White Vinegar for Cleaning and So Much More

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Oh how I love white vinegar!

When newly married, I remember a tiny bottle of vinegar in my baking cupboard that rarely got used. These days I have gallons of it on deck waiting because I go through so much. (Buy it in bulk here.) It seems like we use it for everything: kitchen, bath, cooking, garden, laundry, and even deodorizing!

The multipurpose nature of vinegar is catching on quickly (even Mr. Clean secretly loves it). Over the last few years we have watched the price nearly double. Since ditching chemicals and cleaning “green” has become more popular, vinegar is flying off store shelves. White vinegar can still be purchased fairly cheap, and is a tough contender against most commercial products.

Cleaning is not the only thing vinegar is good for though – here are 10 specific ways we use white vinegar around our house.

White Vinegar cleaning, laundry, and more

10 household uses for white vinegar

1. Get your dishes to sparkle

Pour vinegar into the rinse aid dispenser of your dishwasher and stop spending the money on expensive commercial rinse aids. This trick works well whether using commercial or homemade dishwasher detergent. If hand washing dishes, add a cup of vinegar to your rinse water for spot-free dishes. The savings over commercial rinse-aids is insane.

2. Clean your produce

Have you seen the expensive produce wash sold in stores? If you don’t want to rinse fruits and veggies in plain water, you can simply wash them with one part vinegar and three parts water. Add a little lemon juice and a touch of baking soda to the mix to get non-organic veggies really clean. Just be sure to rinse well with plain water before eating.

3. Perk up leafy vegetables

Don’t throw away wilted lettuce. Droopy greens can be brought back to life with vinegar. Soak in a bowl with cold water and a splash of vinegar for 10 minutes. Just rinse and dry before enjoying your revived produce. I told you this stuff was magic!

4. Cooking (of course)

Over the last few years vinegar has made its way into our kitchen with a vengeance! We now love to make pickles, dressings, and flavor soups and sauces with vinegar. For most edible stuff Matt using organic ACV with the mother or red wine vinegar, but the white stuff makes it to the party every now and again.

5. Keep colors from running

Soak new colored garments to help them retain their color longer. Before washing for the first time, soak garments in a bucket with one part water and one part white vinegar for 20 minutes. This will save you money in the long run because you’ll be extending the life of your clothing.

6. Soften laundry

White vinegar is very effective at removing soap residue in the laundry and softening your clothing and linens. Add one cup to the fabric softener dispenser of your washing machine, or fill a fabric softener ball with vinegar and toss it in the load. Laundry comes out feeling soft and fluffy, with no chemical coatings or perfumes like commercial softeners. Did I mention it’s a great softening alternative for sensitive skin.

7. Clean your house

Where do I begin? I use diluted vinegar on floors, walls, windows, carpets, showers, sinks, mirrors, and faucets. My favorite cleaning trick is to spray vinegar around the lid, bowl, and floor surrounding the toilet. I allow it to sit while I go about my chores (and make sure nobody uses the bathroom). When I return I sprinkle baking soda inside the toilet bowl and  scrub the inside of the toilet, wipe away any remaining vinegar, and flush! Cheap, easy, and effective.

8. Deodorize

Since moving into a new house, we have been trying to eliminate odors left by the last tenants. Smoke and pet odors are improved by spraying a mixture of ½ cup vinegar and ½ cup water enhanced with a few drops of my favorite essential oils. Spritz this mixture into the air throughout the room; the vinegar smell will dissipate after a few minutes leaving a fresh scent.

9. Repel ants

Ants seem to hate vinegar. Spray it in cracks, around baseboards, on countertops, or anywhere ants tend to crawl around your house. No need to put poisonous ant traps on your floor that kids or pets could get into.

10. Kill grass or weeds without chemicals

Spray full-strength vinegar on young weeds or grass that creep into places they’re not welcome. The acidic properties of vinegar wilt and kill the baby plants by the very next day. Really tough weeds will need a few treatments and are sometimes better off pulling – just pull them and spray any remaning roots.

Be creative and try new ideas

These ideas only begin to scratch the surface of the many wonderful uses for vinegar.

How are you putting white vinegar to use in your home? Share below!


photo credit: elycefeliz

About Betsy Jabs

Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebookand Twitter.

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  1. Tricia says

    apple cider vinegar – mineral oil -Dawn dish soap and water makes a good fly spray for horses. Need to use more often then commercial sprays but no chemicals and leaves a shiny coat

  2. Yvonne says

    I mix 3/4 of the white vinegar to 1/4 of water in a spray bottle I bought for 1.00 @ the dollar store. I spray my throw rugs a couple of times a weeks to keep my dogs from laying on them or going potty on them… Really works!!!

  3. Susie says

    Someone else posted about infusing vinegar with orange peel. I like lemon and grapefruit peel too. Make sure you scrape all the white part off the peel first.
    I love it. The smell it leaves behind in the kitchen is very fresh and clean.
    Not to be tmi, but a nurse suggested putting some vinegar in my daughter’s bathwater to help with yeast infections she was getting from antibiotics. That combined with eating yogurt worked well. I suppose it would work with thrush too because it kills the yeast and helps your body get back to a natural balance. We avoided using chemical laden creams with this method, not to mention the money we saved.

