Going Green: 10 Ways to Use Vinegar

10 Ways to Use Vinegar

(The following is a guest post by Stacy Karen from A Delightful Home.)

Vinegar is non-toxic and inexpensive, making it a true champion of frugal, green living.  With just a few dollars you can buy a gallon and then be armed with the ability to clean, deodorize, sanitize, and much more!

Vinegar, how I love thee! Let me count the ways . . .

My Top Ten Ways to Use Vinegar:

(By vinegar, I mean white distilled vinegar, available in most grocery stores.)

1. Clean the Windows and Mirrors – Make a simple glass cleaner by filling a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar. Spray windows or mirrors and wipe. Since there’s no need to worry about inhaling fumes (which are present in chemical glass cleaners) get the kids involved! If you really dislike the smell of vinegar, add a few drops of essential oil.

2. Clean the Floors – Again, use equal amounts of vinegar and water. Add 15 to 20 drops of essential oil per 16 ounces of mixture, if desired. Measure ingredients into an old dish soap container and shake to blend. Squirt the needed amount on the floor and wipe.

3. Clean the Walls – To remove dust and shine the walls, add one cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water. Stir to combine and get scrubbing!

4. Prevent Soap Build Up in the Shower – Keep a spray bottle filled with vinegar in the bathroom and spray the shower walls after each shower. No need to rinse. Doing this will ensure you clean the shower much less often!

5. As a Fabric Softener – Add one to two cups of vinegar to the rinse cycle in place of fabric softener. You can create a scented version by adding up to 20 drops of essential oil to 1 gallon of white distilled vinegar (this tip found in Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan).

6. As a Rinse-Aid in the Dishwasher – Fill the rinse-aid dispenser in the dishwasher with straight vinegar. It will help remove spots, grease, and soap film.

7. Deodorize and Clean the Toilet – I often pour straight vinegar in the toilet bowl and let sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a toilet brush. This helps get rid of stains and leaves the toilet smelling fresh.

For some serious deodorizing and cleaning power, scent ¼ cup of vinegar with 10 drops of tea tree essential oil, pour into the toilet bowl and add ½ cup baking soda. As the mixture fizzes, scrub away. (Recipe found in Make Your Place by Raleigh Briggs – An awesome book! I love it.)

8. Unblock the Drain – The baking soda/vinegar trick for unblocking drains has become quite well known. So well known you probably don’t need me to tell you how to do it. Just in case, here are the instructions:

Homemade Drain Opener

  • Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain (I let it sit for a few minutes because it absorbs odors, but you don’t have to).
  • Pour in 1 cup of vinegar.
  • Allow to fix and bubble up. Leave for 20 minutes.
  • Pour boiling water down the drain (about 1 quart).

9. Odor removal – Vinegar is a great deodorizer. Pouring straight or scented vinegar into garbage disposals, sinks, and toilet bowls will help get rid of unwanted smells.

Add one or two cups of vinegar to the washing machine when cleaning sheets or clothing that have suffered the ill effects of bed-wetting or vomiting. It will help clean and disinfect as well as removing odors. You can also pour the vinegar in the pre-soak cycle and let it sit for a while before washing. This will make it even more effective.

10. As a Disinfectant – Straight vinegar is an excellent disinfectant. I often use it to wipe down my counter tops after cooking and also on door knobs and faucets after an illness has swept through the house.

Boost the disinfecting power by adding a 5 or 6 drops of tea tree oil to a 16- ounce spray bottle full of white vinegar. Use as you would any disinfecting spray.  If you are worried about the house smelling like vinegar, let me assure you that is rarely leaves a strong smell once dry.

I think you can see why I like vinegar so much. I’d love to hear what you think. Is vinegar something you use around the house? If so, how?

Stacy is wife to a preacher and mom to three children. She is obsessed with all things natural and homemade. Stacy blogs at A Delightful Home where she strives to encourage moms to live healthy, happy lives.

This post contains affiliate links.  See my disclosure policy for more information.  Thanks for supporting Simply Rebekah!

 Photo by Stacy at A Delightful Home.




  1. I use vinegar for cleaning the inside of my gas fireplace. It builds up a film on the glass and just wiping vinegar on it takes that film right off!

    Thanks for the tips Rebekah!

