10 ways to clean with Vinegar... | A Bowl Full of Lemons

10 ways to clean with Vinegar…


Truth be told, I don’t like the smell of vinegar, so cleaning with the stuff isn’t my favorite. But, I’ve found that there are some things that vinegar cleans better than anything else, so I’ve learned to love smelling like a pickle. I add a couple drops of essential oil (lemon and clove are my favorite combination) to any cleaning concoction and the smell disappears. So…what should you be cleaning with vinegar and what’s the best way to mix it up and apply?

  1. Dish Washer – measure 1 cup of vinegar and pour in the bottom of your EMPTY dishwasher. Run as usual.
  2. Washing Machine – measure ½ cup vinegar and ½ cup water and put in your detergent drawer (for front loaders) or right in the wash basin for top loaders. Run through a normal cycle. When the cycle has completed, wipe the rubber seal with a wet cloth and leave the door open to air out.
  3. Floors – The correct ratio of water to white vinegar is ½ cup white vinegar to 1 gallon of warm/hot water. You can see how I wash my hardwood floors here. (If you are washing your hardwood floors, make sure they are sealed before trying this.)
  4. Refrigerator – mix one tablespoon vinegar to 16 ounces water and put in a spray bottle – spray on shelves and walls on interior of refrigerator and wipe clean. This same solution can also be used on the exterior of your refrigerator.
  5. Stainless Steel – mix one tablespoon vinegar to 16 ounces water and put in a spray bottle – spray on a microfiber cloth and wipe clean.
  6. Coffee Maker – fill coffee pot with equal parts water and vinegar. Pour in the water dispenser and run coffee pot as normal. Empty water and vinegar from coffee pot and run 2-3 cycles with just water. Wipe with clean, wet dish cloth until clean.
  7. Carpet – use an equal parts ratio of water to vinegar and rinse thoroughly. I use this in my carpet cleaning machine and I love that there isn’t a soapy residue to collect dirt after the carpet has been cleaned.
  8. Garbage Disposal – pour ¼ cup vinegar in disposal and let sit for a couple minutes. Run cold water in disposal and turn on disposal to clean.
  9. Toilets – pour ½ cup to a cup in the toilet bowl. Let sit for a couple hours, swish and flush.
  10. Tile and grout (sealed) – make a past of baking soda and vinegar and scrub on scummy tile. Rinse with warm water.


Tell me – what do you use vinegar to clean?


cleanmamacontributorbuttonTo learn more cleaning tips and tricks, visit Becky at Cleanmama.net

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  1. We have a well and have really hard water, which leaves lime residue on everything. I use vinegar to soak off the crusty crud that accumulates on the faucets and shower heads – just saturate a paper towel with vinegar and affix it to the tap/shower head in either a plastic ziploc bag or saran wrap. I secure it with a rubber band and leave it overnight to dissolve the gunk. Voila!

    We also soak our glassware & flatware when they get spotty – makes them sparkle!

  2. We use vinegar for everything! Spot cleaning the carpet is also easy with equal parts water and vinegar and a couple drops of blue dawn (that’s our every day cleaner – we clean everything with that – kitchen counters, table top, dirty finger marks on chairs, the window and everywhere else). It’s also great for disinfecting and neutralizing potty learning messes…

    For the garbage disposal, we freeze vinegar cubes then put those down the disposal, turn it on and the vinegar ice breaks up and cleans the blades and the disposal itself.

  3. I use your hardwood floor cleaning method with vinegar,water and essential oils and my floors look fantastic. No longer is there a fog or residue on the floors – just a clean, natural shine. I also use vinegar to clean stainless steel. I am definitely going to try your refrigerator cleaning tip.

  4. I use vinegar to wash my fruit, especially berries because it cleans all the wax & pesticides off, but also kills any mold spores on berries so they keep longer than a day or two. I use 1/2 – 1 cup of vinegar to a sink full of water. The taste of the fruit is not affected.

    • Great tip Kayla!
      xo, Becky

    • HI! I would like to know if you need to dry the berries, and then put them back in their container, to store for a few days. I need to use them in 4 days? Would appreciate the help with these questions. Thanks from Eagle Nest, NM

      • Jean, it’s always best to allow produce to dry before putting it into a container or even the drawer in the fridge. It lengthens the ‘shelf’ life.

    • That is a great idea for the fruit and the faucets.

    • I would just be careful about using vinegar on your fruit! It may not change the taste but it will change the PH level. Vinegar is nearly as alkaline as it gets on the PH scale. It is NOT safe to consume. Please rinse well and just do a quick search to be sure what your doing is safe please!

  5. I use white vinegar to soak the babies bottles, my breast pump parts and straws at our house. We also use it to descale coffee machines.

  6. I use a 50/50 vinegar and water solution with several drops of lavender essential oil to clean everything! My sinks, counters, outside of the toilet, floors, everything gets squirt, with a sprinkle of baking soda for tough jobs. the only thing it doesn’t work well on is windows.

    • Agreed – windows and vinegar aren’t my favorite combo – I use 1 tsp. of powdered dish soap and 16oz. of hot water to clean windows!
      xo, Becky

    • My mom use to wash our windows with warm water, vinegar and a couple drops of dawn dish soap. Srub the windows and squeege off the water. They were sparkly!!!

    • I use Norwex cloths for my windows – plain old water on a microfiber cloth to wash and a polishing cloth to dry/polis. No streaks, no fuzz, no harful cleaners!

    • Try not using the oil in the vinegar cleaner to do the windows and if you still get a newspaper or something like that use that to dry them off and they should be clean and streak free!! Good luck!

