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Vinegar: The New All Purpose Cleaner

Updated on February 2, 2011

Why in the world would you want to clean with vinegar? Isn't that something you are supposed to cook with? Well, yes, you can cook with vinegar, but you can do so much more with it as well! Vinegar is an amazing all purpose cleaner. Vinegar not only effectively kills most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity, but also cuts grease and soap scum, and dissolves mineral build up. Using vinegar is an excellent alternative to using typical household cleaners because it is extremely cheap, and it helps you avoid having to clean with harsh chemicals. I can hear it now..."But what about the smell; doesn't vinegar stink?" Don't worry, vinegar will not leave a smell once it dries, which happens very quickly. Surprisingly, vinegar actually makes an excellent deodorizer. Placing a bowl of vinegar in a room overnight will absorb any most odors in the air, such as cooking and smoke odors. You can also do the same thing in your car. Leave an open container of vinegar in your car overnight with all the doors and windows shut, remove the container in the morning, and your car will smell immensely better!

How can I make my own all purpose cleaner with vinegar?

Making your own household cleaner out of vinegar is simple! You will only need three items:

  • A spray bottle
  • Vinegar
  • Water

Your spray bottle can really be any size, but I recommend one that is about 20-32 ounces. Fill your spray bottle with half water and half vinegar. Shake the bottle vigorously to make sure the water and vinegar are completely mixed together. That's all there is to it! You can now use your economical cleaner in many different areas around your home, saving you money and helping to keep your home clean and free of chemicals.

What can you clean with vinegar?

A better question would be: What can you NOT clean with vinegar? Vinegar can clean almost any surface with the exception of marble. You should also use caution when cleaning the grout of your tile, and always dilute the vinegar first. Vinegar is amazing because it cleans household products that we do not always think about cleaning, such as a coffee maker, or a disposal. Some of the most common and inventive ways to use vinegar as a household cleanser include:

  • Coffee maker: A coffee maker that is used frequently can accumulate build up. Using vinegar can help to eliminate the build up and produce much better tasting coffee! To clean the coffee maker, simply run two parts vinegar with one part water through your machine. Be sure to run your coffee machine again at least once to make sure you have rinsed all of the vinegar completely out.
  • Shine copper pennies: Simply soak the coins in vinegar overnight and rinse the next morning. You pennies will be super shiny the next day!
  • Washing clothes: Put one cup of vinegar in your washing machine during the rinse cycle in place of a fabric softener. This is an excellent substitute, especially for those who have sensitive skin. Using vinegar also removes any traces of detergent from your clothes, eliminating build up, allowing your clothes to become more absorbent.
  • Floors: When cleaning floors there are a couple different ways you can go about it. You can either spray the floor with the half water/vinegar solution and wipe it up with a cloth, or you can put a cup of vinegar in a bucket of warm water and mop it up that way. Either way your floors will be exceptionally clean!
  • Windows: Spray the windows down with your vinegar solution and wipe clean. The vinegar removes any dirt on the window and leaves a streak free shine.
  • Mirrors: Vinegar is one of the best cleaners to use on your mirror and without leaving any streaks behind.
  • Garbage Disposal: Make ice cubes out of vinegar and grind them up in your garbage disposal while running water down with it. This will not only clean your garbage disposal, but deodorize it as well!
  • Microwave: This is one of my favorites; mix half a cup of vinegar with half a cup of water and microwave it for several minutes, or to the point that it is boiling. This will loosen food that has become stuck inside your microwave and eliminate lingering food odor. The first time I tried this, I was amazed at how easily the stuck on food wiped right off!


I have only mentioned a few out of the many ways that vinegar can be used as a cleaner in your home. Do you have any other ways that you have used vinegar for cleaning or anything else in your home? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments!


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    • Donna Janelle profile image

      Donna Janelle 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank you for reading and commenting Pamela! Vinegar is surprisingly an excellent cleaner!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      I use vinegar for cleaning also and I loved a couple of your ideas I hadn't thought of. Very useful information,