How can I Use Vinegar to Clean my House?

Mary McMahon

There are all sorts of ways to use vinegar in cleaning, since it is an excellent all purpose cleaner which can deodorize, remove stains, kill bacteria, and bring the shine back to everything from tile floors to glassware. When using this liquid in house cleaning, make sure to use distilled white vinegar, not cider or wine vinegar, as these types can stain or leave interesting odors behind.

A mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle can be sued as an all purpose cleaning solution.
A mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle can be sued as an all purpose cleaning solution.

One way to use vinegar around the house is to mix it with water in a spray bottle to create an all purpose cleaning solution which can be sprayed on appliances, counters, bathroom fixtures, and so forth. Generally, the mixture should be about half vinegar and half water, although stronger solutions may also be used. To remove stubborn stains, spray the solution onto the stain and allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping the stain away. This mixture is great for window cleaning.

Heating a small bowl of vinegar in a microwave can remove smells.
Heating a small bowl of vinegar in a microwave can remove smells.

Vinegar can also be used in scrubbing and abrasive mixtures. Mix it with baking soda to create a smooth, foamy paste which is safe for a wide variety of fixtures, including porcelain, or with salt for a more aggressive scrubbing compound to remove scaly deposits on faucets and showerheads. A vinegar and baking soda mixture can also be used to clean and deodorize drains, as the mixture will froth up as it travels down the drain, removing scum. Follow with a kettle full of boiling water to further scour the pipes, if desired.

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Vinegar is safer for the environment than harsh chemical cleaners.
Vinegar is safer for the environment than harsh chemical cleaners.

As a rinse agent for removing scum, vinegar can be quite useful. If you own a dishwasher, run a cup (about 236.5 ml) through it once a month to remove buildup, and use it as a rinse on glassware to prevent scum and buildup. Vinegar can also be used to treat soap scum and stains in the bathroom; soak a towel in it and leave it on the stain for a few hours to loosen it before scrubbing. It is also an excellent rinse for floors and counters, and it can help to loosen stains on ovens, bakeware, and microwaves.

Baking soda mixed with vinegar can be used to clean drains.
Baking soda mixed with vinegar can be used to clean drains.

Although many people associate vinegar with a strong odor, it is actually a great deodorizer. For stinky microwaves, a small dish heated on high for a few minutes can make a big difference. It can also be used to deodorize pet messes after one has cleaned up; sprinkle the area with baking soda, spray on some vinegar, and allow the solution to sit briefly before wiping or vacuuming it away.

Vinegar can replace many household cleaners, from window washing solutions to drain clearing products. One big advantage is that it is an ecologically sound cleaning agent, and in addition to being good for the environment, it is also safe around children and pets. A large jug is also much easier to manage than an assortment of bottles of various cleaning fluids, so for people who are trying to reduce clutter and streamline their housekeeping, vinegar is certainly something which should be explored.

Red and white vinegar.
Red and white vinegar.

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Discussion Comments


I always thought that using vinegar to clean was one of those thing like using lemons to lighten your hair -- it may work, but it takes a lot of patience. However, after I tried it one day when I had run out of cleaner, I was shocked to see how well it works.

It really is amazing how many vinegar uses there are out there, and how well it actually works. So having been staunch vinegar skeptic in the past, I now have to say that I'm one of those people that keeps a gallon jug of vinegar under my kitchen sink now.

I seriously couldn't do without it -- and it's so much cheaper than commercial cleaners! And don't even get me started on the benefits of vinegar for health...


If you love using organic vinegar, but hate spending that much on something that you use for a cleaning product, you can also make homemade vinegar.

It's really not hard, and there are tons of recipes on the internet for homemade vinegar.

Just make sure that whichever one you get is for white vinegar, and not one of those vinegars with fruit or herb additives. Although those might smell nice, they may leave behind a residue when you clean, and are much better suited for cooking than cleaning.

With so many vinegar benefits like those listed in the article, it's kind of silly not to keep some on hand -- and with a vinegar recipe and a little patience, you can make sure that you never run out of vinegar again!


Vinegar is one of those things that absolutely no household should be without. With a little bit of vinegar and baking soda, you can clean almost everything in your house!

For example, you can use vinegar to remove film on glassware (as long as it's not crystal), as well as a soap scum fighting agent in your bathtub. It is also fantastic for removing limescale from kettles and pots, and doesn't leave behind any residue, like many soaps or cleaners do.

You can also use vinegar to kill mold, deodorize a refrigerator, and damp mop your floors -- what else could you want? With all the vinegar uses, I make sure to always keep at least one bottle on hand.


Add some olive oil to the vinegar and you can use that mixture not only as a salad dressing but also as furniture polish.

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