17 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Clean Your House Using Vinegar
Whether you’re deep cleaning the whole house or simply refreshing the kitchen, vinegar is about to be your best friend. Vinegar’s acidic properties help dissolve stains, remove odors and kill bacteria. Don’t use it on everything, but definitely use it on the items listed here. Why? It’s so ridiculously easy, you’d be a fool to waste your time or money on anything else.
1. Keurigs and Coffee makers
Good morning! Have you had your coffee? Great, because we have to tell you that coffee makers are one of the top ten dirtiest spots in your home, according to a 2011 study by NSF International. Yeast and mold love warm, wet spaces. Yuck. The good news is both traditional coffee makers and Keurigs can be thoroughly cleaned using a vinegar solution. Now that you’re caffeinated, let’s get to work.
How to Clean a Coffee Maker with Vinegar
Step 1. Fill the coffee maker with 50% vinegar and 50% water.
Step 2. Run the machine like you’re brewing a fresh pot.
Step 3. Stop the brewing halfway through and wait an hour.
Step 4. Run the rest of the brew cycle.
Step 5. Wipe down the inside of everything.
Step 6. Run one or two more brew cycles of plain water to flush out the vinegar.
How to Clean a Keurig with Vinegar
For Keurigs, it’s best to wipe down and wash removable parts before running the machine.
Step 1. Unplug your Keurig and rinse any removable parts (the reservoir, the K-Cup holder, etc.) in soapy water.
Step 2. Scrub away any remaining coffee gunk in the holder.
Step 3. Put the machine back together and fill the reservoir halfway with white vinegar. Do not put any K-Cups in the holder! Run the Keurig through two cycles.
Step 4. Fill the reservoir with water and run two more no-coffee cycles—or until the whole thing stops smelling like vinegar.
2. Awkward, grimy glassware
Metal straws come with narrow cleaning brushes, but awkwardly shaped glassware does not. Getting deep into tall vases or glass water bottles with a sponge can be tricky. This usually results in grime building up at the bottom. The solution is probably hiding in your pantry right now.
How to Clean Glassware with Vinegar
Step 1. Pour 1 cup uncooked rice, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 3 to 4 drops of dish soap into the glass. (Adjust the amount of rice according to the size of the vessel.)
Step 2. Fill to the brim with water.
Step 3. Shake vigorously until the grime is loosened.
Step 4. Rinse and dry!
Pro tip: If a glass is super grimy, fill it with vinegar and leave overnight before shaking with rice and soap.
3. Streak-free windows
Of course if vinegar works on grimy glassware, it’ll work on grimy windows! This is a foolproof way to get streak-free, crystal clear windows. If you’ve never used newspapers and vinegar to clean windows before, welcome to the party - it’s bright and sunny in here. (If you don’t have a newspaper handy, use a microfiber cloth.)
How to Clean Windows Using Vinegar
Step 1. Combine 2 cups water, ¼ cup vinegar and ½ cup liquid soap in a bowl.
Step 2. Dip a page of your morning paper into the mixture and begin rubbing the window in circles.
Step 3. Wipe the window with the newspaper in vertical and horizontal lines.
Step 4. Repeat throughout your home. Marvel at the fact that newspaper doesn’t leave tiny fibers all over your windows like normal rags do.
4. Sparkling stainless steel
Appliances with a stainless steel exterior need a little polishing every now and then. Refrigerators and dishwashers collect fingerprints, food smudges and water stains. It’s amazing how much newer these appliances can look after a little vinegar and elbow grease.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Using Vinegar
Step 1. Apply a small amount of apple cider or white vinegar to a soft cloth.
Step 2. Gently rub the stainless steel in the direction of the grain (just like wood, stainless steel has a grain).
Step 3. Rinse thoroughly with another soft cloth and a small amount of water. Do not let the vinegar sit on the stainless steel for longer than it takes to wipe it down.
Step 4. Dry. Voila!
Pro tip: While cleaning in the kitchen, avoid getting a vinegar solution on granite or marble countertops. It can destroy sealant and dull shine.
And psst: Before head for the vinegar, check out the manufacturer’s instructions! And don’t let your stainless soak in a vinegar mixture for an extended period of time.
You want the thing that sterilizes your silverware to be clean. It’s easy to ignore the dishwasher because its whole purpose is cleaning stuff; we assume that means it cleans itself. Au contraire! Dishwashers require a little extra care when it comes to keeping them fresh.
How to Clean a Dishwasher with Vinegar
Step 1. Put 1 cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe bowl or mug on the top rack of your dishwasher. Don’t add any other dishes.
Step 2. Add 1 cup of baking soda in a separate bowl for extra freshness. (Optional!)
