cleaning with vinegar

How to Clean With Vinegar [Ultimate Guide]

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Vinegar is one of those things you’ll always have in your pantry. So, you probably have a trusty old bottle of distilled white vinegar lying around—and that’s a great all-purpose cleaner!

Let’s dive into this ultimate guide on how to clean with vinegar, as we offer you tips and tricks on how and where it makes a huge difference around the house. We’ll also brush up on why it just works so well!

Cleaning with Vinegar

Acidity is one of the things people look for in foods that need a little bit of a bright flavor. In vinegar, this acidity comes from the presence of acetic acid, which is the byproduct of bacterial fermentation of alcohol. Acetic acid is the reason why vinegar works so well as a cleaning solution. It’s also the cause of the solution’s pungent smell.

Acetic acid can easily cut through grease, grime, and mineral deposits. Combine it with baking soda, another popular household cleaning chemical, and you get fizzing action that disrupts stuck-on stains on a multitude of surfaces.

In distilled white cooking vinegar, the concentration of the acid is only 5%, which is enough to make it potent while still being safe to consume. Vinegar cleaning solutions exist, and they usually have a higher concentration of acetic acid, the most popular being 6%.

So let’s go over all the ways you can clean your house with vinegar in every room!

How to Clean Your Kitchen With Vinegar

The kitchen can harbor some of the most challenging stains to mitigate. There’s a lot of foot traffic, food splashes, and spits on the stove. Additionally, vapors from cooking and frying can linger on the walls and cabinets.

Vinegar can help you clean all of the following, simple and easy.


If you have a greasy, splattered stovetop, don’t worry! A spray bottle filled a quarter of the way with distilled vinegar and the rest with water can help you with this task.

Spray the vinegar and water on the stovetop and leave it to soak for about 15 minutes. Use a scrubbing pad to remove the grease, but if it’s still stubborn, leave it for longer and try again.

Kitchen Floors

Kitchen floors can get messy, especially if there is an accident where a stew or pure oil spills on the floor. After you wipe away the mess, spray the floor with a 1:3 vinegar to water solution. Be sure to hit the spot that needs cleaning, then use a mop to clean up after it.

If you’re not spot-treating the floor but mopping all of it, use a smaller concentration of vinegar, like a quarter of a cup on a bucket of water. Just ensure not to oversaturate the mop with water before you wipe the floor, as some kinds of floors don’t take well to that.

If your kitchen floor is made of stone, encaustic tiles, or hardwood, avoid using vinegar as a cleaning solution.

Kitchen Sink

The kitchen sink collects all kinds of food debris as well as random mold spores that are floating in the air. It’s also where germs land after hand-washing there.

After doing the dishes in the sink, go over them once using liquid soap and water. Then to disinfect it, use a spray bottle with a 1:5 vinegar to water ratio. Spray the solution around the kitchen sink to kill any germs that have stuck around.

Pots, Pans, and Trays

Pots, pans, and trays can have strong lingering stains that require a lot of scrubbing to loosen and clean.

If you’d instead save the arm workout for the gym, fill the clean kitchen sink with hot water and vinegar. Make sure to use the stopper to keep it full, then throw in any stainless steel, aluminium, or enamelled pots, pans, and sheet trays in the sink.

Leave them to soak in the sink overnight if necessary, then in the morning, neutralize the vinegar with some baking soda (about a tablespoon). Scrub away the grease and grime and you should be good to go!

However, you should never use this method with cast iron pots and pans. The vinegar can and will destroy the seasoning layer and leach iron into your food.

Plastic Cutting Boards

Plastic cutting boards are more sanitary when handling raw meat, fish, and poultry. To keep the cutting board clean after you wash it with dish soap and water, spray it with the 1:3 vinegar and water solution we mentioned earlier, and then wipe it.

Kitchen Appliances

Small appliances like food processors and spice grinders sometimes need to be cleaned with vinegar to eliminate unpleasant or lingering smells.

After washing per the manufacturer’s instructions, use a clean cloth or kitchen towel and wipe the components with straight-up white vinegar, then leave the appliance to dry thoroughly. This should take care of any strong smells.

Coffee Makers, Tea Kettles, and Drinking Glasses

Calcific deposits in coffee makers, tea kettles, and drinking glasses can be difficult to remove. Using an acidic medium to dissolve these mineral crystals is known as “descaling.”

All you have to do is boil water and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio (yes, a lot of vinegar) in the coffee maker or tea kettle. After the water is done boiling, rinse the appliance thoroughly with water.

If the smell lingers, run a freshwater cycle in the appliance before you use it to make your coffee or tea.

As for drinking glasses, you can soak them in pure vinegar for half an hour before thoroughly washing them. This should remove any cloudiness resulting from mineral deposits.


