There’s a lot of hype in the blogging world (and beyond) about the cleaning powers of vinegar.
Whether for families with kids, pets, or if you just have a preference for all-natural and inexpensive cleaning methods, there’s an ongoing search for the best alternatives to potentially harmful commercial cleaners.
I wanted to see if cleaning with vinegar actually works, so I decided to test out these DIY approaches.
To my delight, almost all of them were a success, from cleaning dog ears to killing weeds, and that vinegar smell surprisingly didn’t get in the way of a squeaky clean feeling!
Check out all the white vinegar uses I tried and see what worked for me — and what didn’t — below!
If you want even more all-natural cleaning methods, check out these 10 recipes for chemical-free household cleaners.
1. All-Purpose Cleaner
I used this simple recipe from I Heart Organizing to create an all-purpose vinegar cleaning solution, and it worked very well on my streaky table and countertops.
Simply combine 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 cups of water, 3 drops of essential oil, and 2 Tablespoons of vinegar to create it. Because it’s pretty diluted and there’s essential oil in there, the vinegar smell wasn’t an issue.
I used an empty glass milk carton to mix it up, but would recommend a spray bottle if you have one for convenience.
2. Citrus Scented Cleaner
This recipe from The Pinterest Project was one of my favorite uses for vinegar since it’s as effective as the above cleaner but with a fresh citrusy scent!
Simply soak orange rinds in a mason jar filled with vinegar, then dilute the resulting liquid with water.
I couldn’t wait the recommended two weeks for the oranges to soak, but I found that even a few days did the trick and removed that vinegary scent.
3. Disinfecting Wipes
With a house full of little kids and dogs, it’s easy to go through bucket loads of chemical-laden disinfecting wipes. This easy alternative from My Merry Messy Life involves soaking old cloths or rags in vinegar and essential oil.
They were very effective at removing stubborn grime from dirty high chairs! Though you could still smell the vinegar while using the wipes, the essential oil helped a bit, and the scent didn’t linger after cleaning.
4. Glass/Window Cleaner
Grimy fingers can do a number on windows — and all other glass surfaces, for that matter.
A simple combination of vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water I found at Live Simply helped to remove unsightly glass smudges as effectively as Windex and without the dubious ingredient list.
5. Silver Polish
Turns out, vinegar is a highly effective way to polish tarnished silver, and it worked on my old bracelet that hadn’t been worn in years.
Domestic Bliss Squared says to bring 3 cups of vinegar, 3 Tablespoons of baking soda, and 2 Tablespoons of salt to a boil, then pour over the item you wish to polish. Let sit for twenty minutes, then gently rub away to reveal the shine!
It wasn’t exactly like new, but drastically improved and wearable once again.
6. Towel Freshener
When that mildew odor starts to set in, washing your towels in vinegar gets them smelling fresh and clean — and not at all like vinegar!
According to This Grandma is Fun, just machine wash your towels with 1-2 cups of vinegar on the hottest setting, wash again as usual with detergent, then dry completely. My towels came out with a little extra fluff and no mildew smell at all.
7. Window Tracks Cleaner
Window tracks are one of those often overlooked areas of the house that can get pretty gross.
A combination of baking soda, vinegar, warm water, and some Q-tips or a toothbrush can work miracles, just like First Home Love Life demonstrates.
First, sprinkle some baking soda on the area, then pour a bit of vinegar over it and watch it bubble. Once it’s calmed down, either rub the area with Q-tips or a toothbrush — I personally found the toothbrush more helpful. Then wipe it with warm water, and voila! My window tracks didn’t look 100% like new, but it was a drastic improvement
8. Carpet Stain Remover
I tested out this vinegar trick from Passionate Penny Pincher on a pretty old and mysterious carpet stain, and while there were still faint traces of it left afterwards, it was very significantly reduced and probably not noticeable to anyone else!
Simply dab equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide on the stain, let sit for 2-3 minutes, and blot it away with a dry cloth.
9. Computer Keyboard Cleaner
Given their heavy use, it’s no surprise that keyboards actually have more germs than toilet seats (yuck)! Some even start to feel sticky after lots of use.
To clean your keyboard, Health Extremist says to mix together 1/4 cup each of vinegar and water, and use it to wipe down your computer’s keyboard (turn it off first!).
This a great way to disinfect and freshen it up, and you could use this technique to wipe down the outside of your computer as well.
10. Furniture Polish
This recipe from This Girl’s Life Blog suggests mixing 1/2 cup each of olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice, then spraying it on a cloth (not directly onto the furniture) and using it as a polish.
I saw only mild improvement, about what you’d expect from any old all-purpose cleaner. However, the olive oil does nourish the wood over time, so it’s probably worth the extra effort.
11. Scratches & Water Stain Remover
This technique from Domestic Bliss Squared is very similar to the furniture polish one above, except it recommends a different ratio: 1/4 cup of vinegar to 3/4 olive oil.
It also suggests pouring a bit of this mixture directly onto the wooden surface, then rubbing it in, which showed a larger improvement than the dabbing technique above. Though not all scratches disappeared, watermarks did fade and the wood appeared moist and glossier.
12. Pet Cleaner
It turns out there are numerous ways to use vinegar to take care of your pet, from flea control to the removal of skunk odor!
I tried this technique for cleaning pet ears from Natural Healthcare Store. I dipped a rag directly into vinegar and used it to wipe out my pooch’s ears. It’s a bit hard to see through the furriness, but the vinegar removed dirt I didn’t even realize was there, leaving behind squeaky clean ears!
Did you know there’s a simple way to cure a bad case of ear mites for your pets? Check out how you can use this surprising, all-natural ingredient to calm itchy ears, clean their coats, and keep them healthy!
13. Fruit Fly Catcher
Cupcakes and Crinoline says vinegar and a splash of dish soap are a great two-ingredient fix for catching fruit flies.
I made this concoction in an old plastic container as advised, since if you do catch flies you might want to be able to just discard them and the container they’re in.
I found that it’s not the prettiest tabletop decor, and it does smell a little funky. I didn’t have a fruit fly problem beforehand so I didn’t catch anything, but also didn’t notice any new ones after a couple days of overripe bananas.
Note that it doesn’t seem to catch larger flies, which were still spotted in my kitchen!
14. Weed Killer
Pouring vinegar directly onto weeds kills them in very short order. Though Better Homes and Gardens notes that older (and perhaps larger) weeds can take more than one application, I found that one sprinkling of vinegar on a small weed did the trick within a couple hours.
Once dead, the weed easily came out of the ground, roots and all. Since vinegar can harm non-weeds as well, this is a good method for areas that are mostly weed-covered so you don’t accidentally kill a plant you want to keep. Between stones or bricks, or in driveways would be a great place to put this technique to use.
After testing, my conclusion is that vinegar is indeed a wondrous cleaning tool! From keyboards to carpets, this acidic liquid is effective at removing stains, smudges, grime, tarnish, and more. Use vinegar as is or mix with simple ingredients already in your pantry for an inexpensive and chemical-free cleaning solution.
Your turn! Do you use vinegar to clean your home, or have you tried any of the uses for vinegar above? Let me know how it worked for you in the comments below!