How to clean with vinegar

Cleaning with Vinegar [what works, what doesn’t, and what to NEVER do]

White Vinegar Uses

Cleaning with vinegar has become a really hot topic in recent years. I’m not going to lie, I’ve bought into the craze and I use distilled white vinegar for cleaning in my regular cleaning routine.

However, there are some things you should know before cleaning with vinegar, and we’re going to go over all of that here, plus some tips on what to clean with vinegar, and what NOT to clean!

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How to clean with vinegar

Is white vinegar good for cleaning?

The short answer is yes, in a lot of cases white vinegar is good for cleaning. The long answer is, it depends on what you’re cleaning. Vinegar is acidic, so there are some things you just should NOT clean with vinegar.

But that doesn’t take away from the things that you CAN clean with vinegar!

One of the huge selling points for me when it comes to cleaning with vinegar is the fact that it’s pretty natural AND it’s a natural deodorizer!

That’s right, if you have a stinky room, vinegar will help neutralize the scent in the air! Pretty cool, right?

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Where Can I Buy White Vinegar for Cleaning?

You can buy distilled white vinegar for cleaning at your local grocery store. It can usually be found in the same aisle as ketchup, and you’ll find all your vinegar options there. For an all-purpose cleaner, and in this article, we’re going to be specifically talking about distilled white vinegar.

You can get a full gallon of vinegar pretty cheap, and since you’re going to be diluting it, the gallon will last you a really long time, which will likely save money over traditional cleaning solutions at the store.

You can also buy distilled white vinegar on Amazon.

Vinegar Cleaning Tips – Supplies

So what do you all need to clean with vinegar? Here’s the simple supplies I recommend:

Distilled White Vinegar (obviously)

Spray bottles

I prefer to use 32 ounce spray bottles, like these. That way I’m not constantly refilling it during a cleaning session. I only refill it once when I’m finished cleaning!

Some people prefer glass spray bottles, like these.

Whatever your preference is, make sure you label the bottle with what’s inside!

Microfiber Cloths

I prefer to do all my cleaning with microfiber cloths.

First, it saves money if you have been using paper towels or some other disposable option (and the environment!) and you can just toss them in the laundry to clean them.

Second, they are gentle on surfaces and I feel they trap more dust. If you aren’t already using microfiber cloths for cleaning, grab some here.

Optional: Essential Oils

Some people just do not like the smell of vinegar. I don’t mind it, and I find the scent goes away fairly quickly. However, you can add essential oil to your homemade cleaning solution to help combat the vinegar scent.

Add just a few drops of your favorite essential oil, or experiment with different oil scents.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT ESSENTIAL OILS:

If you have pets at home, some essential oils can be harmful to them. Please always research before using essential oils around your pets, even smelling them can cause poisoning. Check out this article from the AKC for more information, and please do further research as well.

Speaking of pets, check out this awesome post all about How To Manage Pet Hair at home!

Vinegar Cleaner Recipe

There are quite a lot of options for cleaning with vinegar, whether it be the types of things you’re cleaning or the recipes you can use. Here are a few favorites!

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How do I mix vinegar and water to clean?

1 tablespoon of vinegar per 16-32 ounces of water in a spray bottle. This is good for every day stuff like dusting, picking up dirt, and so on. This is my main all-purpose cleaner to use.

You can mix half vinegar and half water if you need something stronger to clean.

If you have never used vinegar for cleaning before, you’ll want to make sure to read the section on what NOT to clean with vinegar, which also includes things you should NEVER mix with vinegar.

I’m going to tell you what not to mix with vinegar now, because I really, really, really want you to understand to NEVER do this.

DO NOT mix vinegar with hydrogen peroxide. DO NOT mix vinegar with bleach.

These combinations are toxic and extremely harmful to your health!

Cleaning with vinegar and baking soda

My favorite way to clean with vinegar and baking soda is to use it for cleaning sinks! It’s important to note, the these two ingredients together create a fizzy concoction and they shouldn’t be confined together in a spray bottle.

