Kitchen by Marcos Contrera Arquitetura & Interiores

47 ways to use vinegar for cleaning your home

Asha Bogenfuerst Asha Bogenfuerst
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House cleaning is an unavoidable task in life for most people, and unless you are one of those who do not have to deal with it,  it's always helpful to know some tips and tricks to facilitate cleaning, preferably techniques which are simple, fast and cheap. Fortunately, there are countless home recipes to accomplish this task in every room of the house, from the living room to the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.

A very effective product is vinegar, which is not just for seasoning the salad. In fact, it is very versatile and its use in cleaning is very easy, practical and fast. With vinegar, it is possible to thoroughly clean the  furniture and utensils, including all those in the  kitchen. Vinegar can also help to unclog the drains and the shower. Other than that, it is also used for softening clothes, eliminating cigarette smoke or fending ants. These are some examples of what vinegar can do for your home. In this book of ideas, we present 47 ways to use this seemingly trivial product in cleaning and other tasks!

Vinegar, a natural ally of house cleaning

 Living room by Cris Nunes Arquiteta
Cris Nunes Arquiteta

Apartamento, Maceió Al

Cris Nunes Arquiteta

Ecological, cheap, versatile, and efficient. Ecological because it has no chemical additives. Cheap because its prices are affordable to all pockets. Versatile because it has multiple applications. Efficient because it contains acetic acid and works as a de-greaser, disinfectant and odor remover. 

Vinegar is a product with all these qualities and can be used without harm in house cleaning. All types can be used for cleaning, but the most recommended types for the domestic environment are white and alcohol vinegar, which have no dyes or aromas. But remember: as vinegar has a strong odor, it should be usually diluted in water. On the other hand, the strong smell of it dissipates quickly, even including those made from fabric, which allows it to be used like a softener, among other uses.

1. General tips

1. Cupboards-To eliminate moisture in cabinets, wipe them regularly with a mixture of part water and part white vinegar. 

2. Electronic devices-To remove the yellowish appearance that these devices acquire over time and make them look brand new, wipe them with a cloth moistened with vinegar. 

3. Fabrics- Sofas, cushions, curtains and blankets can be cleaned easily if sprayed with a solution of 1 liter of water, half a glass of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, half a glass of alcohol and 1 tablespoon of softener.  

4. Rugs and carpets—If the rug is old-fashioned, brush it with a broom soaked in a solution of 1 cup of white vinegar and 3.5 liters of water. If the problem is the stench, mix three tablespoons to each liter of water and apply it on the carpet or carpet the liquid with a sponge or cloth, gently rubbing. Cleaning can be done with a mixture of 1 part white vinegar, 1 part liquid detergent and 2 or 3 parts warm water. Stains can be removed with this mixture by applying it to the carpet or rug with a cloth, drying the stain site and repeating the procedure until it disappears.

5. Walls-Pencil marks come out with a solution made with equal parts of white vinegar and lukewarm water, while the ballpoint pens need to be wet with vinegar and then wiped with a sponge or cloth. another way to get rid of those marks is to mix white vinegar and warm water in equal parts and rub this mixture into the marks with a cloth. 

6. Glasses, Mirrors, and Windows-To clean these surfaces, mix equal parts of white vinegar and warm water and wipe dry with a soft cloth. Another solution uses 3 tablespoons of vinegar diluted in 11 liters of hot water and if the surface is very dirty, it should be washed before with soap and water. A third possibility is to mix half a glass of vinegar to half a bucket of water and to wipe the surface with a cloth, then removing the excess moisture with newspaper.

7. Floor-Ceramic flooring and any other floor that does not take wax can be cleaned with a solution made with 1 cup of vinegar and 5 liters of water. Wooden flooring gets brighter with a mixture of 1 glass of water, 1 glass of vinegar and 1 glass of alcohol. Simply sprinkle the mixture on the floor and wipe it with a squeegee on the floor and, after drying, wipe it with a flannel.  

8. Wood-To revitalize the wood, mix 1 liter of warm water, 4 tablespoons of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil, applying the mixture to the surface with a clean cloth and letting it penetrate the wood for 10 minutes and then dry the area with a dry cloth. If the problem is scratches on the wood, mix equal parts of white vinegar and iodine in a small jar and wipe the mixture over each scratch, remembering that if the wood is clear, more vinegar will work and if it is dark, more iodine will work. Woodworking, such as painted walls and blinds, can be cleaned with a mixture of half a cup of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup of ammonia and 1 cup of baking soda with 1 liter of warm water.    

