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There is no doubt about it that vinegar is an extremely useful staple to have in any household for everything from cooking to cleaning and anything in between. Growing up, my grandma would often say that there were few things that couldn’t be cleaned with vinegar, baking soda, and a little bit of elbow grease. As an adult living on a tight budget, I’ve definitely come to realize just how true this is.
Below are 86 ways you can use vinegar for cleaning, deodorizing, and all around making your house sparkle!
Vinegar in the kitchen
- Coffee Pot Cleaner: If your coffee maker starts getting a little slow, or is in need of a clean (from the inside out), pour a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 2 cups water into your coffee maker and brew. (Make sure you empty the filter basket first!) Then, run the coffee maker with a full pot of plain water 2-3 times. If there is any scaling build-up, you’ll probably see pretty murky water the first time. I have to do this every 2-3 weeks, as living on well water, we’ve got a fair amount of minerals that like to build up.
- Kettle Makeover: Say goodbye to mineral buildup in your kettle. A simple boil with a vinegar and water mix (1:2 ratio) will have it gleaming and functioning flawlessly. This works for both electric and stovetop kettles!
- Fridge Freshness: Keep your fridge smelling like a bouquet of roses (minus the roses) by setting a dish of it inside to absorb and zap away any unwanted odors.
- Gleaming Surfaces: When kitchen surfaces get greasy, vinegar is here to save the day. Use a vinegar and water blend to cut through the toughest grease and grime, leaving everything sparkling. For easy use, put it in a spray bottle so it’s always ready to go!
- Clean Produce: Make your fruits and veggies shine! A vinegar and water wash not only rids them of pesticides but also gives them a pristine glow.
- Oven Racks: Tackling grimy oven racks? Soak them in a tub filled with vinegar and water, and watch as the grease and grime surrender!
- Stain-Busting Magic: A mix of vinegar and baking soda works wonders on stubborn cup and mug stains, restoring their brilliance.
- Drain Drama Solved: Clear minor sink clogs by unleashing the power of baking soda and vinegar, followed by a rush of hot water.
- Stainless Steel Elegance: Let your stainless steel appliances shine bright. A vinegar-dampened cloth will whisk away smudges and streaks, leaving them looking brand new.
- Plastic Dish Deodorizer: Rid your cutting boards, plastic cups, pitchers, travel mugs, or water bottles of lingering odors or tastes by wiping them down with a cloth soaked in vinegar, or soaking them in vinegar for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Dishwasher Rinse Aid: Add vinegar to your dishwasher’s rinse aid compartment to reduce water spots and improve drying performance.
- Dishwasher Descaler: Run an empty dishwasher with a cup of vinegar to remove buildup and odors.
- Removing Sticky Residue: Easily remove sticky labels or residue left behind by stickers by applying vinegar and gently scrubbing.
- Fruit Fly Trap: Create a fruit fly trap by placing a small bowl with vinegar and a drop of dish soap on your kitchen counter to attract and trap these pesky insects.
To the laundry room
- Fabric Softener: Swap out your usual fabric softener with a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar during the rinse cycle. It’ll leave your clothes soft and snuggly.
- Stain Fighter: Tackle tough stains by applying vinegar directly to the affected area before tossing the garment in the wash. Stubborn stains, begone!
- Brighten Whites: Add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to white loads to help brighten and whiten your garments naturally.
- Deodorize Laundry: Banish odors from sweaty gym clothes or musty towels by adding a splash of vinegar to the wash cycle.
- Remove Lint and Static: Use vinegar as a natural alternative to commercial fabric softener sheets. Simply add a cloth soaked in vinegar to the dryer for lint-free, static-free clothes. As someone who gets an allergic reaction to most dryer sheets, this works great for me!
- Clean the Washing Machine: Don’t forget to clean the cleaner! Run an empty washing machine cycle with 2 cups of vinegar to remove buildup, odors, and residue.
- Unclog Fabric Softener Dispenser: If your fabric softener dispenser is clogged, soak it in vinegar to break down the gunk and restore proper flow.
- Freshen Up Athletic Gear: Revive your sports gear by adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the wash. It’ll eliminate lingering odors and keep them in tip-top shape.
- Preserve Colors: To help prevent colors from fading, soak new, vibrant clothes in a vinegar and water solution before their first wash.
