Different Uses for Vinegar in Cleaning

Posted on Aug 31 2012 - 11:30pm by Susan Bewley

Over the past few months, I have been trying to figure out how I can make more of my cleaners. While I am not ready to completely ditch all my natural cleaners, it's nice knowing that if you run out of cleaner, you don't have to immediately run to the store.  Since I bought a large container of vinegar last time I was at Wal-Mart, I decided it was time to try seeing if I could find some different uses for vinegar. I knew that it had been used for years due to its acidity, but I had never used it as a cleanser until recently when I started looking for different vinegar cleaning recipes.

Uses for Vinegar & Other Household Items

Back in the good old days, before big box stores were in nearly every community, and anything we wanted was a few clicks away on the internet, most households made their own cleaners. Most housewives just purchased whatever they needed for cleaning, having a variety of uses for things they already had in their own household.  It was very common for them to buy a large bottle of vinegar and use it in a number of ways, making sure they used every drop of it! Hard to believe that times have changed and we have forgotten most of these simple cleaning recipes in our busy modern lives.

Making your own cleaners really isn't that hard since you can usually use ingredients found in just about every household in America. You may even be surprised just how effective some of those things collecting dust in your cabinet really are when it comes to cleaning your own house on a budget!



Baking Soda

* Naturally abrasive with very mild alkaline properties

* Natural Deodorizer

* Stain Remover


(Never use vinegar on stone or acetate fabrics)

* Natural Disinfectant

* Stain Remover

* Naturally Acidic

Hydrogen Peroxide

* Naturally Bleaching

* Natural Disinfectant

* Stain Remover (great for getting out blood)

Lemon Juice

* Cut Grease

* Natural Deodorizer

Liquid Castile Soap

* Great for Sensitive Skin

* Moisturizer

* Antioxidants


Effectiveness of Cleaning with Vinegar

So far, vinegar seems to be a great backup when it comes to cleaners. I still have not completely got the hang of using it for cleaning, but it does do a pretty good job.  While I have tried that many vinegar cleaning recipes, I have found some uses for more vinegar, with polishing stainless steel being my favorite use, back at my house in Kentucky.  I know I have read on Pinterest lately that many cleaning services use vinegar mixtures when they go in and clean homes.  If professional cleaners use it, shouldn't it be a good option for the rest of us?

While cleaning with vinegar is very different, it can be very satisfying as well, knowing that you know exactly what goes into your household cleaners.  I admit to not going totally natural, however, since I do put a few drops of essence in my cleaners to give that same wonderful smell as the professional stuff we purchase in a bottle.  I may start slowly incorporating more homemade cleaners into my pantry, especially when I have more room for the various bottles! As for it being effective, I think it does a pretty good job, making it a great alternative if you have all the ingredients you need already in your house.

Vinegar Household Cleaning Recipes

Originally my search began with trying to different vinegar uses since I wanted to use up my big bottle of vinegar.  Now, I am seriously trying to create a list of different vinegar cleaners, hoping to make a small recipe book of natural cleaners that are perfect for when you either run out of your favorite cleaners, or hoping to make that jump to making your own green cleaners.  Here are some of the best recipes I have found that seem to work fairly well…

Microwave Cleaner


1/2 Cup Vinegar

2 Cups Water


Combine the vinegar and water in a small, microwave safe bowl. When ready, place the bowl in the microwave and heat for about 3 to 4 minutes on high.  When the microwave goes off, carefully take out the bowl with oven mitts (it may be very hot). Once the bowl is removed, just wipe down the inside of your microwave with a rag or cloth. 

Drain Cleaner


1 Cup Baking Soda

1 Cup White Vinegar

1 Gallon of Boiling Water


First pour the baking soda down the drain, and then the white vinegar.  The baking soda and vinegar mixture will start foaming – let it sit for 5 to 7 minutes before pouring the boiling water down the drain.  Pour the boiling water down the drain as slowly as possible to get the best results.

