That big jug of white vinegar hanging out in your pantry is nothing short of a cleaning superstar. As a natural antibacterial, it helps disinfect pretty much anywhere you use it. And aside from ridding your space of germs, it freshens it up in the process, making it smell better, look better, and feel better.
The next time you’re in the mood for some tidying up, make your way through this A-to-Z list of ways you can clean with vinegar. From your coffee maker to your jewelry, there’s really nothing it can’t get clean.
How to clean with vinegar all around the house
No matter how much you wash your blender, it’s hard to get rid of every piece of stuck food. To loosen it up in record time, put equals parts water and vinegar in your blender and blend it up. You’ll be left with a perfectly clean blender that’s ready for your next smoothie.
Any build-up in your coffee maker can easily be tackled with vinegar. According to microbiologist Jason Tetro, author of The Germ Code, you can descale it by running a brew cycle with one part water to one part vinegar. Do it at least once a month to keep it free of mold, germs, and mineral build-up.
The next time you need to deep clean your dishwasher, grab the vinegar. According to Becky Rapinchuk of Clean Mama, all you need to do is pour a cup in the bottom of your dishwasher and run a hot sanitizing cycle. Once it’s done, your dishwasher will be free of any mineral build-up and will look sparkly and new.
Keeping your floors squeaky clean is easier than you think. Stephanie Gerber, founder of Hello Glow, just combine 1/2 cup vinegar with two cups water and one teaspoon lavender essential oil for a mix you can use on your floors, counters, sinks, and toilets. Basically any surface in your home.
Make all the glass in your home super clean and sparkly with a simple vinegar solution. After combining white vinegar, water, and cornstarch in a spray bottle, you can spritz your windows, mirrors, and any other spots that could use a refresh. Simply wipe it off and you’re good to go.
Anyone who uses their Instant Pot on a regular basis knows the sealing ring can get icky pretty quickly. To give it a solid clean and deodorize it, Cooking with Janica recommends suggests soaking it in vinegar overnight then either hand washing it or running it through your dishwasher before letting it sit out to air dry.
You can shine up your gold jewelry in minutes with a little help from vinegar due to its acidic nature. “The properties in distilled white vinegar make it a perfect natural cleaning agent for gold jewelry,” says Katherine Kane, founder and designer of K. Kane. “To remove buildup and restore shine to my favorite gold pieces, I like to just drop them in a small bowl of vinegar and let them sit for 15 to 20 minutes.” When the time is up, rinse your jewelry with hot water and pat it dry.
Adding vinegar to your laundry loads is a great way to make your clothes as fresh and clean as possible. According to Marilee Nelson, co-founder of the plant-based cleaning products brand Branch Basics, it works as a water softener, neutralizes potent odors, helps protect and set colors, removes stains, and more.
You can clean your microwave with nothing but vinegar, water, and steam. According to Jessi Wohlwend of Practically Functional, just put two cups water and two tablespoons vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Then, drop in a toothpick, which helps keep the water from boiling over the bowl. Next, put it in the microwave on high for five minutes. “When the timer goes off, leave the door shut for 2 to 3 more minutes to let the steam continue to work. The steam will help loosen up caked on bits of food, and the vinegar and lemon oil will help eliminate any odors,” she says. Once you do open it, you can easily wipe any food away.
Washing your produce is easy when you have vinegar on hand. According to Megan Roosevelt, RDN, a nutritionist and founder of Healthy Grocery Girl, a homemade vinegar-and-water solution can be just as effective as store-bought produce wash.
Make sure you’re giving your refrigerator a solid wipe-down between grocery runs. To do so, spray on a mix of equal parts vinegar and water, then wipe away any stains and germs with a cloth.
Instead of using chemicals to clean your sink and drains, mix together 1/2 cup baking soda with 1.3 cup table salt and pour it down the drain. Then pour one cup of heated vinegar down the drain and cover it with a plug or duct tape to keep the bubbly mixture down. After allowing it to sit for 15 minutes, run some hot water and it will be good as new.
If you don’t clean your trash can, it’s time to start. Toni Hammersley, the cleaning expert behind A Bowl Full of Lemons, recommends spraying it with equal parts vinegar and water, then wiping it down. It won’t just get rid of the germs—it will also get rid of the (awful) smell.
Your windows will never wind up streaky again with this vinegar spray. According to Rapinchuk, simply mix together equals parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water, as well as a few drops of peppermint essential oil. After spraying it on and wiping it down, your windows will be spotless.
Keep your yoga mat sanitized with a vinegar mix. “If you have a mat made from natural tree rubber, using a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar is a great way to naturally disinfect and restore the rubber’s texture and color,” says Stacie Leavitt, a product guru for Manduka mats.
You know how great white vinegar is. Now, learn all about apple cider vinegar: