Is Vinegar Good For Cleaning?

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Vinegar is AMAZING to clean with, although as with any other cleaning product there are specific ways it should be used. Which I’ll list for you in a little bit.

Throughout this post, I will refer to white distilled vinegar as just vinegar because quite frankly it’s a mouthful to read repeatedly.

And the strength of the white distilled vinegar we’re talking about here is 5%, it’s the most widely available for consumers. 

Real cleaning vinegar is 6% but it’s hard to find and many bottles don’t actually say what the strength is.

I get my cleaning vinegar on Amazon here.


What Can You Clean With Vinegar?

There are so many ways to use vinegar for cleaning and I’ve explained everything you CAN clean and CAN’T clean with vinegar below.

Cleaning Your Bathroom With Vinegar

Cleaning your bathroom with vinegar does make the task a little less daunting because the grime fighting power of vinegar cuts through the grease effortlessly. Use it with hot water and dish soap for THE BEST bathroom cleaner you’ve ever tried.

Warning: Never mix white vinegar with bleach, it will produce chlorine gas and burn your eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Also never mix vinegar with hydrogen peroxide, these two mixed together make another gas called peracetic acid which will burn your eyes, nose, throat and lungs too.

You can clean the bath, sink, faucets, mirrors and toilet with vinegar. Find all my recipes at the end of this post.

For tough mineral deposits, I use neat vinegar and have a video on YouTube where I cleaned the mineral deposits from my shower head, you can see it here. This vinegar cleaning hack is so clever if you have the type of shower head that doesn’t detach.

Cleaning Your Kitchen With Vinegar

Do not ever use vinegar to clean your natural or engineered stone. I don’t mean to sound bossy but just don’t. And I explain why further down this post.

You can, however, use my Kitchen Cleaning recipe at the bottom of this post to clean your cabinets (providing they are not natural wood), sink, garbage disposal, refrigerator, oven, microwave, the outside of the toaster and other appliances.

Vinegar is a good all-rounder in the kitchen cleaning department.

Microwave Cleaning With Vinegar

Vinegar can be used to clean the inside of the microwave and the outside. I have a post detailing the process here.

Washing Machine Cleaning With Vinegar.

And of course, my last post details the step by step process to clean a Toploader and front loader washing machine.

Window Cleaning With Vinegar

Vinegar for cleaning the windows, mirrors and any glass really is one of those hacks passed down to me from my Nana. She liked to use newspapers to clean the windows, however, no one buys newspapers anymore and a microfiber cloth will do just fine. 

You can find my window cleaning vinegar recipe at the bottom of this post.

Vinegar Laundry Softener

There is some controversy around the matter of using vinegar in your laundry. I explained the reasons in this post Best Way To Clean A Washing Machine.

If you want to use white vinegar as a softener for your towels once in a while, that’s fine, however, don’t do it too often because it will cause damage to the washing machine in the long term.

What Can You Not Clean With Vinegar?

Marble, Granite and Quartz

Never use vinegar at any strength on marble, granite or quartz. And I explain why in-depth in this post and this post. In short, it’s down to the PH balance of vinegar, being acidic and the balance of marble, granite and quartz being neutral. If you disturb the natural PH balance of these engineered stones you’ll ruin the finish of the stone.

Photo by André François McKenzie on Unsplash

Natural Stone Floors

Just like with marble, granite and quartz, you can’t use vinegar on any other type of natural stone floor for the same reason. Just use a little dish soap and warm water to clean your natural stone bathrooms.

Natural Wood

Never use vinegar to clean natural wood surfaces, the acid in the vinegar will discolour and fade the wood. The damage might even be irreversible. 

Hardwood Floors

The same applies to hardwood floors. Hardwood floors are durable with the proper care, and many people, even my Facebook group members will say it’s ok. But it really isn’t, as with wood floors, the acid in vinegar, disrupts the PH balance of the wood, fading and discolouring it permanently. 

It may look like it’s clean because it’s lighter but you actually just stripped the wood of its natural color. 

For wood surfaces, always use a purpose-made cleaner and or polish like Murphy Oil or Bona.

How To Repair Vinegar Damaged Wood Floor.

If you’ve already used vinegar on your hardwood floors and have landed here looking for a fix you can use Weimann’s Wood Floor Restorer to make the area that’s damaged less noticeable.

Weimann’s Wood Floor restorer is for high traffic area’s, the kind of area’s that are prone to wear and scratches, it works by filling the scratches and worn area’s. It won’t completely fix your floor but it will look less of an eyesore.

