Cleaning with Vinegar: Green Home Hacks


Who knew vinegar was so versatile? This pantry staple is also a cleaning powerhouse — and since it’s all natural, inexpensive, and effective on tough stains, you’ll probably want to give it a go on everything from your carpet to your drinking glasses. On its own, or combined with other everyday ingredients, cleaning with vinegar offers a wide array of scrubbing solutions. For other all-natural cleaning methods, check out these ways to clean with lemons and clean with salt.

1. Polish Jewelry

polish jewelry

Polishing can be a tedious and ineffective way of cleaning tarnished jewelry. Instead, mix 1 cup of boiling water with 1 tablespoon each of salt and baking soda in a foil-lined baking pan. Place your jewelry in the water, then pour in ½ cup of white vinegar. The mixture will bubble and froth as it eats away at any gunk on your jewelry (you’ll see lots of little bubbles on the metal). Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, remove and dry with paper towels, and enjoy your newly shiny accessories.

2. Make All-Purpose Cleaner

Make All-Purpose CleanerSource: For the Love of Food

To make a freshly scented all-purpose cleaner, soak citrus peels in vinegar for two weeks. Strain, dilute with water, and use it clean everything from glass and windows to counters and floors.

3. Freshen Towels

Freshen TowelsSource: Classy Clutter

Nothing ruins your shower like drying off with a mildewy towel. To freshen them up, wash towels on a hot cycle with 1 cup of vinegar- no need for detergent. Dry them as usual.

4. Degunk Showerheads

Degunk ShowerheadsSource: Lifehacker

The buildup of grime can impede the flow of water. To remove it, tie a bag of vinegar around your showerhead, making sure it’s completely submerged. Allow it to sit overnight, or at least 2-3 hours, then remove for a free-flowing stream of water.

5. Cleanse the Dishwasher

Cleanse the DishwasherSource: One Good Thing by Jillee

Don’t forget that the dishwasher itself deserves a good clean every now and then. To do so, place a cup of vinegar on the top rack and run it on the hottest possible cycle. This will wash away gunk, sanitize, and remove lingering bad odor.

6. Unclog a Drain

Unclog a DrainSource: Green Living Ideas

Whether it’s in the kitchen or bathroom, a sink is bound to get clogged at some point. Pour a combination of baking soda, boiling water, and vinegar down your drain to unclog it.

7. Scrub Pots and Pans

Scrub Pots and PansSource: Wikihow

Burnt food can be one of the toughest stains to remove. Fill a filthed pot or pan with vinegar and allow it to soak for as long as you want, until the grime has loosened, then scrub it away.

8. Prolong Fresh Fruit

Prolong Fresh FruitSource: Momables

Want to keep your farmers market finds from going bad? Use vinegar to clean and prolong the life of fresh fruit like berries. To do so, bathe berries in a bowl of vinegar and water, then drain thoroughly so they won’t taste like vinegar.

9. Make Laundry Dryer Sheets

Make Laundry Dryer SheetsSource: Radical Possibility

If you love the effect or dryer sheets but hate the added chemicals, you can ,ake your own soaking pieces of flannel fabric in vinegar and essential oil. Add a damp sheet into your next dryer load and your clothes will come out smelling fresh (not like vinegar) and feeling bouncy.

10. Clean the Microwave

Clean the MicrowaveSource: Babble

Is your microwave covered in splatter? Microwave a large bowl of water and vinegar on high for 3-5 minutes, until it boils. Then easily wipe away dirt.

11. Deodorize Cutting Boards

Deodorize Cutting BoardsSource: Food 52

Proper care of wooden cutting boards can be done with all natural materials. Use a paste of salt, water, and baking soda to scrub away stains, then spray vinegar to remove any lingering smells.

12. Freshen Lunchboxes

Freshen LunchboxesSource: Good Housekeeping

Dampen a paper towel with vinegar and place it inside an empty lunch box to deodorize and degunk. Leave it overnight, discard the paper towel, and wash and dry the lunch box (or bag). You could also use a piece of bread instead of the paper towel.

13. Make Glasses Shine

Make Glasses ShineSource: The Wic Project

Unsightly hard water stains can easily be removed with vinegar. Soak your glasses in the vinegar, or for a more economic option, dilute the vinegar first at a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar. You can clean glass windows the same way, by placing vinegar in a spray bottle.

14. Sanitize Your Toothbrush

Sanitize Your ToothbrushSource: Livestrong

For obvious reasons, your toothbrush is a hotspot for bacterial buildup. Soak itin vinegar for a couple hours to kill germs and bacteria.

15. De-stain Carpets

De-stain CarpetsSource: The Creek Line House

Don’t resolve yourself to the residue of a red wine spill. Instead, soak a cloth in water and vinegar, lay it over a carpet stain, and iron over it. The stain will transfer from your carpet to the cloth.

16. Clean the Garbage Disposal

Clean the Garbage DisposalSource: The Smart Mama

Nobody wants to stick their hand down the garbage disposal to give it a good clean. Instead, make water and vinegar ice cubes, and run them in the disposal. They’ll remove any stuck food from the blades and help eliminate odor.

17. De-stain Suede

De-stain SuedeSource: Wikihow

Suede is notoriously difficult to clean, but you can remove some stains by rubbing them with a wet towel dipped in vinegar.

18. Wipe Down Your TV or Computer Screen

Wipe Down Your TV or Computer ScreenSource: Wikihow

Having a hard time reading this (or enjoying your latest Netflix binge)? Wipe down your computer or TV with a cloth dipped in equal parts water and vinegar for a clearer image.

19.  Remove Rust from Keys

Remove Rust from KeysSource: ehow

To get rid of rust on keys (or other items), soak them in heated vinegar. After half an hour or so, rub with a toothbrush to remove rusty residue.

20. Clean Converse

Clean ConverseSource: (image via Wikihow)

These fabric sneakers become comfier with age — but also messier. To keep them looking fresh, combine vinegar, hot water, and baking soda to create a paste. Using an old toothbrush, work the paste into the canvas and rubber soles to remove stains. Rinse in lukewarm water.

Spring Cleaning doesn’t have to mean coating your home in commercial cleansing products full of dubious ingredients. Vinegar is a safe alternative, and one that is extremely effective. And don’t worry, the potent vinegar smell won’t stick around, but it will leave behind a squeaky clean home.