From counters to cutting boards, mattresses to microwaves, stove tops to shower heads – vinegar can be used to clean just about anything around your home. And there are plenty of benefits to cleaning with vinegar. It's cheap, environmentally-friendly and non-toxic, plus it's incredibly effective for removing bacteria, stains and dirt.
Here's how to use vinegar to clean every room in your home.
Definitely skip the toxic chemicals where you store your food. Instead, try surface cleaning your fridge with white vinegar. Wipe up spills with a 50-50 vinegar-water mix. You can even keep a bottle of the mixture stored in your fridge!
Choose a scrubbing brush small enough to get inside the drain and disposal. Pour vinegar onto the brush and sprinkle it with baking soda. Using this combination with a bit of scrubbing will quickly remove built-up crud and odours from your drains.
3. Cutting boards
Vinegar is great for disinfecting. The acid in it helps combat nasty bugs such as E.coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus. After washing your board, disinfect the board by giving it a wipe with full-strength, white vinegar. You can also deodorise the board by sprinkling bicarbonate of soda followed by a spray of white vinegar. Leave for ten minutes, whilst it foams up, then rinse off with a cloth.
It's easy to clean a microwave with vinegar! Remove stubborn food stains by placing half a cup of vinegar and half a cup water in a glass bowl. Microwave it for two to three minutes, or until it boils. Don't open the microwave – let it sit and steam for a few more minutes. You'll then be able to wipe away buildup with ease!
5. Stained plastic containers
Clean plastic containers by coating them in vinegar and letting the sit for a few minutes before washing as usual.
Cleaning kitchen countertops with white vinegar is simple: Just spray it onto your surface, then wipe away with a warm, wet rag. However, avoid cleaning countertops with vinegar if you have a granite or marble surface.
To clean a toilet with vinegar, pour a cup of vinegar in the bowl and let sit overnight. The next morning, sprinkle it with baking soda or borax before scrubbing and flushing. It will be sparkling and odour-free!
8. General bathroom cleaning
Use straight or a diluted vinegar cleaning solution to scrub away bacteria on any bathroom surface. It works especially well around the toilet where it can curb urine staining and odour.
9. Tub or sink drain
Pour half a cup distilled white vinegar around closed tub or sink and let sit for a few hours. Scrub to remove buildup. Drain, then rinse.
The best time to deep clean your shower is right after you use it when the surface is already wet from your shower, and the steamy temperature has loosened dirt. To remove soap scum film, use a cloth dampened with white vinegar, then rinse well. Add a sprinkle of bicarb soda to the area before spraying with vinegar to help scrub away stubborn stains.
11. Shower head
Pour some white vinegar into a plastic bag and secure it to your shower head with a twist-tie. Make sure there's enough vinegar so the bottom part of the shower head is submerged. Leave the bag on overnight. Remove the next morning just before showering.
Mix half a cup white distilled vinegar with a litre of warm water. Mop floors or scrub countertops with the solution and allow to air dry.
13. Mattress disinfectant
Mix distilled white vinegar, a little rubbing alcohol, and some tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Lightly spritz the mixture on to your mattress to help combat dust mites, mildew, and general odours. For a deeper clean, follow with a dusting of baking soda. Let it dry, then vacuum.
14. As a fabric softener
Use vinegar instead of fabric softeners in the laundry. Combine two cups of vinegar with 10 drops of lavender essential oil in a jar. Use two teaspoons to your washing to soften clothes, remove static and save a whole lot of money.
Living & Dining Rooms
Use a 50/50 vinegar/water solution to keep glass tables or stereo cabinet doors sparkling.
16. Wood furniture
Use quarter of a cup of white vinegar mixed with one cup of olive oil – plus a few drops of lemon or orange oil, if you wish – to clean and condition wood furniture.
17. Carpet odour and dust mite remover
Mix a few drops of your favourite essential oil with some distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Test in an inconspicuous spot first for colorfastness then spritz lightly throughout.
18. Carpet Rinse
After shampooing your carpet, rinse it using half a cup vinegar per four litres of water. The mixture removes dirt-attracting soap residue, so your carpet will stay cleaner for longer.
19. Air freshener
Add half a teaspoon vinegar to a 200ml spray bottle, then fill with distilled water, plus a few drops of your favourite essential oil like lemon or peppermint.
20. Window cleaner
Mix a quarter of a cup of rubbing alcohol and a third of a cup vinegar in a litre spray bottle, then fill with water. Lightly spritz on a lint-free cloth to clean.
21. All-purpose cleaner
Mix one cup of vinegar, two teaspoons borax, four cups hot water, five drops of liquid dish soap, 10 drops of tea tree oil, and 10 drops your favourite essential oil.
Use a 50/50 vinegar/water mix to wipe down phones, doorknobs, faucet handles, and other heavily used items around the home when cold and flu season hits.
How to reduce the smell of vinegar
Despite the benefits of cleaning with vinegar, it can sometimes leave a very distinctive smell after you're done.
To mask the smell, add equal parts of water and vinegar to a bottle. Add the juice and peel of half a lemon and mix.
To neutralise the smell on stains, sinks, toilets and showers, add a tablespoon of baking soda and leave. If you’ve applied it to carpet, allow it to dry then brush or vacuum off.
To help the smell of vinegar disappear faster, turn on a fan or open a window to help create air flow.
What NOT to clean with vinegar
Granite and marble countertops
Yep, cleaning granite and marble countertops with vinegar is a huge no-no. Vinegar's acidic nature can discolour granite and etch marble.
Vinegar is the secret to perfect poached eggs for a reason: it helps to keep it together. Using vinegar to clean up eggs will only make things more difficult.
Don’t use vinegar to clean the inside of your iron. Instead, follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions.
Phone or computer screen
Using vinegar to clean your phone or computer could remove the coating on the screen.
Stone, ceramic or hardwood floors
The acid in vinegar can damage your floors. Always read the care instructions for your type of floor.
Remove rust spots on certain metals
Vinegar reacts differently with certain metals. Submerging steel tools in vinegar should be to remove rust spots; however, it may cause stainless steel and enamelled cast iron cookware to corrode.