Cleaning the bathroom with vinegar

The Top 20 Cleaning Tips & Tricks Using Cleaning Vinegar

Buy bulk cleaning vinegar and start saving money while keeping toxic chemicals out of your home. 

You already know it by the name of vinegar, but acetic acid is the only ingredient in vinegar besides water, literally, the only active ingredient.  The name sounds unfriendly and harsh (who wants an “acid” in their house), but in this case the name certainly doesn’t do justice to this incredibly low cost, highly effective, eco-friendly, natural ingredient.  Cleaning with vinegar is a great household solution and acetic acid (the base ingredient in white vinegar) also has other uses all over your home.

I’m going to let you in on a secret. Cleaning vinegar is simply acetic acid and water - that’s it, that’s all there is to it. Many people use a simple acetic acid/water mixture to create an all purpose vinegar cleaner for use throughout their house, simply put - cleaning with vinegar and water is smart, easy, and safe. We recommend starting your vinegar cleaning journey by purchasing a 45% Cleaning Vinegar that can be used as the base for many other easy to make cleaning vinegar solution.  It’s important to note that cleaning vinegar and cooking vinegar do have some differences so you should not use cleaning vinegar as cooking vinegar. 

Here's a list of specific DIY recipes and techniques to follow when using cleaning vinegar to clean around your home. To save the most money when making a cleaning vinegar solution you can create your own cleaning vinegar base solution using bulk acetic acid and distilled water. The cleaning vinegar solution should be 45% acetic acid and 55% distilled water - then use that vinegar to create your cleaning products. If buying bulk acetic acid and making your own base 45% cleaning vinegar solution seems like too much of a hassle, you can still save plenty of money and keep non-toxic cleaners out of your home by buying  a premixed 45% Cleaning Vinegar and dilute it as needed to fit the many different purposes we'll list below .

1) Vinegar Glass Cleaner

One of the most common uses of vinegar is homemade glass cleaner. Combine one part water with two parts cleaning vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on glass surfaces and wipe clean for a shine that's as good anyone would get from an expensive packaged cleaner.

2) Tub and Shower Cleaner

Clean soap scum and mildew in the tub and shower by using undiluted cleaning vinegar directly on the surface. Wait 5 to 10 minutes then scrub and rinse.

3) Dishwasher Cleaner and Disinfectant 

Sanitize and clean the dishwasher by filling a dishwasher-safe bowl with 1 cup of undiluted cleaning  vinegar and place it on the bottom of the empty dishwasher. Set the dishwasher to run on a hot water cycle. Here’s a link to a complete cleaning process for your dishwasher.  

4) Laundry Detergent Booster and Fabric Softener

Cleaning vinegar is a great addition to your laundry routine. Add ½ cup of white vinegar to the wash and decrease the amount of detergent you would normally use. The vinegar not only helps to set colors and reduce fading, it also works as a fabric softener.

5) Vinegar Toilet Cleaner 

Save money and skip the hazardous toilet bowl cleaners by using full strength cleaning vinegar in the toilet. Pour 2 to 3 cups of undiluted vinegar into the toilet bowl and let it sit for up to 3 hours. Scrub with a toilet brush and flush. Cleaning the toilet with vinegar will help eliminate rings around the bowl and also deodorize the toilet.

6) Clean That  Showerhead!

To clean the often overlooked showerhead, pour some cleaning vinegar into a plastic bag, and secure it to your showerhead with a twist-tie or rubber band. Make sure there's enough vinegar to submerge the bottom part of the showerhead. Leave the bag overnight and remove the following the next morning.

7) Mattress Disinfectant

Just spray a mixture of two parts water, one part vinegar, and a splash of laundry detergent onto your mattress as a cleaning solution. Once you've blotted away any remaining cleaning solution, you can sprinkle baking soda on top of the mattress to cancel out any odors

8) Rug Cleaner and Stain Remover

Mix one teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid and 1/4 teaspoon of cleaning vinegar with one quart warm water. Apply it to the carpet stain and let sit for 10 minutes before blotting away. Spray a mist over the area rug or carpet, or spray directly into the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes before botting it away and vacuuming.

9) Pet Stain Carpet Odor Remover

To remove pet odors from carpets, wet the spot with full strength cleaning vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda. Work the two together with a brush or your fingers. Let dry overnight and  then vacuum.

10) Scented Air Freshener

The best part of using homemade air freshener is choosing and adding your own favorite scented oils rather than getting stuck with some scientist's idea of what a Hawaiian breeze should smell like. To make your own spray air freshener add a 1/2 teaspoon of cleaning vinegar to a 4-ounce spray bottle, then fill with distilled water, plus a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

11) Clean Coffee Makers and Tea Kettles

Whether you use an electric tea kettle, a standard old fashioned coffee maker, or a fancy Keurig model, they can all be cleaned in the same way to get rid of mineral build-up - also known as descaling. Pour a 1:1 ratio of distilled water to cleaning vinegar into the water reservoir or directly into the kettle. Run it through the coffee maker, simply boil the water in the kettle, then rinse thoroughly with water. For some  coffee makers, you may want to run plain water through a few times to get the smell and taste of vinegar out. Speaking of coffee and tea, you can also soak those stained coffee and tea cups in a 50/50 vinegar water mix for a few hours to get out those pesky coffee and tea stains. 

12) Cleaning the Microwave Mess

We all forget to clean the inside of the microwave until it’s too late and it’s become a sticky and smelly mess in there. Send in cleaning vinegar to the rescue. To clean the inside of the microwave combine equal parts cleaning vinegar and water in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high for about 5 minutes. The vinegar steam should loosen up all of the gunk and you can then use a vinegar soaked rag to wipe out and disinfect the inside.