  4. Kathy says

    Mix a 1 to 1 ratio of Dawn original dishwashing liquid and white vinegar. Cleans your bathtub and shower like new. I have used white vinegar for years to clean with. My daughter moved into a house that the person had left a cat in and the odor on her bedroom wooden floors was horrible. She sprinkled baking soda on it and sprayed with the vinegar. Left it for a few hours then swept up and mopped with a vinegar solution. Smell disappeared. My daughter and I jokingly call our cleaning douching the house. BTW for those who complain about the smell, the smell is gone after a few minutes and everything shines.

    • Rachael says

      I keep this mix in one of those dish sponge/dispensers and wipe down the shower walls while letting my conditioner sit on my hair… Then a quick rinse of the walls when I’m getting out… No nasty chemicals let me get 2 things done at once!

  5. Jessica Jones says

    This last weekend our tiolet flooded YUCK! And the chemical cleaners are so strong smelling they make my husband sick. So i had to go on a search for natural cleaners. So I came to you. We used the vinegar solution to clean and disinfect everything. Along with your help I also found another sight that might be helpful for vinegar uses. http://www.vinegartips.com/scripts/pageViewSec.asp?id=7
    Ot has 1001 and one uses for vinegar.

  6. Stephanie says

    We had moved into a house that had black mold in it. Someone suggested using white vinegar on it and it worked. We never saw it grow back either.

  7. Lauren says

    Does anyone know how to get wax off of walls? I am trying to paint a room but a candle spilled down the wall and I have not been able to get all of the wax off.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I’m assuming you’ve already gently scraped any wax clumps off. For the residual, try cleaning it with a solution of 4 parts (warm) vinegar, 1 part lemon juice, and 1 part water. Maybe a few drops of liquid soap in the mixture too. Rinse with plain water. I haven’t tried this myself, so I’m not positive it will work…just throwing it out there. 🙂 Good luck!

    • Debbie Panton says

      You could try using an iron and piece of fabric or a heavy weight paper. After you heat your iron, hold a cloth over the area of your wall that has the wax on it and run the iron over it. The wax will melt and get absorbed into the cloth or paper. This works for furniture and carpets… should work for your wall. I’m assuming it’s not a large area. Of course be careful with the iron.

  8. Shauna says

    I like to hang dry as much clothing as I can but occasionally they don’t dry quick enough and they get quite funky smelling, blech! One day I decided to add some vinegar to my wash right after adding my detergent and it works like a charm! I have never seen that tip anywhere but I thought, “What the heck do I have to lose ?” It worked like a charm! 🙂

    I can tell you from my experience that it definitely works better in cold or warm water. Not so much in the hot water, at least not with my current detergent, so if the towels don’t dry enough in the dryer, I have to rewash them in warm water rather than hot as I normally do.

    Many thanks for all the great tips and recipes! 🙂

  9. Angel says

    When I was a teen and took ballet, I tended to sprain my ankles a lot. My dad would have me soak strips of brown paper bag in vinegar and then wrap them around my ankle. It was very effective at reducing the swelling!

  10. Cindy says

    Vinegar worked wonders cleaning my dishwashing machine. All I did was I added some vinegar to the dishwashing soap and ran my dishwasher at the hottest cycle (empty of course) and it looks and smells good. I have also found that hot vinegar truly works best.

  11. Kari says

    I use a vinegar/water solution in my rug doctor machine. Works amazingly!!!!!! No residue, carpets come uot like new!

  12. Shirley Ollie says

    I love cleaning it for drains…my mom has been using it for decades. I have one steps to add to the one above:
    Pour 1 cup of baking powder down the drain
    Pour 1 cup of white vinegar on top
    Let is sit while boiling water

    *Pour the boiling water over the top and it will unclog almost all sink clogs. If it doesn’t work the first time, and second time should work. The water is really important for unplugging.

  13. Kathy says

    My elderly mother-in-law lived with us for 5+ years. She was incontinent and though she wore disposable underwear, the underwear, like diapers, sometimes leaked and her sheets gowns, or clothes, got wet. The smell was so strong. But adding 1 cup of plain white vinegar to my HE washing machine always got out the smell.

  14. Annie says

    When I asked my vet what kind of shampoo to us on my itchy dog, she said she never uses any shampoo, but does a vinegar water rince instead! Add 2 Tlb. vinegar per gallon of water. So after getting my dogs totally wet, I just pour the mixture over them. As soon as they are dry then vinegar smell goes away,along with doggy smell It leaves them with a shiny coat, and no more itchy dog! I have not used any shampoo on my dogs for 8 months now, and it’s back saving to boot!

  15. Emily says

    The professional carpet cleaners told me to use white vinegar in my home carpet cleaner. They said it worked as well as the expensive store brands. I have been using it ever since and have no complaints.

  16. JackieD says

    I keep a spray bottle of full strength white vinegar for cleaning bathroom sinks, dissolves soap scum.

  17. Robin says

    I use white vinegar on my finger tips after chopping hot Serrano peppers for our homemade salsa. My peppers from my garden were so spicy/hot that my finger tips would start to burn so bad after I finished chopping them. My Tía Racheal was over one day and made me soak fingers in a small bowl of white vinegar to stop the burn. It actually worked! I have been doing it ever since!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Oh wow! Those sound like some strong peppers! 🙂 Pretty amazing that vinegar has the ability to soothe burns…sunburn, hot pepper burns, etc. I’ll have to try this out.