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Learn to disinfect with vinegar and lemons!

When life gives you lemons? Read our guide! Discover how to use lemon and white vinegar for cleaning your home naturally with these useful hacks.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Cleanipedia Team

Half a lemon on chopping board surrounded by jars and soap
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We all know cleaning is important, but sometimes we just want to know how to do it a bit more naturally. Here we'll answer top questions such as, “does white vinegar kill bacteria?” and share recipes, tips and benefits of using lemon and vinegar in cleaning.

Our guide to using white vinegar for cleaning

Read on to discover answers to questions like, “does vinegar kill bacteria?” and our top tips for using vinegar for cleaning around your home.

Utilise the antibacterial and antiseptic benefits of lemon and the germ-busting benefits of vinegar by mixing up a vinegar and lemon cleaner, plus add baking soda to bust odours too.

How to make a cleaner to disinfect with vinegar

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Here are a few of our favourite recipes for cleaning with vinegar.

Our recipe for an all-purpose cleaner:

  • ½ cup of vinegar

  • ½ cup of water

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 5-7 drops of essential oil

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Our recipe for cleaning glass and mirrors:

  • ½ cup of vinegar

  • ½ cup of water

Our recipe for furniture polish:

  • 2 cups of water

  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

  • 1 tbsp of vinegar

Our recipe for drain cleaner:

  • 1 cup of water

  • 1 cup of vinegar

  • 1 cup of baking soda

Where to use vinegar around your home

Whether you dilute white vinegar with water or mix it with baking soda, there are a number of uses for vinegar when cleaning your home:

  • White vinegar and baking soda can be sprayed on grout and tiles to clean mould and mildew.

  • Vinegar and warm water can be used to clean and brighten glassware, stainless steel utensils, cookware and more.

  • Add a cup of vinegar to your laundry alongside your usual detergent and fabric softener to soften fabrics, brighten colours and neutralise odours.

  • Soak a rag in vinegar and use it to remove sticky residue left after removing labels.   

  • Microwave ½ cup white vinegar and ½ cup of water for 2-3 minutes to clean it and remove odours.

Can vinegar kill germs? And other questions answered

When it comes to natural cleaners, we often find ourselves asking questions like, “does white vinegar kill germs?” Here, we’ve answered top questions about how to use vinegar for cleaning.

Does vinegar kill germs?

Whilst vinegar doesn’t work as a disinfectant on its own, it is useful against some germs such as E. coli and salmonella.

How does vinegar kill bacteria?

Vinegar contains an acid named acetic acid. This acid destroys the cell structures of bacteria and viruses.

If vinegar kills bacteria can it remove odours?

As vinegar can kill off food-related germs such as E. coli and salmonella, it is great for cleaning areas such as your fridge or kitchen. A cleaning solution made from water and white vinegar can be used to remove strong smells such as cross-contaminating odours!

Can you clean a toilet with vinegar?

Vinegar contains natural acids which are great for breaking down limescale and hard water deposits. This makes it ideal for cleaning toilets in lieu of a commercial cleaner.

As vinegar can remove limescale, will it clean a kettle and other spots?

Vinegar can be put to work on your kettle with ease. We recommend half filling your kettle with equal parts water and white vinegar and bringing it to a boil. Leave the hot mixture overnight before draining and rinsing it you'll get a better result. You can also submerge taps or shower heads in a solution for a few hours to deal with limescale there too!

Our guide to using a homemade lemon cleaner

From questions such as, “does lemon juice disinfect?” to top tips for using lemon around your home we've got you covered. Read on for our guide to using lemon as a homemade cleaner.

Where to use lemon around your home

There are a number of uses for lemon when cleaning your home. Have a look at these genius ideas to using lemon. We’ve selected a few of our favourites:   

  • Place a bowl of lemon juice in the bottom of your fridge as an odour buster.

  • Clean your oven with lemon.

    • Place the juice of two lemons plus the lemons themselves in an oven-safe dish.

    • Fill 1/3 with water.

    • Pop it in the oven at 65ºC for half an hour.

    • Allow your oven to cool before wiping away the grease with a damp cloth.  

  • Clean your microwave with lemon:

    • Fill a bowl with water and add the juice of one lemon and of course the lemon itself.

    • Place the bowl in your microwave for 3-5 minutes on high.

    • Leave the bowl to cool.

    • Once you take the bowl out, dip a cloth into the lemon juice and wipe away any remaining grime.

  • Sprinkle coarse salt over wooden chopping boards and wipe with lemon to remove stains and odours.

  • Fill a glass with lemon juice and pop rusty items inside to clean off the rust. Simply wipe them clean once removed from the juice.

  • You can also use lemon to make taps shine, clean mirrors, and shower heads, and so much more!

Does lemon kill germs? And other questions answered

You may have all the answers to your questions about vinegar, but what about lemons? Can lemon kill bacteria? Read on to discover the answers to questions like, “is lemon a disinfectant” and more.

Does lemon kill bacteria?

If you’re wondering, “is lemon juice a disinfectant?” the answer is yes... but it won't kill 100% of germs. Whilst it may not be a hospital-grade disinfectant, lemon kills bacteria, mould and germs thanks to the acid it contains.

Why are lemons good for cleaning?

There are a few reasons lemon is good for cleaning, including:

  • Lemon contains acids which cut through grease and hard water spots.  

  • Lemon has oils which can clean and shine.

  • Almost everyone loves the fresh, energising scent of lemon.

With this guide, we’ve answered questions like, “does vinegar kill germs and bacteria?” and, “does lemon juice kill germs” so you can use lemon and vinegar for cleaning around your home.

Originally published