7 Ways to Clean with White Vinegar

Ok, so you’re finally fed up of your home smelling like synthetic lemons, and you drew a sharp intake of breath when reading the back of your cleaning bottles…

Maybe you’ve wanted to switch to ‘green’ cleaning products for a while, but bottle for bottle, they work out a LOT more expensive. Not only that, but you’ve got a busy household and you go through said bottles in no time at all!

Fortunately, there is a natural alternative –  in the form of White Vinegar!

Some Awesome Properties of White Vinegar

  • It’s a natural disinfectant
  • It kills most germs, bacteria & mouldCleaning-White-Vinegar
  • It softens fabric
  • It will shift and prevent limescale
  • It deodorises grotty smells

Before you start cleaning with this one – don’t confuse it with the stuff you find at the chip shop (that would be MALT vinegar…)

White vinegar is made from brewing molasses (sugar) so contains no harmful chemicals. It does have the ‘vinegary smell’, but this dissipates fairly quickly. If you really can’t stand the smell whilst cleaning, just add a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil and it will be much better. It only tends to smell a bit if you use it neat.

7 Ways to Clean with White Vinegar

  1. Half-fill a small microwave-safe bowl with a 50/50 vinegar & water mix. Microwave it for a minute or two (until it starts to boil) – it will heat up and the steam given off is great for loosening stubborn deposits on the inside of the microwave, making it much easier to clean.
  2. Thanks to its disinfecting properties, a simple mix of white vinegar and hot water is all it takes to be used for washing down work surfaces or mopping floors. If they’re really in need of a clean, just use a greater concentration of vinegar. Oh No!: Be careful around porous/delicate surfaces, especially unsealed wooden floors. If you are unsure, do a patch test first and make sure the vinegar is very well diluted. Remember vinegar is acidic, so don’t be using it on things like cast iron and marble.
  3. Washing machines and dishwashers can be prone to pongs, especially with the trend towards using liquid and gels for washing clothes – they tend to build up more in the machine. A cupful of vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher (on rinse cycle) every month or two for maintenance cleaning should prevent the need to go out and buy expensive dishwasher cleaners.
  4. Likewise, putting a couple of cups in the washing machine drum and setting to hot wash will help break down limescale and soap scum that has built up inside the machine – which is usually what causes that ‘rotten egg’ smell. This also helps save your husband from being blamed for ‘letting one go’.
  5. White vinegar is what Grandmother used to clean her windows, along with newspaper or a rag. Try my recipe for Glass Cleaner, or simply dilute the vinegar down a bit – using it neat all the time can cause some glass to become etched. Oh No!: Avoid using vinegar on leaded and/or frosted windows or stained glass as the acidity will damage these types of finish.
  6. Utilize the softening properties of vinegar by substituting it for fabric conditioner in the laundry cycle. Great for those with sensitive skin/eczema etc – just put a bit in the fabric conditioner compartment instead of those artificially scented conditioners (And no, it wont make your clothes smell like a fish and chip shop).
  7. Sprinkle a generous amount of Bicarbonate of Soda down plugholes or into and around the toilet bowl, then follow up by pouring white vinegar all over it. The two will react and start to fizz up, helping keep drains clear and toilet bowls hygienically clean. It doesn’t smell of pine though; if you really miss this, go in the woods.

Where can I buy White Vinegar?

For small quantities, you’ll find white vinegar all over the place – homeware stores (in the cleaning section), and even in the supermarket (usually with the malt stuff). However, you may find it easier to get larger quantities in the US. I’ve seen some wonderfully large bottles of the stuff on Pinterest, that we just don’t seem to get so easily here in the UK!

I’ve found that the amounts in UK shops are teeny-tiny if you have a family home, especially when you consider the amount of things you can use white vinegar for!! So British ladies, we have to get a bit craftier. Oddly enough a well-recommended place to unearth larger bottles is your local Chinese supermarket, which often also sell large quantities of Bicarbonate of Soda (I’ll harp on about this in another post).

Now as I used to run an eco-friendly cleaning company, I spent ages sniffing around trying to find larger quantities at good value. I found that the best bet was to buy online – Summernaturals sell 5 litre containers of white vinegar (currently a fiver each), and you can order up to 4 before the higher postage charge kicks in.


Now go forth and clean! (Maybe have a cup of tea first…)

2 thoughts on “7 Ways to Clean with White Vinegar”

  1. Thank you! I’m always looking for easy and CHEAP ways to clean and vinegar is a really awesome option. I’ve used it quite a bit and have discovered that the baking soda and vinegar combo (what I call the science experiment method haha) works well on getting pet urine smell out of carpet.

  2. Love it – I’m all for green cleaning solutions, I’ve been using the bicarb and vinegar drain cleaning technique for years but didn’t think to use it in the toilet. I will now 🙂

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