8 Smart Ways to Use Vinegar When Cleaning Your House

Distilled white vinegar in clear glass container next to scrub brush and spray bottle

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

While there are many ways to use vinegar when cooking, distilled white vinegar or cleaning vinegar has infinite household uses. Vinegar is less expensive and does not contain tannins (plant dyes) that can discolor some surfaces. Both are made through a process where alcohols are distilled from grain and allowed to ferment as microorganisms process the alcohol into acetic acid and water or vinegar.

Distilled white vinegar contains around five percent acetic acid and 95% water. Cleaning vinegar contains around six percent acetic acid, making it 20% stronger than white distilled vinegar for tackling cleaning chores. You may want to buy several bottles of vinegar, because this list of household uses for vinegar covers nearly every room in the house.

  • 01 of 08

    Make a Window Cleaner

    Distilled white vinegar sprayed on glass window with gray cloth

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    There's no need to buy commercial window cleaners. To make your own, simply fill a clean spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and distilled water. Label the bottle and begin cleaning.

    Tip

    If you don't like the scent of vinegar, add about 10 drops of your favorite essential oil to the bottle.

  • 02 of 08

    Tackle Bathroom Grime

    Beauty products and toiletries behind small spray bottle of vinegar

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    A common problem in bathrooms is soap scum left on shower walls and doors. To remove soap scum from ceramic tile or fiberglass enclosures, fill a spray bottle with two parts distilled white vinegar, one part dishwashing liquid, and two parts water. Spray onto dirty surfaces and allow to sit for five minutes to begin cutting through the grime and then scrub with a nylon-bristled brush or wipe away with a microfiber cloth. The same solution can be used to clean sinks and countertops.

    For water spots on glass shower doors, pour one cup of distilled white vinegar into a microwaveable bowl and heat for 30 to 45 seconds. Pour the warm vinegar into a spray bottle, then add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Spray it onto the doors and allow it to work for five minutes before sponging away. Rinse the doors and dry with a microfiber cloth.

    Warning

    Do not use a vinegar solution if you have a natural stone shower surround or floor, as the acid can etch and permanently damage the stone.

  • 03 of 08

    Fix a Sputtering Showerhead

    running the shower

    ​The Spruce / Ria Osborne

    If your showerhead is giving you just a trickle of water, vinegar can cut through the mineral deposits that are clogging the water jets. It works well for both removable and non-removable showerheads.

    Tip

    Sleep while the vinegar works. Start the cleaning process at night and let the showerhead soak in the vinegar overnight.

  • 04 of 08

    Clean a Toilet

    Vinegar poured into toilet bowl for cleaning clog

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Toilet bowl cleaners can be expensive but you can make your own with just a few ingredients. The key to a sparkling clean toilet is using the powder along with distilled white vinegar.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Improve Your Laundry Routine

    basket of laundry with a vinegar bottle

    The Spruce / Candace Madonna

    You'll want to keep a bottle of distilled white vinegar in your laundry room because it can dramatically improve your laundry routine. Vinegar helps remove mildew odors, cuts through detergent residue that leaves clothes feeling scratchy, and removes deposits from your washer and iron.

  • 06 of 08

    Cook and Clean With Vinegar in the Kitchen

    Vinegar poured into large glass container filled with peppers

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Every cook knows the culinary power of vinegar but it can also be used to clean many surfaces in the kitchen.

  • 07 of 08

    Unclog Sinks

    Baking soda and white vinegar in glass containers in bathroom sink corner closeup

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

    To unclog slow-running bathroom sink or kitchen drains, pour at least one quart of boiling water down the drain. In a medium bowl, combine one cup of hot water, one cup of baking soda, and one cup of vinegar (Warning: there will be fizzing!). Pour the vinegar mixture down the drain and let it work for at least 10 minutes. Finish by flushing the drain with another quart of boiling water.

  • 08 of 08

    Kill Weeds Naturally

    Vinegar sprayed on weeds growing between laid blocks

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Once your house is sparkling clean, take a look at your driveway and walkways. If weeds are poking through the cracks, give them a quick spray with vinegar (stronger cleaning vinegar works best). The acetic acid acts as a weed killer without adding harsh chemicals to the landscape.

Originally written by
Erin Huffstetler
Erin Huffstetler is a frugal living expert who has been writing for over 10 years about easy ways to save money at home. She's covered money-saving advice and tricks for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Forbes, among others. She is the owner of "My Frugal Home," a money-saving, frugal living how-to guide.
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