How to Use Vinegar for Cleaning Almost Everything in Your Home


If the mysteries of white vinegar have started to intrigue you, take a dive into this article to learn some of the numerous ways you can use vinegar for cleaning purposes.

White vinegar is not a cure-all, but holds the same status in cleaning and cooking that its cousin apple cider vinegar does in health and beauty. Combined with other common ingredients, it packs quite the punch when it comes to cleaning. In short, salt and vinegar aren’t just for seasoning your chips.

Whether you’ve sworn off conventional cleaners due to the toxic chemicals that most contain or you’ve run out of your generic cleaning supplies and need a quick and effective substitute, vinegar offers a safe and inexpensive option.

intro image how to use vinegar

Generic, household white vinegar is a solution consisting of 5 percent acetic acid. Acetic acid is itself a weak acid, which makes its derivative quite safe to work with. Vinegar’s acidic nature is capable of dealing with a lot of situations that one encounters while cleaning.

Mineral deposits on glass, taps or showers as well as tarnish on silver can easily be dissolved by vinegar. It can also handle the mold growing in your shower and is capable of cutting through grease, grime and a vast amount of stains. The list is long, so we’ve compiled an array of hacks using vinegar for common cleaning jobs.

Here are 14 ways that you can use vinegar for cleaning purposes.

Contents

Method 1: Air Freshener Spray

Distilled white vinegar can be used for odor removal, especially when it comes to organic stenches emanating from coffee makers, trash cans, compost bins and other miscellaneous kitchen smells. Worried about the vinegary smell? It’s quite faint and goes away on its own in less than an hour.

Adding a little baking soda to your DIY air freshener gives it a punch, as baking soda is very good at absorbing odors. Optionally, you can add any essential oil of your choice. We used lavender. It not only adds a pleasant aroma to the air, it also masks that temporary, faint vinegary smell.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar air freshener spray

  • Distilled white vinegar – 1 tablespoon
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Baking soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Essential oil (optional) – a few drops

Step 1. Combine the ingredients

combine the ingredients for cleaning

  • Pour 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar into 1 cup of water.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to it.
  • Optionally, put in a few drops of lavender essential oil or another oil of your choice to add a pleasing fragrance.

Step 2. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle for easy use

pour the mixture into a spray bottle for easy use

  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. You may use a funnel to avoid spilling the liquids.
  • Put the spray nozzle back on and give it a few shakes to dissolve the baking soda

Step 3. Use the DIY air freshener to freshen up the surroundings

use the diy air freshener to freshen up the surroundings

  • Spray the DIY air freshener around the house to freshen up the air.
  • Liberally spray it in smelly areas like the kitchen sink or compost and trash bins.

Method 2: Fabric Softener

Vinegar not only helps clean your laundry better, it also deodorizes it. But what you may not know is that vinegar can naturally soften your clothes. So, the next time you run out of fabric softener, reach for that bottle of vinegar.

To make a homemade fabric softener of store-bought quality, add hair conditioner to it. Relax! You can add any inexpensive hair conditioner to this recipe.

Adding essential oil is optional, but it will really help balance out the smells of the vinegar and conditioner. We used lemon oil, but feel free to use any oil you like.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar fabric softener

  • Hot water – 2 cups
  • Distilled white vinegar – 1 cup
  • Hair conditioner – ⅓ cup
  • Essential oil (optional) – a few drops

Step 1. Combine the ingredients

combine the ingredients to make fabric softener

  • Pour 2 cups of hot water into a jug.
  • Pour 1 cup of distilled white vinegar into it.
  • Add in ⅓ cup of hair conditioner.
  • Optionally, add a few drops of lemon essential oil. You can use any oil of your choice, but lemon goes well with the smell of fresh laundry.
  • Mix the ingredients well with an electric stick mixer. A thorough whisking with a wire whisk will also do the job well.

Step 2. Pour the solution into a bottle or other storage container

mix and pour the solution into a bottle or other storage container

  • Pour the solution into a convenient container like a bottle for storage.
  • Put the fabric softener in your laundry room to use at your convenience.

Step 3. Use the DIY fabric softener to soften up your laundry

use the diy fabric softener

  • Use this homemade solution in your machine’s fabric softener dispenser.
  • You can also soak a washcloth in your DIY fabric softener, squeeze it slightly to remove excess moisture and put it in the dryer with the laundry.

