How To: Clean With White Vinegar

The cleaning products aisle at my friendly neighborhood Target overwhelms me, but usually in a good way. I love cleaning (shut up, I’m sick, I know), which means I’m a sucker for those bright packages boasting that they’ll get my whites whiter than ever before (since their LAST cleaning product was released). Unfortunately, cleaning products cost a fortune as compared to the pantry staples I’m accustomed to buying – milk, eggs, diet Coke – and I knew that there were alternatives – like white vinegar. I simply didn’t know WHAT to use white vinegar on (besides my sandwiches).

How To Clean With White Vinegar:

First, the why’s: why does white vinegar work to clean stuffs?

White vinegar is an acidic substance, a mixture of acetic acid and water; a tasty and delicious addition to any food stuffs, and is effective as a household cleaner as it can dissolve mineral deposits, is safe for consumption (obvs) and manages to (especially if mixed with water) avoid damaging the surfaces it can clean. Vinegar has strong antibacterial properties as well –  5% vinegar is 90% effective against mold and 99.9% effective against bacteria. With the recent surge to find “green” products, white vinegar is also considered environmentally friendly.
Check this out if you’re into being green while parenting:

That’s all well and good, but what the nuts can you CLEAN with white vinegar? Here’s a list of things I found that can be cleaned using white vinegar:

What To Clean With White Vinegar:

What To Clean With White Vinegar: Yer Coffee Maker. Pour a cup or two of white vinegar into your coffee maker and run the coffee maker (without, naturally, coffee grounds) to remove any mineral buildup. Then rinse by running the coffee maker again two or three times with water.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Windows. Mix half white vinegar and half warm water to wash your windows.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Drains. Once a week, pour white vinegar down your drain in the kitchen so the drain doesn’t smell like hot ass.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Laundry. Add white vinegar to the water in the washing machine to make clothes both softer and fresher smelling.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Ants. Get a spray bottle, mix it with half white vinegar and half water to get rid of ants. Then spray those assholes down. You can also try and prevent them from getting into your pad by spraying down the areas where they enter your house – like window sills, doors, stuff like that.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Counter Tops. Soak a sponge or cloth in white vinegar, then use it to clean the crap out of your counter tops.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Microwaves. Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl, then microwave until the mixture reaches a boil. This should remove any caked on crap and make the microwave smell loads fresher.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Glassware. Wrap vinegar-soaked paper towels around any cloudy glassware, let sit/soak before rinsing clean with hot ass water.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Grease. Soak a sponge in white vinegar to get rid of caked-on grease-covered surfaces (like exhaust fans or the oven).
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Sponges. Take your dirty ass sponges and rags by putting them in a small dish with just enough water to cover them. Add 1/4 cup white vinegar and allow to sit overnight.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Grout. Clean yer grout by spraying with white vinegar, then scrubbing with a toothbrush. Just be sure not to USE that toothbrush for anything else. Because EW.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Bathroom Stains. Get rid of soap, hard water, and other stains by spraying your bathroom down with white vinegar, allowing to sit, and then wiping clean with a towel.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Toilets. Throw (or, rather, gently place) three cups of white vinegar into the toilet bowl, let it sit for at least three hours, then scrub it with your toilet brush. It’ll totally sparkle.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Fruit Flies. Well, okay, you don’t CLEAN fruit flies, but if you’ve got ‘em, this can help. If’n you have fruit flies, leave a small dish of vinegar out. Should kill ‘em.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Teakettles. If you’re a tea drinker, you know that minerals generally build up inside the tea kettle – pretty nasty and super hard to clean (I went through a tea phase while I was pregnant). If you’ve got that goin’ on, boil some vinegar for a couple minutes, allow it to cool, then rinse out your tea kettle with cold water.
What To Remove With White Vinegar: Wallpaper. Take off fug-ass wallpaper by spraying down with a mixture of half vinegar and half water.
What To Clean With White Vinegar: Pennies. If’n you save pennies and they’re dull, go ahead and soak them for a couple of hours in white vinegar.
What To Clean With White Vinegar:Kid Toys. Use a mixture of soapy water with a splash of vinegar to clean toys.
What To Remove With White Vinegar: Labels. You know those annoying-ass price stickers on your freshly bought stuff that tear off in an unsightly mess? Use a rag soaked in white vinegar and leave it on overnight. The label should come off pretty easily after that.