Step 3. Run a hot, steamy wash cycle with no detergent.
6. The inside of your refrigerator
Cleaning out the fridge not only makes everything in it look more delectable, it creates a healthier environment for your food to live in. It’s nice to use an all-natural solution that doesn’t fill your food’s home with extra chemicals. Do this every couple of months (say, four times a year) to keep that crisp feeling going.
How to Clean the Inside of your Fridge with Vinegar
Step 1. Combine a 1:1 solution of water and white vinegar in a bowl or spray bottle.
Step 2. Spray the solution onto a clean cloth (or dip the cloth into the solution and wring it out).
Step 3. Wipe down the walls, shelves and racks inside your refrigerator.
7. Washing machines
Soap builds up easily in washing machines. Just like dishwashers, it’s easy to forget they need their own cleaning time! If you don’t wash constantly (aka, if you are single and only did a few loads of laundry in October), this process is only necessary once a month. For families dealing with grassy soccer shorts on the regular, every two weeks is a good idea. The first set of steps is intended for top-loading washing machines.
How to Clean a Top-Loading Washing Machine with Vinegar
Step 1. Choose the hottest, longest and most medium-sized cycle options and hit start (no clothes, please).
Step 2. As the washer fills with water, toss in 4 cups of white vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda.
Step 3. Ten minutes into the cycle, pause the process and let the solution sit for one hour.
Step 4. Take this time, if you so choose, to wipe down the exterior of the washing machine. Dampen a clean cloth with the mixture already brewed inside the washer and go to town.
Step 5. Resume the cycle. Once it finishes, wipe down the interior.
Step 6. Repeat as needed.
How to Clean a Front-Loading Washing Machine with Vinegar
For front-loading machines, adjust the process slightly to account for the fact that most front-loaders don’t let you stop the cycle halfway through.
Step 1. Dampen a clean cloth with a small amount of white vinegar and wipe out the rubber gasket on the front of your washer.
Step 2. Choose the hottest, longest and most medium-sized cycle options and hit start (no clothes, please).
Step 3. Run one load (sans clothing) using ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup water in the detergent tray.
Step 4. Once the cycle is done, rinse the detergent tray under hot water and refill it with 1 cup of white vinegar.
Step 5. Run another cycle with the same settings. Once it finishes, wipe down the interior.
Step 6. Repeat as needed.
Even if you can’t remember the last time a bowl of tomato soup exploded in your microwave, it’s wise to clean it regularly. You’d be surprised what kinds of food residue can be scrubbed off the sides of this frequently used appliance.
How to Clean Your Microwave with Vinegar
Step 1. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with white vinegar.
Step 2. Put it in the microwave and cook on high for five minutes.
Step 3. Remove carefully (that bowl’s gonna be hot!).
Step 4. Wipe down the interior with a cloth or paper towel.
9. Smelly kitchen
You know how some gourmet meals…linger longer than others? If you’ve ever cooked steamed clams, pan-fried cod or simply used copious amounts of cumin, you know what we’re talking about. Delicious to eat, but sometimes the post-cooking scent is just too much. This trick is almost too easy to rid your kitchen of any lingering or unwanted smells.
How to Make Your Kitchen Smell Better Using Vinegar
Step 1. Place a large saucepan on the stove and fill it a quarter of the way up with white vinegar.
Step 2. Turn on the burner to medium heat.
Step 3. Turn off once the vinegar starts simmering.
Step 4. Toss the vinegar. Revel in the neutral scent of your clean kitchen.
Pro tip: Looking for a non-neutral scent? Add some cinnamon sticks to the vinegar before you start simmering.
Before you read the next sentence, know that it’s highly unlikely you are getting sick from your showerhead. Studies have shown bacteria that enjoy living in showerheads can cause lung issues, fever and fatigue. Just to be extra diligent, maybe wash your showerhead every few months.
How to Clean your Shower Head Using Vinegar
Step 1. Combine ⅓ cup baking soda and 1 cup white vinegar in a gallon-sized plastic bag. We recommend doing this in the bathroom, close to the showerhead, because there will be bubbles.
Step 2. Place the showerhead into the bag, making sure the solution fully engulfs the showerhead. Use a rubber band to securely attach the bag to the neck of the showerhead.
Step 3. Let it soak overnight.
Step 4. Remove the bag, wipe down as needed and run hot water through the showerhead for a few minutes.
Step 5. Take a shower and be happy, knowing your showerhead is safe and shiny.
11. Wood furniture
Wooden bookshelves, coffee tables, nightstands and more add a refined sense of regality to home decor. The only drawback is keeping them looking fresh and protecting their sheen. This concoction is not only all natural, it cleanses and nourishes wood at the same time.