Method 3: Stainless Steel Cookware Cleaner

Too many smears and grease marks staining your stainless steel cookware? Use vinegar to cut through the day-to-day abuse that stainless steel pots and pans go through. The combined power of vinegar and baking soda can get even the toughest grime out of your cookware.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar stainless steel cleaner

  • Distilled white vinegar – ½ cup
  • Baking soda – ¼ cup

Step 1. Combine the vinegar and baking soda

combine the vinegar and baking soda

  • Pour ½ cup of distilled vinegar into a jug.
  • Add ¼ cup of baking soda to it.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly.

Step 2. Pour the mix into a bottle and use it to clean your pots and pans

pour the mix into a bottle and use it to clean your pots and pans

  • Pour this bubbling mixture into a bottle.
  • To clean greasy stainless steel cookware, pour the cleaning solution into the pot or pan and bring it to a boil. This will loosen up burnt and stuck-on food and you’ll be able to scrub the pots clean.

Method 4: Window Cleaner

Vinegar is the one-ingredient solution to streaky and dusty windows. If the toxicity of the harmful chemicals present in commercial window cleaners repels you, vinegar can offer you a safe and effective alternative.

A vinegar and dish soap-based solution is quite suitable to clean windows and glass doors. Team it up with a microfiber cloth or glove and you’ll have a streak-free finish on your windows.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar window cleaner

  • Water – 2 cups
  • Distilled white vinegar – ¼ cup
  • Liquid dish soap – ½ teaspoon

Step 1. Combine the three ingredients in a spray bottle

combine the three ingredients in a spray bottle

  • Pour 2 cups of water into a spray bottle. You may use a funnel to avoid spilling.
  • Pour in ¼ cup of distilled white vinegar.
  • Add ½ teaspoon of liquid dish soap to it.
  • Screw the spray nozzle back on and give it a few shakes to mix the ingredients completely.

Step 2. Use the DIY window cleaner to shine up your windows and glass doors

use the diy window cleaner to shine up your windows and glass doors

  • Spray the solution on the window glass and wipe it off with a squeegee.
  • Finish with a wipe down using a microfiber cloth, towel or glove for a streak-free finish.

Method 5: Spot Cleaner for Carpet

Keeping a carpet clean is a continual process and often requires prompt action. When dealt with within 24 hours, most carpet stains can be removed by simply sponging the spot with vinegar. With a little patience and persistence, you can get rid of most stains including coffee spills on your carpet using plain, undiluted vinegar.

However, always do a spot test before using any cleaner, including vinegar, on your carpet.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar spot cleaner

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Household sponge

Single-Step Method: Sponge the carpet stain with white vinegar

sponge the carpet stain with white vinegar

  • Pour vinegar in a bowl.
  • Dip a sponge into the vinegar and squeeze it to remove the excess liquid.
  • Gently sponge the stained spot on the carpet.
  • Blot and dab at the stain instead of rubbing, as the latter will push the stain deeper into the carpet fibers.
  • Continue with this process until the stain is completely gone. Then, let the carpet dry.

Method 6: Copper, Brass and Pewter Cleaner

When it comes to cleaning metals and alloys like copper, brass and pewter, tarnish is the obvious enemy. These materials often undergo surface corrosion due to the presence of oxygen in the air. Vinegar is a mild acid and can be effectively used to dissolve the surface corrosion, revealing the shiny metal underneath. So if you need to clean old brassware or other metal items, vinegar is your go-to cleaner.

This recipe includes salt and flour along with vinegar. Salt facilitates the chemical reaction with which vinegar dissolves the compound formed during corrosion. Flour adds abrasive power to the paste, allowing you to scrub away the dulling compounds.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar copper brass and pewter cleaner

  • Distilled white vinegar – ½ cup
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • All-purpose flour – ¼ cup

Step 1. Make a paste with the three ingredients

make a paste with the three ingredients

  • Pour ½ cup of distilled white vinegar into a bowl.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt to it.
  • Add enough flour to make a paste with the consistency of sour cream. Usually about ¼ cup should do this, but you can tweak the amount slightly for the right consistency.
  • Mix the ingredients well to make a lump-free paste.

Step 2. Use the paste to shine your brassware and copperware

use the paste to shine and clean

  • Cover the ornaments or cookware that you intend to clean with a thick layer of this paste.
  • Let the mixture sit for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Scrub off the tarnish with a household sponge.

