29 Ways to Use Vinegar in Your Home

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

November 15, 2019

Did you know that vinegar is a natural way to clean your home without using any toxic chemicals? It is! 11 years ago, I found this list of 29 ways to use vinegar at home for a tabling event hosted by the library. It was called “Keep Portland Weird”. And, using vinegar in 29 ways sure seemed weird to me.

What is vinegar? Well, vinegar is basically a second fermentation of wine. In that second process, acetic acid is created, which is the acidic part of vinegar. White vinegar, the vinegar we discuss here, is often made in a laboratory.

29 ways to use vinegar at home include speciality vinegars
An assortment of artisanal apple cider vinegar. Photo credit Mike Goad.

So, we have this laboratory created thing, based on nature, which turns out to be a natural acid that can really support home cleaning. Let’s dive into the list.

29 Ways to Use Vinegar at Home, the List

  1. Did you know vinegar is a powerful antibacterial? A better bet is to put vinegar in a spray bottle, spritz affected area. Then, follow up with hydrogen peroxide in a separate spray bottle. Do not mix! And, the peroxide must be kept in a dark container (like the one it came in) to be effective.
  2. Deodorize your sink drains: Pour a cup down your drain, let stand about thirty minutes, then run cold water.
  3. Unclog a drain: Dump 1 cup of baking soda down your drain and follow it with 1 cup of vinegar.  When they mix, they foam and expand, cleaning your drain.  Allow a few minutes for the mixture to do its job, and then flush with hot water for several minutes.
  4. Disinfect and clean wood cutting boards: Rub with vinegar to disinfect and clean.  If your cutting board has deep grooves, you can also soak the board in vinegar for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Cut grease: When washing greasy pans or dishes, add a few tablespoons of vinegar to your soapy dishwater.
  6. Clean the dishwasher: Vinegar reduces soap build-up, so throw a cup of vinegar in your dishwasher and let it run a full (empty) cycle once a month or so.
  7. Clean the coffeepot: Hard water can clog a coffeepot and cause yucky buildup inside it.  To remedy this, pour 1-cup vinegar in your coffeepot, fill the rest of the way with water, then run it through a cycle as usual (without coffee grounds in the filter).  Rinse the coffeepot out.  Fill it with freshwater and run another cycle without coffee to rinse the inside of the coffee maker.
  8. Loosen food grime and clean the microwave: Place a microwave-safe bowl with 2 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar inside the microwave and microwave on full power for 3-4 minutes (it needs to boil).  Keep your microwave closed for a few minutes to allow the steam to loosen the grime, then open your microwave, carefully remove the bowl, and wipe clean!
  9. Clean windows: Mix 1-cup vinegar with 5 cups water and you’ve got a great window cleaner.  If you must have a blue window cleaner, just a few drops of blue food coloring!
  10. Remove grease from kitchen walls: Put straight vinegar on a dishcloth to wipe the grease off kitchen walls, or the stovetop.
  11. Remove pet urine stains (and smells) from carpet: Mix about 1/4 cup of vinegar to a quart of water.  Soak a washcloth in the mixture and blot the area several times.
  12. Clean kitchen and bathroom faucets: Soak a paper towel in vinegar and then wrap it around your faucet to remove mineral deposits.
  13. Clean and shine no-wax vinyl or linoleum floors: Mix 1 gallon of water with 1/2 cup vinegar in a bucket, then mop or scrub your floor with the solution.
  14. Inexpensive scouring powder: Combine two tablespoons each of vinegar and baking soda for an effective scouring powder.
  15. Clean the toilet rim: Put straight 5% vinegar in a squirt bottle and use it to clean the rim of the toilet.  It disinfects, too!
  16. Prevent mold and mildew in the shower: Wipe down tile or Formica shower walls with a sponge or cloth dampened with water and vinegar.  The vinegar will clean the walls and inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.
  17. Unclog the showerhead: Mineral deposits from hard water can cause a sputtering, clogged showerhead.  Place the showerhead in a pot; add enough vinegar to cover it completely.  Heat the vinegar to just below boiling, and then remove from heat.  Allow it to sit for at least 6 hours.  The acid in the vinegar will eat away the deposits.  Rinse the showerhead well, and it’s ready to go again.
  18. Get rid of the funky smell in that lunchbox: Soak a piece of plain bread in vinegar, then place it in the lunchbox overnight and the smell will disappear!
  19. Remove rust: To get rid of rust, soak items in vinegar (do not dilute).  This will work on any metals.
  20. Remove residue and styling product build-up from hair: After shampooing, rinse your hair with a mixture of 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 warm water to remove all the build-up and get rid of dullness.
  21. Eliminate smells: Run a hot tub of water and pour in one or two cups of vinegar.  Hang smelly clothes on hangers along your shower curtain rod.  This will remove smoke and other tough smells.
  22. Get rid of stickers, decals, and sticky residues: Rub a few coats of vinegar on the area and allow to soak.  Then wash off with a wet washcloth and the sticky will rub right off.
  23. Polish patent leather purses and shoes: Place vinegar on a clean cloth, and then rub over patent leather.  Wipe dry with another clean cloth.
  24. Remove stains: Rub a small amount of vinegar gently on fruit, jelly, mustard, or coffee type stains and wash as usual.  No more stain!
  25. Clean your glasses: Place a drop of vinegar on the lens, then rub with a cotton cloth.
  26. Get the smell out of your cloth diapers!  Next time those cloth diapers start to smell, add a 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar in your last rinse.
  27. Polish your car: Rub vinegar on chrome to clean and shine it.
  28. Remove bumper stickers: Soak a cloth in vinegar and lay it over the bumper sticker.  Allow it to soak a few minutes.  The bumper sticker should peel right off.  Rub vinegar over the area to remove the sticky residue, if necessary.
  29. Next time you have a sore throat, try gargling with apple cider vinegar!

I hope this list of 29 ways to use vinegar at home has been helpful for you! Comment below any MORE ways you use vinegar in the home, and let us continue to be sustainable, together.



  1. Joe


    • Michelle Lasley

      Thanks Joe! What was your favorite part?


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