Cleaning with vinegar: It's cheap, it's natural, and it's tough on bacteria, mildew, and dirt. Read on for some smart vinegar cleaning tips for every room in your home.

By BH&G Editors
Updated April 22, 2019

If you ever get overwhelmed with the seemingly endless options presented in the cleaning supplies aisle, listen up. There is a product you likely already own that can clean almost every surface of your home with ease—distilled white vinegar! While it might not have that lemony-fresh scent, cleaning with vinegar is incredibly versatile and affordable. Check out our cleaning tips below to learn how to clean the bathroom, kitchen, living room, and more with vinegar.

How to Clean the Kitchen with Vinegar

Refrigerator: Definitely skip the toxic chemicals where you store your food. Instead, try surface cleaning the refrigerator with white vinegar. Wipe up spills with a 50-50 vinegar-water mix. You can even keep a bottle of the mixture stored in your fridge!

Drain: Pour vinegar onto a scrub brush small enough to get inside the disposal. Sprinkle the brush with baking soda, then scrub to remove odors and built-up crud, says Mary Findley of GoClean.com, a former pro cleaner and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning.

Cutting boardsFor cutting board surface cleaning with white vinegar, spray with straight vinegar, then rinse to clean.

Microwave: Surface cleaning with white vinegar isn't limited to countertops. Get at hard-to-clean microwave stains by placing 1/2-cup vinegar and 1/2-cup water in a glass bowl. Microwave 2-3 minutes, or until it boils. Wipe buildup away with ease!

Stained plastic containers: Coat in vinegar. Let sit. Wash as usual, says Leslie Reichert of The Cleaning Coach.

Countertops: Cleaning kitchen countertops with white vinegar is simple: Just spray onto your surface, then wipe away with a warm, wet rag. However, avoid cleaning countertops with vinegar if you have a granite or marble surface.

How to Clean the Bathroom with Vinegar

White vinegar makes quick work of cleaning bathroom surfaces. Try our top uses for white vinegar in the bathroom, including cleaning tile surfaces.

Toilet: Cleaning with baking soda and vinegar in the bathroom can work wonders. To clean a toilet with vinegar, pour a cup of vinegar in the bowl. Let sit overnight. (For tough jobs, empty the toilet water first.) The next morning, sprinkle with baking soda or borax; scrub, then flush.

General bathroom cleaning: Use straight or a diluted vinegar cleaning solution for the bathroom to scrub away bacteria, especially around the toilet, where it can curb urine staining and odor.

Tub or sink drain: To clean the area around your bathroom drain, pour 1/2-cup distilled white vinegar around closed drain and let sit several hours. Scrub to remove buildup. Drain, then rinse.

Shower: Findley's shower deep-clean regimen: Bring vinegar to a boil, then use it to wipe down the shower door and walls. Keep them damp by wiping them down every 5 to 8 minutes for 30 minutes. Then, dampen a non-scratch sponge in vinegar, sprinkle with baking soda, and scrub. Rinse. Bye-bye germs, mold, water spots, and soap scum!

Showerhead: Cleaning a shower head with vinegar is easy. Pour some white vinegar into a plastic bag, and secure it to your showerhead with a twist-tie. Make sure there's enough vinegar so the bottom part of the showerhead is submerged. Leave the bag on overnight. Remove the next morning just before showering.

Tile surfaces: To clean tile bathroom surfaces with vinegar, mix 1/2-cup white distilled vinegar with a gallon of warm water. Mop bathroom floors or scrub countertops with the solution and allow to air dry.

Related: Find Your Cleaning Personality

How to Clean the Bedroom With Vinegar

Mattress disinfectant: Mix distilled white vinegar, a little rubbing alcohol, and some tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Lightly spritz on your mattress to help combat dust mites, mildew, and general odors. For a deeper clean, follow with a dusting of baking soda. Let dry, then vacuum.

How to Do Laundry With Vinegar

White vinegar uses extend to fabrics and textiles, too.

As a fabric softener: Use vinegar instead of fabric softeners in laundry, Findley says. "It softens clothes and removes the static at a fraction of the cost of fabric softeners," she says. "Just add a cup to the final wash or rinse water."

How to Clean the Living and Dining Rooms With Vinegar

Glass: Use a 50-50 vinegar-water solution to keep glass tables or stereo cabinet doors sparkling.

Wood furniture: Use 1/4-cup white vinegar mixed with 1-cup olive oil—plus a few drops of lemon or orange oil, if you wish—to clean and condition wood furniture, Reichert says.

How to Clean the Floors With Vinegar

Cleaning floors with vinegar is a natural, chemical-free way to remove dirt and grime.

Carpet odor and dust mite remover: Mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil with some distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spritz lightly throughout. (Test in an inconspicuous spot first for colorfastness.) 

Carpet rinse: After shampooing your carpet, rinse it using 1/2-cup vinegar per gallon of water. This lifts dirt-attracting soap residue, so carpets stay cleaner, longer.

Carpet pet odor remover: Wet spot with vinegar. Sprinkle with baking soda, and work the two together with a brush or your fingers. Let dry (ideally overnight). Vacuum.

Wood floor wash: Add 1/2-cup vinegar to a gallon of water to clean wood and laminated floors.

How to Clean Everyday Objects With Vinegar

Make your own earth-friendly homemade cleaning products on the cheap with vinegar and other natural products. Surface cleaning with white vinegar is both affordable and green.

Air freshener: Skip the chemicals with a natural air freshener. Add a 1/2-teaspoon vinegar to a 4-ounce spray bottle, then fill with distilled water, plus a few drops of your favorite essential oil, if desired.

Window cleaner: Mix 1/4-cup rubbing alcohol and 1/3-cup vinegar in a 32-oz spray bottle, then fill with water. Lightly spritz on a lint-free cloth to clean.

All-purpose cleaner: Mix 1-cup vinegar, 2 teaspoons borax, 4-cups hot water, 5 drops liquid dish soap, 10 drops tea tree oil, and 10 drops your favorite essential oil (optional).

Disinfectant: Use a 50-50 vinegar-water mix to wipe down telephones, doorknobs, faucet handles, and more when cold and flu season hits, Findley says.

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