Good old-fashioned white vinegar remains one of the most powerful tools in your home-cleaning arsenal: non-toxic, 100-per-cent natural with anti-bacterial properties, vinegar can be the secret weapon when it comes to making your home healthy and sparkling clean. From hardwood floors to kitchen appliances, check out these 30 household items you should be cleaning with vinegar.
Updated January 30, 2022
If your fridge is starting to look a little grungy and smell a little funky, and baking soda no longer does the trick, give the shelves and interior walls a good scrubbing with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar. That being said, baking soda is nothing to sneer at when it comes to its cleaning powers. Check out this collection of things in your home you should be cleaning with baking soda.
If you have a favourite mug that’s stained from coffee or tea, you can gently scrub stains away by using a mixture of equal parts vinegar and baking soda. Plus, occasionally adding a bit of vinegar to hot water for a deeper clean will leave your mugs sparkling and stain-free in the long run.
Want more? Check out these 20 fast and easy house cleaning hacks everyone should know.
Scuffed Leather Shoes and Bags
Leather goods suffering from scuffs? Try gently wiping and lightly buffing away the scuffs from leather bags or shoes with white vinegar. Given that the scuffs are superficial, this may help remove the marks and restore the product’s original shine.
Believe it or Not, Brick!
Brick can be a bewildering surface when it comes to cleaning. Next time, try this: mix equal parts vinegar and water and pour into a clean spray bottle, then spritz it all over your brick surface and let it soak in for a few minutes. Use a sponge mop to clean the bricks – or, if they’re extremely dirty, a nylon-bristled scrub brush – and keep on scrubbing until dirty bricks become clean.
Candle Wax Drippings
Removing candle wax that’s dripped onto a floor or table is a tricky job, but give this a try: place a brown paper bag on top of the wax, then iron the bag with an iron that’s been set to medium heat. This should allow the wax to lift from the surface and transfer to the bag, then simply peel the bag (and the wax) right off. There will likely be a stain remaining; clean with a cloth dipped in a solution made of half water and half white vinegar, which should remove the stain completely.
Rug and Carpet Stains
To clean any stains on carpets or rugs, make a paste from two tablespoons of white vinegar and a quarter-cup of baking soda or salt. Rub vigorously into the stain and let dry, and vacuum up the residue the following day. But before you try this trick, it’s a good idea to test an out-of-sight area of the rug or carpet first in case of any discolouration that may happen. This also works like a charm to remove stains caused by pets.
Clean Out the Coffeemaker
If you don’t clean your coffeemaker regularly, it’s very likely that it’s full of mold. To prevent that from happening, fill the coffeemaker’s water chamber with equal parts white vinegar and water. Let it run through a paper filter, allow to brew until half the chamber is empty. Turn the coffeemaker off and let it sit for 30 minutes, then turn it back on and let it finish brewing. Rinse out by brewing a chamber full of plain water, and voila! Clean and mold-free.
Calling All Parents: Crayon Marks
Any parent of small children should be familiar with the joy of cleaning crayon drawings from walls. The next time this happens to you, dip a toothbrush in white vinegar and gently scrub the crayon marks; the vinegar will break down the wax, offering a thrifty, non-toxic solution to eliminate crayon marks.
If you have crystal glasses or stemware that have become clouded with hard water deposits, warm 2 cups of white vinegar in the microwave for 2 minutes, then pour into a plastic basin. Place glasses on their sides in the warmed vinegar. Soak for a few minutes and then rinse with a lint-free towel, resulting in crystal-clear crystal.
Washing the Dishwasher
Pour a cup full of white vinegar into your dishwasher’s soap container and run it through. Do this once a month and your dishwasher will be cleaner than it’s ever been.
Clear the Drain
First, pour a kettle full of hot water down the drain. Then pour a half-cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup of white vinegar. Wait 10 minutes, then pour more hot water down the drain. The chemical reaction caused by the vinegar and baking soda is ideal to keep your drain clean and remove small clogs formed by buildups of grease, toothpaste or soap before they can turn into larger clogs.
These shiny discs are increasingly becoming a relic of the past, but that doesn’t mean we’ve all chucked our collections. If you have a worn DVD or CD that skips or freezes whenever you play it, apply some white vinegar to a clean cloth and wipe the surface. Once the DVD or CD is completely dry, insert it into the player and any problems will hopefully be a thing of the past.
To remove lime buildup from faucets, create a paste from 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt, and smear all over the faucet. Let it sit for awhile and then rub off with a damp cloth to result in a faucet that will sparkle. This can even help prevent mold developing on these wet surfaces over time.
An Easier Clean for the Barbecue Grill
Pour some white vinegar in a clean spray bottle, and spray liberally on the cooking surface of your barbecue’s grill. Let the vinegar sit on the grill for a few minutes and scrub with crumpled aluminum foil for a deep – and deeply natural – clean.
