Household Uses for Vinegar

Cleaning, Removing Stains, and Natural Remedies


Here are some of our favorite household uses for vinegar. From cleaning shower curtains to relieving insect bites, vinegar certainly has many functions!

(Note: In this article, we are referring to “distilled white vinegar” for household use.)

Cleaning with Vinegar

Vinegar is a common ingredient in countless homemade cleaners and is especially helpful for cleaning household appliances.

  • Bring a solution of one-cup vinegar and four tablespoons baking soda to a boil in teapots and coffeepots to rid them of mineral deposits.
  • A solution of vinegar and baking soda will easily remove cooking oil from your stovetop.
  • Clean the filter on your humidifier by removing it and soaking it in a pan of white vinegar until all the sediment is off.
  • Saturate a cloth with vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda, and then use it to clean fiberglass tubs and showers. Rinse well and rub dry for a spotless shine.
  • For a clean oven, combine vinegar and baking soda, then scrub.
  • Clean and deodorize your toilet bowl by pouring undiluted white vinegar into it. Let stand for five minutes, then flush. Spray stubborn stains with white vinegar, then scrub vigorously.
  • Clean windows with a cloth dipped in a solution of one part white vinegar and 10 parts warm water.
  • To clean drip coffeemakers, fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly by brewing two cycles with water before using.
  • To remove bumper stickers from car chrome, paint on vinegar and let it soak in. Next, scrape off the stickers. Decals can be removed similarly.
  • Rid your refrigerator and freezer of bad odors by cleaning the insides with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, then wiping dry.
  • To remove smoke odors on clothes, hang them above a steaming bathtub filled with hot water and a cup of white vinegar.
  • To prevent mildew, wipe down surfaces with vinegar.
  • Use a sponge dampened with vinegar to clean shower curtains.
  • To loosen a stuck jar lid, hold the jar upside down and pour warm vinegar around the neck at the joint between the glass and the top.

You’ll notice that baking soda is often used as a sidekick to vinegar. Find out helpful household uses for baking soda here, and see a list of more natural household cleaners.

Remove Clothing Stains with Vinegar

  • Vinegar naturally breaks down uric acid and soapy residue, leaving baby clothes and diapers soft and fresh. Add a cup of vinegar to each load during the rinse cycle.
  • To remove chewing gum, rub it with full-strength vinegar.
  • Soak paint stains in hot vinegar to remove them.
  • To remove salt and water stains from leather boots and shoes, rub with a solution of 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 cup water. Wipe over the stained area only, and then polish.

See our page on how to remove stains for more tips.

Natural Remedies with Vinegar

  • For brunettes, rinsing hair with vinegar after a shampoo makes hair shinier. Use one-tablespoon vinegar to one-cup warm water.
  • Apply full strength vinegar to mosquito or other insect bites to relieve the itching. (Caution: Do not do this if the affected area is raw.)
  • Place a vinegar-soaked brown bag on sprains to ease pain and aid recovery.
  • Rub apple cider vinegar on your skin to repel insects.
  • Apple cider vinegar can be used to make a lovely summer tonic known as Switchel or Haymaker’s Punch.

Explore another page about vinegar and its impressive versatility. We could keep on listing vinegar uses for pages! If you know of one we missed, tell us about it in the comments below!

Reader Comments

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How can I combat Chiggers? They have taken over our yard and we can hardly go outside without getting them on us even when we use precautions.

how to get rid of chiggers

Chiggers really are a bother! There aren’t many natural repellents that work, but some suggest spreading sulfur powder in chigger areas. Be liberal with your dose. You can also shake your socks in sulfur powder (if you can stand the smell) to deter chiggers from hitching a ride on your body. Otherwise, check with your local hardware or garden store for products to spray/spread.


white vinegar is great for moldy surfaces. We rented a place that had a green moldy hue to all the wood work. Test in a small area. Spray in on wipe it off with a damp sponge. Rinse the sponge and repeat.
Apple cider vinegar is great for rinsing vegetables and fruit. Dilute 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Swish vegetables or fruit, drain and rinse in colander. Pat dry.