Method 7: Bathtub Cleaner

Dirty bathtubs are neither inviting nor romantic and are far from relaxing. Use this vinegar-based solution to give your bathtub that clean sparkle. The combined power of vinegar, lemon juice and Dawn detergent will eat through soap scum buildup, mildew, grime and water stains.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar bathtub cleaner

  • Distilled white vinegar – 4 tablespoons
  • Hot water – 5 tablespoons
  • Lemon juice – 2 tablespoons
  • Dawn detergent – 1 tablespoon

Step 1. Combine the four ingredients

combine the four ingredients

  • Pour 4 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar into a jar.
  • Pour 5 tablespoons of hot water into it.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
  • Add in 1 tablespoon of Dawn detergent.
  • Mix the ingredients well.

Step 2. Store the cleaner in a spray bottle for easy use

store the cleaner in a spray bottle for easy use

  • Pour the cleaning solution into a spray bottle and put on the spray nozzle. This will make the application easy.

Step 3. Clean your bathtub with the DIY cleaner

clean your bathtub with the diy cleaner

  • Spray the solution liberally over the entire surface of the bathtub.
  • Let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  • Scrub the bathtub clean with a scouring pad.

Method 8: Shower Head Cleaner

Water-stained shower heads are quite common in areas with a hard water supply. Another common problem arising from hard water is mineral deposits clogging the holes of the shower head. This often results in restricted and irregular water flow, which often spoils the whole showering experience.

White vinegar can easily dissolve the mineral deposits in the shower head holes, making it perfect for cleaning shower heads and restoring a steady and even shower spray.

Single-Step Method: Use vinegar to remove mineral deposits from shower heads

use vinegar to remove mineral deposits and clean shower heads

  • Pour vinegar in a bowl that’s large enough to hold your shower head.
  • Uninstall the shower head and soak the fixture in the vinegar overnight.
  • Scrub the shower head thoroughly with an old toothbrush and rinse well.

Method 9: All-Purpose Cleaner

This all-purpose cleaner is just the thing you need if you’re about to go on a cleaning spree.

While the main ingredient is vinegar, lemon juice and hot water add that extra cleaning power to this all-purpose solution.

Lemon juice has a freshening effect of its own, but essential oil comes in handy if you really want a fragrant experience. Also, the essential oil will help mask the temporary vinegary smell.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar all purpose cleaner

  • Distilled white vinegar – ⅓ cup
  • Hot water – 1 cup
  • Essential oil – 5 to 7 drops
  • Lemon juice – 1 to 2 teaspoons

Step 1. Combine the four ingredients in a spray bottle

combine the four ingredients in a spray bottle

  • Pour ⅓ cup of distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle. Use a funnel if you’re worried about spills.
  • Pour 1 cup of hot water into it.
  • Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to it.
  • Add in a few drops of essential oil. Lemon oil is a good choice.
  • Screw the spray nozzle back on and give it a couple of shakes to mix the ingredients thoroughly.

Step 2. Take your DIY all-purpose cleaner with you on your cleaning sessions

take your diy all purpose cleaner with you on your cleaning sessions

  • You can use this all-purpose cleaner for a variety of cleaning jobs like washing windows, mopping floors, cleaning kitchen countertops and more.

Method 10: Glass and Mirror Cleaner

Grimy, smudgy and cloudy mirrors are of no use. Diluted vinegar is the only thing you need to clean mirrors and glass surfaces. Vinegar can not only clean everything from fresh grime to old murky deposits, it will also prevent your mirrors and windows from fogging up for days to come.

Step 1. Combine the vinegar and water in equal parts

combine the vinegar and water in equal parts to clean

  • Pour some water in a jug.
  • Add an equal quantity of distilled white vinegar to it.

Step 2. Pour the solution into a spray bottle to clean mirrors and glass

pour the solution into a spray bottle to clean mirrors and glass

  • Pour the diluted vinegar into a small spray bottle.
  • Spray the diluted vinegar on the mirror or glass surface and wipe it down with a squeegee.
  • Wipe the surface dry with a microfiber glove or towel.

Method 11: Nonabrasive All-Purpose Cleaner

While baking soda is quite the nifty household cleaner, its abrasive properties can act as a negative for many cleaning jobs. White vinegar, on the other hand, can be used to make an effective yet gentle cleaning solution that can come in handy for a lot of cleaning chores.

The other cleaning agent in this solution is Castile soap, which is gentle and safe for children as well. It matches the versatility of vinegar well, thus making the cleaning solution all-purpose.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar non abraisive all purpose cleaner

  • Distilled white vinegar – ½ tablespoon
  • Water – 1 tablespoon
  • Liquid Castile soap – 1 tablespoon

Step 1. Combine the three ingredients

combine the three ingredients to make cleaner

  • Put ½ tablespoon of distilled white vinegar in a bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of water to it.
  • Add in 1 tablespoon of liquid Castile soap.
  • Mix the ingredients well.

