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7 Ways To Clean With Vinegar (in Your Home)

Clean with vinegar? Really? Really! This condiment can clean, disinfect, and spice up your food. Vinegar is a practical and essential household product and a powerful cleaning agent that can help you tackle various household tasks without relying on harsh chemicals.


It's one of the world's best all-purpose green cleaners. Just like cleaning with baking soda and using lemon for cleaning, it's safe, readily available, and cheap.

A scrub brush, vinegar in brown spray bottles, and cleaning cloths on a table

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7 Ways To Clean With Vinegar

 

IMPORTANT: There are different kinds of vinegar - white, balsamic, apple cider, etc. So make sure you check the bottle before you grab one for cleaning.


You need WHITE vinegar.


Avoid using vinegar on:

  • marble

  • granite

  • stone

  • hardwood

  • cast iron pans

  • electronics

  • unsealed grout

The acidity of the vinegar can damage these surfaces over time.

 
Vinegar in glass bottle, spoon of baking soda on glass

1. Clean the Kitchen

Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle for an all-purpose cleaner that can be used on:

  • the kitchen sink

  • surfaces used for cutting

  • kitchen appliances

  • countertops

  • floors

This solution effectively removes dirt, grime, and grease and is safe to use on most surfaces.


You can also use it to clean the stubborn laundry detergent residue in your washing machine.


Find out how to deep clean your dishwasher with vinegar in 4 easy steps.

 
Hands in orange gloves wiping window, blue cloth

2. Wash the Windows (or any glass surface)

From windows and mirrors to shower screens, these will sparkle thanks to the streak-free abilities of white vinegar.

  • Spray some vinegar on the glass surface.

  • Wipe it off with a clean cloth or a balled-up piece of newspaper.

Although balled-up newspaper stains your fingers, it gives the best streak-free result.


Tip: If you're prone to psoriasis/ eczema outbreaks - cleaning agents can dry out your hands and cause flare-ups, so never clean without gloves.

 
Hands rinsing stain under running water

3. Get Rid of Stains

Dirt and other organic stains do not stand a chance.

  • Pour or spray vinegar onto the stain.

  • Use a clean, old toothbrush to scrub it clean gently.

Toss the items into the washing machine and wash them as usual.

  • Pour vinegar directly on the armpit area of shirts to take out any strong odors - it works like a charm!

Do not use vinegar on the following fabrics:

  • Silk

  • Rayon

  • Leather

  • Velvet

  • Suede

Vinegar will cause these fabrics to:

  • lose their sheen and texture

  • shrink

  • crack and become brittle

  • discolor

  • become stiff and rough

It's always a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying any cleaning solution, including vinegar.

If you are unsure about using vinegar on a particular fabric, it's best to consult a professional cleaner or refer to the care label on the garment for specific cleaning instructions.

 
Hands putting laundry into washing machine

4. Soften Laundry

By now, we all know what a big no-no fabric softener is. But you can still get soft clothes out of the washing machine!

  • Add 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar to your washing machine dispenser or straight onto your laundry, and wash as usual.

For extra measure, you can add some baking soda as well. The chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda is a foamy one and will leave your clothes squeaky clean.


Important: Do not add an enormous amount of baking soda, as the foam might be too much for your washing machine to handle, and you'll return to a room ready for a foam party...


Keep in mind that vinegar may not be as effective at removing static cling from clothes as commercial fabric softeners.

If you experience static cling, you can:

  • Add a dryer ball or wool dryer sheet to your dryer cycle.

  • Reduce the drying time to help prevent static build-up.

 
Brown glass pot with white label on white towel

5. Say Goodbye to Goo

Do you have stickers or stubborn glue stuck on things?

  • Dab white vinegar on the spot and let it sit for 5 - 10 minutes.

  • Use a plastic scraper or credit card to gently scrape off the glue - easy peasy!

Not that simple? Pour more vinegar on and leave for longer, then try again. Finally, pour some hot water on the spot (if the material allows it) and gently scrap away.


Vinegar may not work on all types of glue, especially if it is a strong adhesive like superglue or epoxy. In these cases, it may be necessary to use a commercial adhesive remover or seek the advice of a professional.

 
Vinegar washing down drain

6. Unclog Drains

I've cleaned many a drain like this, and if it doesn't work the first time, do it again.

  • Pour a half cup of baking soda down the drain.

  • Followed by one cup of white vinegar.

  • Enjoy the bubbles and foam, then flush with hot water for a few minutes.

Both vinegar and baking soda are eco-friendly, so you're not flushing harsh chemicals down the drain. Not only will this combination clear your clogged drain, but it will also destroy any odor-causing bacteria.

 
French bulldog lying on carpet

7. Neutralise Pet Accidents

If your four-legged friend has an accident, clean and refresh the stain by spraying vinegar onto the area.

  • Use paper towels or a clean cloth to blot up as much of the urine or other pet accident as possible.

Do not rub the stain, as it can spread and make it harder to remove.

  • Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray it over the affected area. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes.

  • Use clean paper towels or a cloth to blot up the vinegar solution.

You may need to repeat this step several times to remove all of the moisture and odor.

  • Once you have removed as much of the vinegar solution as possible, rinse the area with clean water to remove any remaining residue.

  • Allow the area to air dry completely, or use a fan to speed up the drying process.

Avoid using a heat source, such as a hair dryer, as this can set the stain and make it harder to remove.


Tip: If your pet has a habit of repeatedly using the same spot, you may need to use an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for pet stains to fully remove the odor and discourage your pet from returning to the area.

 

The Bottom Line

Use vinegar to clean your drains, make your laundry smell better, and clean your counters, floors, and even your toilet. So next time you're shopping, grab a giant bottle of white vinegar - you can't go wrong!

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