Table of Contents
- A household staple
- How does it work and what types should you use?
- Things you can use vinegar for
- Clean with vinegar
- Make health and beauty products with vinegar
- Around-the-house uses for vinegar
- Uses for vinegar in the laundry room
- Remove household stains with vinegar
- Outdoor uses for vinegar
- What you should avoid
A household staple
If you think vinegar is just for salads, think again. Here are 50+ practical and easy ways to improve your household with vinegar.
From removing tough stains to cleaning windows and eliminating bothersome bugs, vinegar is a natural, cost-effective and reliable way to limit the harsh chemicals and questionable ingredients found in so many household products.
How does it work and what types should you use?
Thanks to its high acidity, vinegar can get rid of difficult stains, unclog a drain and lower the pH in water to prolong the life of flowers.
While there are many different types of vinegar, white vinegar tends to be the best choices for being a potent cleaner while still being safe to use on a wide variety of household surfaces. If you're ingesting it, stick to organic apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg's.
Clean with vinegar
As a cleaner, there's little that vinegar can't do. We get it, you don’t want your house to smell like pickles; rest assured, the smell fades within minutes and can be easily masked with a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
- For a clean refrigerator, wash it down with a solution made of equal parts vinegar and water.
- To clean and deodorize your microwave, boil a mixture of ¼ cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water. Wipe off splattered-on food with a dampened cloth.
- To deodorize the kitchen drain, pour a cup of vinegar down the drain once a week. Let it stand for 30 minutes, then flush it with cold water.
- Run a cup of vinegar through your dishwasher cycle once a month.
- To cut grease and odors on your dishes, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to hot, soapy water.
- To eliminate offensive odors in the kitchen (especially after cooking fish) or for a quick homemade room freshener—simmer a pot of water with about a ¼ cup of vinegar added to it.
- Clean and disinfect your cutting board by wiping it with full-strength vinegar.
- Remove grime from your coffee maker by filling it with white vinegar, running it through the brew cycle, then rinsing with two cycles of plain water.
- To clean tea stains from cups and saucers, boil a mixture of vinegar diluted with an equal amount of water and wipe away the grime.
- Brighten your stainless-steel pots and pans by wiping with a vinegar-dampened cloth.
- Keep ceramic or plastic surfaces clean by wiping them down with an equal amount of vinegar and water.
- Eliminate tub and tile soap film by wiping the walls down with vinegar, then rinse with water.
- Clean chrome and stainless-steel bathroom fixtures by sponging them with straight vinegar and buff with a damp, soft cloth.
- Keep toilet bowls spotless by pouring in 1 cup of white vinegar, let stand for 15 minutes, then flush. For toilet stains, pour vinegar directly on them and sprinkle Borax on the vinegar. Let set for 2 hours, scrub and flush.
- For a homemade toilet spray cleaner, add 1 cup water distilled water, 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/3 cup castile soap to a squirt container or spray bottle. Shake until combined before each use, scrub clean and flush. For a disinfectant, follow up by spraying or pouring vinegar directly on toilet, waiting a few minutes and flushing.
- Keep your plastic shower curtain free of mildew by mist spraying with equal parts of vinegar and water after each use. For a deep clean, wash your shower curtain in a short rinse cycle with 1 cup of vinegar.
- For a multi-purpose cleaner, in a 16-ounce spray bottle mix 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup distilled water, 10-20 drops of essential oil (optional) and 1 teaspoon organic dish soap (optional).
- Unclog a drain by pouring ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, immediately followed by ½ cup of vinegar. Let set for 5 minutes. Rinse with hot water.
- To clean your windows both inside and out, use a diluted mix of 1 part vinegar to three parts warm water. Wash top to bottom on the inside and side to side on the outside, so you can tell which side the streaks are on.
- For a spray window cleaner with an extended shelf life, mix 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol with 1/3 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of distilled water in a 16-ounce spray bottle. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. We personally like lemongrass.
- Remove light mold and mildew by mixing a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water. For more heavily affected areas, mix one part borax with four parts white vinegar in a 16-ounce spray bottle. Spray affected area, wait 30-60 minutes and wipe or scrub clean.
- Clean uncarpeted floors by adding 1 cup of vinegar to a bucket of warm water (about a gallon).
- Brighten woodwork by rubbing a solution of 1 tablespoon of vinegar in 1 quart of warm water. Use a soft, dry cloth to buff it out.
