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Cleaning with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Updated on November 23, 2011

Cleaning with Baking Soda and Vinegar is Amazingly Easy

I am always amazed at how very flexible simple ingredients can be when it comes to cleaning around the house. So much better in many cases than the harsher chemicals that are so popular and cost so much more.

Baking soda and vinegar are my two favorites. They can each do some of the work on their own, and work quite well in combination.

My start was learning that you could use baking soda and vinegar to clear a clogged drain. If you ever did the old volcano experiment in school, it's pretty much the same thing.

You pour a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. Wait several minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain.

In just about every case, the drain will quickly be cleared with this method. Just don't try it if you've already poured commercial drain cleaner down. The mixture can be dangerous.

These two safe and common household items can be used for quite a bit more. You can replace most of the usual cleansers you buy at the store with these for your regular household cleaning.

Cleaning with Vinegar

Vinegar by itself can be quite effective. In most cases you are best off diluting it with water to cut the acidity. A one to one dilution is generally sufficient.

Vinegar works well as a disinfectant and deodorant. You can even use it in the laundry as a fabric softener. DO NOT try this if you use chlorine bleach in your laundry. The fumes created by mixing vinegar with chlorine bleach are dangerous.

There are some things you should not clean with vinegar, of course. Marble tops the list. Pure vinegar can also be too hard on tile grout, which is why dilution is so strongly recommended.

If you aren't sure if you should be using vinegar on a surface, do just as they suggest for other cleansers. Test it on a small, inconspicuous area.

But most hard surfaces can be cleaned quite nicely with it. That's your tile floors, sinks, countertops and appliances.

This includes your coffee maker. Run vinegar through the coffee maker's brew cycle to clean it out. Run water through a couple times after to rinse so you don't get a vinegar flavor to your coffee.

Vinegar also helps to remove sticky residue, such as what price labels leave behind on dishes and jars.

It can even help with lime deposits, although you need to be a bit more patient. Soak a paper towel in vinegar then leave it covering the area encrusted with lime for about an hour.

Vinegar can even replace your air fresheners. I've never liked the idea of spraying assorted chemicals into my home to make things smell like whatever scent they're calling "fresh" these days.

Instead, I boil a small pan of vinegar. Yes, it smells like vinegar at first. But the vinegar smell will fade away and take the other smells with it. This of course works best in the kitchen with cooking smells, where the smells are coming from in the first place.

Cleaning with Baking Soda

Baking soda is useful when you need something a little more abrasive. It's not nearly as abrasive as many commercial preparations, so you may have to scrub a little harder or use some vinegar if appropriate. However, it gets the job done in many cases.

Don't forget the classic role of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb odors. It also works in the garbage can.

If you like, baking soda works in laundry much as vinegar does. However, you would add it with the detergent rather than treating it as you would your fabric softener. 1/2 cup is good for top loading washers, 1/4 cup for front loading. Use about half the bleach if you use baking soda.

A paste made of baking soda can clean most surfaces. It can take some extra effort to rinse them off if you let it dry on, but it has that little bit of abrasiveness that can make cleaning go faster when you're dealing with stains.

It can even remove marks from painted walls. Do this gently, so you don't remove the paint, of course. All it takes is a bit of baking soda on a damp sponge.

Mix with salt if you need something a little more abrasive.

Cleaning with Baking Soda and Vinegar Mixed

Baking soda and vinegar together do more than just clear out drains. That's just the classic one that gets people interested in the possibilities, I think. But there's much more they can do together.

Mix a half cup of vinegar, a quarter cup of baking soda into a half gallon of water and keep in a spray bottle. Use for regular cleaning.

They also combine well to get stains out of carpets and clothes. Sprinkle on some baking soda, then spray on vinegar. Scrub and allow to dry. This will remove many kinds of stains. Just be sure you do a spot test first. The excess can be vacuumed out of carpets when dry, or washed out of clothes as you would normally.

Share your ideas, successes and even problems.

What Do You Use Baking Soda and Vinegar for Around the House?

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    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 4 years ago

      This is brilliant and far safer than chemicals. Fantastic lens! Sundae ;-)

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Mass quantities of both in my house. But I'm always looking for new tips. Thanks!

    • fifta profile image

      fifta 4 years ago

      I used baking soda paste to clean my oven. It really works wonder. My oven looks like new! Now I always have baking soda and vinegar stock at home to clean almost every thing. Thanks for sharing this wonderful combo. I didn't know that they can clear clogged drain. I'll definitely try that.