9. Metal-To polish silver, copper or bronze, apply a mixture of 1 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup wheat flour (a paste should be left in the metal), let it rest for at least 15 minutes, rinse and wipe with a soft cloth.   

10. Drain-To remove foul odor, mix a quarter cup of baking soda and a half cup of white vinegar, cover the drain, let it act for a few minutes, and rinse with plenty of hot water. When you're all ready to clean and unclog the drain or kitchen sink, throw baking soda into it and soon thereafter vinegar to cause a powerful chemical reaction.  

11. Stains-For generally more stubborn stains, you can mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of detergent and 1 cup of warm water. Adhesive glue stains can come out with a little pure vinegar on top, letting it act for 10 minutes and then wiping it off.   

12. Animals-To remove the smell of urine or pet stool, apply on the spot a mixture composed of one third of white vinegar and two thirds of warm water, logically after cleaning and drying the area. If the odor continues, pour pure vinegar into the room and let it dry naturally. The accessories of the animals, such as water and feed pots and the bed, can be cleaned with this natural mixture as well. And if the dog is scratching his ear, his itch can be relieved by wiping the area with a cloth dampened with vinegar with water.

2. Living room, dining room and bedroom

13. Piano- If you have a piano, you can wipe its keys with a soft cloth moistened in a mixture of half a cup of white vinegar and two cups of warm water and then dry them with a dry cloth, remembering that the keyboard needs be uncovered for 24 hours after cleaning. 

14. Sofa-In case your sofa is leather, a way to remove any mold from it is to wipe the stain with a cloth soaked in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of vinegar in 1 glass of water. To remove a bad smell off any type of sofa, spray a mixture made with the following ingredients: 1 liter of water, a quarter cup of alcohol, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, half a glass of white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of softener.  

15. Cigarette Smell-To avoid impregnating or actually ending up with the smell of cigarettes, sprinkle large mouthfuls of vinegar into the house before smokers arrive. You might also want to read last minute cleaning tips before guests arrive.

16. Candle Wax-To remove candle wax, heat the scraps with a hair dryer, then wipe the area with a paper towel, then remove the remaining wax by wiping a damp cloth in a mixture of equal parts of white vinegar and lukewarm water.  

17. Cabinets-To remove moldy smell from bedroom cabinets, empty furniture, leave a bowl of white vinegar for one night, and wipe with a damp cloth on the inside the next day, waiting for it to dry before putting things back into it. The clothes stored in the closet that turn yellow over time can be recovered with a mixture of equal amounts of water and vinegar sprinkled on the pieces before they are put to wash.  

18. Mattresses-To clean the mattress, mix one part water and another vinegar and rub the surface with a sponge soaked in the solution. to remove stains from the mattress, dry the stained area thoroughly, apply a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part vinegar, leave to act for two minutes and dry with a towel, repeating the process until the stain disappears.  

19. Leather Parts- To take away mold from leather pieces such as a jacket, purse or boot, just wipe with a cotton swab dipped in vinegar.

3. Kitchen

20. Stove-The stove can be easily de-greased with vinegar. Remove excess fat with absorbent paper and leave some vinegar on the area for 15 minutes and then rub the spot with mild soap and a non-abrasive sponge. 

21. Oven-The oven can be cleaned without problems if a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, salt and hot water is wiped over it with a sponge, then drying the area with a dry cloth. 

22. Microwave—To clean the microwave and take away the bad smell, make a mixture of 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 cup of water in a bowl, heat it for four minutes and leave it closed for longer than five minutes. 

23. Dish washer—To remove the stench and remove the grease accumulated in the dishwasher, place 1 cup of white vinegar in the inner bowl, then start a pre-wash cycle.  

24. Appliances-To clean and remove grease, wipe it clean with vinegar, this applies to applications such as the refrigerator, stove, microwave, hood, and any other metal things. 

25. Pans-To clean pans, sprinkle salt on the surface, sprinkle vinegar and rub with the rough side of the sponge. Sticky foods or burned residues can be eliminated by placing water and 4 tablespoons of vinegar into the pan or frying pan and bringing it to a boil until it cools off enough to wash normally.

For more ideas, check out 11 cleaning tips for a spotless kitchen.

