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Cleaning with White Vinegar

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 White vinegar. You’ve probably got some in your house. It’s in the back of your refrigerator on the top shelf, in the corner. You bought it on a whim thinking “Hey! I probably need that.” Then you forgot it was there. No worries! It doesn’t go bad, so let’s get to using it shall we?

White vinegar is one of my favorite household tools. It will do just about anything. You can use it in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry, and garden. There are thousands of uses for it! Unfortunately, I haven’t yet figured out how to make it dust my house. I’m still working on that. I hate dusting. I’m conducting an experiment to see exactly how high dust can get before it caves back in on itself.

I want to share with you some tips about using white vinegar today so you can put them to use. I won’t even cover a fraction of them, so go do some research to uncover more wonderful surprises!

First, I get my white vinegar in bulk at Sam’s Club. It’s the cheapest place that I’ve found it. I think you get two big gallon jugs for around $4. Can’t beat that! It’s got a snap top lid, which is very helpful! I can snap open the lid with a baby on my hip. Super Mom! Oh, I can also spill it with a baby on my hip. Forget you heard that part.

White vinegar is a great household cleaner. It will kill mold, bacteria, and germs because it’s so acidic. You can avoid harsh chemicals by using it. It’s still pretty strong though, so don’t take a big whiff. Unless you want to lose nose hairs. Let Great Uncle Clyde sniff it because you know his long nose hairs that hang out have been bothering you for YEARS. You can clean your drains and garbage disposal by pouring in equal parts of baking soda and vinegar. Let it sit for five minutes and then run water down the drain or disposal. Ta Da! No more stench.

You can clean your microwave by microwaving equal parts of water and vinegar until it boils. You can also just use plain water, but the vinegar will get rid of any lingering odors.

Clean your coffee pot by running a cycle of white vinegar. Run two additional cycles of plain water to rinse it. Check your owner’s manual first to make sure you won’t mess it up. You did keep the owner’s manual, right? It will also remove coffee stains from cups by scrubbing with equal parts of salt and vinegar.  Got a smelly food container? Wipe it down with white vinegar. When the vinegar evaporates, the smell will go with it. Get rid of fruit flies by sitting out a small dish of pure white vinegar. That’s the bad part about having bananas. They attract those silly flies. But Banana Bread is worth it my friends!

In the bathroom, spray full strength vinegar and wipe clean to get rid of germs. To remove mildew from your shower, wipe down with vinegar. Make sure to rinse with water afterwards. Deodorize your toilet bowl by pouring in vinegar, letting it sit for 30 minutes and then flushing. If you forget you’ve done it, you might freak out when you go to do your business, smell something and think you’re peeing vinegar.

My favorite way to use white vinegar is in the laundry room. It’s a natural fabric softener! It’s SO much cheaper than store bought versions. It also kills germs in cloth diapers. White vinegar goes in every load of laundry that I do. It doesn’t leave behind a scent, only softness. I’m glad because I don’t feel like smelling pickles all day.  Before washing a mustard stain, dab with white vinegar. Avoid ketchup or barbecue stains by dabbing with a mixture of white vinegar and water. Why does it work? Who knows. I don’t really care, I just know it does. It’s like turning on the microwave. I don’t really want to know why it works; I just want to know it works. Thank you. White vinegar will also help brighten your colored clothing. It just seems like a Christmas miracle doesn’t it?

You can use it in your garden too! It poses no worries for kids or pets to be around. If you want to get rid of some weeds, just spray or pour on pure white vinegar. It’ll kill them dead. Dead as a doornail. Yay! No more weeds! I don’t do this part, but Barry does. I’m not really good outside. I have the Black Thumb of Death. Pray for me. See, I’m about to kill this plant here but Barry keeps it alive!  You can stop ants from coming inside by pouring vinegar on the area they’re in.  Increase the acidity of soil by adding white vinegar to your watering can. Some plants just do better with more acid. God made them that way, that’s all I know.

See my poor, ugly feet? Well, my toenail polish looks good though! You can make your polish last longer by rubbing your nails with white vinegar before putting on your nail polish. I’ve heard you can get rid of bad breath and whiten your teeth by brushing a few times a week with vinegar too. I have not tried that because I’m afraid I’d throw up. I would rather my breath smell bad than smell like vinegar throw up. But if you want to try it, knock yourself out. Also, you can soothe sunburn by spraying yourself with vinegar. If it’s cold, it feels even better. I know this is a post about vinegar, but I think rubbing alcohol works better for soothing sunburns. I can get easily sidetracked.

