Here are some of the many household uses for white vinegar—from cleaning to stain treatment to relieving insect bites. Vinegar is a “wonder” product. Discover its common and surprising uses!
(Note: In this article, “vinegar” refers to “distilled white vinegar” unless otherwise noted.)
Cleaning with Vinegar
Here are some of the more uncommon uses:
- Coffeepot: Bring a solution of 1 cup of vinegar and 4 tablespoons of baking soda to a boil in teapots and coffeepots to rid them of mineral deposits. 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.
- Stovetop: A solution of vinegar and baking soda will easily remove cooking oil from your stovetop.
- Oven: For a clean oven, combine vinegar and baking soda, then scrub.
- Dishwasher: Use as a rinsing agent to get your glasses and plates clean. Once a year, pour a cup of white vinegar into an empty dishwasher, then run it for a short cycle to get rid of the lime and soap build-up.
- Humidifier: Clean the filter on your humidifier by removing it and soaking it in a pan of white vinegar until all the sediment is off.
- Tubs and Showers: 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.
- Shower Curtain: Use a sponge dampened with vinegar to clean shower curtains.
- Toilet Bowl: 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.
- Windows: Clean windows with a cloth dipped in a solution of one part white vinegar and 10 parts warm water.
- Fridge Odors: Rid your refrigerator and freezer of bad odors by cleaning the insides with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, then wiping dry.
- Clothes Odors: To remove smoke odors on clothes, hang them above a steaming bathtub filled with hot water and a cup of white vinegar.
- Prevent Mildew. Wipe down surfaces with vinegar to clean and to prevent mildew.
When NOT to use vinegar:
- Do not use vinegar on granite or marble countertops.
- Avoid using vinegar where there is unsealed grout.
- Do not use vinegar on wood surfaces or hardwood floors (or no-wax vinyl floors).
- Never use vinegar on your cell phone or computer screen!
- Remove Bumper Stickers: 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.
- Wipe down windows with diluted vinegar in winter to keep them frost-free.
Remove Clothing Stains with Vinegar
- Clothes: 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.
- Chewing Gum: To remove chewing gum, rub it with full-strength vinegar.
- Paint Stains: Soak paint stains in hot vinegar to remove them.
- Shoes: 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 Home and Health Remedies
- Insect Bites :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.)
- Insect Repellant: Rub apple cider vinegar on your skin to repel insects.
- Sprains: Place a vinegar-soaked brown bag on sprains to ease pain and aid recovery.
- Shiny Hair: For brunettes, rinsing hair with vinegar after a shampoo makes hair shinier. Use one-tablespoon vinegar to one-cup warm water.
- Loosen Jar Lids: Hold the jar upside down and pour warm vinegar around the neck at the joint between the glass and the top.
- Garden Weeds: Spray directly on plants that you want to kill, especially weeds in cracks in your driveway! Spray on a dry, sunny day.
- Dogs: Clean inside of dog’s ears with clean washcloth or rag dipped in a white vinegar solution (4 tablespoons water: 1 tablespoon vinegar)
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!