Tub & Drain Cleaner


1/2 Cup Baking Soda

2 Cups of Vinegar


Pour the baking soda and vinegar mixture in a bucket and mix well.  Wet a sponge in this mixture and wipe tub clean.  If nasty stain persist, pour baking soda into the tub and scour with your sponge.  Make sure to rinse well.

Metal Polish Recipe


1/2 Cup Vinegar

1/2 Cup Baking Soda


Combine vinegar and baking soda until it forms a paste.  Polish metal with mixture and rinse.

Counter Top Cleaner Recipe


2 Cup Vinegar


Place vinegar in a spray bottle.  Spray vinegar on counter and wipe clean. 

Refrigerator Cleaner


1 Cup Vinegar

1  Cup Water


Combine the vinegar and water mixture in a spray bottle.  Spray mixture on shelves and dirty areas of the fridge, wiping clean with a sponge or clean cloth.

Removing Ink From Walls


1/2 Cup Vinegar

1 Cup Water


Pour just enough vinegar on the sponge to make it slightly damp, and very carefully scrub the wall with the sponge.  Rinse with water and repeat until ink has faded or disappeared. 

Clean Coffee Pot


1 Cup Vinegar


Pour vinegar into the tank in your coffee pot, and fill the rest of the tank with cold water.  Brew the vinegar and water mixture.  Once mixture is finished, dump and refill your coffee pot tank with clean, purified water.  Do this twice and then use coffee pot as normal.

Removing Stains from Coffee/Tea Cups


1/2 Cup Baking Soda

1/2 Cup Vinegar


Stir baking soda and vinegar mixture until it forms a paste.  With a clean rag, take a generous amount of paste and began polishing the cups. Rinse cups and repeat until stains are gone.

Fruit Cleaner


1/2 Cup Vinegar

1  Cups Water


Mix together your vinegar and water mixture and place in a spray bottle.  Before putting in your fridge, spray each piece of fruit with the vinegar mixture and wipe with a damp cloth. This will not only clean your fruit, but kill fruit flies and inhibit many molds from growing.

Discourage Ant


1 Cup Of Vinegar

Spray Bottle (found in cosmetic section)


Find area where you believe ants are entering your home and spray vinegar mixture along that area.  To prevent ants from intruding, spray mixture on common areas such as doorways and windowsills.

Kill Fruit Flies


Small Bowl of Vinegar


To kill fruit flies that are hanging around your fresh fruit, clean all of your fruit on arrival with the fruit cleaner listed above.  If flies still persist, set out a dish of straight vinegar and leave out for two day, or until all fruit flies are dead.

Do you know any good recipes that you think should be included on our list? Feel free to leave a comment and tell us about it!


Susan Bewley is a professional writer who has been writing content online & in print format for over 10 years. As well, she is an alumni of the University of Louisville with a Masters Degree in Special Education. When not working as an online business consultant or ghost writing, she can be found writing on Budget Earth, on her own novel, or working with various entities in the pet industry.

73 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Candy Olivares September 1, 2012 at 12:25 am - Reply

    Wowza what a fantastic list!! A++ on this lady!! Thank you so much! 

    • Susan Bewley September 1, 2012 at 12:26 am - Reply

      Thank you πŸ™‚ I had been working on that list since June!

  2. Pam September 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Great article and so useful!  I did know about the ant thing and I need to use that more. Windex works wonders for that also and I guess it is the vinegar in it that probably does the job.
    I have used vinegar and water on my windows forever and that is something that my mom passed on to me. Hands down it is the best window cleaner.
    I did not know about vinegar and ink but I do know that rubbing alcohol is fantastic for getting ink stains out of clothing.
    Thanks again for this list!

  3. Angie September 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    Thank so much for the great list!! I use a few but have a couple new ones to try out! 

  4. Melinda Dunne September 1, 2012 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    I just cleaned my coffee pot with it today.

