This post is a long post. However, it is a post with some simple suggestions on how to use white vinegar to make the best & cleanest home. White vinegar is cheap, readily available, and effective. It is a safer cleaning solution for pets and children as there are no chemicals or harsh detergents to cause them harm.
In fact, I have often wondered what you can’t do with white vinegar! I have asthma and find that those harsh commercial cleaners will often cause a flare up and send me grabbing up my inhaler. When I use white vinegar, I find that I breathe easier.
I purchase white vinegar, with 5% acidity by the half-gallon container every week. From the laundry room to the kitchen to the garden, I use it everywhere.
So, here we go with all the ways that I can think of to use white vinegar.
How to Use White Vinegar All Around the Home
How to Use White Vinegar in the Garden
- Natural weed control: Skip the expensive weed killer, which is also poisonous to pets! Pour white vinegar over pesky weeds and watch them shrivel over the next few days. They will easily pull out after they die off.
- Mole control: These backyard pests tear up your lawn and leave a mess! Moles are practically blind and deaf. However, they have an uncanny sense of smell. So they can’t stand the smell of white vinegar. It messes up their scent, which is their only guidance system. Drench a rag in vinegar and place it on a stake in the area where they are burrowing. They will start to avoid the area and move their activities elsewhere…like maybe the neighbor’s yard!
- Deer repellent: Deer are graceful and fun to watch. Until they eat your crops all the way to the ground. Repel deer kindly by pouring vinegar in plant saucers in the area where they enter your yard. Deer have a very keen sense of smell and vinegar seems to offend it.
- Ant repellent: Douse ant hills around the yard with white vinegar. Then, spritz it around your patio, doorways, and windows. They seem to start to associate the acidic odor with danger and avoid those sprayed areas. It’s also safer for your pets and children than poisonous insecticides.
- Spigot cleaner: Remove limescale build up from your spigot and hose fittings. Fill an old clay pot with vinegar and soak the fittings or spigot in the vinegar for a little while. Wipe away the now loosened limescale easily now.
- Keep fresh cut flowers vivid: When you cut fresh flowers from your garden, pop them in a vase with 4 cups of water and 2 Tbl of white vinegar. The flowers will remain vivid and fresh for longer.
- Drop some acid (on your plants, silly!): Azaleas and rhododendron thrive in acidic soil. Mix a gallon of water with one cup of vinegar and use this solution to water your plants every day while they bloom. The colors will be more vibrant and last longer.
- Kill slugs and snails: Slugs and snails visit your garden every night, feasting on your plants and causing damage that’s unrepairable and rendering the bounty of your garden unappealing. Keep a spray bottle of undiluted vinegar handy when you’re gardening and spray these pests vigorously. The acid kills them and will also act as a deterrent for other slugs and snails.
- Clean up rusted garden tools: Have you ever forgotten to put away a garden tool only to find it rusted later on? Soak the rusted tool in pure vinegar for an hour or so. The rust will rinse right off with the hose. Genius!
- Clean clay pots: Clay pots are a must-have garden accessory. However, they turn white looking over time. This isn’t “faded.” The clay pot is porous. So this discoloration happens when your clay pot absorbs minerals from your rainwater. Restore them with vinegar. Empty the dirt from inside the pot and knock the loose dust and dirt off the pot. Give the clay pot a gentle scrub with a soft-bristle scrub brush and white vinegar, then follow with a clear water rinse. Your pots will look as good as new in just a few minutes!
- Trap fruit flies: Fruit flies. I can’t stand ’em. They are nasty critters that contaminate the veggies that I grow, then catch a ride to inside my house. Ugh. While it’s virtually impossible to stop them from coming inside the house, they are easy to catch using vinegar as the bait. Remove the cap from a 16 oz. soda or water bottle. Fill the bottle with 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, 1 Tbl sugar, and 2 tsp of liquid dish soap. The fruit flies will be attracted to the scent of the vinegar and sugar water (ever notice how they love fermented drinks like wine?). Once they enter the bottle, the dish liquid will weigh down their wings and they will drop into the liquid. Gotcha!
- Free up a rusted screw: Don’t you hate when a screw gets rusted and won’t turn? This happens all the time in moist areas like covered porches and garages. Pour a little vinegar over the screw, and the rust will come loose. This will allow you to loosen the screw.
- Clean the grill grates: Grill grates can get downright nasty. Soak them in a dishpan in a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar for 15 minutes. Scrub them with a disposable nylon scrubber, and give them a thorough rinse. They’ll be as good as new.
- Clean mildew off of plastic patio furniture: Plastic patio furniture tends to collect mold and mildew. Vinegar easily cleans off the mildew without the need for those harsh mildew cleansers. Clean the furniture as you normally would, swapping the commercial cleanser for a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.
- Clean bird feeders and bird baths: Use white vinegar and water to clean out your bird feeders and bird baths periodically. While the birds don’t mind the dirt, this will keep them looking new and pretty for longer. You don’t want to use detergents that will leave chemicals behind for the birds.
How to Use White Vinegar to Clean the Kitchen
- Clean stainless steel appliances: Give the appliance a wipedown with warm water to remove any obvious grit or grime. Spritz the appliance with vinegar and use a soft, lint-free cloth to clean with the grain lines of the stainless steel. Give the appliance a high shine by following up with a wipe down with a few drops of mineral oil applied with the other side of the soft cloth.
- Remove stains from your coffee mugs: Coffee and tea can cause stains to build up on your mugs. Make a paste of equal parts of vinegar and salt and you’ll easily be able to scrub away the unsightly stains.