Perfect floors are a hallmark of a sparkling clean home. Clean your hardwood floors with a 50/50 solution of warm water and white vinegar. This will cut through stubborn dirt, grime and stains on your floor, leaving both floorboards and tiles gleaming and streak-free.
Keep Your Kettle Clean as a Whistle
Fill your kettle with an equal parts water and white vinegar, and let it soak for an hour before bringing the kettle to a boil. Then, empty the kettle and rinse thoroughly with water, and your kettle will be clean and disinfected.
Leave Leather Furniture Flawless
Firstly, ensure your leather furniture is completely dry. Then, mix up a solution combining one part white vinegar and two parts of linseed oil or flax seed oil. With a soft, clean cloth, apply the mixture to the leather in wide, circular motions. This will clean the leather while also conditioning it, reviving leather that’s become dried and cracked.
Make Your Microwave Sparkle
Here’s an amazing hack to clean a microwave by pouring equal parts water and vinegar into a bowl, toss in a wooden toothpick and heat on high for 5 to 10 minutes (the toothpick allows the mixture to boil and bubble without exploding). Let sit for a few minutes, then dip a sponge into the mixture and give it a scrub. Prepare to be surprised by how easily any caked-on grunge will wipe right off, leaving you with a impeccably clean microwave.
Perfect Piano Keys
Piano keys develop a layer of grime over time, given that they are touched constantly in order to be played. Combine a teaspoon of vinegar with a quarter cup of water in a bowl, and dip a white cloth (don’t use a coloured cloth, which could transfer colour to your piano keys). Clean one key at a time with the diluted vinegar solution. It won’t take much scrubbing, as this should cut through dirt and grime easily.
A Solution to Sticky Scissors
If you have a pair of favourite scissors that are gummy and gunky from tape residue, try this: fill a bowl with white vinegar, and soak a clean cloth in the vinegar. Wipe down the scissor blades with the cloth (both when the scissors are open and closed), which will clean the residue from the blades while preventing them from rusting.
If you have any fabrics that have been accidentally scorched with an iron, gently rub the scorched area with vinegar, then wipe with a clean cloth. This will also work to remove antiperspirant stains from clothing.
To keep showerheads clean and running at peak performance, fill a plastic bag with vinegar, immerse the showerhead within the bag and fix in place with a rubber band. Wait an hour, remove the bag and turn on the shower, nice and hot, to flush it out. Finally, polish with a soft cloth and you’re all set.
It may seem like an elementary school science project, but this really works to revive tarnished silverware! First, line a glass baking dish with aluminum foil (or aluminum baking dish), shiny side up, then add one teaspoon each of salt and baking soda. Then add a half-cup of white vinegar and a cup of hot water. Place silver in the pan, ensuring each is touching the foil and completely covered with water, and let sit for a few minutes. Remove and wipe with a clean cloth, and prepare to be blinded by the gleaming of your once-tarnished items.
Clean Your Kitchen Sink
Keep your kitchen sink clean and shining by cleaning it with a vinegar-and-water solution. Not only does vinegar naturally disinfect the sink, it will also help to remove hard water stains from a stainless steel sink.
A Thorough Clean for Your Thermos
The acetic properties of vinegar make it ideal for remove coffee/tea stains from a thermos. Simply fill the thermos halfway with hot water and top off with white vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes, the scrub the thermos with a bottle brush and rinse thoroughly.
A Greener Clean For Your Toilet Bowl
To keep your toilet bowl clean and gleaming, add a half-cup vinegar, let stand a few minutes, then scrub with a toilet brush and flush. It really is that simple.
A Bath for Your Bathtub
Your bathtub deserves a bath too. Easily clean by spraying undiluted vinegar on your tub surface and fixtures. Then, wipe with a damp cloth to clean and disinfect.
Water Rings on Wood
In order to remove those unsightly white rings left on wooden tables by glasses, mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil and apply to the ring with a soft cloth, being careful to rub with the grain of the wood. Then, using another clean, soft cloth to buff and shine it up until it’s as good as new.
Mix one part hot water and one part white vinegar. Using a sponge, clean the windows with this solution, and wipe dry with a clean cloth for streak-free windows. If there are any hard-to-clean, extra-resistant spots, apply undiluted vinegar to the area and give it a scrub.
Clean Up Your Cutting Board
The cellulose fibre in wood cutting boards and butcher blocks will be weakened if you clean them with water and dishwashing detergent, so use vinegar instead. Simply wipe down your cutting board with undiluted white vinegar after each use, then rinse with a clean cloth that’s been dipped in cold water. This will clean and disinfect the surface without damaging the wood.
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