Do You Have To Rinse After Cleaning With Vinegar?

Many “gurus” will tell you it’s ok to leave the vinegar on the surface you just cleaned, the problem with these gurus is that they’re just regurgitating what they researched on the internet and most have never even cleaned with vinegar or even bothered testing it.

The smell cleaning with vinegar leaves behind can be quite pungent depending on the strength you clean with. 

It generally will fade after an hour or so, however, you can and should rinse the vinegar solution away to prevent any lasting damage the acid in the cleaner could inadvertently cause to your surfaces.

Leaving vinegar on your metal surfaces like showerheads, faucets, taps etc can break down the protective layer and cause corrosion over time.

And if you’ve already cleaned one of the surfaces I mentioned not to above, then you’ll definitely want to thoroughly rinse those surfaces ASAP! Do it now! Go!

How Do You Make A Vinegar Cleaning Solution?

If you’re anything like me, then you just don’t have the time to pull out measuring jugs and scales. 

Most of the time it works out great and sometimes it ends in the Volcano science project resulting in more mess to clean up.

If you’re the type of person who can’t risk the extra mess, then use my recipes below to clean all the surfaces I talked about above.

Feel free to use any other bloggers recipes too, they’re all good!

My White Vinegar Cleaning Recipes And Instructions.

Bathroom Cleaner

  • Mix 1 part white distilled vinegar with 1 part warm water and 2 teaspoons of dish soap in a spray bottle. 
  • Add lemon essential oil around 30 drops for added disinfecting power.

Kitchen Cleaner

  • Mix 1 part white distilled vinegar with 1 part water, 1 teaspoon of dish soap and shake in a spray bottle.
  • Orange essential oils are fab for the kitchen as well as lemon, eucalyptus and citronella.
  • Add 20-30 drops.

Window Cleaner

  • Mix 1 part white distilled vinegar and 1 part warm water and nothing else in a spray bottle.
  • Shake and use immediately with a microfiber cloth.

Oven Cleaner

  • First, warm up the oven.
  • Meanwhile, fill a spray bottle with white distilled vinegar only. 
  • Spray the inside of the oven and glass door with the vinegar. 
  • Then sprinkle with baking soda, the amount you need will depend on the size of your oven.
  • You can add a few teaspoons of dish soap too and mix everything together inside the oven with a sponge.
  • Leave the paste solution to sit for an hour and wipe clean with hot water and a microfiber cloth. 

For oven cleaning, I don’t do this myself, I get a professional oven cleaner in, however, I have used this method for my clients and it works well but is messy. 

I’d prefer to use a ready-made cleaner like easy-off. It does exactly what it says on the tin.

Cooker Hood Filters Cleaner

  • This is my favourite vinegar cleaning recipe because it’s so easy and so satisfying to watch.
  • Remove your cooker head filters and place them either on the drainer or in the sink.
  • Sprinkle with baking soda.
  • Pour on liberal amounts of vinegar. No need to measure here.
  • Watch the vinegar and baking soda melt off all the grease.
  • Rinse with fresh, hot water.
  • Dry and replace the filters.

This method and recipe sound messy but it actually isn’t, because everything gets washed down the sinkhole with the hot water.

And I have got a YouTube video you can follow along to here.

Vinegar Cleaning Conclusion

White distilled vinegar is a versatile bit of kit to keep in your cleaning arsenal, especially for hard water and mineral build-up in the bathroom but do be cautious as I’ve already said many times in this post. You can do more damage than good on certain surfaces but with my advice, you should be sound.

Pin this to your Pinterest board to refer to later.

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Sarah Goldsmith

Sarah Jane Goldsmith is the owner of multiple award-winning cleaning company. Purple Cleaning. With 7 years of industry experience and working with some of the most exclusive clients the Northeast of England has, she's gained a wealth of knowledge in cleaning and home organization. Her company, Purple Cleaning Services have won multiple awards for service in the commercial and domestic sectors. They are corporate members of the British Institute of Cleaning Science, leading the way in safe, effective, and aesthetic cleaning. Sarah runs many social media channels including her successful YouTube channel where she teaches people how to clean and how to get the most from their homes. Her private community of raving fans love being part of her exclusive membership programme, Keep It Clean Club, which can be found at In her spare time, Sarah enjoys nothing more than spending time with her family, she has 2 young daughters and a teenage son. By day she is engrossed in helping many people stamp out the mess in their homes and live happier cleaner lives.

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