Cleaning With Vinegar Is Easier Than You Think—Here's How to Do It

Updated 10/08/17
cleaning with vinegar
@alyssarosenheck

While there's something to be said for modern advancements in household cleaning products (hello, magic eraser sponge), there's also something to be said for tried-and-true methods that our grandparents still swear by. Case in point: cleaning with vinegar, a natural disinfectant that's been a household staple for generations.

This pantry essential has been a key ingredient for making cleaning products at home, especially for eco-minded cleanliness aficionados seeking nontoxic options without shelling out a ton of cash for pricey store-bought alternatives. To make your own cleaning products with vinegar, all you need to do is add water and a few other household ingredients. Grab a spray bottle and put on your DIY hat—sprucing up every room in your home using vinegar just got easy with the following tips.

In the Kitchen

Dishes and glassware: To clean off residue from dishes, add 1 1/2 to 2 cups white distilled vinegar to the bottom of your dishwasher, then run it on regular cycle using your usual amount of dish detergent, notes Today.

Microwave: Don't have time to scrub off last week's pasta sauce? Mix 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 cup water, boil the solution in the microwave until it creates steam on the window, and then simply wipe away all of that old food residue.

Kitchen drain: Use 1 cup white distilled vinegar to keep your drains clean and fresh. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then flush it out with cold water.

In the Bathroom

Shower doors: Easily erase soap scum on your shower doors by wiping them down using a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar.

Bathtub: Been putting off a relaxing and clean soak due to grime buildup in your tub? Clear off the tub gunk by wiping it with white distilled vinegar first, then sprinkle baking soda on top. Finally, rinse the tub with clean water.

Showerhead: If you've got mineral buildup hanging out on your showerhead, soak it overnight in a bag or small storage bin filled with 1 cup vinegar. If removing your hardware will be a pain, simply hang and tie the bag over the showerhead so that it's fully submerged in the vinegar.

Throughout the House

Windows: Mix equal parts water with distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle to make an easy window cleaner, spray and wipe it down with a sponge, and then use a squeegee for a final streak-free wipe down.

Floors: Mix 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar with 1 gallon warm water for a mopping solution that won't leave a chemical residue on floors, explains The Spruce. Don't like the acidic scent? Add in 2 tablespoons mild dish soap, or try a few drops of lemon juice or your favorite scented oil.

Washable blinds: Mix 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar, 1 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 gallon warm water to clean washable blinds. Use a sponge or cloth to wipe your blinds down, then rinse the solution off with clean water.

Carpeting: If your beloved feline or canine had an accident on your carpet, cleaning with vinegar can help. First, use paper towels to soak up as much urine as possible. Mix a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar, and then test for colorfastness first on a small area to make sure that the carpet color doesn't run. Once you determine that the mixture is safe to use, soak the affected area for 10 minutes, then blot the spot with paper towels. When your carpet is nearly dry, sprinkle baking soda over the area to absorb any odors, let it sit for an hour, and then vacuum everything up.

Laundry

Deodorant stains: Rub white distilled vinegar into the underarm areas of light or white clothing, then wash your laundry as usual. Before throwing your clothes in the dryer, check to see if the stain is still there; if so, re-treat the area with vinegar and leave it out in the sun (which will also bleach out the stain) to dry.

Wine stains: Don't cry over spilled vino (or your forgotten bleach pen). To remove wine stains from cotton/polyester blends, 100% cotton, and permanent press fabrics, dab white distilled vinegar directly onto the stain until it disappears. Make sure to do this within 24 hours of the mishap, then wash your garment according to its care label.

Steam iron: Get rid of mineral residue on your iron by pouring equal parts white distilled vinegar and water into its water reservoir, turn the iron's steam setting on, and let it run upright for 5 minutes. Unplug the iron and let it cool, then pour out the water. To clean burn marks off your iron, heat equal parts white distilled vinegar and salt in a small pan, then rub the solution onto the scorch marks.

Iron scorch marks on clothing: Dip the corner of a washcloth in white vinegar, then lightly dab it onto the affected area on your clothing. Wipe the stain with a clean cloth and repeat the process as needed.

Indoor & Outdoor Greenery

Flower bouquets: Make your beautiful blooms last longer by adding 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 2 tablespoons sugar to 1 quart water. Don't forget to trim the stems and change the water when it gets cloudy every few days.

Grass and weeds: White distilled vinegar is an ideal eco-friendly, chemical-free weed killer. Simply pour it over unwanted grass and vegetation.

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