26. Crockery-To facilitate the cleaning of dishes, rub them with a soft sponge soaked in equal parts vinegar and water. But if the dirt is very dry, cover the stained area with paper towels wet in vinegar for an hour and then wipe with a damp sponge. 

27. Glass cups- Glass cups can get shiny after you soak them in a bowl with water and drops of white vinegar, wash them with detergent and let them dry naturally.   

28. Plastic containers- To remove the bad smell of plastic containers, soak them in warm water and vinegar for 15 minutes, or put some vinegar into the containers, cover them, let it act for 30 minutes and then rinse.  

29. Cutting boards- cutting boards made of wood may be sanitized with pure vinegar or else with vinegar and water. 

30. Kitchen sink-To remove the bad smell of the drain, throw in 1 cup of vinegar.  

31. Hands-The strong odour of onion and garlic and lemon can be eliminated by wiping hands with vinegar.   

32. Smell of Burnt-The smell of burnt food can be disguised by boiling water with vinegar.  

33. Ants-To scare off ants, sprinkle the door, sink and window sills with pure vinegar. 

4. Bathroom

34. Tiles- To maintain the tiles in the bathroom and any other part of the house as good as new, add a mixture of half a cup of vinegar and half a liter of warm water and then wipe dry.

35. Grout- To clean and light the grouts, add a mixture of vinegar and lukewarm water and let it act for 2 hours. But some people recommend a faster method: Spray pure vinegar in the grout, soak for 20 minutes, and then wipe the area with a sponge. Already to remove the mold from the grouts, apply pure white vinegar with an old toothbrush, let it act for 2 hours and wash the surface with soap and water.   

36. Toilet—To clean the toilet, pour 4 cups of pure vinegar into it, let it act for 30 minutes and then rub the stains with a suitable brush and finally rinse. 

37. Box-To remove stains from the panes, spray them with vinegar, allow them to dry, spray them again and wipe with a sponge. To prevent mildew, rub vinegar on the walls of the stall.  

38. Slime—To remove the slime from the wet parts of the bathroom, use a mixture of one part vinegar and another water.  

39. Shower-To unclog the shower holes, remove the nozzle and leave it 15 minutes in a mixture of half a cup of vinegar and a quarter of water. Plastic pieces should be soaked for 1 hour in a mixture of half a liter of vinegar and half a liter of hot water. Another way to unclog the shower holes is to fill a plastic bag with vinegar, wrap the shower with it and leave it to act all night. The next day, open the shower and let the water run.

For more ideas, here are 6 simple bathroom cleaning tips.

5. Laundry service

 Kitchen by Ana Crivellaro
Ana Crivellaro

Lavanderia

Ana Crivellaro

40. Washer-To clean the washer and remove the soap residue from it, set a full cycle at high water level and add 1 glass of vinegar.

41. Rough Towels- Old towels usually get rough because of soap residue. To make them soft again, pour 1 glass of vinegar every three washes into the machine.  

42. Clothes that loosen paint- To prevent clothes from shedding paint, put the piece in water with a little vinegar before washing it. Then just soak it in the water to check if the ink has stopped releasing.  

43. Whiter clothes- To whiten white clothes completely, soak them for an hour in a bucket of five liters and 1 glass of vinegar, and then wash them normally. Another recipe is to add half a cup of vinegar to the softener at the time of rinsing. 

44. Shirt collars and other sweat stains-To lighten a shirt collar and remove other sweat stains like underarm, make a paste with white vinegar and baking soda, apply the mixture to the piece, rub it lightly and let it act for an hour before putting it in the washing machine.  

45. Dry coffee stains-To remove dried coffee stains, rub the area with white vinegar, leave to act for 10 minutes and finally wash the piece.  

46. Difficult stains-To remove stains from wine, chocolate, ketchup, jam, glue, and other difficult stains, moisten the area with warm vinegar, carefully rub it and then wash the part, repeating the operation until the stain disappears completely. Another way to remove stains from the clothes is to sprinkle a mixture of 1 part vinegar and another vinegar water on them, leave to act for 15 minutes and then wash the parts in the machine normally.   

47. Homemade softener- Vinegar, especially white wine, can perfectly replace the softener-without leaving a smell. Just use half a glass of vinegar for every 5 kg of clothing, whether in hand-washing or in the machine. 

We hope this idea book has been helpful. If you still need more motivation, have a look at skip the cleaning stress—7 amazing tips.

Which house cleaning tips did you find most helpful? 
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