15 Clever Ways Vinegar Can Work Magic Around Your House

Vinegar has many practical household applications for cleaning, deodorizing and more.

There are many amazing things you can do with common household products, including cooking ingredients. Like baking soda, vinegar has amazing cleaning and deodorizing capabilities. Some people even use it as a beauty product.

We scoured the internet and spoke to cleaning expert and author Becky Rapinchuk, aka “Clean Mama,” to put together a list of the many amazing uses for this trusty product.

Read on for 15 amazing uses for vinegar around the house. While most involve traditional white vinegar, others specify apple cider vinegar.

Softening Clothes

Ordinary white vinegar can work wonders when it comes to laundry. Rapinchuk uses it as a natural alternative to conventional fabric softeners.

“I use 1/4 cup in each load of laundry as a natural fabric softener,” she said. “It softens clothes, keeps the washer clean and it doesn’t smell like a pickle.”

Cleaning Coffee Makers

One way to give a coffee maker a good cleaning is to make a cleaning solution with equal parts water and white vinegar.

The mixture can decalcify the machine, which is susceptible to hard water mineral buildup. Caffeine lovers can also use vinegar and water to clean their Keurig coffee makers or espresso machines. Note: It may take multiple cycles.

Cleaning Carpets

“I use a ratio of 50:50 white vinegar to hot water to clean carpets in a carpet cleaning machine,” Rapinchuk said. “This was suggested by a professional carpet cleaner to me years ago.”

If you have a stain on your carpet, you can also pour a little vinegar and sprinkle baking soda on top to create a reaction that can help extract the strain.

Catching Fruit Flies

They say “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” but that doesn’t seem to be the case with fruit flies.

Many natural fruit fly traps use apple cider vinegar, either with a bowl of vinegar covered with perforated plastic wrap or a dish of vinegar with a few drops of dish soap.

Wiping Appliances

Rapinchuk uses white vinegar to keep her kitchen sparkling.

“I pour it on a microfiber cloth and wipe stainless steel appliances,” she said. You can also pour it into a spray bottle to spray the cloth or surface.

Make sure you use white vinegar -- not other types -- when cleaning appliances.
Make sure you use white vinegar -- not other types -- when cleaning appliances.

Cleaning Toilets

White vinegar is a common ingredient for DIY toilet cleaning.

You can pour 1/2 cup into the toilet bowl, let it sit for an hour, swish it around with a brush and flush. Other methods involve borax or baking soda.

Removing Stickers

Vinegar is a great tool for removing stubborn stickers, from price stickers to laptop decorations.

The key is to lightly paint the surface with white vinegar, let it sit for five minutes, wipe the excess and then try to scrape the sticker away.

Cleaning Showers

Rapinchuk likes to use vinegar to clean her shower, as well. “You can mix baking soda with a little lemon juice or vinegar, and it helps get in the crevices of a drain,” she said.

Scrubbing the walls with vinegar can remove the soap scum. You can also mix it with baking soda and a teaspoon of salt to create a soap scum-removing paste. Be sure to rinse with water when you’re done.

Killing Weeds

“You can spray vinegar on weeds to kill them,” Rapinchuk said.

Indeed, some people like to combine vinegar with dish soap or salt, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and attack the weeds in their garden as a natural herbicide. However, some experts caution against this method because it could cause environmental damage or bodily harm if you trade up for vinegars with higher concentrations of acetic acid.

Toning Your Face

“Apple cider vinegar is a great astringent!” Rapinchuk noted.

There are many DIY facial toner recipes made with apple cider vinegar ― along with many positive testimonials ― available online. Of course, everyone’s skin is different, so you’ll have to test it to see if it works for you.

Cleaning Garbage Disposals

You can use white vinegar to clean out your garbage disposal.

Rapinchuk recommends pouring 1/4 cup into the disposal, letting it sit for a few minutes, running cold water and then turning it on to clean it all out.

Another method is to make vinegar ice cubes, toss them down the disposal and turn it on.

Removing Odors

If you’ve been handling onions, fish or other stinky ingredients, you can get the odor out of your hands by washing them with white vinegar.

You can do the same with containers that have a persistent smell.

Some believe that pouring vinegar in a small bowl and leaving it in a room overnight helps to remove bad odors.

Cleaning Washing Machines

“I use vinegar to clean the washer and dishwasher,” Rapinchuk said.

In addition to working as a fabric softener for laundry, vinegar has a cleansing effect on the washing machine itself. One way to put it to use is to put half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of water in the detergent drawer or the basin itself and run through a normal cycle. Once done, use a wet cloth to wipe the door seal and keep it open to air it out.

Removing Candle Wax

An easy way to remove stubborn candle wax is to heat and soften the wax with a hairdryer and wipe it away. But if that doesn’t work, mix vinegar and water, dip a paper towel in the solution and try wiping again.

Scrubbing Surfaces

“I scrub bathtubs, tile, laminate, solid-surface counters, refrigerator/freezers with cleansers made with vinegar,” Rapinchuk noted. “I also use it in most DIY cleaners but not on any stone ― marble, quartz, granite.”

One easy way to make such a scrub is to combine vinegar, baking soda and essential oil to make a paste that will clean and disinfect surfaces. You can also combine vinegar, water and essential oil for an all-purpose spray cleaner for all sorts of household areas and items (including baby toys).