pup alergic to grass

does anyone have any home remades for a pup that is very alerigic to grass !! OMG....what's a furr mommy to do ???

dog grass allergy

We’re so sorry to hear about your pup’s allergy! Dogs can sometimes become allergic to grass, causing various symptoms, such as sneezing, watery eyes, itching, coughing, or hair loss. If your pup’s symptoms are relatively mild, you can try to help by wiping the coat with a warm, damp towel when your pup comes in from the outside, to help remove grass pollen from his or her fur–be sure to use a fresh towel each time. Also, indoor air purifiers and air conditioning can help reduce allergens inside the home. Usually, grass allergies are seasonal, mainly in early spring and early summer; your dog may do better once the grass pollen is not as prevalent in the air. Keep your lawn mowed–do not let it go to seed, where it will produce pollen. Check pollen counts before walking your dog or letting it out to play; keep your dog indoors as much as possible on bad pollen days. Some owners have their dogs wear dog booties to help prevent their paws from touching grass allergens (wash the booties regularly to remove any pollen), although this wouldn’t prevent allergens from contacting the dog’s coat. Avoid taking the pup through areas that have tall grasses. Give your dog a bath in cool water to soothe itching; anti-itching dog shampoo can also help. It is said that dog supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids can sometimes help reduce itching, but check with your veterinarian first before administering. If symptoms are moderate to severe, it would be best to talk to a veterinarian; prescription medicines and/or allergy shots can help to relieve symptoms. We hope that your puppy feels better soon!

Vinegar to wash delicate produce

Use a small amount of vinegar (1 tablespoon per quart) in the water you use to soak delicate fruits and vegetables in. Then rinse. This will acidify the surface. In the case of things like lettuce it will store a few days longer without browning. Delicate berries like raspberries or blackberries (even blueberries) and cucumbers will store longer without getting moldy. I have tested this against a control several times. It really works.

Orange drink stains on hand knitted white cardigan 100% acrylic

Will vingar work on Orange drink stain

Cleaning water heater with Vinegar

Use Apple cider vinegar to remove mineral deposits in a water heater. If you try to flush out the minerals from you're water heater, the hose will get plugged with minerals.
1. Turn off the power to the heater
2. Drain the water heater of water
3. Remove the top heating element on electric water heater or the pressure valve on gas heaters. Use a funnel and pour a gallon of Apple cider vinegar into the heater. (Let it sit as long as possible) one or two hours should be sufficient.
4. Replace the heating element or pressure valve, refill water heater and flush out the contents through a hose, into a drain or outdoors.
5. Restart the power or gas and use as normal.

Apple cider vinegar is save to consume so other than a little odor you can use the water normally, right a way. You're water heater will work better and you will extend the life of the unit. Leaving the mineral deposits in the heater will eventually cause a failure to heat the water, damage electric elements and cause potential water leaks.

Poison oak/ivy itch

I got into poison oak/ivy and itching is insane even after doctor visit. I made a goopy paste/slurry of baking soda and apple cider vinegar and spread over body, let dry, and have had the most relief from itching in 10 days. Remix and apply when itching restarts.

Vinegar to clean microwave

1 cup each of vinegar & water ( use a 4 cup glass measuring cup to allow for potential boil over.. Microwave for 5 minutes. Allow to stand for another 5 minutes. DO NOT open the microwave during this time to allow the steam to do its job. Wipe clean with a sponge. Virtually no elbow grease needed. Even the most grungiest microwave sparkles!!

will it help hard water in your well

I have a have well water and dose it smell bad. we cant drink it its so bad.i have tried every you think it will help if I put vinegar in my well.please let me know.

Test time

Hi, Mary: No. It’s important to get your water tested to find out what is causing the smell. Just adding vinegar could make things worse, not better. Good luck!

