Vinegar : Frugal and Green Cleaner

I was checking out the Dawn dish soap website the other day when I noticed that they are coming out with a new soap that has Vinegar in it.  It got me thinking:  Pay to have Vinegar added to my dish soap?  that’s crazy!

Vinegar is the ultimate frugal AND green cleaner.  I have shared my love of it with you before.  But today I wanted to share some of MY favorite uses for vinegar around the house:

  • Degreaser
  • Drain deodorizer
  • Coffee maker cleaner
  • Window cleaner: mix with ammonia and water in spray bottle
  • Bathroom cleaner: mix with dish soap and water in a spray bottle.  What I like the best of using vinegar in the bathrooms is that it leaves no soapy residue.
  • Carpet cleaner:  This tip came from the professional carpet cleaner I hired to shampoo our carpet.  For years we have been paying a lot of money buying commercial carpet cleaners for the times our dogs have accidents on the carpet.  The cleaner said use  a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the spot with it.  Sure enough that worked like a charm for us.

How do you use vinegar in your home?

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  • Sarah

    if done regularly you can avoid using chemicals like Drano to clear drains– once a month dump some vinegar and baking soda down the drain (remember the volcanoes growing up?!), then rinse with some hot water. apparently the fizzing loosens up the gunk. I use the odor-eater baking soda packages in my fridge– and dump them down the drain with vinegar when I replace them!

  • I use cold water and vinegar to clean my kitchen floor. No residue and no harsh chemicals…and OH, the SHINE!!

  • Heather H

    We have HARD water! When we first moved in our brand new dishwasher left that ugly white film on ALL the dishes. After trying more soap, then less soap, then different soap I did a little looking online and learned how vinegar can help with hard water. So now for every load we add a cup of vinegar filled and sitting up on the bottom rack. Wehave not had ANY white film left on the dishes since. It’s cheap and even cheaper when you have a coupon.
    Next we are trying a homemade recipe for dishwashing soap: 1Tbls Borax, 1Tbls Washing Soda, plus the cup of vinegar on the bottom rack…this will reduce our spending on DW soap tremendously!!!! We are ex-ci-ted!!!!
    Hope this advice can help some out – seems like vinegar is one of those hidden gems in our houses!!!

    • Jenae

      What is washing soda?

      • Lisa

        Arm & Hammer makes a great washing soda. A little hard to find in my area, but worth the search!

    • Brandy

      I wish I had known this when I lived and GA and had white dishes (really they were brown!)

  • I use vinegar for almost everything in our house! From stain remover and fabric softener to floor cleaner, tub and showers, toilets, windows, mirrors and floors… It is so versitile and SAFE! I used to think my grandmother was insane for using it so much, but now I understand why.

  • How funny you posted this – I just fell in love with vinegar for cleaning this weekend. We used a solution of one cup vinegar, 2 cups water, and two drops dishsoap to clean our windows. I’ve never seen them shine like this before. Forget Windex, I’m going to be using this vinegar solution from now on.

  • Growing up my mom always set out a bowl of vinegar after parties where there would be smokers. The next morning the house wouldn’t smell like smoke any more! She would also spritz coats and my dads suit coat with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar!

  • Amy

    Vinegar is great when you have forgotten wet clothes in the washer and they have started to smell skunky. I add 1/2 cup of vinegar (you might be able to get away with less, but that is what I use) when I run them through the wash again and it totally eliminates any mildewy smell.

  • Joy

    When my boys were babies and toddlers I would disinfect their toys with vinegar instead of bleach.

    Now I use it to mop my Pergo floors, to wipe down mirrors and windows and to clean my bathtub (a paste of vinegar and salt works better than any tub cleaner I know of). I also do the same drain thing as Sarah (using the old boxes from frig, too).

    • Joy

      I forgot to mention I also use a splash of it when making hardboiled eggs. Just add a TBSP to the water before it boils. They peel easier that way.

  • Caitlin

    I use vinegar to clean practically everything! All the ways described here already are in employ at our house! It’s so much less toxic than most household cleaners–if people knew what they were putting in the air they breathe, they would never use most commercial cleaning products. It’s great to get calcium residue from our hard water off the places it tends to build up on the toilet bowl and faucets. When I move to a new apartment, I often soak a rag or washcloth in vinegar and wrap it around faucets to soak badly encrusted ones. We also soak the showerhead in a bowl of vinegar every once in a while, too, and we clean build up off the humidifier this way.
    Baking soda and vinegar also works great as an alternate leavening for baked goods. You can often replace eggs this way in muffins, cakes, etc. I learned this through several years of vegan cooking!
    Need I mention it is tasty on salads? 😉

    • Kristina L.

      Caitlin do you just run the humidifier with the vinegar and water to clean it. I just got a new one for my baby boy and don’t know how to clean it.

      • Caitlin

        Nope–we usually clean ours with dishsoap and water, and occasionally remove calcium by letting vinegar pool over the heating element in the base, which is where the calcium accumulates. It would depend what kind of humidifier you have–some types don’t have a heating element at all, so they may not get the kind of deposits ours get. Good luck!