How to Polish Wood Furniture with Vinegar
Step 1. In a spray bottle, combine 1 cup water, ¼ cup vinegar, 2 teaspoons olive oil and 10 to 15 drops of lemon essential oil.
Step 2. Shake vigorously.
Step 3. Spritz onto a clean cloth and gently wipe down wood furniture.
One of the more annoying areas to clean are our floors. Alas, it must be done—and regularly. Don’t overspend on fancy floor cleaners or waste time scanning ingredients on chemical-heavy labels. Use these vinegar-based solutions; they work best for tile, vinyl and linoleum flooring. For ceramic tiles, forgo the castile soap and essential oil and only use one gallon of water.
How to Clean Tile, Vinyl or Linoleum Floors with Vinegar
Step 1. Combine ¼ castile soap, ½ cup white vinegar, 2 gallons of hot water and 20 to 40 drops of your favorite essential oil.
Step 2. Use a cloth or mop to clean your floors as you normally would.
Pro tip: Double check with the flooring manufacturer if you aren’t sure about the effect of acidic vinegar on the material. Some flooring warranties won’t cover damage if vinegar has been used to clean them in the past.
13. Potties, toilets and bowls (oh my!)
The least glamorous place to clean is definitely the bathroom, including the toilet. However, it’s the place that always seems to make us feel the most glamorous after a good, deep clean. Don’t fear the toilet. Simply follow these super simple steps for a sparkling clean potty.
How to Clean a Toilet Using Vinegar
Step 1. Combine ½ cup baking soda, a splash of white vinegar and 10 drops of tea tree oil in the toilet bowl.
Step 2. Let it fizz!
Step 3. Give it a good scrub with a toilet brush.
Step 4. Flush.
Pro tip: Super tough stains? They happen to everyone. Martha Stewart recommends letting ½ cup of vinegar sit in the bowl for an hour before brushing and flushing.
14. Unclog pesky drains
Harsh formulas like Drain-O can destroy pipes. Many landlords and plumbers request residents avoid using them. So, what’s a gal to do when her drain is clogged? Tackle it with a snaking tool and some vinegar.
Step 1. Remove the drain cover with a screwdriver.
Step 2. Remove as much gunk as possible with a toothbrush or gloved fingers.
Step 3. Snake the drain with a snaking tool or plastic zip ties.
Step 4. Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain.
Step 5. Pour ½ cup white vinegar down the drain. Cover with a wet washcloth.
Step 6. Let it fizz for ten minutes.
Step 7. Remove the washcloth, rinse with boiling hot water and replace the drain cover.
15. Get gum out of carpets
We’d like to put chewing gum into the top five worst things you want to end up smashed into your carpet, please. Your instinct may be to pluck it out, but that could easily rip carpet fibers along with the sticky goo. Instead, try soap and vinegar—and some patience.
How to Use Vinegar to Get Gum out Carpet
Step 1. Mix ½ teaspoon dishwashing liquid with ¼ cup white vinegar.
Step 2. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently rub a small amount of the solution into the gum/stain.
Step 3. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 4. Blot with a clean cloth dampened with only water.
Step 5. Repeat Step 4 with clean sections of cloth until no more solution or gum residue shows up.
Step 6. Let it air dry, then vacuum.
16. Mattress smells
If there’s the lingering stench on your mattress from an old spill, accident or pet, an enzymatic cleaner is best. However, for quick fixes, vinegar should be your go-to. Mattress Insider recommends the following process.
How to Clean a Mattress with Vinegar
Step 1. Combine 1 teaspoon water, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon laundry detergent, 2 tablespoons baking soda and a single drop of disinfectant.
Step 2. Spray the solution onto a clean, dry cloth (not directly onto the mattress).
Step 3. Blot the spot with the solution.
Step 4. Let a large heap of baking soda sit on the spot overnight - or for a few hours.
Step 5. Vacuum it up!
Pro tip: Deep cleaning your mattress is a good idea every six months or so.
17. Free yourself from fruit flies
Nothing makes your space feel dirtier than a swarm of fruit flies. Even a single fruit fly, buzzing around the last remaining banana, can drive a person crazy. Swatting them is fruitless (sorry, not sorry) as they multiply faster than you can say “Shoo!” Instead, try this trick and wave goodbye to these pests for good.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies with Vinegar
Step 1. Fill a clean, empty jar with ¼ to ½ cup of apple cider vinegar.
Step 2. Squeeze two or three drops of liquid dish soap into the cider and stir.
Step 3. Cover with plastic wrap or a paper towel and secure with a rubber band.
Step 4. Poke several holes into the plastic wrap or paper towel with a fork or toothpick.
Step 5. Dump and replenish every few days until you are fruit fly free.