  5. Tamara September 2, 2012 at 2:12 am - Reply

    What bothers me with vinegar is the smell, mixing it with stuff does it help with that?

  6. Natasha September 2, 2012 at 9:02 am - Reply

    I love using vinigar for cleaning…but for whatever reason I never thought of washing my fruit with it! Living in FL fruit flys are a huge issue

  7. Alaina Bullock September 2, 2012 at 10:59 am - Reply

    I never knew there were so many uses for vinegar!  I knew about the drain cleaner and counter cleaner, but the rest? Wow!  Learn something new everday!  Thanks for all the great tips!

  8. Sue Invegas September 2, 2012 at 11:08 am - Reply

    Wow what a great list of things I never knew! ( I have always used in my coffee pot but thats it!) Thanks for sharing.

  9. Motherhood on the Rocks September 2, 2012 at 11:23 am - Reply

    I love this! I'm always looking for safer cleaning alternatives. Thanks for sharing!

  10. MamaBreak September 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    SUCH an important article to share! We use vinegar for almost all of our cleaning needs!

  11. Gia September 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Thanks for all this useful information! I love cleaning with vinegar, but the "recipes" you shared for other cleaners is really helpful. 

  12. Patty A September 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    I love using vinegar for everything! Thanks

  13. Trisha G. September 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    I normally use vinegar to clean my tub and drain but never knew it had so many other uses! Thanks for sharing! 

  14. Shelly B September 2, 2012 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    Nice list. I use straight vinegar to remove coffee and tea stains from the sink. It also works great when you put it in your washing machine (small cycle) to get rid of that musty odor. Another old use for it was cleaning windows. Just mix some with water and wipe the window clean with newsprint. Works wonders!

  15. jheylo September 2, 2012 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    vinegar is very useful for cleaning and as well as for cooking. 

    • Susan Bewley September 2, 2012 at 11:53 pm - Reply

      It is my lifesaver in the kitchen. It is great for making buttermilk too.Β 

  16. Lena Nguyen September 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Is there any use for fabric softener besides making your clothes softer? I have enough to last me a lifetime

  17. Angela Harris September 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing such a great informative post!!

  18. Emilee September 3, 2012 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    I have been looking for something like this because I knew you could use vinegar in a lot of homemade cleaners! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Malia September 4, 2012 at 5:03 am - Reply

    I'm going to try it as a tub and drain cleaner!

  20. Rachael Monaco September 5, 2012 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Fantastic list of vinegar-based natural cleaners! I shared on my Better Frugal Living for Families facebook fan page!

  21. tess September 6, 2012 at 10:18 am - Reply

    wow, vinegar is multifunctional. it can be use in any way you want  from cooking to cleaning to hygiene. 

  22. Ashley S September 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    I use vinegar all the time to clean anything metal! Had no idea about the fruit flies though. Thanks for the tips!!

  23. Jenn September 11, 2012 at 9:51 am - Reply

    We have had terrible brown stains in our toilets from the water we have (from a well). Vinegar is the ONLY thing that gets them off! I pour it in the bowl (a lot of it), and let it sit for a few hours, and the hard water deposits come off.

  24. Anna September 19, 2012 at 6:39 am - Reply

    One of teh most effctive use of vinegar is that it can treat fungal skin infection. I myself have used it on my toe and it went off within 2-3 applications.

  25. Trice@ crazy Texas savings October 24, 2012 at 12:38 am - Reply

    Awesome list …. I'm going to try my microwave this week.

  26. Diane N - Philzendia October 26, 2012 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Great list!  Vinegar can be used for so many things.  I love that it is an all natural product.

  27. Michele October 26, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

    I put Lemon and Orange peels in mine too!

  28. Amber Edwards October 26, 2012 at 10:36 am - Reply

    I've been using vinegar for a lot of those tips you posted for quite awhile and it has been working amazing! Much better than the expensive heavy duty cleaners!!!  I also use mine as a rinse agent in my dishwasher. It removes the hard water deposits on the heating element, keeps the dishes from getting the water spots and makes it dry a lot faster! I LOVE vinegar!

