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 has a multitude of uses!

(Note: In this article, “vinegar” refers to “distilled white vinegar” unless otherwise noted. )

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 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 refreshing summer drink known as switchel or Haymaker’s Punch, or a remedial cold-weather tonic called fire cider.

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.