Anyone else experienced a cleaning cupboard overflowing with plastic bottles, many of which have very niche uses? I’ll put my hand up and say once upon a time, we certainly fell victim to those marketing campaigns telling us we NEED that new product. Enter, the miracle cleaner that is white vinegar. This one product has a multitude of uses and can save you money, and cupboard space. It is also better for your health than some of these conventional alternatives. And you can refill it, saving on those unnecessary plastic bottles! (I feel just like I’m in one of those adverts!)
White vinegar is a non-toxic traditional cleaning solution made up of acetic acid and water. Acetic acid has both cleaning and descaling properties, which makes white vinegar a cost effective and efficient household cleaner. This vinegar does have a slight odour but this gradually dissipates and, if you aren’t keen, is easily covered by lemon juice or some drops of essential oil.
The acidic properties of white vinegar (and indeed many vinegars but white vinegar is the best) make it an excellent cleaner, particularly for alkali stains such as limescale and soap scum. Below are some examples of the many ways white vinegar can be used as a simple, non-toxic cleaner at home and some other uses which you may not be aware of.
1. General household cleaner (including windows)
Mix white vinegar with water 50/50 in a spray bottle. Use the solution to spray household surfaces and wipe off with a damp cloth. For windows wipe off with scrunched up newspaper or a dry, lint free cloth.
2. Drain cleaner
To clean drains, pour bicarbonate of soda down the drain, followed by white vinegar. When this starts to foam, run the hot water and this will clear the drain, while also getting rid of any bad smells
3. Bathroom cleaner
Vinegar is an excellent remover of bath stains, including soap scum. Spray neat white vinegar on to bathroom surfaces and wipe clean.
4. Shine taps
For sparkling taps (and any other metal surfaces) use neat white vinegar and a soft cloth. Spray onto the surface and wipe off with a soft cloth
5. Fridge cleaner
As well as an excellent cleaner, white vinegar acts as a deodoriser and this combination makes it great for cleaning fridges. Mix water and vinegar 50/50 and spray on fridge surfaces. Wipe off with a damp cloth. Your fridge may smell slightly of vinegar after this treatment so if this isn’t for you, try adding some lemon juice to the solution.
Due to the acidic nature of white vinegar, it is great for treating limescale. For kettles, irons, coffee machines and other small kitchen appliances which need descaling, pour on white vinegar, boil then leave overnight. Rinse in the morning.
7. Clean dishwashers
No one likes cleaning the dishwasher so the idea of a simple solution is very appealing. And of course, white vinegar has an application here. Place a bowl of white vinegar on each shelf of the dishwasher and turn it on for a cycle to descale the machine
8. Rinse aid
White vinegar is an excellent replacement for rinse aid and will leave you with sparkling glass ware
9. Remove ballpoint pen marks
This is an unexpected use for white vinegar. If you dab white vinegar onto pen marks on walls or clothes the marks will disappear. Magic!
10. Fabric conditioner
Add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to your wash to get softer clothes
11. Brighten your clothes
Add 120ml of vinegar to your wash to brighten your clothes
12. Remover of mould
Spray any areas of mould or mildew with vinegar and wipe clean
13. Rust remover
You can soak rusty items in vinegar to remove the rust. But beware, the cause of the rust may still be there once the vinegar is washed off so make sure to treat the surface as soon as the vinegar has been cleaned off. Often you can use an oil to seal the surface to avoid it rusting again
14. Restore paint brushes
If your paint brushes have seen better days, soak them in vinegar to remove dried on paint and then wash in hot, soapy water.
15. Wallpaper remover
Mix water and vinegar 50/50 in a spray bottle and spray on to wallpaper before removing it
16. Treating itches
Soak a cotton pad in white vinegar and put on any bites. This will soothe the itching
17. Sooth sunburn
As with the itches, soak a cotton pad in white vinegar and gently wipe over burnt skin for a cooling sensation. It also has antiseptic properties so can help avoid infection of bad burns.
18. Remove marks on wooden furniture and as polish
2 parts olive oil and 1 part vinegar can be applied to wooden furniture to remove marks left by wet glasses. Buff with a clean cloth
19. Remove fabric stains
Spray white vinegar onto colour-safe fabrics and wipe off with a damp cloth to remove dirt and organic stains. It can also be used as a pre-wash stain treatment for shift cuffs, colours and underarms to remove sweat marks.
20. Treat pet accidents
White vinegar is a cleaner and deodoriser. Spray on any ‘accidents’ left by your pets to remove the smell. It will also discourage pets from reoffending in the same place.
There seems to be a neverending list of the uses to which white vinegar can be put but these are my favourite. I confess to not having tried all of them…yet…but am looking forward to giving them a go.
What is your favourite use for white vinegar? We would love to hear what use you are putting it to in your own life.