- Wash vinyl furniture with a mixture of ½ cup of vinegar, ½ cup of water and 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Rinse and buff dry.
Make health and beauty products with vinegar
- Lower cholesterol, normalize blood pressure and help arthritis by drinking an 8-ounce glass of water every morning and evening with 2 teaspoons of honey and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar added.
- To soothe a sore throat, gargle with a 50-50 solution of vinegar and warm water every hour until symptoms are relieved.
- Drink a mix of 1 or 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and honey in a glass of water before you go to bed to help relieve nighttime leg cramps and chronic fatigue.
- Drinking apple cider vinegar daily can help avoid bladder infections.
- Prevent yeast infections by rebalancing your body’s pH by adding 2 or 3 cups of apple cider vinegar to your bath water and soaking in it for 15 minutes or so. This also helps soothe aching muscles and itching skin.
- If icing a strain or sprain doesn’t ease the discomfort with 24 hours, apply hot vinegar compresses to the area.
- Relieve sunburn pain by rubbing vinegar on your skin.
- Relieve bee and jellyfish stings by applying full-strength vinegar.
- Relieve poison ivy itching and burning by applying equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water on the rash and letting it dry.
- Soothe dry, itchy skin and hives by applying a paste made from vinegar and cornstarch.
- Add ¼ cup or more of vinegar to your vaporizer to help soothe a sinus infection, chest cold or headache.
- If you're out of astringent, mix apple cider vinegar with cool water and apply to your face with a cotton ball.
- For relief of chapped hands, apply apple cider vinegar several times a day.
- Rinse oily hair with a 50-50 mixture of water and vinegar to eliminate the oil.
- Curb your appetite by drinking an 8-ounce glass of water and adding 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey.
- Remove offensive odors by cleaning your armpits with a cloth moistened in vinegar.
- Use a vinegar and water rinse after shampooing to reduce frizzy hair.
- Slowly sip a glass of warm water with 1 teaspoon of vinegar mixed in to help eliminate hiccups.
- Apply vinegar to a cold sore to help relieve pain and discomfort.
- Clean your nails with vinegar before applying nail polish so your polish will apply smoother and stay on longer.
Around-the-house uses for vinegar
- To keep flowers lasting longer, pour 1 quart of warm water in your vase and add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
- To freshen the air in a room, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of vinegar in 2 cups of water. Once the foaming action subsides, pour it into a spray bottle, shake and spray.
- Remove scratches on your furniture by applying a mixture of iodine and vinegar with a paintbrush. More vinegar lightens the color; more iodine deepens the color.
- Dissolve chewing gum with full-strength vinegar.
- Soften old, dried paintbrushes by covering the bristles with boiling vinegar and let them stand for an hour. Rinse and use.
- Rub vinegar on your fingers before and after slicing onions to eliminate lingering odors.
Uses for vinegar in the laundry room
- To brighten clothes, remove odors or remove static cling, add ½ cup vinegar to the rinse cycle.
- To remove stains on clothing, apply a 50-50 solution of white vinegar and water and blot it up, then launder.
- For hard-to-remove stains, treat by applying undiluted vinegar on stain and blot it out. Soak item in a 50-50 solution of white vinegar and water after blotting. Allow affected area to soak for 4-24 hours. Wash as normal
- For hard-to-remove stains, you can also try rubbing a paste of vinegar and baking soda into the stain; let stand for 30 minutes, then launder.
- To clean your washing machine, add 1 gallon of white distilled vinegar to the tub and run it through its regular cycle.
Remove household stains with vinegar
- Remove light stains from carpets by mixing 2 tablespoons of salt with ½ cup of vinegar. Rub the paste gently into the stain, allow it to dry, then vacuum.
- For hard-to-remove stains, immediately pour vinegar on the area, wait a few minutes, and wipe up with a damp cloth. Follow up by dabbing area with hydrogen peroxide (use this separately from vinegar). Depending on the stain, this may require more than one treatment. Continue doing so 2-3x daily, until stain has resolved.
Outdoor uses for vinegar
- Eliminate bothersome bugs by spraying them with a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water.
- Get rid of weeds by pouring full-strength vinegar on them.
- Increase the acidity of the soil for rhododendrons, gardenias and azaleas by adding 1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water to water your acid-loving plants.
- Granite and marble countertops; the acid in vinegar can etch natural stone.
- Stone floor tiles; the acidity etches and dulls the stone.
- Never mix vinegar and bleach OR vinegar and hydrogen peroxide—the mixture creates a toxic gas.