Well water

Years ago when we used well water it did smell bad, but it was methane as the mud would burn very blue.
When water was tested we were told to just add X number of gallons of bleach depending on the test.
Our well is or was only 30+ or - feet deep.

uses for vinegar

Love these hints

Use for Vinegar

Mix one gallon of vinegar, one cup salt, and 1/4 cup Dawn dish detergent (original blue formula) into a garden sprayer for a natural weed killer.

Keeps Washer Plumbing and softens hard water

I live in an area with hard water ( drilled well) with high iron content. I use vinegar regularily in the washing machine to: 1) Prevents any and all mineral build-up on the plumbing lines, pumps, etc. 2) softens the water that allows the use of less detergent to achieve the same amount of cleaning power of a full dose. 1/2 to 1 cup per load and the money you spend will save you the big bucks of repairs later. Even should your machine fail due to age, it will be a breeze to dismantle and repair because there will be no crud anywhere in it!

cleaning vinegar

there is pickling cleaning distilled etc kinds of vinegar how do you know what one to use and what strength

I want to get ahead of the

I want to get ahead of the spiders coming in before winter. I saw that white vinegar kills spiders. Is that full strength in a spray bottle? Can i spray my basement rooms like insect spray, will that alone kill spiders or do you have to spray diectly on them? If that works, wouldnt you be able to spray the whole house? Doesn't vinegar then attract fruit flies? Help....thank you!

You can fill a spray bottle

You can fill a spray bottle with 1 part vinegar to 1 part water and spray the cracks and crevices around your house. Fruit flies are attracted to apple cider vinegar. Be sure you use white vinegar.

My household uses white

My household uses white vinegar and Dawn (just enough to tint the liquid blue) and water in a spray bottle. It's our disinfectant cleaner (as effective as bleach) great on urine accidents from pets, cleans everything from, counters, floors-wood, tile, linoleum, brick. Laundry and bathroom use...shower curtain, shower and toilet, use vinegar and baking soda for clogged drain or smelly drains.
This vinegar, Dawn and water mixture can virtually be used on any cleaning surface. We threw out out our smelly chemical laden cleaners!

A cup or two of vinegar in

A cup or two of vinegar in the washing machine with regular amount of laundry detergent removes the sweat smell from clothing.

Spray full-strength white

Spray full-strength white vinegar with a couple tablespoons of dish soap on dandelions on a sunny day. They'll be dead by tomorrow.


Yes, works for about 48 hrs. They'll be back though. Professional landscaper here.

vinegar on dandelions

saw a post saying spray on dandelions to kill them, please don't, the bees need them to survive

Vinegar on Dandelions:

Bees do like Dandelions; Birds also use Dandelion seeds (tufts); to line their nest; (esp. Hummingbirds:); I keep one Dandelion area for the Bees and the Birds; if anyone gets a Butterfly or Bee stuck in the window; put water on an area of plain paper; then slip the paper on the window; the Butterfly Bee or moth will "find the water then stay on the paper; gently lift the paper to the open window"; Butterfly flies away!!;

For people with cats: the

For people with cats: the best and safest stuff to clean the litterbox with. Hot water and a couple of glugs from the white vinegar jug is all you need. Let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Neutralises ammonia and odours. A diluted solution in a spray bottle is great for the litterbox area to kill fresh odours between litter changes, and the vinegar smell dissipates quickly. Non-toxic for your cats.

I Make hot pepper vinegar

I Make hot pepper vinegar with it

After getting sunburned, pour

After getting sunburned, pour equal parts of cool water and white vinegar into a bowl. Add a few ice cubes and throw in a wash cloth. Ring out the cloth so that it is slightly damp, unfold it, and apply to the burned area. Leave the cloth on the skin until it becomes warm to the touch. When its warm, dip the cloth back into the bowl and repeat. It not only helps to relieve the pain of the burn but it also helps the skin to tan quicker.