I repeat: do NOT put vinegar and baking soda together in a spray bottle!

cleaning with vinegar

Anyway!

To clean with vinegar and baking soda in your sink, all you do is:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda around the sink, including down the drain.
  2. Let the baking soda sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Spray or pour some vinegar around the sink, including down the drain.
  4. Let it sit until the fizzing and bubbling stops.
  5. Pour hot water down the drain (and around the sink) to rinse.

What’s the benefit of doing this in sinks?

Well, first, both vinegar and baking soda are natural deodorizers. I love to do this in the kitchen sink, and if you have a garbage disposal you can use this method there too. It will seriously help knock out stinky stuff.

Second, this supposedly helps unclog drains.

I can’t verify this because I haven’t used the method specifically for a clogged drain.

What I CAN tell you is that I do this in the kitchen sink every week, and I have NEVER had a clog in the kitchen since I started this method!

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Deep Cleaning Your Home

Cleaning with vinegar and dawn

You can find a lot of uses for a vinegar and Dawn dish soap combination! My FAVORITE is to get rid of soap scum in the shower!

I have a separate spray bottle for this. I mix 16oz water, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and add a few drops of Dawn dish soap and shake it all up.

When you’re done showering, simply spray the walls and rinse with water!

Who knew soap helps get rid of soap?

I’ve never tried this with any other dish soap, I always use the original Dawn blue.

Vinegar Cleaning Tips

Here are some really great tips for how to clean with vinegar in different scenarios!

Is vinegar good for cleaning windows and glass?

Absolutely! Vinegar and water, in the all-purpose solution discussed earlier (1tbsp vinegar to 16oz water) is PERFECT for cleaning windows, mirrors, glass top tables, etc.

Just spray it on and wipe with a microfiber cloth for a streak free finish.

You can also use newspaper to wipe it off to further prevent streaks!

Is vinegar good for cleaning floors?

This seems to be a hot debate. Some people say it’s fine for hardwood floors, some say it’s not. You should always be careful when using something acidic like vinegar, and any time you’re trying a new cleaning product you should always test it in a small, inconspicuous area before going all out cleaning with it.

Vinegar is NOT good to use to clean some types of tile, like granite, quartz, marble, etc.

As far as hardwood floors are concerned, I use my diluted solution of 1tbsp vinegar to 16oz water and have not noticed the finishing getting damaged. However, that is something that is debated and you should do further research based on your type of flooring, or ask the company who did your floors.

What NOT To Clean With Vinegar

TOXIC: DO NOT COMBINE THESE THINGS!

First, let’s get some safety things out of the way. We already talked about some of this above, but I want to make sure you see it and truly heed this rule:

Never. Ever. NEVER EVER, for any reason, combine vinegar with bleach.

Never. Ever. NEVER EVER, for any reason, combine vinegar with hydrogen peroxide.

When you combine vinegar with bleach or hydrogen peroxide, you are creating a toxic gas that can be seriously harmful to your health as well as the others in your home.

So please. Please. Do NOT combine vinegar with bleach or hydrogen peroxide.

I can’t say this enough. Make sure you research before you combine any two cleaning solutions, no matter how natural one (or possibly both) of those products can be.

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Is vinegar a disinfectant?

I see this all over the internet, and there are SO many people saying vinegar is a disinfectant. Let’s get to the bottom of it.

Should I use vinegar as a disinfectant?

The short answer is: probably not.

The long answer:

Vinegar does have some disinfecting properties. According to this article from Healthline, it is able to “kill or reduce certain types of pathogens.” These certain things include E.Coli and Salmonella.

However, something to take into account: is that full strength vinegar, or will the diluted all purpose version we use around the house work for that?

In my opinion, when it comes to an all purpose cleaner that deodorizes and picks up dirt, I absolutely love vinegar and it is my every day cleaning solution.

