June 22, 2010

30+ Ways to Clean with Vinegar

A few years ago I decided to make a big change in my life.  I had used all sorts of cleaners. Many of them had caused me to break out, inflamed my eczema, and given me headaches.  I knew the stuff wasn’t good for me and with two small children in the home I wanted to do something different.  I began using white vinegar and water to mop my floors.  It wasn’t long before I was hooked on the natural and safe cleaner and began to clean the majority of my home with it.

Now I keep a spray bottle under my kitchen sink that has equal parts of vinegar and water.  I use it to clean just about everything.

Before I get started on this list, you should know that some folks don’t like the smell of vinegar.  If that’s you, feel free to add a tiny bit of lemon oil or some other fragrance to your vinegar.

Here are some uses for cleaning with vinegar:

Kitchen and Dining Room

  • Use vinegar to mop your floors.  I keep a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water.  Just spray on your floors and mop.  Or you add 1 cup of vinegar to your mop bucket. I think the spray method uses less vinegar though.
  • Refill your Swiffer mop cleaner bottle with vinegar and water.  My hubby used some plyers to pull the lid off the bottle so that we could refill it.
  • Spray vinegar in your sink and on your counters to kill germs.
  • Wash your windows.
  • Boil some vinegar and water to take away unpleasant smells.
  • Clean your kitchen table, chairs, and highchair. The vinegar will kill germs without being harmful to foods or your children.
  • Soak or simmer stuck-on food in 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar.  The food will soften and lift off in a few minutes.
  • Deodorize your sink drains: Pour a cup down your drain, let stand about thirty minutes, then run cold water.
  • Appliances sparkle if cleaned with a vinegar and borax cleaner.  Mix 1 teaspoon borax, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 2 cups hot water and put it into a spray bottle.  Spray it on greasy smears and wipe off with a cloth or sponge.
  • To loosen food grime and clean the microwave, place a microwave-safe bowl with 2 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar inside the microwave and microwave on full power for 3-4 minutes (it needs to boil). Keep your microwave closed for a few minutes to allow the steam to loosen the grime, then open your microwave, carefully remove the bowl, and wipe clean.
  • To remove grease from kitchen walls, put straight vinegar on a dishcloth to wipe grease off kitchen walls, or the stovetop.
  • Fill your water reservoir halfway with vinegar to clean your coffee pot.  Follow up by running 1-2 pots of clean water through to remove the vinegar.
  • If you have fruit flies, put some vinegar in a jar on your counter.
  • Adding a cup of vinegar to a dishwashing cycle will help clean your dishwasher and will also help prevent spots from forming on your glasses.
  • Use vinegar to clean your garbage disposal.  Run a tray of ice cubes with 1/2 cup vinegar poured over them.


  • Use vinegar to clean the outside of your toilet.  Simply use your diluted vinegar spray bottle and use as you would a regular cleaner.
  • Add full strength vinegar to the inside of the toilet bowl.  Allow to sit for a few minutes and then clean.
  • Spray the shower curtain to help get rid of mildew.
  • Spray to kill germs in the shower inbetween regular cleanings.  (I prefer to use Soft Scrub, Scrubbing Bubbles, or something like that to clean the shower. Vinegar helps for those inbetween cleanings.)
  • Clean your mirror.
  • Mop the floor.

Laundry room

  • Add vinegar to your whites to help whiten the load.
  • Add vinegar to your rinse cycle or softener dispenser instead of fabric softener.  Vinegar prevents your clothes from getting that waxy build up on them.  Vinegar is suggested for using to rinse cloth diapers to keep them absorbent.
  • Add vinegar to your wash to kill athlete’s feet bacteria.
  • Soak smelly clothes in vinegar and water. The vinegar will help to get rid of smells.
  • Soak stained clothes in vinegar and water. The vinegar helps to lift the stain.
  • Remove ink stains from clothes by soaking them in milk for 1 hour.  Then cover the stain with a paste of vinegar and cornstarch.  When the paste dries, wash the garment as usual.  Do not heat dry the fabric until you know the stain is removed.
  • After washing your whites with bleach, run another rinse cycle with vinegar.  The vinegar will help to remove the bleach smell.


  • Clean vaporizers and humifiers by soaking unit in vinegar.  Soak base of unit in a shallow bowl of vinegar and then run water through it.  I got this tip from the actual directions that came with my vaporizer, but it really does help to remove the deposits and also to sanitize.
  • If your puppy (or child) has an accident on the carpet, apply full-strength plain white vinegar for about 10 minutes and then blot dry. I have never had any problems with the vinegar fading carpet, but you may want to test an inconspicuous spot first.
  • Use vinegar and water to clean your baby and children’s toys.  You don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals this way.
  • For laminate floors, mix 1/3 part white vinegar, 1/3 part rubbing alcohol, 1/3 part water, and 3 drops diswashing liquid.  Mix this into a (recycled) spray bottle and you have the equivalent of the Pergo floor cleaner. Just spray and mop.  Laminate floors are better off when water doesn’t sit on it too long; the alcohol is added to make it dry faster.
  • When rinsing your reusable filters, spray them with vinegar first to kill mold and bacteria.

I know that this only covers a portion of ways to clean with vinegar. What are some ways that you clean with vinegar?



13 Responses to “30+ Ways to Clean with Vinegar”
  1. 1
    Twitter: beagooddad

    We use it for several of the ones on your list and when I clean the litter boxes.

  2. 2
    The Thrifty Mommy
    Twitter: thriftymommy

    True! Thanks for reminding me. When I dump out the litter box, I spray it with vinegar and wipe it out. I also use it to clean my trash cans. Thanks!

  3. 3
    Stephanie Methvin says:

    Fabric Softener:
    1 cup hair conditioner (whatever fragrance you like…Suave makes lots of cheap but good smelling conditioners)
    2 cups white vinegar
    6 cups water

    Mix together in an old (large) vinegar bottle and use as you would regular fabric softener. The vinegar removes residue from clothes and helps clean out your pipes/hoses of your machine.

  4. 4
    The Thrifty Mommy
    Twitter: thriftymommy

    Thanks Stephanie. I have never heard that recipe before. To save more money, you can get free shampoo at CVS with their Extra Care Buck specials and also at Harris Teeter when they have their coupon sales. Thanks for sharing!

  5. 5

    I need to do this, especially in the bathroom!

  6. 6
    RecycleCindy says:

    Great ideas and I love that vinegar is cheap to buy. Another suggestion would be to use vinegar to wash your reusable grocery bags. I just read another post that its important to wash them to avoid getting e-coli inside the bags.

  7. 7
    Beth says:

    If you add a few drops of clove oil to your vinegar it will help keep house flies away.

  8. 8

    Practical ways to clean with vinegar. A natural and inexpensive way to clean.

  9. 9

    Practical ways to clean with vinegar. A natural and inexpensive way to clean.

  10. 10
    Tiffany says:

    This is amazing! I have trouble with pots and pans all the time. I am going to try this and get those clean!

  11. 11
    Gold Party says:

    Vinegar is such a great all purpose cleaner. Safe and non-toxic too! I always use it in my pre- AND post-party cleaning.

  12. 12
    Joan says:

    Will this help clean shower door to get rid of water spots?

  13. 13
    The Thrifty Mommy
    Twitter: thriftymommy

    Joan, It’s worth a try. Some people mist their showers with a vinegar and water solution after every shower. It helps to keep mold, mildew, and soap scum away.

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