Does anyone know if vinegar

Does anyone know if vinegar will kill bedbugs

Though vinegar can help

Though vinegar can help relieve the itch of bedbug bites, it is not a solution for getting rid of them.

must use 91% isopropyl

must use 91% isopropyl alcohol...kills on contact.spray directly on bugs.will not stain carpet,bedding ,cloths.ventilate room because of smell..regular 70%alcohol won't careful..91% is EXSTREMELY FLAMMABLE.any drug store/food store has it.91% is the key

I scorched some rice and the

I scorched some rice and the bottom(inside)of my pan was horrid! It was scorched black, rice was stuck to it... I put some baking soda on it added water, boiled it while scraping bottom w/wooden spoon. It was scraping clean before it even began to boil!! I heard you can also add vinegar to and it works well. Depending on the severity of the scorched pot, u may need to do this twice.

If you scorch a pan, make a

If you scorch a pan, make a paste of baking soda and let it sit anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple hours. Then wash your pan in hot water with dish soap. Should come right off. No need to boil.

We have a water trough for

We have a water trough for the horses that is constantly getting algae growth, sometimes has to be cleaned out every day. We have mosquito fish in there, and I wonder if dropping a small amount of white vinegar in the trough would kill the fish? it's pretty big, don't know the gallons, but maybe just put in a cup or so?

No... do not add vinegar to

No... do not add vinegar to the troughs. .. vinegar will repel the horses bcuz of the smell and it's likely to cause them to dehydrate. Unfortunately I've never found anything other than a drain plug at the bottom of the water trough and clean with plain water and elbow grease once a week depending on how many horses share each trough. When I had only the 2 horses I only cleaned the tubs once a month. But if you live in an area such as Western Washington then you're likely to be fighting the algae and bugs more than monthly. Any chemical including natural is not a good idea.


Some use an ozone generator. It is not expensive to do. You can go to ebay and buy the ozone tube for under $25. you will notice the tube has a nipple on each end. You connect an air pump to one end (similar to one you use to air up air mattress or inflatable raft) and a clear 'plastic' tube with a check valve and put that end in the water tank. Place the check valve above water level. Check valve can be from Walmart in aquarium supplies. You can probably do this all for less than $50

I had a formula for vinegar +

I had a formula for vinegar + for prevention of bugs on apple tree; but unable to find it. Any formula suggestions would be appreciated.

spray for apple, peach, pear trees

I had trouble with Japanese beatles and etc. on my fruit trees , mix
in a spray bottle 2 dropper full of peppermint essential oil fill with water and 2 tablespoons vodka to seperate the oil and water,
shake and spray on leaves. this keeps them away but does not kill them. Can get the oil thru Vita Cost online one bottle goes a long way.
hope this helps you.

We've had a large potted

We've had a large potted plant on the front porch for years.
We want to move it and there is a white calcium stain on the
concrete. We have hard water.

Please advise on how to remove using vinegar.

Thank you

Depending on how long the

Depending on how long the stains have been there, you should be able to remove using vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar. Spray the stains, making sure to completely saturate all areas. Let the vinegar set in for several minutes, then scrub with a hard/rough brush.

For all bugs: I warm 2C.

For all bugs: I warm 2C. Vinegar ~ 1/2C. Ep. Salt ~ Warm just to dissolve salt, then add 16-18 drops of Essential Oil Peppermint is The best oil, it keeps bugs out, away, kills, and also smells good. You can mist your carpets, vents, bed etc. Mist your duster too wipe walls, leather, and wood, (you don't want to leave salt marks)! WORKS GREAT FOR ALL BUGS (they don't like peppermint)

Does anybody know if white

Does anybody know if white vinegar works as a centipede repellent? I've been getting centipedes almost every night, I have a cat so I don't want to use chemicals. I've tried using a dehumidifier but I'm still getting the centipedes. I tried spraying the baseboards in my apartment, and around windows and doors, to try to deter them. Has anybody else tried this, and does it work?

We're not sure about vinegar,

We're not sure about vinegar, but have you tried drops of tea tree essential oil mixed with a little water? Spray around windowsills, thresholds, etc., but keep away from areas your cat goes, in case she might be allergic. (And don't spray on fabric.) You can also try yellow sticky traps in out of the way corners etc. Keep up with the dehumidifier--centipedes like moisture. They are out after other bugs, so sealing cracks around the home might help deter both them and the prey they are after.