When it comes to a disinfectant, you’re better off finding something, one solution, that will disinfect against everything you’re concerned about (or 99% of those things). Check the EPA-Registered Disinfectants here.

3 Things you should NOT clean with vinegar

1. Washing machines and dishwashers

You should NOT use vinegar for cleaning your washing machine or dishwasher.

Many experts agree that it could corrode or damage the rubber seals in these machines, so you definitely want to be careful with that – as those are pretty expensive to replace (and it wouldn’t offset the the money you’re saving by using vinegar)!

2. Metals

Knives and other metals should NOT be cleaned with vinegar as it can harm the metal.

3. Stone countertops

Vinegar can discolor and/or harm stones like granite, quartz, marble, etc.

As always, if you’re concerned about cleaning with vinegar, do a little further research into your specific items you’re looking to clean!

7 Vinegar Cleaning Hacks

We’re going to finish this off with my FAVORITE and safe ways to use vinegar for cleaning!

1. Deodorizing sinks

Like I said above, vinegar is a natural deodorizer. Sprinkling some baking soda (also a natural deodorizer) in a sink, letting it sit for 10 minutes, and then pouring vinegar on it and letting it fizz is a great way to get rid of sink stink (yes, I do think I’m clever sometimes!).

2. Deodorizing and cleaning a microwave

Pour a little vinegar into a microwave safe bowl, pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, and it’ll be so much easier to clean!

Take the bowl out, and you’ll notice a lot of the built up icky stuff in the microwave has been loosened up for you. Once the vinegar in the bowl has cooled, I dip a towel in it and use that to scrub the microwave.

Repeat as needed until your microwave is clean.

I also like to keep the microwave door open for a little bit after doing this to help air out the hot vinegar smell.

The Ultimate Guide to Deep Cleaning Your Home

3. Descaling your Keurig or coffee maker

I clean the Keurig about once a month by filling the reservoir with half vinegar and half water. Then I run through the cycles with it dispensing hot water only until the reservoir is empty.

Afterward, make sure to run some cycles with water only and keep doing this until the vinegar smell is no longer in the water.

4. Soap scum crusher

Vinegar, water, and a few drops of dawn dish soap will help keep soap scum out of your shower!

Fill a spray bottle and spray the walls after a shower, then rinse with water.

5. Removing hard water and mineral buildup from faucets

Put some vinegar in a bag and attach it to a faucet, making sure it’s submerged fully in the vinegar.

Wait 30 minutes to an hour, remove the bag, and you should be able to just wipe off the hard water and mineral build up. If it doesn’t come off easily or with some light scrubbing, you may need to leave the vinegar soak a little longer.

6. Bathtub ring

If you get some buildup around the tub, fill it with hot water and pour in 1-2 cups of vinegar (depending on the size of your tub) and let it sit for a few hours.

Once the water is cooled, scrub the sides of the tub and it should feel pretty darn close to brand new!

7. Deodorizing carpets

I recently ran out of cleaning solution for my favorite little mobile carpet cleaner, and I used a mixture of vinegar and water!

Now, I am concerned about how acidic vinegar is, but I’m hoping with how diluted it was with the water everything is fine and there won’t be any issues with the fibers breaking down.

I also ALWAYS spot test when I’m using a new type of cleaner, whether it’s a natural cleaner or not, ALWAYS do a spot test in a small, inconspicuous area.

Let me know in the comments what your favorite vinegar cleaning hacks are!

Want more cleaning & organizing ideas? Checkout my Ultimate Guide to Deep Cleaning Your Home Workbook! It has 49 pages of printable schedules in different colors and formats, along with sample schedules AND checklists! Use code INTRO20 to get it for 20% off…only for a limited time! GET IT HERE!

What to read next:

The Ultimate Cleaning Supply List

17 Things You’re Forgetting To Clean

How To Deal With Pet Hair

11 Tips for Getting Motivated To Clean

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cleaning with vinegar

Cleaning With Vinegar

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