Step 2. Transfer the solution into a small spray bottle

transfer the solution into a small spray bottle and clean

  • Pour the solution into a small spray bottle and use it for cleaning jobs that require a gentle touch.
  • Delicate flooring, tiling or kitchen countertops can easily be cleaned with this solution. You can even clean carpet stains with it, just be sure to do a spot test first.

Method 12: Floor Cleaner

Cleaning, disinfecting and stain removal are some of the prominent qualities one seeks in a floor cleaner. For those who shun toxic chemical-based floor cleaners in favor of more natural and safer options, this vinegar-based floor cleaner offers an excellent solution.

The combo of Castile soap, vinegar and lemon juice serves as an effective cleaner and stain remover for a variety of floors. Vinegar is a mild disinfectant in itself and Castile soap will take care of the rest. This floor cleaner will clean as well as deodorize your floors, leaving your home with a fresher and lighter feel.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar floor cleaner

  • Liquid Castile soap – 1 teaspoon
  • Distilled white vinegar – 2 tablespoons
  • Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon

Step 1. Combine the three ingredients

combine the three ingredients to clean floor

  • Pour 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar into a bowl.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of liquid Castile soap to it.
  • Add in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
  • Mix the ingredients well to prepare your floor cleaner.

Step 2. Use the mix as a floor cleaning solution

use the mix as a floor cleaning solution

  • Add the cleaning solution to a bucketful of water or a gallon of water and use it to mop the floors.

Method 13: Wood Furniture Polish

Olive oil and vinegar can be used to make homemade wooden furniture polish.

The vinegar in the combo acts as the cleaning agent and removes water rings and other old marks.

The oil fills in the little scratches and scuff marks and helps condition the wood in general. It also absorbs into the wood, especially unpolished wood, and acts as natural sealant. This protects the wood from moisture.

This homemade wood polish is the perfect way to restore old and dull-looking wood furniture, particularly surfaces with old dry and cracked finishes.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar wood furniture polish

  • Distilled white vinegar – 1 tablespoon
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Water – 2 cups

Step 1. Combine the three liquids

combine the three liquids to polish furniture

  • Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 2 cups of water.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil as well.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly.

Step 2. Pour the solution into a spray bottle

pour the solution into a spray bottle

  • Pour the solution into a spray bottle for easy use.

Step 3. Use the solution as a natural wood polish

use the solution as a natural wood polish

  • Shake well before each use, as the oil tends to layer up at the top.
  • For polishing furniture, spray the mix onto a microfiber cloth and buff the furniture with the damp cloth. Repeat the process as needed, covering the entire wood surface.
  • For unpolished furniture, apply light sprays directly to the surface and buff with a microfiber cloth.

Method 14: Stainless Steel Polish

If your stainless steel appliances and surfaces look dull and smudged, this vinegar-based stainless steel polish will come to your aid. It’s merely vinegar and olive oil mixed in equal proportions. It will make the stainless steel surfaces in your kitchen gleam.

Things you’ll need:

things you need how to use vinegar stainless steel polish

  • Distilled white vinegar – 1 tablespoon
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon

Step 1. Combine the vinegar and olive oil

combine the vinegar and olive oil

  • Mix together 1 tablespoon each of distilled white vinegar and olive oil.

Step 2. Pour the mixture into a small spray bottle

pour the mixture into a small spray bottle

  • Pour the vinegar-oil mix into a small spray bottle. Do it carefully to avoid any spills.

Step 3. Use the mixture to polish stainless steel

use the mixture to polish stainless steel

  • Shake the mixture well and spray it over any stainless steel surface.
  • Buff in the direction of the grain of the steel with a microfiber cloth.

Tips

  • Use distilled water in preparing the cleaning recipes to make them most effective.
  • For most cleaning jobs, doing a little dry dusting before bringing in the liquid cleaning solutions can cut back on a lot of the work.
  • Use microfiber clothes, towels or other lint-free rags rather than paper towels for most cleaning jobs. Paper towels profusely shed lint on the surface being cleaned. This holds especially true when cleaning glass, windows or mirrors. When the paper towel gets wet, it usually creates even more of a mess.
  • Use hot water to boost the effectiveness of cleaning solutions that have water as an ingredient.

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