I have a problem with

I have a problem with raccoons eating grapes as they ripen each year. For the past 3 years we have hardly had any grapes for our consumption due to these pests.
I have heard that spraying the grapes (ripe) with white vinegar will deter them from eating the grapes. Will the vinegar harm my vines? Thanks!

Use a 1 to 3 ratio of vinegar

Use a 1 to 3 ratio of vinegar to water. This should not harm your grapes.

I used 1 part water, 1 part

I used 1 part water, 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle to kill ants.

Annagail when you used the

Annagail when you used the vinegar and water was that for indoor or outdoor. Where did you put it?

I was on the boat when my dog

I was on the boat when my dog fell into the water. Getting her back on board resulted in several deep scratches on my hand and arm. I had nothing on board but a bottle of white vinegar which was to clean the mildew on the boat. I washed the wounds with the vinegar and they not only did not get infected but healed much quicker than would be expected. (ps I'm a nurse practitioner so know about wounds and infections).

I use white vinegar & hot

I use white vinegar & hot water to wash my floors and then empty the water on any weeds that have popped up. Standard remedy for clogged or slow drains and if shower head is funky I tie a baggy filled with white vinegar around it and give it a good soaking. We have hard water in Arizona & sometimes it takes 2 fixings.

I put white vinegar in a

I put white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray shower stalls and shower doors. Let set a short while and rinse and dry. Removes water spots and soap residue.

I have a problem with my

I have a problem with my Hostas that I bring inside after Summer. I get "white flies" on them, the leaves get so sticky. I have sprayed them with vinegar, or garlic/water. During the Winter, I keep 3 of them in the basement--no problem, but the beautiful green and white leaf one, that I keep in my sun room is always affected with them. Those flies are terrible, makes even the windows sticky. It's my favorite Hosta, from Florida. Thank you for an answer. Dorothy

Put vinegar on a cotton ball

Put vinegar on a cotton ball and rub on dry skin. Within a few uses skin will be soft.

Pour vinegar on head to remove pimples on scalp. Do not get into eyes.

We use apple cider and

We use apple cider and white vinegar white to scrub floors and everything in the house we also use white in rinse cycle in washer it softens clothes so dont have to use fabric softener we use apple cider in chicken water and dog water, we take a teaspoon of it in warm water with a teaspoon of honey almost every day it also helps in the heat for all critters in there water

great uses and cheaper than

great uses and cheaper than the other cleaners..and apple cider vinegar will kill weeds without harming pets....

We adopted a puppy 2 years

We adopted a puppy 2 years ago from our local humane society to have as an indoor dog, she chewed everything but when she chewed a hole in our carpet we just had installed not even a month prior I was upset but insistent on finding something that deterred dogs from chewing because we love her so but couldn't have her chewing everything. In alot of research I come up with vinegar! Put 3 part vinegar to 1 part water in a spray bottle and spray everything (couches, shoes, she was completely broke from chewing in a matter of a couple weeks, but be persistent with it. I went through our house at least 3 times a day. My family couldn't stand the smell of the vinegar but knew if we were going to have an indoor dog that something needed to be done so they quit the complaining and was happy after those couple of weeks, no more chewed shoes, toys, ect...and we had a great indoor dog.

I use vinegar to clean my

I use vinegar to clean my parrots cages everyday. This disinfects their cages without the harmful smell of bleach.I keep a spray bottle in each room.Wipe down the cage every morning part of my routine for more than 20 years now.

We keep a gallon jug of water

We keep a gallon jug of water in the fridge, with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in it. We use this water to fill the water dishes of our cats and dog, and it keeps fleas off of them! I actually saw this on the Farmers Almanac post on Facebook, and we have tried it this whole last month, and I can't BELIEVE how well it works! Our animals used to always have fleas bad, even with flea meds from the vet, I think we live in a flea bad area, but this year they are nearly flea free! We still see one or two on occasion, but they have mostly dissapeared! It is SO nice! Even the Animals seem grateful! Thank you Farmers Almanac! (p.s. I wouldn't use white vinegar though, as someone on facebook said it was made from grapes, and grapes are bad for dogs, but the apple cider vinegar works great, and the dog has no problems with it, I think it actually is clearing up her dry skin conditions, and making her coat shiny too!)

