Keep Your Home Clean with Vinegar for $3.99 or Less

by Jamie Simmerman · 27 comments

If you’ve ever examined your monthly budget closely, you’ve likely discovered that you spend quite a chunk of money every month on cleaning supplies and health and beauty items. To help take the pinch out of your budget, here are a few household uses for vinegar. (A gallon jug sells for around $3.99 or less in your average grocery store.)

Equal parts of vinegar and water can be used to clean:

  • Shower doors and soap scum
  • Windows
  • Fireplace soot
  • Leather shoes and upholstery
  • Dirty, smelly refrigerators
  • Outdoor grills
  • Urine stains from mattresses

Apply vinegar full strength to clean:

  • Stains on white clothing
  • Smelly, greasy laundry
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Toilet bowl stains
  • Smelly sinks and drains
  • Gardening stains on hands
  • Greasy ovens
  • Gold Jewelry

Mix baking soda and vinegar to clean:

  • Plastic storage containers
  • Pots and pans (when mixed with a tablespoon of liquid detergent)
  • Stained coffee cups
  • The air (mix 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 1 cup water in a spray bottle)
  • Mud and dirt stains from plastic, fiberglass, or aluminum sports equipment

You can add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to a bucket full of warm tap water to clean no-wax floors, counter tops, dishes, and silverware.

Spray a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and water onto old wallpaper to loosen the adhesive for easy removal.

Unclogging the shower head is pain-free when you soak a cloth in vinegar and wrap it around the shower head, allowing the vinegar to soak into the clogged nozzles. Soak overnight, and the shower head will be like new by morning.

Polish your furniture to a shine and remove dust and build up in propane heat and wood-burning homes by mixing equal parts of olive oil and vinegar. However, spot test in an inconspicuous place prior to using on any finish though just in case.

Health and Beauty
You can also use a vinegar rinse to help fight dandruff and leave hair shiny and free from oils. It works well to disinfect and soften cosmetic brushes.

Replace your facial toner in a pinch with equal parts of vinegar and water.

Use undiluted vinegar as an aftershave.

Whiten your teeth and get fresher breath by brushing with a toothbrush dipped in undiluted vinegar at least once a week.

Add two tablespoons of sugar and two tablespoons of vinegar to one quart of water to help cut flowers keep their bloom longer.

In the Laundry
Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash to remove excess soap residue and keep lint from sticking to clothes. Adding vinegar to your washing machine helps remove:

  • Smoke odors
  • BBQ stains
  • Ketchup stains
  • Wine stains
  • Spaghetti stains
  • Mildew
  • Musty odors
  • And dingy tints on whites

Pouring 1 cup of vinegar into the empty washing machine and allowing it to run through a wash cycle will help keep your washer in top working order by removing soap scum and mineral residue.

There are thousands of ways to use vinegar in your household. What other household uses for vinegar have you found that help you save money?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Joanne K says:

    I know vinegar is not good for cleaning grout, but when I bought a new quality stainless steel sink it came with warnings not to use vinegar on polished s.s. Wha-a-at?

  • jaykay says:

    Use apple cider vinegar mixed 1/2 with water is great for killing the “stuff” that drives dogs crazy, especially between their toes.
    For wood floors, use white vinegar mixed with alcohol will clean & cause the vinegar to dry quickly. You do not want to leave water, etc, sitting on the wood floor to dry naturally.
    Apple cider vinegar is great to use on sunburns (as long as the skin is not broken) and insect bites.
    Vinegar as a rinse to get shampoo out of your hair works like a charm!

  • Bill says:

    I use vinegar to spot clean carpet. Also to clean areas. Use diluted vinegar 50/50, brush soiled areas, take clean water and sponge and go over area to remove spots as well as dirt. Great for removing wine stains on carpet.

  • TinaV says:

    I use diluted vinegar on my hardwood floors also. Vinegar smell dissipates very quickly and it just smells clean and fresh.

  • Tina says:

    It can be used to kill weeds in the yard.

  • money saver says:

    Vinegar works great as a fabric softener. It’s all I use anymore. Leaves no smell at all, no static cling and removes the smell of grease if you have it. 1 1/2 to 2 ozs. is all you need for a washload. I just put it in one of those little fabric softener balls works great.

  • sally says:

    equal amounts of borax, baking soda and table salt, great cleaner
    to keep for cleaning toilets.

    Leaves a sweet clean smell in the room.

  • sally says:

    Actually prefer the smellof vinegar , when considering the strong smell of so many
    cleaners….I soak my tooth brushes in straight vinegar at least once a week.
    I hope that Heather from Haverill sees this article.

    Happy cleaning to all.

  • mal bailey says:

    Vinegar sprayed in smelly shoes will refresh them, it kills the bacteria.