After clearing out your refrigerator and/or freezer, give the racks, walls, and doors a thorough wiping using a clean cloth dipped in a 1:1 vinegar to water ratio. This should kill mold spores and leave the inside of your refrigerator and freezer squeaky clean.


Your dishwasher might have mineral deposits from hard water, much like your coffee maker. You can easily loosen them up by pouring a cup of vinegar on the floor of your dishwasher (below the racks) and running it empty.


Microwave ovens can get pretty dirty when foods or liquids sputter while heating. This can be compounded by the microwave heat driving out the moisture from these stains. The result is greasy, stubborn spots all over the appliance’s insides.

You can clean the inside of your microwave by microwaving half a glass of water with a tablespoon of vinegar for one to five minutes. How much time it takes will depend on how dirty the microwave is and how stubborn the stains are.

Just make sure to add a toothpick or a broken wooden skewer inside the glass to avoid the water overheating, which might also crack the glass.

How to Clean Your Bathroom With Vinegar

The bathroom is the second most challenging place to clean in your house, thanks to all the grime and calcific buildup on the tile walls. Luckily, vinegar is the perfect solution for these stains and can make the job as simple as can be.


If you have a non-removable metallic showerhead, chances are it’s collected more soap, grime, and residue from hard water than you can scrub away in a day. You should fit a plastic bag filled with undiluted, distilled vinegar around the showerhead and leave it overnight.

The following day, it’s all a matter of removing the bag and giving the squeaky clean showerhead a quick rinse!

Shower Cabin and Bathtub

Shower cabins and bathtubs can get grimy and gross after a while. Mix some vinegar with warm water and use a scrubbing pad to remove the deposits.

If a spot is too stubborn, soak it in vinegar and baking soda paste. The effervescence should loosen it right up.


Toilet cleaning is no fun, but you can make it easier by allowing the bowl to “soak” in a cup of vinegar for a few hours, even overnight.

The following day, sprinkle the bowl with baking soda, then use a toilet brush as usual. Then go ahead and flush to be greeted with the cleanest toilet you’ve had in quite some time!

Tile Walls and Floors

Soap suds can create a layer that dulls the shine of porcelain or ceramic tile walls and floors.

That’s why it’s a great idea to just go over the tiles repeatedly with a rag wetted with warm water and vinegar solution. Make sure to get the tile junction points as well.

How to Clean Your House With Vinegar

Vinegar isn’t just great for calcific residues and grease. It can also help make the rest of your house glisten like a new penny!

Here’s how to use vinegar for other places outside the bathroom and kitchen.


Windows can get cloudy after rainfall or even from regular traffic and dust. If you want your windows to sparkle, use a 1:1 water to vinegar solution to wipe down the glass panels of your windows.

This method is all about the technique, as you don’t want streaks to appear on the glass after it dries. After you wipe away the visible dirt, wet the clean cloth or squeegee you’re using with the solution, then go in a single direction from the top of the panel to the bottom.

Avoid going up and down or side to side because that’s how you get streaks. Also, ensure not to use a rough scrubbing pad because it can scratch the glass.

Clogged Pipes

This is another ingenious use for the vinegar and baking soda reaction. If your sink has some clog from soap suds or random gunk, you can fizzle it away using this method.

Pour about a quart of boiling water down the clogged pipe and wait for half an hour. Then you can follow that with a half cup of vinegar and chase it with two tablespoons of baking soda.

If the sink has a stopper, use it to trap as much CO2 inside the pipe as possible, which can push the plug caused by the gunk. Other than that, the hot water and vinegar can dissolve the soap residue and clear the way.

Keep in mind that if the clog is caused by hair or food debris, this method won’t be that helpful, and the clog will need to be manually cleared.

Laundry Detergent

Before the invention of chemical detergents, vinegar was used for centuries as a natural fabric softener, deodorizer, and a method for colorfast fabrics.

You can add a half cup of vinegar after the regular wash cycle instead of fabric softener to get all these benefits. Just make sure you’re using distilled white vinegar to avoid discoloration. Thoroughly wash the clothes afterwards to get rid of the pungent smell.


Learning to clean with vinegar can make cleansing your house so much easier and more efficient. That’s why we put together this ultimate guide that tells you how cleaning with vinegar works so well and how to get the most out of it in every part of your home.

The great thing about vinegar is that it’s cheap and easily accessible. It’s also versatile enough to warrant the presence of a spray bottle of vinegar and water to spritz around all the time. From grease stains to soap scum, you can use vinegar on all the tough-to-clean spots.

Remember to wear gloves while using it to avoid irritating your skin. Ventilate the room you’re using it in quite well to give your lungs a break.

About Emily Leake

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