- Lint and Pet Hair Removal: Wipe down lint brushes and pet hair rollers with vinegar to keep them sticky and effective.
- Brighten Socks: Bring white socks back to life by soaking them in a mixture of vinegar and water. It’ll make them look new again!
- Mildew Stain Remover: For mildew stains on clothes, pre-treat with vinegar before washing. It’s like magic for banishing those pesky spots.
- Scent Booster: Make your laundry smell heavenly by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a cloth soaked in vinegar and tossing it in the dryer.
- Clean Irons: Remove mineral deposits from your iron’s steam vents by filling the water chamber with equal parts vinegar and water, then running the iron on steam mode over a cloth.
- Wrinkle Remover: For clothes with wrinkles, spritz them lightly with a vinegar and water mixture, hang them up, and watch the wrinkles vanish.
Vinegar in the bathroom
- Showerhead Descaler: Remove mineral deposits and boost water pressure by soaking your showerhead in vinegar. Just unscrew it, place it in a bag filled with vinegar, and leave it overnight.
- Tile and Grout Cleaner: Mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle to easily clean and brighten tile and grout. Spray, scrub, and rinse for a dazzling bathroom.
- Toilet Bowl Refresher: Pour a cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl and let it sit for an hour (or overnight). Scrub and flush to banish stains and odors.
- Sink and Faucet Shine: Wipe down your bathroom sink and faucets with vinegar to remove water spots and soap scum.
- Mirror and Glass Cleaner: Create a streak-free glass cleaner by mixing vinegar and water. Say goodbye to smudges and hello to clarity.
- Bathtub Stains: Remove stubborn bathtub stains by scrubbing them with a paste made from vinegar and baking soda. Rinse for a pristine tub.
- Clogged Drain Buster: Clear minor sink and shower drain clogs by pouring baking soda down the drain, followed by vinegar. The fizzy magic will do the work for you.
- Fog-Free Mirror: Prevent bathroom mirrors from fogging after a steamy shower by wiping them with vinegar and a paper towel.
- Toothbrush Sanitizer: Soak toothbrushes in a cup of vinegar to keep them clean and germ-free.
- Mold and Mildew Removal: Combat mold and mildew by spraying it on affected areas, letting it sit for 15 minutes, and scrubbing with a brush.
- Shower Curtain Refresher: Wash your fabric or plastic shower curtain with vinegar and water to remove soap scum and mildew.
- Tile Floor Cleaner: Add vinegar to your mop water to clean and disinfect tile floors.
- Germ-Fighting Spray: Create a disinfectant spray by mixing it with water. Use it on bathroom surfaces for added peace of mind.
- Deodorize Towels and Linens: Revive musty towels and bathmats by washing them with vinegar. It’ll banish odors and make them fluffy again.
- Toilet Brush Cleaner: Keep your toilet brush clean and odor-free by soaking it in a mixture of vinegar and water.
- Cabinet Freshener: Place a small bowl of it in bathroom cabinets to absorb odors and keep them smelling fresh.
- Rust Remover: Rid bathroom fixtures of rust by scrubbing them with vinegar and a brush or aluminum foil.
- Hairbrush and Comb Cleaner: Soak hairbrushes and combs in vinegar to remove hair and product buildup.
- Shaving Razor Cleaner: Soak your razors in vinegar to remove gunk and residue, keeping them sharp and clean.
- Hair Dye Stain Remover: If hair dye has left stains on your bathroom surfaces, scrub them with vinegar to lift the color.
- Clean Bathroom Toys: Disinfect and clean your kids’ bath toys by soaking them in vinegar and water.
- Eyeglass Cleaner: Create a streak-free eyeglass cleaner by mixing vinegar with water and wiping your glasses clean.
- Shower Mat Renewal: Scrub rubber shower mats with vinegar to remove slippery residue and enhance safety.
The rest of the house
- Windows, Mirrors, and Glass: Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then wipe down windows and glass surfaces for a streak-free shine.
- Wood Floors: Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water for a natural wood floor cleaner. Mop and enjoy the luster.
- Wood Furniture Polish: Mix a few drops of olive oil with vinegar for a natural wood furniture polish. Apply, buff, and admire the shine.