A quick check on the grape

A quick check on the grape ingredient in white vinegar reveals there are no grapes used in the making of White Distilled Vinegar, only grains such as barley, oats, corn, rice, etc., depending on the manufacturer. There is such a thing as a White Grape Vinegar, but that would be listed on the label as such. I would NEVER take the word of what some random person on Facebook said as factual information.

Might want to use organic

Might want to use organic apple cider (Bragg's is excellent) for everyone in the home including humans, several documented medicinal benefits! Research the benefits if there's any doubt. Good luck!!

Thank u for the Apple Cider &

Thank u for the Apple Cider & Water tip for keeping fleas at bay. My daughter's cats & dog get fleas something terrible. The one car actually is allergic to flea collars, so this will be a great way to eliminate fleas. Thanks again

Thanks. We have 4 dogs and 1

Thanks. We have 4 dogs and 1 of them is very allergic to advantage. We have tried tree tea oil, baking soda baths...the list continues. I will definitely try this! I also use a Apple cider vinegar for heartburn. 1 medicine dosage cup full of Apple cider vinegar straight followed by a glass of water to wash the taste away. Works instantly!

use apple cider vinegar on

use apple cider vinegar on sunburn..just pour some on a cloth or cotton ball and put on the sunburn and it takes the burning and pain away as soon as you apply it... I do it all the time works great!!!

It kills spiders. I had

It kills spiders. I had Black Widow spiders by my patio and outdoor swing area. With children outside, I was concerned about using a toxic spray, but more concerned about the spiders. White vinegar killed the spiders. I fill an empty dishwashing detergent bottle with white vinegar and spray streams around the stone patio and swing area. It has worked for over 2 years!

What concentration of White

What concentration of White vinegar is necessary to kill spiders? Thank you for sharing this--my patio has been taken over by spider for years--no one can sit and enjoy our backyard it's so bad!

Does the vinegar harm the

Does the vinegar harm the plants? I see solutions of full strength and 1 for 1 with water. What works best? I have a large wood pile in the basement and want to know what mixture works best for the bugs in the wood and spiders. Thanks

Fruit flies! Larvae will wash

Fruit flies! Larvae will wash off produce and wind up maturing in sink drains.Instant infestation. Boiling water, cut by half with white vinegar and poured into drains will end the reproduction cycle. Sinks, bathtubs, shower drains are all targets. Once a week will get it started. Thereafter it depends on how often rinsing veggies etc. is done. I hate those little ANNOYANCES. They LOVE to swan DIVE from the RIM of my Wild Turkey GLASS into my BOOZE. Homie don't PLAY that! BOIL the bastards.

Just making a comment to

Just making a comment to Jack's post

Use vinegar full strenght on

Use vinegar full strenght on weeds. Just spray or pour it on. the weed is dead in hours. the plant does not like the acid in the vinegar. Works great!!

Note that when you pour

Note that when you pour vinegar onto weeds and hence into soil, nothing will grow in that soil for years.

Weed Killer 1 gallon White

Weed Killer
1 gallon White Vinegar
2 cups Epsom Salt
1/4 cup Dawn (concentrate) Dish Soap
Mix in a spray or squirt bottle. Spray on the weeds or what ever u want dead. The soap helps to keep the vinegar & salt solution in the the plants u want to eliminate

I use vinegar to open clogged

I use vinegar to open clogged drains,pour a couple of tablespoons of baking soda on top of your drain, pour 1 to 2 cups of boiling vinegar onto this, it will fizz and bubble,keep on until all the baking soda is gone, let sit for about 10 minutes, then pour very hot water down the drain, this works great, safe on septic tanks. I've been using this for years, and never have had a clog I couldn't break with this. Use it in all drains.

Thank you for this info!

Thank you for this info! Will put it to use.