  • I just used vinegar to clean my grimy shower curatin liner. I read somehwere it removes the iron deposits and it worked pretty well. Saved me from just buying a new one.
    I’ve been wondering if you ever made your own laundry detergent. I have been thinking of trying that out.

  • fairyz

    Vinegar also removes odor from the refrigerator, my sister in laws refrigerator had some funny smell when she opened it, i suggested she put some vinegar in a little bowl and leave it in, and voila! no smell…

  • Jackie

    I bathe in it. I pour in about 3/4 cup into the tub it takes residue out of my hair leaving it very soft and also helps keep yeast from over growing to prevent yeast infections. (the yeast infection one I got from a lactation counselor when I got thrush from my son)

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  • Christy

    I use vinegar to rinse with my hair with. My hair stylist recommended it and I thought she was crazy, but it works!! It will gently take away all build up from hairspray and other styling products. I use it about once each week.

  • Amy N.

    When we first “opened” our sandbox for the season there were a lot of ants in it. I wanted to figure out what we could do besides using chemicals in the play sand or getting rid of all the sand and I read that ants don’t like vinegar so just spray a bunch on and the ants take off. It seemed to work and it’s safe for the kids!

  • Angel Buell

    I’ve been using Vinegar for everything in the past year or two….. commercial cleaners cost to much to the pocket book and to the wallet.

    I use Vinegar:
    In the laundry: using soap alone leaves residue and leaves clothes stiff, rinsing in vinegar takes the soap out and leaves the clothes a little softer and leaves the wsher deodorized.

    After Taco Tuesday: while the pan is still hot, dump food in serving bowl, and then put pan back on burner with water and 1/3 vinegar solution on low… taco smell is gone! (any other smelly food works as well)

    Stained pans: let heat on low, with vinegar, this acidic environment will make all stains wipe out.

    smelly cloth diapers: rinse cycle with Vinegar takes out all peepee smell

    Baby wears cloth dieapers and leaves those little peepee spots out of the side of her dieapers everywhere,, vinegar takes care of it. HTH

  • LindseyRochele

    I had no idea how many things I could use vinegar for. Thanks so much ladies and thank you Mercedes for posting this! 😀

  • Teresa

    Mercedes, I wish you had a “print this post” option! I am loving this!

    My first experience with vinegar for cleaning was when I had tried EVERYTHING to get the mildew smell out of our towels. It didn’t matter how quickly I dried them or any of that. We live in Florida and it’s very humid, so the towels just always smelled mildew-y. Bleach worked, but I couldn’t bleach my dark towels. THEN, I discovered vinegar. I have an HE washer, and I fill the bleach receptacle with vinegar on all loads of colored laundry. No more mildew smell ever. I LOVE it!

    • Let me add it.

    • done!

      • Teresa


        Sorry, I guess I’m a bit slow, but I don’t see it. How do I do it?

        Thank you!

  • Sonia

    I work for a cleaning company, we use vinegar for cleaning in a factory, now I use it at home more its great on sinks, repells the water! We also wash and reuse mops, towels, no paper towels are used, Its great to see a company reusing!!

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  • Angel Buell

    I really don’t like using harsh chemicals in my microwave for some reason… (maybe the smelly chemicals will seep into my food or something I guess)…. I’ve realized that just putting a coffee cup of vinegar and water in the microwave and nuking for a few minutes will not only make everything wipe right out with a simple towel, but also eliminates any food smells.

  • Angel Buell

    You can also clean all glass surfaces and chrome with vinegar and wiping with newpaper, though I have to admit, i usually just spray it and then grab some toilet paper (recycled of course) and wipe it off. Keeps my bathroom odorless and shiny.

    Also, (my husband used to smoke in his car) if you use vinegar to clean the windows in the car and all the chrome door handles, etc , you can combat some of the smell, as well as just spraying a fine mist on the interior and wiping down the steering wheel (which is where his smoky smelling hands spends the majority of the time). Of course the car will smell like vinegar for a little bit, but just do it when your not going to drive it for a few hours and then drive with the windows down to blow it all dry, in only a few hours the smell is significantly reduced. HTH

  • Angel Buell

    Okay, last one, I swear! LOL
    I just thought of something else……. If you have stains on your clothing…
    I get all my baby’s stains out chemical free by making a paste of baking soda, rubbing it into the stain and then put about 2 table spoons of either vinegar or peroxide on the stain… the mixture just bubbles away and really gets down into the fabric…and it’s cheap!

  • Angel Buell

    AND, put baby’s toys (hard surface toys) in the bath tub and keep coming in every so often and spray with full strength vinegar.. this will deodorize and hopefully kill all bacteria… (for soft toys like stuffed animals.. freeze for 24-48 hours)… you can also kill germs on mattresses with this method. And you can wipe babys hardboard books by lightly wiping with this….

    My mom says you can use vinegar to clean hard paint brushes by boiling them in venigar water, but I think i would rather get a new brush then to boil paint into my air.

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