- Freshen your sink or garbage disposal: Don’t cover up a foul-smelling sink. Eliminate the odor with vinegar. Boil a kettle of water to have handy. Pour a generous scoop of baking soda down your drain. Pour two or three cups of white vinegar down the drain. It will bubble and fizz for a few minutes. Once the fizzing stops, pour the boiling water down to flush the mixture down the line. This process kills the bacteria that are causing the funky odors once and for all!
- Kill the funky fridge odors: Just as the sink can trap bacteria, so can your fridge. Take a kitchen cloth and wipe down the surfaces inside of the fridge to kill odors. Don’t forget to clean the seals around the fridge doors, where debris is often trapped.
- Freshen food odors from plastic bowls: Did you ever notice how odors linger in plastic bowls? If you have one that held a pungent food, soak it in vinegar for a few minutes before you wash it. The smell will be eliminated quickly.
- Shine up the countertops: Add a luster to your laminate countertops. Commercial spray cleaners can leave a dull residue. Opt for a 50/50 vinegar/water solution instead! Spritz and wipe away with a clean kitchen cloth. Buff with a clean kitchen towel and your countertops will sparkle. Note: This is for laminate countertops NOT natural stone.
- Remove burnt on foods from the microwave: The inside of the microwave can be a scary place! To clean it easily, dampen a dishcloth with water and vinegar. Place the dishcloth inside the microwave, and set it to high for 15 seconds. The steam from will help to soften burnt-on foods. Wipe away the debris. Then, wipe down the outside of the microwave. Your entire microwave will be sparkling clean and sanitized.
- Clean the dishwasher: Pour one cup of vinegar into the bottom of your dishwasher. Set the dishwasher to run a full cycle. The outcome will be a fresh and clean dishwasher with no effort on your part!
- Descale the coffeemaker: Descale your coffeemaker by filling the unit’s reservoir with 1/2 cup of vinegar and filling it the rest of the way with water. Run it through the coffeemaker. Rinse it by running clear water through the coffeemaker for two rinses.
- Clean kitchen faucets: If you have limescale build up around your kitchen faucets, make a paste of 50% vinegar and 50% salt. Scrub away those unsightly white limescale marks and rinse with hot water.
How to Use White Vinegar in the Laundry Room
- Remove armpit stains: I live in the south. Armpit stains do happen, y’all! Spritz those tell-tale yellow stains with vinegar and let it penetrate the stain. These stains are caused by the pH balance being out of whack. The vinegar adds back the acidity to remove the stain. Wash as normal and your top will be like new.
- Decrease static: After the first wash cycle, add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the wash load as the water re-fills for that first rinse cycle. The vinegar helps to eliminate static.
- Decrease wrinkles: Ditto for wrinkles.
- Eliminate the gym clothes stink: Ok. I don’t go to the gym. But I work outside gardening in the 100-degree summer heat here in NC. So let’s just say that sometimes my clothes smell like stinky gym clothes. Keeping it real. Fill the basin of your washing machine with water and 1 cup of vinegar and fill the basin with hot water. Let the clothes soak overnight. Add the laundry detergent and 1/2 cup of baking soda in the morning, and run the wash cycle normally. This will deodorize the clothes and they will come out smelling right again.
- Remove gum from clothes: If your kids get gum on their clothes, don’t toss the garment in the trash. Microwave a little glass bowl of vinegar for about a minute. Pour the vinegar over the garment and work the gum off the fabric. It might take a couple of tries, but it does work. By the way, it also works for gum in hair.
How to Use White Vinegar to Clean the Bathroom
- Sparkling sinks: Make your bathroom sink and vanity sparkle. Skip out on the foaming spray chemicals and use that go-to 50/50 vinegar/water solution. Your sink will be clean and streak-free.
- Streak-free mirror: Clean the bathroom mirror with that same spray bottle that you used for the sink and vanity top. Use a lint-free cloth to carefully wipe away the solution for the cleanest bathroom mirror ever.
- Clean bathroom faucets: See “clean kitchen faucets”. This is the same method and is equally effective in the bathroom as in the kitchen.
- De-scale the shower head: Have you ever noticed how your shower loses pressure over time? The chances are pretty high that it’s not a plumbing issue, it’s a build-up issue. Unscrew your shower head, drop it into a bucket of undiluted vinegar for a few hours, and use a scrubber to clean the head. Replace and you should notice the pressure is better again!
- Eliminate bathtub ring: Clear up dreaded and embarrassing bathtub ring with this natural cleanser instead of the chemical cleaners. Who wants to bathe behind those harsh chemicals?
- Clean the commode: Vinegar has natural anti-bacterial properties and is, therefore, an effective toilet cleaner. Go with an undiluted vinegar instead of the 50/50 spray bottle to clean the outside surfaces as well as the inside of the toilet bowl.
- Clean sponges and hairbrushes and loofahs: Body sponges, loofahs, and hairbrushes can become bacteria traps. Yuck! Once a month, soak these items in a solution of 3 cups of hot water and one cup of vinegar for one hour. Rinse them clean and let them air dry completely. This cleans and sanitizes these items.
- Glass shower doors: Soap scum can heavily build up on glass shower doors. If you have them then you know this! Use the scrubber side of a sponge to apply some undiluted vinegar and scrub away the scum. This also works on shower liners if you have that and not glass doors.
Vinegar is such a wonderfully effective product. It cleans, sanitizes, and works wonders in ways you would maybe never think of! If you make vinegar your main household cleaning product, you will create a chemical-free environment that’s safer for children and pets. Plus, you’ll save tons of money on expensive cleaning products!
If you have any other vinegar cleaning or household tips, please do share them. I’d love to hear your ideas and feedback.