  • terry says:

    I have been told that vinegar will clean stained grout in my showers. Does anyone know if that works and how to use it for Tile? I love it on windows, mirrors, shower doors, and especially cleaning the coffee maker.

  • apetra says:

    undiluted acetic acid on your teeth? are you kidding?

  • Smell_The_Coffee says:

    Vinegar is a dilute solution of a weak acid (about 5% acetic acid). It could be effective at treating stains that will react/be removed by a weak acid. Examples include mild hard-water stains and certain odors.

    Mixing vinegar with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) neutralizes the acidity and generates bubbles (carbon dioxide) and sodium acetate. Sodium acetate is essentially useless as a cleaner. You would be better off using either vinegar or baking soda separately as they literally neutralize each other.

    • marci357 says:

      If you’ve ever used vinegar/b.soda fizzy bubbles on a glass top stove, or in a plastic composite shower stall bottom, you would not say that they do not work well together. It is the ONLY thing that works AT ALL on that shower stall bottom – even straight bleach didn’t cut it. Something about the fizzing gets into the plastic composite and out comes that stain of kids’ dirty feet…. 🙂 And on the stove top, that fizzing lifts the baked in crud off the glass top. I think it is the actual chemical reaction that does the work 🙂

  • Jerry says:

    My wife is a bit of a hippy and has been doing this green cleaning thing for years. It does lead to money savings which is nice and she believes it is insurance for saving our environment.

  • sarah says:

    Full strength white vinegar instead of much more expensive Jet Dri in the dishwasher.
    It works just as well or better and the dishwasher seems cleaner. And we are on well water .

    • Lopine says:

      Jet Dri is cruelly tested on animals. They force feed animals, (dogs, cats, rabbits) and others until they die. This is completely unnecessary and not required by law. Vinegar is superior, and is better for the planet. That’s what happens with most (not all) cleaning products in the regular store. Drops, 7th Generation, Mrs. Myers, Method, Whole Foods 365 Brand, Safeway Brand, BioKleen, and several others are not tested on animals.

  • OceanGroveGirl says:

    You can also use equal part vinegar and water to release wrinkles from clothing. Hand clothing items on a hanger and spray with the vinegar/water solution (I use a spray bottle from the $.99 store) until wet. When the clothing dries, the vinegar smell is gone along with the wrinkles. I read this tip online and was suspecious, but tried it and it really works well. I’ve used the spray with linen, silk and cashmere successfully.

  • faircom says:

    you can also clean lime scale from electric kettles. boil half vinegar/half water, then let it sit about 10 minutes. boil just water the 2nd time and your kettle is clean and fresh.

  • Doug says:

    Is that white vinegar or apple vinegar?

  • dana says:

    Is it okay to use equal parts vinegar and water to clean the entire bathroom? That’s what I do at the moment…however it’s especially difficult to tell if the inside of the toilet is actually getting clean, because vinegar does not ‘lather’ up like other cleaners do. I love saving money and I hate clutter, so I will gladly keep cleaning my entire house with vinegar…i just want to make sure it’s actually working.

    Oh, and is there anything that vinegar will damage if you clean with it?

  • Steve Jobs says:

    never thought that Vinegar can clean all that, including stains on clothes. With the smell that comes with vinegar, wouln’t it be nice if we add a little fragrance with it? I mean, I am sure our house will smell like vinegar if we are going to use it all over the house.

  • Squirrelers says:

    Very interesting that vinegar has so many uses. It just goes to show that people can simplify their lives and save money as well by avoiding getting caught up in purchasing so many specialty products – many of which are worse for the environment.

    Don’t know if you’ve seen the popular movie from earlier this decade “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, but this reminds of the father who uses Windex to clean everything. Although, I can believe vinegar’s utility a bit more:)

  • pfstock says:

    At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, I use a different product for cleaning around the house: Lemi Shine. We have very hard water, and this product is primarily used in the dishwasher to remove and prevent hard water deposits. I’ve also used it in coffee makers, and to clean around the kitchen and bathroom. I would never use it (or vinegar for that matter) for brushing teeth, though.

    The key advantage of Lemi Shine is that it doesn’t have any vinegar smell. If I clean something with vinegar, I usually end up cleaning it 2-3 more times just to remove the lingering vinegar smell. I think that Lemi Shine mainly consists of citric acid (made from lemons). Sometimes Lemi Shine is a little hard to find, but I have occasionally seen it at Target and Walmart. It usually cost less than $4, and I will typically snag 4-5 bottles at a time.

  • Jenna says:

    Wow. Thanks for the great list of things to do with vinegar. I need to clean out my fireplace for the holidays.

  • marci357 says:

    Bottom of the shower stains – baking soda and vinegar.

    Glass top stoves – baking soda and vinegar paste.

    Vinegar is said to be bad on the plastic o-rings in the wash machine, so just be aware of that.

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