Got any other recommendations for cleaning stuff with white vinegar? Have you used white vinegar to clean stuffs?


And because everyone else is promoting breast cancer awareness, I’m daring to be different and being all heart healthy:

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21 thoughts on “How To: Clean With White Vinegar

  1. I’ve heard baking soda + vinegar creates a magic volcano for cleaning drains. Haven’t tried it yet but planning on attacking the tub pretty soon one of these days as standing in ankle deep water is getting a bit old.

  2. I recently made the switch to white vinegar. I use it to clean all my household surfaces and then some. Did you know that if you spray white vinegar on weeds outside, they'll die? Just don't go nuts because anything surrounding the weeds (flowers, grass, etc…) will die too. The only thing I don't use vinegar on is mirrors because it leaves streaks. But I'm probably doing it wrong.

  3. Dentures. Vinegar cleans the fake teeth. I know this because I soak my flipper in vinegar every few days to help remove the stains from all the coffee, Diet Dr. Pepper, and cigarettes.

  4. also, tea kettles? people still have those? I guess I’m out of touch with all of the things that are available for me to take home with me since I have no room for anything in the magic bus.

  5. Honestly, vinegar is what I use on pretty much everything. Some people are germophobes? I’m a synthetic-chemical-ophobe. Exceptions: dishsoap and laundry detergent. Though I do use vinegar as softener in the rinse cycle.

    Also, if you have dandruff, a half and half water/vinegar solution as a rinse after washing will tool those flakes nicely.

    • I would use CLR to remove the water spots. Once the water spots are gone, use car wax to wax the glass. This will prevent the hard water from hardening on the glass. You’ll need to do this every few months, as the wax will gradually go away.Also, after every shower, use a small squee-jee (sp) to wipe away the water, yet still keeping your shower doors clean looking. Using a towel can leave streaks.

  6. If you use vinegar for flies, it works best with apple cider vinegar and a drop of dish detergent. The flies are attracted more to the smell of the apples and the dish detergent helps them stick in the liquid.

    • Your problem is certainly not unique, though I understand the frustrations. Sadly we have to add so many chemicals to our water supply to make it potable, that even beyond a natural Hardness including calcium, iron, and other elements present in the water; we are prone to stains and buildup. It is a maintenance issue certainly, and one that probably should be addressed after each shower. Certainly there are many valid answers and suggestions here; I’ll just add my two cents. I use Clear Shower, and it’s adequate, after every shower. If a build up should occur I’ve also used single edged razor blades to scrape the deposits; as well as those spun plastic scrubbers like one uses for washing dishes. One suggestion that would be costly would be filtration, and/or a water softener. Another is to allow VENTING from the bathroom, especially after a shower to release steam, help dry the water on the doors, and cool the bathroom down. On an empathic note; many of us endure the same problem; and it’s a major reason why so many after shower chemicals are sold today. A Home remedy would be Vinegar and a sponge.

  7. The vinegar/baking soda volcano really works and it won’t wreck your plumbing. I always save the coffee pot vinegar cleaning for after I’ve stunk up the house frying stuff or painting, or the day after a cigarette smoking crowd was visiting. The vinegar fumes also get rid of all those things.

    • Clean the residue on you shower with a product with Tilex or a similar product. Use a green scrubber pad. Rinse the residue off and dry the glass. Take a terry cloth rag and coat it with lemon oil. Wipe the shower doors with lemon oil. About a week or so lemon oil the shower doors again. This will keep the residue from building up because it can’t stick. The lemon oil gives the shower a pleasant smell and works well. Hope this helps.

  8. We have hard water where we live, so all of our glasses, dishware, silverware, etc. had a yucky film on them that was a pain to get off. We’ve just recently started pouring 1 cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher (in addition to the dishwashing detergent, not in place of it) before we run it, and it works great for getting all the dishes super sparkly clean. When we open our kitchen cabinets, I feel like we’ve stepped into one of those commercials where all the dishes gleam.

  9. Pingback: How To: Clean With Baking Soda - Life On The Frugal SideLife On The Frugal Side

  10. I remember when my Grandma would clean the kitchen sink she would use a combination of white vinegar and baking soda mixed together and pour it down the drain… it cleaned the drain perfectly and the water would flow much better afterwards. It didn’t smell very good though… :(

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