- Carpet Stain Remover: Remove carpet stains by blotting with a mixture of vinegar and water. Blot with a clean cloth to lift the stain.
- Mattress Freshener: Spritz your mattress with a vinegar and water solution to eliminate odors. Allow it to air dry.
- Baseboard Cleaner: Wipe down baseboards with a vinegar-soaked cloth to remove dust and grime.
- Garbage Can Deodorizer: Keep your garbage can smelling fresh by wiping it down with vinegar.
- Gym Equipment Sanitizer: Wipe down gym equipment with vinegar to disinfect and deodorize.
- BBQ Grill Cleaner: Clean grill grates by scrubbing with a vinegar-soaked brush. Rinse thoroughly before use.
- Patio Furniture Cleaner: Remove dirt and grime from patio furniture by wiping it down with vinegar.
- Remove Crayon Marks: Gently scrub crayon marks from walls with vinegar. Test in an inconspicuous area first.
- Clean and Disinfect Electronics: Wipe down electronic devices with a cloth lightly dampened with vinegar for a safe and effective clean.
- Jewelry Cleaner: Soak jewelry in it to remove tarnish and restore shine. Be cautious with delicate stones and metals.
- Remove Wallpaper: Soak wallpaper with vinegar and water solution to make it easier to peel off.
- Fireplace Glass Cleaner: Clean fireplace glass with a vinegar and water mixture to remove soot and residue. Just make sure it’s cooled down before cleaning!
- Outdoor Pathway Weed Killer: Spray it undiluted on weeds growing in your outdoor pathways to kill them.
Pets and Animals
- Pet Stain and Odor Remover: Mix equal parts vinegar and water to blot and clean up pet accidents. It’ll neutralize odors and discourage repeat incidents.
- Flea Repellent Spray: Create a natural flea-repellent spray by mixing equal parts water and vinegar. Spray it on your pet’s coat (avoiding eyes and ears) before outdoor adventures.
- Deodorize Pet Bedding: Add a cup of vinegar to the wash when cleaning pet bedding to eliminate odors and allergens.
- Furniture Protector: Deter pets from scratching furniture by spraying vinegar on areas they target. It’s a pet-friendly deterrent.
- Litter Box Freshener: Rinse the litter box with it to remove odors and keep it smelling fresh. Dry it thoroughly before adding fresh litter.
- Paw Rinse: After muddy walks, rinse your pet’s paws with vinegar and water to clean and deodorize them.
- Homemade Pet Shampoo: Mix one part vinegar with one part baby shampoo for a gentle homemade pet shampoo.
- Tick Removal: Soak a cotton ball in vinegar and apply it to ticks on your pet. The tick should release its grip for easier removal.
- Pet Dish Disinfectant: Soak pet dishes and toys in a vinegar and water solution to disinfect and remove residue.
- Pet Hair Remover: Dampen a cloth with vinegar and use it to wipe down pet hair from furniture and clothing.
- Fish Tank Cleaner: Add a small amount of vinegar to your fish tank to help prevent algae buildup.
- Bird Cage Disinfectant: Clean and disinfect bird cages with a vinegar and water mixture.
- Potty Training Aid: Use it to clean indoor potty spots to eliminate odors that may attract your pet back to the same spot.
- Pet-Friendly Floor Cleaner: Mop pet-friendly floors by diluting it with water to clean and disinfect them.
- Reptile Habitat Cleaner: Clean reptile enclosures with vinegar and water to keep them hygienic and odor-free.
- Horse Tack Cleaner: Use vinegar to clean and condition horse tack, such as saddles and bridles.
- Pet Brush Cleaner: Soak pet brushes in vinegar to remove hair and disinfect them.
- Puppy Chew Deterrent: Spray vinegar on items you want to protect from puppy chewing, like furniture legs or electrical cords.
What do you use vinegar for?
With hundreds of uses, vinegar is one of the most versatile and cheapest products you can get your hands on. What are your favorite ways to make use of it? Have you found something it doesn’t work for? What things did I miss? Let’s discuss this in the comments!
About Chloe Morgan
Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s, all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college-age students on their own for the first time with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her dog, Rhea.
Check out her work on TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com where she writes about food, frugality, finances, and self-reliance, or her work on Medium, where she writes about lifestyle, mental health, and writing.