13) Vinegar As a Stovetop Degreaser

The acidity in vinegar cuts through grease in an instant and makes it an excellent cleaning solution for the stovetop, range hood, or any place where grease builds up. Spray on your 50/50 vinegar and water mix and let sit for a few minutes for extra tough grease, and then wipe clean. 

 14) Cleaning Burnt Pots and Pans

Vinegar can  get rid of burnt-on marks on pots and pans. Use your 50/50 cleaning vinegar and water solution, adding enough to the pan to cover the stain completely. Bring the solution in the pan to the boil and continue boiling for about 5 minutes. Allow the liquid to cool in the pan, before tipping it out and using a sponge remove any remaining marks. Cleaning vinegar can also be used for cleaning cast iron pots that have become rusty. If that’s the case, soaking it in a vinegar and water solution can help to remove the rust.

15) Clean Cutting Boards

After kids, cutting boards may be the second largest germ factories in the house. Spray down your cutting boards with your 50/50 cleaning vinegar and water solution and  then wash with warn soapy water. The vinegar will help reduce stains, odors, and bacteria.

Vinegar and Baking Soda - Better Together

Vinegar and baking soda have always had a special relationship. They’re both household staples and they’re both often overlooked and not appreciated as the powerful and low cost household wonder product that they are. These next 5 tips & tricks all involve cleaning using cleaning vinegar and baking soda to clean, deodorize, and disinfect around the house. 

16) Clean Dirty Baking Sheets

Clean your dirty baking sheets by mixing ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup 50/50 cleaning vinegar with hot water in the sink. It will bubble up and look a little scary but this is the vinegar and baking soda in action, or should I say “reaction’, and that reaction is what helps loosen the residue. Keep the pans submerged in the sink and let them soak for 30 minutes to an hour before scrubbing away with a scouring pad, the scrubby side of your sponge, or steel wool.

17) Unclog Stubborn Drains

We all know that Drano and Liquid Plumber contain potentially dangerous and environmentally irresponsible chemicals - and they’re expensive. Before using hazardous chemicals or calling an expensive plumber you should try using cleaning vinegar and baking soda to unclog your drain. It may take a few tries, but it always works for me. To clean and unclog your drain pour use these 4 steps

  • Pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain.
  • Pour a cup of baking soda and then pour 1 cup of your undiluted cleaning vinegar down the drain. 
  • Plug the drain if you can or stuff a rag or towel to close it off  and wait 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Pour boiling water down the drain again.

Repeat if not fully unclogged the first time.

18) Clean a Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

Even though you wipe out the sink several times a day there always seems to be a buildup of residue around the drain and on the sides. Use this daily baking soda and vinegar sink cleaning technique for a deeper cleaning and to clean those hard water stains that always build up.  Spray down the sink liberally with your 50/50 cleaning vinegar  and water mixture and sprinkle baking soda over the surface. The mixture should bubble up and become pasty.   Scrub the sink with your favorite scrubbing tool (I use a toothbrush) and then rinse. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and the same paste on the rim and caulk. Line the sink with paper towels that you’ve soaked in white vinegar. Leave them there for 20 minutes and then rinse out the sink thoroughly. 

19) Cleaning the Washing Machine

The washing machine is an often overlooked appliance that can build up soap scum, limescale or even mold over time and does need to be cleaned regularly  Commercial cleaners are expensive or you can use bleach, but cleaning vinegar and baking soda is a safer and less expensive alternative. Sprinkle  1/2 cup of baking soda in the machine (for a front-loading machine) and fill the fabric softener tray with 1 quart of a 1 part cleaning vinegar and 3 parts water. mixture. If you have a top-loader, you can just put both ingredients in the drum. Run the machine on hot water for a full cycle. Simple!

20) Cleaning Grout

Grout invariably loses its original color and seems to absorb every possible stain or dirt that passes over it. If your grout has been sealed then you can use a baking soda and vinegar paste to clean it and restore it;s original luster. First, sprinkle some baking soda over the affected area. Next, spray some 50/50 cleaning vinegar and water mix on the grout. Give the mixture some time to fizzle up and do its magic, then scrub the grout using a scrub brush, toothbrush or something similar. Rinse the utensil as needed, and wipe up excess dirt with a clean, wet rag.

There you have it, 20 of the best household uses of cleaning vinegar. Cleaning with vinegar and water is easy, smarter, and can save you money on cleaning products. There are a few notes you should be aware of:

  • To save money buy your acetic acid in bulk and mix it with water to create your own cleaning vinegar. 

If you want to make 45% cleaning vinegar use 1 cup of acetic acid to 8 cups of water.

  • Cleaning vinegar, and most bulk acetic acid that you purchase or make yourself is not the food grade vinegar that you purchase at the supermarket. Stick to purchasing small quantities of food grade vinegar for cooking but make sure you purchase all of your cleaning vinegar as bulk acetic acid and then dilute it yourself to save money 
  • If you want to avoid having to measure and mix your own cleaning vinegar, or if you can't find any bulk acetic acid yo start with - you cal always by premixed 45% Cleaning Vinegar.

There are so many expensive and toxic products in your home that can be replaced by using cleaning vinegar, and you can save a ton of money by purchasing acetic acid in bulk and making your own household cleaning vinegar. Cleaning with vinegar and water is just one of the ways to save money and lower the toxicity in your home, I do hope you’ll give it a try. 

Back to blog