  29. Melissa Rheinlander October 26, 2012 at 10:54 am - Reply

    We always use vinegar to clean the house because I am super sensitive to chemicals!!

  30. Mariah October 26, 2012 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Ants! I didn't know that! I am ust learning about how amazing vinegar is!

  31. Melody October 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    I never knew that you could use vinegar for cleaning til not long ago.  Thanks so much for another lesson on cleaning with vinegar!  Can't wait to try it out!

  32. Tara October 27, 2012 at 1:41 am - Reply

    Wow, I had no idea!  Thanks, Susan!  Definitely going to bookmark this link to use later πŸ™‚

  33. Amanda Greene-Lebeck February 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    Awesome thanks a bunch for these tips.  I am learning new homemade ideas everyday.  I want to be more green and keep less chemicals in the home, so this helps a lot.

  34. stealmagnolia deals March 12, 2013 at 1:03 am - Reply

    I'm getting out the vinegar!

  35. LAMusing March 29, 2013 at 12:50 am - Reply

    I use vinegar on windows and mirrors.

  36. Dolly April 12, 2013 at 2:30 am - Reply

    Awesome post, I too use vinegar for cleaning – especially the drain cleaner recipe! It's so easy as well when you buy in bilk such as 5l cheap vinegar and/or rubbing alcohol. I also use apple cider vinegar as shampoo/conditioner for me and pets – keeps the hair clean and soft! 

  37. Maria Iemma April 21, 2013 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    I have always heard of the cleaning uses for vinegar but I did not know that I could add anything else but water. I will try your suggestions because I do not like to use anything with chemicals.

  38. S April 29, 2013 at 10:58 am - Reply

    I'm definitely gonna try the tub cleaner- thanks! πŸ™‚

    • Susan Bewley April 29, 2013 at 11:20 am - Reply

      Hope it helps! I LOVE using vinegar for just about everything in my house!

  39. Dorothy Teel May 1, 2013 at 8:23 am - Reply

    Wow, I have been using vinegar in our glass shower on the door and it keeps it very clean, I did not know the other uses for it, but I do like using it in the dishwasher to help cut spots, plus it would keep mineral deposits down.  I also put vinegar in a small baggie and secure the bag over the shower head with rubber bands and it cuts the calcium depositis that get on shower heads.  thanks for sharing more ideas.. and FYI the vinegar smell disperses quickly.

  40. tami s May 18, 2013 at 11:27 am - Reply

     I use vinegar or cleainging, but I didn't know it would repel ants.

  41. Jean Bullock May 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    This is good to know.  Thanks for sharing.

  42. Sarah B June 19, 2013 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    It's not a cleaning tip per se…I use apple cider vinegar with a little bit of dish soap to attract those annoying fruit flies/knats during the summer.  They drink that stuff up.

    • Susan Bewley June 19, 2013 at 11:46 pm - Reply

      That is one that is going to save me a lot of time! I bought a plant that came with fruit flies and I’ve been desperately trying to kill them all. Thank you!

  43. Erica Ardali July 12, 2013 at 9:18 am - Reply

    I've been hearing a lot about vinegar as an all purpose natural cleaner – haven't tried it yet though.

  44. Orlando Window Cleaning July 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Terrific post on offering so much helpful advice and tips on using a natural, healthy cleaner. Nice article.

  45. Blessed Assurance July 31, 2013 at 2:59 am - Reply

    Thank you for this post.  I plan to clean my coffee pot with this. I was thinking of getting some C.L.R. but vinegar should do the job.

