rubbing with a cloth soaked in a solution made of equal parts white vinegar and water. Wipe clean with a soft, absorbent cloth after.
  • Clean our your child’s cool-mist humidifier with equal parts of water and vinegar. Take apart as much as you can and let them soak in the solution and rinse the water reservoir with it as well. Do this often to help prevent mold and bacteria from growing in it.
  • Clean and sanitize kids toys with a solution of equal parts of water and vinegar. Don’t forget the bath toys too!

Laundry


  • To keep colors from running in the wash, soak your garment in vinegar before washing the first time.
  • To reduce the amount of lint on clothing, add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  • Many tough stains like coffee, chocolate, ketchup, jam, soda, or wine can be removed with vinegar. Gently rub the stain with vinegar and then wash normally.
  • To make your whites and brights brighter, add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  • To remove a burn mark from an iron, rub with a mixture of vinegar and salt.
  • To help clean your washing machine, run an empty (no laundry) cycle with one cup vinegar added.
  • Help to unclog your iron by pouring equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water into the iron’s water chamber. Turn to steam and leave the iron on for 5 minutes in an upright position. Then unplug and allow to cool. Any loose particles should come out when you empty the water.
  • To get the wrinkles out of clothes after drying, mist them with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Once you’re sure you didn’t miss a spot, hang it up and let it air-dry.
  • Have a favorite woolen sweater or other item that is slightly shrunken? You can usually stretch it back to its former size or shape after boiling it in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water for 25 minutes. Let the garment air-dry after you’ve finished stretching it.

So when you are on the lookout for one of the most perfect cleaners, the choice is obvious: vinegar! This acidic wonder can wipe out tarnish, soap scum, mineral deposits, and all sorts of dirt and grime. Among natural cleaners, it’s the clear champ. Distilled white vinegar also creates an environment that inhibits the growth of mold, mildew, and some bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, so not only does it clean well, but it can help sanitize and disinfect keeping your house clean AND healthy!

Do you clean with vinegar? What are your favorite things to clean with it?

Looking for more green cleaning tips? Look no further!
10 Things to Clean to Prep Your House for Fall
Cleaning with Essential Oils

Photo Credits: Our Three Peas, Spring Cleaning (CC) modified, Beautiful Kitchen (CC) modified, Luxury Bathroom (CC) modified

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Michelle

Michelle; full time mama, part time blogger, wife extraordinaire. This busy mama to three “peas” is a lover of all things running, crafting and baking. A New England native and current desert dweller, she is the brains and wit behind the blog Our Three Peas, where she writes about the hilarious reality that is motherhood. She strives to live a green and natural life and swears that most motherhood-related dramas can be solved by having a nice glass of wine at the end of the evening.

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