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 4 years ago

      baking soda in the washing mashine for white clothes, vinegar for treating lime scale

    • sara0129 profile image

      Shamim Rajabali 4 years ago from Texas

      Good tips here. Thanks

    • Glenda Motsavage profile image

      Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

      This dynamic duo works great for unclogging sinks! My husband also uses vinegar to clean out our coffee maker. Thanks for sharing. Per your suggestion, I'm going to try it on some carpet stains!

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Cleaning soap scum off the bath and shower! These two items are magic around the house.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      All kinds of things! We have glass table tops throughout our house, and when we stopped buying cleaning agents in plastic bottles, I needed a new glass cleaner. Dilute vinegar spray works just as well as the popular commercial glass cleaner--and it doesn't make me sneeze. Excellent suggestions. I'll try getting some black scuff marks off our walls with baking soda today. That's a "Why didn't I think of that?" moment, and I thank you.

    • JRsFavoriteFinds profile image

      JRsFavoriteFinds 4 years ago

      Works great for pet stains on carpet!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great suggestions, I will use these tips

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I use vinegar too! I have found it be quite handy for ridding my stove of grease after frying. Just spray it on and wipe it off. Then I use a soapy dishcloth to finish the job, rinsing, and toweling my black stove dry.

    • emilysmaids profile image

      emilysmaids 5 years ago

      How about the toilet bowl? Great in place of a more abrasive cleaner on easily scratched older bowl (china especially)

    • tobydavis profile image

      tobydavis 5 years ago

      Fantastic useful lens, love the idea of cleaning without all the expensive and nasty chemical products!

    • WBJanitorial LM profile image

      WBJanitorial LM 5 years ago

      I use Vinegar all the time as a floor neutralizer. Works great in the final rinse after stripping a waxed floor. It's a great, economical, enviromentally friendly alternative. Baking soda is an effective product....just not one we would consider a best of. Vinegar is highly under rated.

    • profile image

      JSASSEO 5 years ago

      Some great suggestions, nice lens

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I use vinegar to clean the glass shower door. Works well. I'm going to give baking soda and vinegar a go on my oven door. I've tried everything else!

    • fionajean profile image

      Fiona 6 years ago from South Africa

      I used a home made mix to clean up some copper and it worked extremely well - I was so surprised.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

      Although I use both, you has some other suggestions that hadn't occurred to me. Great job.

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 6 years ago

      I don't, but I've been reading a lot about it and will try it out. Great lens. Blessed!

    • tracy159 profile image

      Tracy Smith 6 years ago from Maryville, TN

      Great for hard to remove stains... like the red koolaid the kids left on the counter top.

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 6 years ago from Chicago area

      this could save a ton of money! I use vinegar & water on our kitchen floor, but store-bought "green" cleaners for other jobs. will reconsider! *blessed*

    • aliciamaggie54 profile image

      aliciamaggie54 6 years ago

      Thank you for this useful information. I just purchased this combo the other day for cleaning.

    • profile image

      AtoZPlumbingToronto 6 years ago

      I'd suggest soda with vinegar rather than vinegar alone. Acid can damage pipes ( you never know what is installed down there, especially in the old house).

      How do you SquidLike a lens? I wanted to "Squidlike" yours, but did not find the way to do it. I am new here :)

    • profile image

      TravelingRae 6 years ago

      Informative lens, thanks. I've done the switch to vinegar, baking soda, and salt. Much cheaper!

    • carterkc88 profile image

      carterkc88 6 years ago

      These are amazing tips! I actually read this yesterday but after trying your tip about cleaning my coffee maker by running it with the vinegar and I had to comment- it worked better than anything else EVER on hard water stains! Thanks! I must go try all the other tips now :)

    • profile image

      careermom 6 years ago

      I use vinegar and water quite a bit. I also like all the uses for baking soda.

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 7 years ago

      I use vinegar & water in a spray bottle as my #1 cleaning solution. Great lens!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 7 years ago

      Two of my favorite cleaning agents. I use babking soda to remove stains from cofeed mugs and clean silver. I used vinegar with water to remove scuff marks on my wood floor. Blessed.

    • profile image

      WorldVisionary 7 years ago

      I love cleaning with natural items. Thanks for putting all of this information together.

    • profile image

      ShamanicShift 7 years ago

      Both vinegar and baking soda are great and great together -- for cleaning and for fun.

    • Gamganny profile image

      Gamganny 7 years ago

      I always use vinegar on my hardwood floors, they look great.