10 Clever Ways to Clean With Vinegar

Matt Marandola
Written by Matt Marandola
Updated September 10, 2021
Sunroom with clean windows overlooking valley
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You can use vinegar on everything from carpets to windows and more

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While you may have heard that you can clean with vinegar, you might be surprised just how much it can help around the house. You’ll find this everyday ingredient can handle even some of the toughest jobs, such as breaking up the minerals in your showerhead and removing stains on the carpet. Who knew one powerful household cleaner was hiding in your kitchen pantry?

Read on for 10 clever ways to clean with vinegar that you’ll want to try ASAP.

1. Use Vinegar to Lift Some Carpet Stains

The wine stain that’s been too stubborn to come out with any other trick may find its match with white vinegar. Using a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar to water, soak the stained area of the carpet for about two to three minutes before blotting gently. This process can save you time and elbow grease as it lifts the stain.

2. Remove Dirt From Your Blinds With a Vinegar Solution

White blinds can pick up grime pretty easily, so if you haven’t cleaned them in a while, you might want to take a look. Luckily, a half-cup of white vinegar combined with a quarter-cup of baking soda and a gallon of warm water will tackle most stains and dirt on blinds.

Ensure you wipe the blinds down with water afterward so that the sun doesn’t cause the vinegar to stain instead. If you’re still struggling to get your blinds clean, a local house cleaning pro can help you make them sparkle.

3. Clean Mineral Build-Up From Shower Heads

Over time, mineral deposits can build up on shower heads near the spouts, which could be why your water pressure has slowed down over the years. Luckily you can use vinegar to unclog your shower head while you sleep. 

Pour white vinegar into a plastic bag big enough to fit the shower head, place the shower head in the vinegar, secure it with a rubber band, and leave it overnight. Be sure you’ve taken a shower beforehand, though.

4. Vinegar Can Get Windows Sparkling

Whether it’s nose prints from your pet or handprints from the kids playing outside, windows tend to get dirty. And it’s especially noticeable when the sun shines through.

By combining white vinegar with water at a 1:1 ratio, you’ll see those prints disappear. Simply apply the solution to a paper towel or rag and, using a circular motion, wipe the prints clean. Be sure to wipe any excess solution off with a dry cloth afterward.

5. Steam Clean Your Microwave With Vinegar

Woman cleans the door at the microwave
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Ever leave something in the microwave a little too long, causing it to pop and stain your microwave walls? White vinegar is excellent for removing those accidental spots.

Combine one-quarter cup of white distilled vinegar and a cup of water in a microwave-safe cup or bowl. You can even add a splash of lemon juice to the solution for a fresh scent. Place the bowl inside and turn on the microwave until the window is steamed up, which can take anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute, depending on the microwave. 

Open up the microwave, and the steam should make removing the food easy with a wet paper towel or rag.

6. Vinegar Can Clean Your Dishwasher

It can be infuriating when you open up your dishwasher and find that none of the dishes are actually clean. To help your dishwasher along, add 2 cups of vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher so that it tackles the residue in the filter and drain. No more residue means no more random food stains appearing on your dishes after going through the dishwasher.

7. Tackle Kitchen Odors With Vinegar

Simply pour a cup of white vinegar down the sink and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. This can help neutralize kitchen odors thanks to trapped food. If odors are still coming through after this, then there may be a problem with the p-trap portion of your kitchen sink, so be sure to call in a local plumber to take a look.

8. Remove Stickers With Vinegar

Have a sticker or price tag on an item that you need to remove? Yep, you can use vinegar for that, too.

Gently use a sponge to apply vinegar on the sticker and let it soak for a few minutes. The acidic properties in the vinegar will lift the adhesive and make it easier for you to peel it right off. If any residue is left behind, you can also use vinegar to clear that away. Just be sure to do a patch test first to make sure the surface isn’t damaged by vinegar.

9. Wipe off Your Hands With Vinegar

White vinegar is not a substitute for soap, but it does work on messy hands in a pinch. If your kids just got done polishing off a plate of fruit or were a bit messy with markers, vinegar can help take the colorful stains away. Soak a cloth in vinegar to wipe down their hands and watch the colors come right out.

10. Clean Your Coffee Maker With Vinegar

Grabbing a cup of coffee every day (or sometimes three cups of coffee) can start to leave residue throughout the machine. Coffee tends to stain even the darkest coffee makers. So on a day where you opted to grab a coffee from your local shop, use vinegar to get your favorite machine back up and running like new.

Make a mixture of one part vinegar to two parts water and pour it into the coffee maker's reservoir. Let it run a cycle and then thoroughly wipe up any remaining liquid in the reservoir. Then, run two cycles of water before brewing your favorite cup of joe.

You Shouldn’t Use Vinegar on Everything

Although vinegar can come in handy for many messes, this doesn’t mean it’s the one-stop-shop. Avoid putting vinegar on rubber parts of appliances, as this can corrode the material and lead to another list of problems. Patch testing can also help you be sure vinegar won’t erode whatever you’re cleaning.

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