  46. Cassandra Huber August 13, 2013 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Do you know if you can use vinegar in the wash to get the pee smell out of a child's bedding? I have heard tidbits about this and am wondering if it really works. We cannot find anything that will. πŸ™

    • Susan Bewley August 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      I’ve heard of it and its very hit or miss. Most of what I heard is that it really doesn’t work πŸ™

  47. Orlando Window Cleaning August 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    Susan, really helpful tips and recipes for keeping your home clean, naturally. Vinegar and water is a great solution for window cleaning! Thanks


  48. Deborah D August 30, 2013 at 10:27 am - Reply

    I knew about cleaning the cofee pot with vinegar but none of the othe things.  Does it matter what type of vinegar you use?

    • Susan Bewley August 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm - Reply

      I don’t think so. I use white vinegar since it’s cheap πŸ˜‰

  49. Angela September 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Apple cider vinegar also makes a great hair rinse!

  50. Katt Lewis October 9, 2013 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    I am so tired of buying all these chemicals to clean my house. I won't give up my Dawn, best grease cutter I ever used, great cleaning up after spagetti, but I think I will invest in baking soda and vinegar and try these out. 

  51. Denise Boeger November 13, 2013 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    I had no idea vinegar and water could be used to take ink off of walls. This is great when you have children!

  52. Beth Hargett November 23, 2013 at 3:30 am - Reply

    I loved this post and I can't wait to try some of these great uses for vinegar!! The first one I want to try is cleaning the microwave!! πŸ™‚

  53. ANN*H November 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    These  are great tips . thank you so much. Vinegar is way cheaper than most cleaning products sold today. I like that – saves lots of money

  54. David Smith December 12, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Lots of great uses for vinegar. We have always used it for cleaining glass like house windows and car windows and once or twice a month running it throgh the coffee maker to clean it. Nice thinkg about vinegar is that it is cheap and the smell is not as harsh as some other types of cleaners. Thanks for all the great ideas.

  55. Denisha February 21, 2014 at 1:02 am - Reply

    What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It absolutely
    useful and it has helped me out loads. I’m hoping to give a contribution & assist
    different customers like its helped me. Good job.

    • Susan Bewley February 21, 2014 at 5:04 am - Reply

      So glad to have you, Denisha! I’m so glad this helped you out πŸ™‚

  56. Eugenie March 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    This is a great list of ways to use vinegar to clean. I didn’t know that it repels ants, too.

  57. Cassandra M March 31, 2014 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    I LOVE vinegar, I use it almost everyday for cooking and cleaning.

  58. Ashley May 27, 2014 at 1:36 am - Reply

    Wow, what an extensive list! I love using natural cleaners, but I need to learn more about castille soap.

  59. Brigid OHara Koshko June 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    I love working with vinegar. I use it to clean my dishwasher, coffee pot and in my laundry. Inexpensive, all natural and it works!

  60. Diana Ward August 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Years ago I had a small cleaning business with my sisters. We lived in the San Francisco Bay area and specialized in cleaning empty houses after people moved so they could get their security deposits back. We used vinegar, ammonia, and Dawn dish soap for most all the cleaning other than carpets, and we never even had to advertise, word of mouth got us more work than we could handle because the jobs went so well. An added bonus was that we weren’t exposed to more harsh chemicals than necessary and the houses or apartments smelled good.

  61. lisa March 13, 2015 at 10:20 am - Reply

    I’ve been cleaning with baking soda and vinegar for quite a while. The chemicals in cleansers, mainly bleach, causes me to break out in a rash and my throat feels tight. I will use peroxide to clean with but not on skin abrasions. Years ago, I used it on a cut or something. Anyways, it got under the skin, bubbled up and caused a nasty burn.

  62. Jessica Burrelli December 11, 2016 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    I needed that one for the microwave! It worked wonderfully!

  63. Cynthia C March 10, 2017 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    I have started to use straight vinegar to clean my shower. It works very well and I love that it’s natural.

  64. Deb E August 24, 2017 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    I’m one who loves the smell of vinegar and like cleaning with it. I didn’t know it could remove ink from the walls though. I will give that one a try.

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