Vinegar has become one of the most crucial components in my cleaning kit. When I mean cleaning with vinegar – I mean all of the household cleaning.
And when I mean vinegar I mean distilled white vinegar that looks just like water. But when you smell it, you will come to know that its not water – haha!
Vinegar is not just for cleaning. You can have a lot of fun with vinegar – you might already know the fuzz that can be created with vinegar and baking soda. While the “reaction” is mainly used for cleaning, you can also have a lot of fun in the name of home experiments.
You can clean a LOT of things with vinegar – actually I was surprised to know about some of the crazy things you can do with vinegar in relation to cleaning.
Most people are taken aback by the smell of it. But the smell of vinegar is not at all a problem and it just goes away when vinegar dries off. So let’s get to cleaning with vinegar …
What you CAN clean with vinegar?
I am going to list some of the benefits/uses of vinegar in relation to cleaning. Let’s jump right in!
Bathroom and toilet cleaning
I will first talk about the most challenging cleaning in the household. Cleaning the bathroom and toilet that is.
Soap build is one of the main issues with bathrooms. For this, you could just spray vinegar on those areas, leave it overnight and then wipe with a scrubber in the morning. If the build is too strong, you could spray some baking soda after spraying the vinegar, leave it overnight and scrub it off.
For the toilet bowl, first spray baking soda thoroughly to get a good coverage. Let it sit for a minute or two; and then spray vinegar (you will see the frizz action) – then brush off with the toilet bowl brush. Flush! That’s it. For stubborn toilet strains you will need a couple more rounds of the same action!
To keep the bathroom tiles clean scrub regularly (either once a week or once in 3 days) with half vinegar and half water mixture. For stain build up on the tiles, make a paste with baking soda and water. Apply the paste on areas where the stain is. Leave for 10 minutes to 1 hour depending upon the strength of the stain.
Then spray vinegar (undiluted) over those areas and scrub off.
To make the shower head and tap handles shine, mix 1 teaspoon salt in half cup vinegar, wipe with a cloth then use a lemon rind to rub one more time. Finally rinse off with warm water.
Spray undiluted vinegar over mold and leave it overnight. Wash off in the morning. Do this continuously everyday for a week for stubborn mold growth.
If your carpet had a spill first wipe off with a sponge that is fully soaked in water. Then spray undiluted vinegar over the area. Let it stand for about 5 minutes. Then wipe it off with a sponge soaked in water. You may have to repeat these steps until the spill gets completely cleared – usually if you attend to the spill immediately, you can take it off quite easily.
If you have an unpleasant odour in your room, place a bowl of vinegar in the room overnight. You can also place a bowl of baking soda in a room to get rid of odours.
Windows and glass tops
Make a solution with 50% vinegar and 50% water. Spray over the windows. Wipe off with a clean cloth and then immediately wipe off with a newspaper to have your windows shining. You can do the same for glass tops and even mirrors.
Vinegar is great for removing stains on cook tops, oven tops and refrigerator – stains from coffee, jams, ketchups, and food spills can be removed by damping a cloth with a 50–50 vinegar-water mixture and wiping off. Usually the stains are easy to wipe off if you attend to them immediately. If the stain is dried up and so stubborn you could use undiluted vinegar to work on it.
If your drain is clogged, first pour about 1/2 cup (or more depending upon the size of the drain) baking soda into the drain and then pour vinegar and let the frizzing action begin. Once it is done you could wash it all off with some warm water.
If you don’t like your hands smelling like onion and garlic after you’ve done your cooking, rub some vinegar thoroughly on your hands – don’t worry about the smell of vinegar; the vinegar smell will disappear once it dries off!
If you want your cutting board to be clean after cutting veggies like beet that leave its color behind, wipe off with a cloth damped with diluted vinegar solution.
Is your microwave oven smelly and is it covered with baked food? Take a microwave-safe bowl and fill it with a mixture of vinegar and water in the proportion of 1:2. Microwave until the solution boils. Now the smells should have gone, and it should be easy for you to wipe off the food spills from the floor and the walls of the oven.
If your porcelain or china dish/cup has coffee ring on it, use a mixture of vinegar and salt to scrub it off.
If ants march towards your storage cupboards, just spray vinegar on the trails.
Oh I cannot do laundry without vinegar. Vinegar is a very good fabric conditioner and softener. Just add a cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle and see your clothes come our soft and conditioned. Your clothes will not have the smell of vinegar once they are dried up! Not just that, the color on your clothes will be bright with a vinegar rinse.
If your favourite shirt or dress has a stain from coffee, ketchup, jam or wine, apply vinegar on the area and rub gently. Then do your usual wash (by machine or hand).
If you are going to wash mixed coloured clothes in the same wash in your washing machine, soak them up in tub full of water and 2 cups of vinegar for a while before tossing them in together. This way the colors won’t run into the wash and ruin other clothes.
If your whites have yellowish tint on them, soak those whites separately in a tub of luke warm water and 2 cups of vinegar 30 minutes before washing. Repeat this for the consequent 2 to 3 washes and the whites should be whites.
Cloth diapers will have lingering smell and a yellowish stain due to the build up of uric acid from urine. Adding a cup of distilled water to the rinse cycle will make your diapers smell and look fresh.
If your washing machine has soap build up, just run a empty cycle with a cup of vinegar, without the clothes. Doing this frequently will keep the drum of your washing machine fresh without any residue.
What you CANNOT clean with vinegar?
While vinegar is a great cleaner, it cannot clean everything you know! Mostly vinegar is overrated and most people claim that they can clean “everything” with vinegar – nope that is not possible.
For some hard and strong stains and build ups, vinegar won’t do the magic! In the above mentioned tips where I have said “diluted vinegar” if your cleaning project didn’t succeed, you should use undiluted vinegar.
Also remember that vinegar is acidic – that makes it unfit for cleaning “everything”. So let’s see what you cannot clean with vinegar!
Hardwood floors – vinegar is known to cause damage to the finish of these floors. So you must not use vinegar (even diluted) to clean hardwood floors.
Granite and/or marble countertops – the acidic nature of vinegar will etch these stones, since these are natural stones!
No wax floors – using vinegar to clean these floors will take the shine off them. Not good!
Egg spills – don’t attempt to clean egg spills either on the floor or on your car with vinegar. The acidic nature of vinegar will poach the egg and will make it harder to remove from the surface.
Stubborn stains – As I mentioned earlier, there are some stubborn stains that vinegar can’t handle. You have to use an appropriate commercial cleaner for such cases!
Cleaning with vinegar – Takeaway
As you can see there are LOTS of ways in which you can put vinegar to good use when it comes to cleaning in your household. Vinegar is an unavoidable item in my cleaning toolkit. And it usually comes in handy when I am in a critical situation to clean something – because vinegar pretty much covers most cleaning chores.
Having said that, you cannot use vinegar to clean “everything” and if someone says so, you should not believe it since that might ruin your precious household items.
I’ve listed some of the items/cases you can’t clean with vinegar. So be careful when using it on them!
Happy cleaning with vinegar! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.