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How to use white vinegar for cleaning around the house

Unearth the power of white vinegar for cleaning and make household vinegar your new cleaning staple.


white vinegar and other cleaning products
You can also use white wine vinegar for cleaning limescale? The difference between white vinegar and white wine vinegar is that the former is made from a grain alcohol mix (like vodka) while the latter is made from wine. Although it’s more traditionally used in cooking, it’s still possible to use white wine vinegar for cleaning delicate surfaces like tiles, taps and kettles.

Has your cleaning regime changed during the Covid-19 lockdown?

Key steps

  • Use white vinegar as a natural disinfectant, to remove odours, or to tackle stains. 
  • Dilute with water for a multi-purpose surface cleaner, limescale remover, or glass cleaner.
  • Use with bicarbonate of soda to help clear blockages in pipes or power through debris.

If its pungent odour only reminds you of lunch salads and fish and chips, it’s time to give it a second thought. Household vinegar is a handy and eco-friendly cleaning with some surprising uses. From killing bacteria to tackling grease, mould and limescale – here are 7 reasons it deserves to be pride of place in your cleaning cupboard, as an environmentally friendly product that no home should be without!

7 cleaning uses for household vinegar

  1. It gets rid of nasty odours
  2. Don’t want to use strong chemicals near food and drink? Wipe the inside of your fridge with a water and white vinegar cleaning solution to remove strong smells. It’s also good at removing greasy fingerprints from the outside; just spray and buff with a dry cloth. 

    Cleaning refrigerators with vinegar will help keep your food free from cross-contaminatin odours! Read our article on how to remove bad smells from your fridge for more tips.

  3. It removes limescale
  4. White vinegar works wonders at removing hard water deposits. To put it to work on your kettle, half fill the appliance with a white vinegar and water solution and boil. Leave the hot mixture to work for a few hours (overnight if you can) then drain and rinse thoroughly. For taps and showerheads, submerge the affected area for a few hours before rinsing.

    If you need more help getting your kettle to sparkle, try these tips on how to clean a kettle.

    If you have limescale to remove elsewhere, try these handy limescale removal tips.

  5. It cleans mould from tiles
  6. Spray a white vinegar and water solution directly on grout and tiles before scrubbing with a stiff brush to loosen dirt, mould and mildew. Household vinegar is also recommended for delicate surfaces like porcelain and ceramic as it dissolves grease naturally and effectively – just swap the brush for a soft cloth! If you've been toying with the idea of cleaning the bathroom with vinegar, hesitate no longer by applying it to your bathroom tiles!

    For an effective grout cleaner, try baking soda and vinegar. Follow these tips on cleaning tiles and grout for more help.

  7. It brightens glassware
  8. Using vinegar to clean glasses can bring the spackle back!Fill the kitchen basin with warm water and a cup of white vinegar and then dip cloudy glasses, carafes and jugs inside. To finish, wipe them with a cloth before rinsing and draining upside down.

    Try this article on cleaning cloudy glasses for more expert tips.

  9. It brightens cookware too!
  10. Using a mixture of water and white vinegar for cleaning cloudy glasses isn’t your only option. Stainless steel utensils and cookware can also get a new lease of life from everyday vinegar. Just remember to rinse everything thoroughly in clean water before use.

  11. It revitalises leather
  12. To revitalise your sofa, armchair or any leather furniture around the house, spray a 50/50 water and vinegar cleaning solution onto the surface and use a microfiber cloth to wipe dry. It works like a charm on leather shoes, belts and jackets too!

    Discover more tips in our article: ‘The best leather cleaning methods’.

  13. Give your laundry an extra kick

Looking for environmentally friendly products that’ll get your clothes up to standard? Add a small cup of white vinegar to your next wash to soften fabrics, brighten colours and neutralise odours. Washing linen sheets with vinegar is particularly effective, as a fabric which relies on gentle and natural treatment. You can even use household vinegar to help clean stubborn stains – apply it to the stain, leave to settle, then rinse and wash as normal.

And there you have it! 7 handy ways to use white vinegar for cleaning.

Of course, there’s far more you can do around the home with this versatile ingredient – such as decalcifying irons, cleaning vases, or getting streak-free mirrors. Read our article on cleaning with vinegar to learn more about using environmentally friendly products at home.


Your essential cleaning kits from trusted brands

Originally published