Did you know you can also use white vinegar in the kitchen? Shocking! When you’re poaching eggs, if you add a little vinegar to the water, it will help the white stay more uniform. Poaching eggs is fun! Try it sometime. You don’t need one of those “As Seen On TV” egg poacher thingies either. Make do or do without. That’s what my Mamaw said. Preach it! My mom adds white vinegar to a roast when she’s cooking it to make it more tender. She also puts vinegar in her deviled eggs, so the woman knows what she’s doing! To keep your eggs from cracking while boiling, add a tablespoon or two to the water. Of course you can use it to make dressing, pickles, and salads if you’re normal. The possibilities are endless!

White vinegar. It’s not just for collard greens anymore.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. Angela Tuell says:

    I liked the garbage disposal tip, I usually use citrus peels but I don’t always have citrus peels. I use equal parts white vinegar and water with a few drops of lavender essential oil to mop my floors and I like that too. Of course I don’t have a steam mop (yet) 😉

  2. Suzanne says:

    Great job Stacy!! You crack me up!!

  3. kristine says:

    Hi! I’m over from the grocery shrink! How much vinegar do you use for fabric softener? And how do you use it in an older machine/dryer? I’ve only ever used dryer sheets but would love to try vinegar instead. Thanks! -Kristine krisrobb at gmail dot com

    • Kristine, I just fill my fabric softener dispenser with it. I’ve never measured it. I just pour it right in. :-) My washer is older too. I think it might be around 1/2 cup?
      Check out the post on my website about saving money on dryer sheets. :-)

  4. Fantastic list! Great to know about the cloth diapers since I definitely plan on using them whenever I have kids.

  5. Two things to add. I found a website that says to just spray 10 to 15 squirts of vinegar on the clothes as you throw them in the dryer. I use this method because my hands dont work and the softner ball fights with me.
    My other vinegar use is for deodorant. Hmmmm well I guess I use apple cider vinegar for that but would it matter? Its about killing bacteria.
    Thanks for all of the tips

    • I’m not sure about the deodorant part – I haven’t read that. BUT I have read you can use witch hazel for deodorant. I would much rather smell the witch hazel for a bit that close than I would vinegar. :-) But, I’m sure either one would work – cider vinegar is just a bit stronger in smell.

  6. Chris Furche says:

    Love your uses for white vinegar. Just wondering what is the difference between white and apple cider vinegar? Any useful purposes for cider vinegar like above? Just curious. Didn’t know white vinegar was good on greens , always used apple cider vinegar on mine…gonna try it.

    • You know, you can really use them both interchangably for cleaning…but I worry about tinting things with the apple cider. I know I can spray things down and let it evaporate when I use white vinegar…you’d have to wipe clean the cider vinegar because of the color. I just find that for myself, the white vinegar is cheaper AND not as strong. White vinegar is less acidic than cider vinegar – cider vinegar is a bit sweeter too. :-)

  7. One of my vinegar tricks. If your kids/husband are big enough to use the microwave but not to cover their dish you can put a dish with a 1:1 ratio in the microwave for 5 minutes and all the gunk will wipe off easily and leaves my microwave looking as beautiful as yours :)

  8. I loved this post! I have had scum in my bathroom sink that I could not get rid of for three years. I used the straight vinegar and its gone! May I use a link to this article on my blog? I plan on writing about how well it worked for me. :)

  9. Margaret says:

    I realize you may not see this since this post is 3 yrs old. But in case you do, I have been using straight white vinegar for my kitchen. Lately it smells like vomit as I clean. Has this ever happened to you? I threw out some vinegar and ran the bottle thru the dishwasher and started with a fresh bottle of vinegar. It happens with cloth and paper towels. Any ideas?

  10. Sometimes I’m slow on finding things, but I always love giving kudos where deserved…

    Love the tip about using vinegar for weed killer. When I told my hubby, he started with that “you’re out of your mind again” look, but then changed his mind. I figured for less than $1 and no chemical nastiness around the kiddos we could try it. Plus the kids love using spray bottles… The neighbors looked at me like I was nuts. ;o)
    Hubby came in the next day, “Oh my GOSH! You were right. The driveway is all brown!!” Took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about… My (know-it-all) 8yo responded, “Well, Mama does know what she’s talking about sometimes.”
    Score another one for great bloggers sharing wonderful chemical-free ideas! =o)

  11. Do you use the distilled white vinegar or is there pure white vinegar? Love Love LOVE your site!!

  12. You can spray it on wet hair then shampoo over it to clarify hair. It makes it soft and shinny. Don’t worry the smell doesn’t linger. Shampoo a second time if you are worried. P.s. I’m a hair stylist and I do this weekly in my hair.

  13. Christine says:

    Did you know that if you take a new bottle of vineager and divide it into two bottles, then fill each with tap water and let them stand for 24 hours, you can double your vinegar? I know it’s a cheap product, but this makes it even cheaper. :)

  14. Julie Howe says:

    Do you use homemade laundry detergent when you use the vinegar?

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