Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

How to Clean Your Home With Vinegar

Here’s some good news: You don’t need to break the bank to keep your home sparkling clean and disinfected. We can get away with spending pennies, not dollars, to get all the house cleaning jobs done. How? In a word: Vinegar. Plain white vinegar is one of the most versatile and budget-friendly cleaners that can handle almost any mess in your home.

Let’s start by breaking down the various types of vinegar suitable for cleaning and disinfecting.


You can easily find everyday white distilled vinegar in any grocery store. It’s perfect for daily cleaning tasks like disinfecting surfaces, cleaning windows and getting rid of mildew and soap scum. It’s also great for neutralizing odors. You can find this vinegar in various sizes and brands in the condiment aisle at your local grocery store.


This vinegar might require a trip to a specialty store or online retailer. It’s perfect for heavy-duty cleaning tasks such as removing stains, mineral deposits and stubborn grease. It’s also an eco-friendly weed killer for your garden. You may need to broaden your search to specialty stores or online retailers to find this gem, requiring a trip to a specialty store or visit an online retailer.


Also known as “agricultural vinegar,” this vinegar is not your typical cleaner. You can find it at specialized stores like home centers, janitorial supply stores, agricultural supply stores or online suppliers. Be careful when handling it, as its high acidity can harm surfaces and skin. It’s perfect for rust, lime scale or stubborn mineral deposits. Head to agricultural supply stores or dedicated online suppliers to get your hands on this powerhouse.

Here are some savvy ways to use vinegar for cleaning:

Disinfecting Surfaces: Combine equal parts of water and 5% vinegar in a spray bottle and use it to spray kitchen countertops (caution: never use vinegar on sealed natural stone products such as granite or marble), bathroom surfaces and anywhere germs lurk.

Windows and Glass: Mix 1 part 5% vinegar with 1 part water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and mirror surfaces and wipe them clean with a microfiber cloth.

Mineral Buildup: Fill your coffee maker’s water reservoir with a 1:1 mix of 5% vinegar and water. Run a brewing cycle without coffee grounds, then repeat with plain water to rinse thoroughly, repeating as necessary until you can no longer detect the smell of vinegar. For kettles, boil a blend of 1 part 5% vinegar and 1 part water, then let it sit for an hour before rinsing.

Mildew and Soap Scum: Mix equal parts of 5% vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray this solution on mildew or soap scum in the bathroom or kitchen, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub it away with a sponge or scrub brush.

Carpet Stains: Create a mixture with 1 tablespoon of 5% vinegar, eight drops of dishwashing liquid soap and 2 cups of warm water. Blot the stain with this solution until it surrenders. Rinse with clear water, blot well with a clean white cloth and allow to air dry.

Weed Killer: Mix 2 cups 20% vinegar with a few drops of dishwashing liquid soap in a spray bottle. Spray this solution directly on weeds on a sunny day, but be careful not to hit your beloved plants.

Heavy-duty Cleaning: Always dilute 30% vinegar before using it. Start with a mixture of 1 part 30% vinegar to 3 parts water. Wear gloves and eye protection to shield yourself from potential skin and eye irritation. Use it to target tough stains on surfaces like toilets, sinks and shower heads.

Remember, safety always comes first. Make sure you have proper ventilation when using vinegar to avoid inhaling fumes, especially in smaller spaces. Wear gloves and eye protection when dealing with 20% or 30% strength vinegar to avoid skin and eye irritation. Always label your vinegar solutions clearly to keep them out of the reach of kids and pets, and to prevent accidents.

Happy cleaning (and saving!).

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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