  7. Ruth J is right, potty messes (kids and pets) clean right up with vinegar

  8. I have a bottom load water dispenser. I put a mixture of vinegar and water in the bottle and let it run through…I do it a couple times and rinse with clean water a couple of times and it clears out any sediment build up in the lines.

  9. I keep a spray bottle filled with 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water — plus 10+ drops of essential oils. I use it to clean counters, windows and any sealed surface in the house.

  10. Vinegar is great. It is also an acid. So do not use it one natural stone or marble floors. It will etch them.

  11. Anita Shoemaker says:

    Where do you get the essential oils?

  12. I usually fill my electric kettle with sparkling water and a 1/2 cup of vinegar to descale. Let sit for a couple of hours and it’s looks like new.

  13. I fill a Ball jar with vinegar and an orange cut up. Let sit for a couple weeks then put in a spray bottle and use! The orange cuts the smell of the vinegar.

  14. Alexandra Shaw says:

    I use vinegar for nearly all my cleaning, I dislike the smell but put up with it because its so good at cleaning. I like to descale my glass kettle with vinegar, just cover the bottom of the kettle with vinegar and turn the kettle on. When its finished rinse it out well and i like to half fill the kettle with water and turn it on again then empty. You’ll be amazed!!!!!

  15. Amanda Villarreal says:

    I just used vinegar yesterday to clean and thought the same thing! I’ll have to remember the essential oils trick. I like to use the vinegar on old furniture we purchase. Such as cleaning out the drawers and wiping them down. It removes all musty odors once dry!

  16. Where do you get the oils?

  17. Debbie LaPorte says:

    Where do you get the oils?

  18. I JUST discovered that it is excellent at cleaning the water tray in the fridge door. It was caked in white crud, and I just put it in the sink and poured vinegar in it. Grossness came right out. :)

  19. Still not sure where to buy essential oils?

  20. I would also like to know where to buy the essential oils. And what type of vinegar should be used to clean? Thanks!

  21. Christy S. Lube says:

    I have read that if you just put vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher, the first thing the dishwasher does is drain it. Put it in a bowl or mug sitting right side up in the top rack, and it’ll distribute the vinegar during the cycle :)

  22. Christy S. Lube says:

    They also sell both Beeyoutiful and doTerra essential oils on Amazon.com. Hope that helps! :D

  23. Great tips! I am about to try vinegar on my floors ;)

    For those wondering where you can get essential oils, you can find them in the crafting department at Walmart, usually where the fake flowers and decorative DIY candle vases and such are :) Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, most of the crafty places have them.

  24. I use vinegar instead of jet dry in my dishwasher and it does a great job. I am excited to try vinegar as a carpet cleaner.

  25. I use vinegar in my washing machine with each load instead fabric softeners in the dryer. Works great -clothes turn out soft, static free, and don’t smell like vinegar.

  26. Vinegar is magic. I don’t know why people buy expensive things when Vinegar is cheap and 100% natural. Thanks for this post.

  27. I recommend vinegar for washing floors. It is cheap and healthy, but most important it does not leave residue. No residue means you clean less. Also if you have carpet next to a floor you wash with vinegar, the carpet with not attract residue. Which means you clean the carpet less! Money savings all the way around with just vinegar.
    Great Blog!!!

  28. Great for cooked on “yuck” in the microwave! Put about 2 inches of vinegar in a mug, put it in the microwave and run it on high for 2 mins. Take the mug out and wipe the crud away! Really works!

  29. Margaret Kemmer says:

    *Equal parts of white vinegar, ammonia, and water in plastic bucket to clean heavy traffic areas on carpet, works great on stairs! Wearing rubber gloves, put old towels (kitchen towel size), into solution, wring out towel enough so it’s not dripping heavily and place on carpet. For tough dirt stains, lightly scrub area and replace towels; remove after an hour or leave over night. Amazing results!
    *Use white vinegar (one cup/load) to hot wash, laundry soap in washer for whites; gets clothes whiter, removes body odor and stains from laundry, no “vinegar” smell after washing!
    *Tired, aching feet? Soak in apple cider vinegar and water (equal parts), let air dry (or use hair dryer to keep feet warm and dry at the same time).
    *Rusted tools: white vinegar and cream of tartar applied with cloth and old toothbrush. Like new! Stubborn rust–soak in plastic tub overnight, brush with old toothbrush or wire brush.

  30. Thanks for the tips, very helpful.

  31. Love cleaning with distilled vinegar doesn’t have all the smells of harsh cleaners.

  32. Erin Wojcicki says:

    I was wondering… I couldn’t find a link to show how your clean your floors with the vinegar solution. I am moving to a new house soon with hardwoods and I’d LOVE to clean them with Vinegar. Could you point me to the right place to see how you clean yours? Thanks! :-) This is seriously my new favorite website!! i am so excited to follow your tips on keeping a house clean! Starting that off the day we move in!!

  33. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this
    website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. many thanks

  34. Vinegar works well to rid your home of ants to! I mixed it strong and it got rid of those little ants off the counter top near the sink, I think they were grease or sugar ants whatever they were there GONE!

    Mix 1 cup vinegar to 1/2 cup water in a spray bottle

  35. Awesome! I didn’t know you could use vinegar in your dishwasher!

  36. I agree that vinegar is highly useful for cleaning, however, considering I can’t stand the smell I can not bring myself to use it on my carpets. Is there an alternative?

  37. I love a vinegar/water combo in a spray bottle for my children to clean their bathroom sink & counter. II’s safe for them to use & if they over-spray I don’t have to worry about chemicals harming my children of items on the counter.

  38. Kris Van Allen says:

    I use heated vinegar with Dawn mixed in to clean our shower glass…works wonderfully!


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