23 Ways To Use Vinegar For Nontoxic Cleaning

September 27, 2011

There are plenty of toxic products on the market you can buy in order to “clean” your house. But what you may not know is that distilled white vinegar does the job of most of them without any toxicity — and for much cheaper! Using only inexpensive vinegar, water, and a castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s you can clean almost anything. Here are 23 uses for vinegar you can start putting into practice today around your home.

  1. Clean Your Coffeemaker – Run your coffeemaker just as you normally do, but instead of using just water use a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture of water and vinegar. No coffee grounds needed, of course! I usually do it twice in a row, followed by at least twice using just water, to make sure it’s as clean as it was when I brought it home.
  2. Unclog Stopped Drains – One of the most popular posts on the site is the one on how to unclog a drain using just water, vinegar, and baking soda. It works, I promise.
  3. Disinfect Your Dishwasher – Run the dishwasher empty after pouring 1/2 of a cup of vinegar in the soap dispenser.
  4. Clean Out Showerheads – Another popular post here on the site, it’s easy to clean your showerhead using vinegar and a small sandwich bag.
  5. Clean Your Outdoor Grill – By spraying vinegar on your grill and then rubbing with aluminum file, you can remove most, if not all, of any leftover summer barbecue residue.
  6. Remove a Sticky Label – Bought something recently with one of those “impossible to remove” stickers on it? Soak it in vinegar for a bit, should come off quite easily.
  7. Remove Deposits From An Iron – Fill your iron with an equal mixture of vinegar and water and turn on/press the steam button. Once it’s empty, before your next use, do the same thing but with just water.
  8. Clean Up After A Pet – Your cat left you a present on the carpet? After picking up any physical evidence, blot the area with white vinegar and a clean rag. Continue until the spot is gone and you are sure you got anything that could leave a smell the next day.
  9. Clean Linoleum Floors – Instead of mopping with just water and/or with soap, try adding just 1/4 of a cup of vinegar to your bucket and mopping as usual.
  10. Deodorize a Kitchen Drain – Pour one cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar. Let bubble up for a few minutes, then flush with hot water.
  11. Clean Brass or Copper – By mixing vinegar and table salt you can make a light paste to clean these metals with.
  12. Clean Up Wood Paneling – By using a mixture of 2 parts vinegar, 1 part olive oil and a small bucket of water, you can remove stains and dirt from wood paneling with a moist towel.
  13. Deodorize a Garbage Disposal – Fill your ice tray with a vinegar & water mix, let freeze. Once frozen, remove some cubes, put in disposal, and turn it on. Flush with cold water.
  14. Remove Mold in the Shower – Spray moldy areas with undiluted vinegar, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it off with a rag. Rinse.
  15. Eliminate Strange Smells – Leave a bowl of vinegar out overnight in the general area the smell is coming from.
  16. Clean Food-Stained Pots – Fill any stained pots with white vinegar and let them sit for an hour. Rinse and wash as normal with hot water and dishsoap.
  17. Make Your Windows Shiny Clean – Mix a few cups of water with 1/4 cup of vinegar. Spray the mixture on your windows and instead of wiping with paper towels, use newspapers that were headed for the recycling bin anyway.
  18. Kill Germs – Are you a germaphobe or someone prone to getting sick? Avoid antibacterials with triclosan in them and use vinegar instead. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and water and use to to kill germs on bathroom fixtures, etc.
  19. Clean The Microwave – Get those tough to remove leftovers off the inside of your microwave by putting a 1/2 cup each of water and vinegar in a bowl and bringing it to a boil inside. Turn off the microwave, remove the bowl, and wipe off all that stuff you have been neglecting!
  20. Remove Stains from Dishes and Cups – Soak in vinegar and water for a bit and the stains will disappear.
  21. Clean Tile Grout – A safer and less toxic way to clean grout than using bleach is to use vinegar and an old toothbrush. Let the vinegar soak into your grout for a few and then scrub away.
  22. Clean Fireplace Glass Doors – You can get soot off the inside of your fireplace glass doors with undiluted vinegar and a scrub brush.
  23. Disinfect Baby Toys – Have you seen the ads on TV about playing with your boat in the toilet and the need for bleaching your kids’ toys? Well, no need to do that because bleach is toxic and you can disinfect baby toys using vinegar and soap.

So there you have it, 23 different ways to use vinegar around the house for nontoxic and inexpensive cleaning. If you have any other natural cleaning with vinegar tips, please be sure to leave them in the comments!

*As with all my cleaning articles, I recommend you test any cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous place to test colorfastness and any other issues that may come up.

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (5)

  1. jayshri says:

    I also clean my kitchen counters with a solution 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water.
    For hardwood floors, I add a cup of vinegar to the water while mopping.

  2. Linnea says:

    I used a mixture of 1/4 vinegar to 3/4 hot water in spray bottle to remove an entire house full of old wall paper. It worked better than other products out there, is less money, and is not toxic. Plus along with the wallpaper it took the musty smells with it!

  3. Tami says:

    After a play date at our house, I’ll spray all the toys that were shared with a 50% solution of vinegar and water. A great way to kill off any lingering germs that weren’t shared while playing.

  4. Marty says:

    Put a cup of vinegar in your washer’s softener dispenser instead of using gummy commercial softeners or potentially toxic dryer sheets. It leaves your clothes softer and deodorizes too.

  5. Shirley says:

    Make you skin feel like silk, by adding 2 cups of apple vinegar to your tub water for your bath, plus no ring in the tub after.