  2. Yes! We LOVE vinegar here, and also use it for EVERYTHING. I use it in the laundry, for cleaning, for unclogging drains, for odor removal. If you have animals and have stinky carpet, instead of febreeze, you can get a spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle on it, and mist your carpet after you vacuum…the smell will dissipate when it’s dry, but you can scent with EO if you like. 🙂 I use it for cooking too. If you add a tsp to a cup of milk, it sours the milk, and creates faux buttermilk…great for pancakes, or for when you’re making a recipe that calls for buttermilk and you don’t have any! Thanks for sharing the wonder of Vinegar with others! 😀

      1. Great tips Kelley!

        Ha, ha Rebekah! There is a book (I’ve never read) called: Vinegar: Over 400 Various, Versatile, and Very Good Uses You’ve Probably Never Thought Of

        And we thought 10 uses was a lot!

  3. I have pretty hard drinking water so I use a vinegar/ water solution to clean my coffee maker and remove hard water deposits from my tea kettle. It’s probably about a 1:5 mixture vinegar:water, and run the clean cycle on the coffee maker and just boil it in the tea kettle until the deposits are gone. I then run a couple of rinse cycles on the coffee maker.

  4. I just recently began using vinegar too, as well as borax, and making my own household cleaners. I am amazed at all the things you can do with vinegar! Great post, I’ll have to take notes. 🙂

  5. LOVE using vinegar for almost everything. A year ago, I had to accept a job with a lot less pay and started making my own home “brews” to clean etc… and have used all 10 ideas here plus making my own laundry soap and it saves TONS of money AND cleans way better then the other expensive products!

  6. I use vinegar in most of the ways you shared. Thanks for the post.

    @Denise. Would you be willing to share your laundry soap vinegar recipe? I would love to add that to my own uses of vinegar.

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  8. I use vinegar when my dog has an accident on the carpet. First I soak up as much as I can with a towel (i like to use a towel from my shower so that I’m not making more dirty laundry) then I pour a good amount of vinegar on the area and soak that up with a clean towel. The vinegar disifects the area and takes away all of the smell.

    1. Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to try that the next time my little boy gets away from me without his diaper on. Haha!

  9. I use vinegar in my laundry and as window/mirror cleaner too 🙂 It’s also good for cleaning hardwood floors (mixture of vinegar and hot water in bucket). Another great use for vinegar is to use as a weed killer. I pour it directly on the weeds and don’t have to worry about weeds at all. After it rains though I’ve noticed new weeds start to grow but I just pour vinegar on them and they die. Also, a little bit of vinegar and coconut oil makes a great salad dressing.

    1. Tina, I’ve heard of using vinegar as a weed killer, but I’ve never tried it myself. Can you use a spray bottle or do you need to saturate the weed/ground more than that?

      1. I personally just pour it directly out of the jug to really wet the weeds…I don’t think the spray bottle helps to wet the weed much….

      2. used I gallon white vinega, 1 cup of salt and blue dawn dish soap 1/2 cup. dissolve and spray on weeds. I poured it into cracks on my brick walkway.worked like a charm.

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  11. Everyone always mentions vinegar in your washing machine to help with clothes. By the recommended 1cup or more Im assuming they’re using a top loading machine. What about high efficiency washers? What’s the best way to use vinegar in he washers?

    1. I use vinegar in my front loading HE washer and it works just fine. I use the pre treat cycle and put it in the compartment for the pretreating. I was nervous about doing it at first, but everything seems to come out okay.

  12. Vinegar is such a cheap and effective cleaning solution that we use it for pretty much all our household cleaning. We’ve even used it in one of those Rug Doctor carpet scrubbers and it worked great for cleaning the carpets.
    Awesome list of ideas!

    1. I recently heard of other people using it to clean carpets. It is just amazing what vinegar can do!

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  14. Great for killing lice&eggs. Soak dry hair in vinegar, put on shower cap and let sit until dry. Rinse with hot water. Also great for stripping hair of build up. Leaves hair clean, shiny and lighter(vs heavier).
    I use on glass dishes and appliances.
    Put in spray bottle and spray bed after wetting. (First, wash the area then spray to remove smell and kill bacteria)
    Put in spray bottle and spray furniture, bedding, curtains, etc after an illness has occurred.
    Soak toothbrushes to freshen, and after an illness.
    Soak hairbrushes to freshen or after exposed to lice.
    Use as a hair rinse to remove buildup.

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