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10 Reasons Why And How To Use White Vinegar When You Clean

Kay Newton April 2023

Simplicity & Connection Thought Leader –  Kay Newton

In 2015 my life in Zanzibar took a noticeable change.

Our housekeeper came knocking on the door, wringing her hands as if life would come to an abrupt end. Apparently, we had run out of detergent, and she could not do the usual weekly clothes wash. I was delighted, no more harmful chemicals! 

“Vinegar has many household cleaning uses, yet what is vinegar exactly?”

My next step was simplicity in itself – we would use salt and vinegar instead. The housekeeper looked at me as if I had come from another planet. Yes, for those from the UK, you can use salt and vinegar to wash clothes and not just on your fish and chips. 

When my clothes came back sparkly clean and soft, not smelling like a fish shop, we did not use regular toxic detergent again. Vinegar has many household cleaning uses, yet what is vinegar exactly? 

What is Vinegar? 

White vinegar is created through a simple natural process called fermentation. 

Acetic acid bacteria (acetobacter) are added to diluted alcohol or ethanol-rich solutions like wine, beer, or apple cider. The bacteria then convert the alcohol into acetic acid through oxidation.

The acetic acid produced in the primary fermentation is further aged and concentrated through a secondary fermentation process where the vinegar is stored in barrels or tanks for several weeks to months. After aging, the final product is strained and filtered to remove any remaining solids and impurities. This clear liquid is bottled as white vinegar.

The process of making white vinegar can take weeks to several months, depending on the desired concentration. I buy my cleaning vinegar from a zero-waste shop by taking my own glass bottles to the store, saving the environment further. 

10 Reasons To Use White Vinegar When You Clean:

If you have never used vinegar as a cleaning agent, here are ten reasons to give it a go.

  1. Acidity: Vinegar is acidic, which allows it to break down and dissolve dirt, grease, and grime.
  2. Anti-bacterial properties: Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, effective in killing germs and bacteria on contact. 
  3. Safe for use on most surfaces: Because vinegar is non-toxic, it is safe for stainless steel, glass, and plastic. Also, hardwood floors, countertops, and tiles. See the ‘Do Not’ section below for surfaces that do not like vinegar.
  1. Eco-friendly: Vinegar is a great eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemical cleaners that can harm the environment. 
  2. Affordable: Vinegar is a cheap and readily available household item, and doesn’t require any special equipment or cleaning products, making it an economical choice for cleaning. 
  3. Effective: Vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent for grease, dirt, and stains.
  4. Multi-purpose: Vinegar can clean almost everything in your home, from windows to floors, bathrooms to kitchen appliances.
  5. Deodorizer: Vinegar can neutralize odors in your home, making it an effective deodorizer for carpets, upholstery, and other soft furnishings.
  6. Safe for pets: Vinegar is also safe for households with pets. It can also neutralize pet smells. 
  7. Safe for humans. It is safe for children and people prone to allergies. If it gets on your skin, it may cause irritation, yet it is not toxic.

“Safe for humans. It is safe for children and people prone to allergies.”

10 Ten Vinegar Hacks:

Use the simple hacks below to help you clean more efficiently, effectively and eco-friendly. 

  1. All-purpose cleaner: Mix equal parts of water and vinegar and use it as an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down counters, tabletops, and other surfaces.
  2. Shower head cleaner: Remove the shower head or filters. Fill a bowl with vinegar and drop in the shower head. Leave it for a few hours or overnight, then run the shower to rinse off the vinegar.
  3. Microwave cleaner: If you still use a microwave, mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for five minutes, then wipe down the inside of the microwave with a damp cloth.
  4. Carpet stain remover: Mix equal parts water and vinegar and apply the mixture to the stain. Let it sit for five minutes, then blot it with a clean cloth.
  5. Toilet bowl cleaner: Pour vinegar into the toilet bowl and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Scrub the bowl with a toilet brush and flush. If this does not work, add a few scoops of bicarbonate of soda to the bowl, then add a cup of vinegar and let it fizz before scrubbing. 
  6. Window cleaner: Mix equal quantities of water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray on windows and wipe with a microfiber cloth.
  7. Dishwasher cleaner: Place a cup of vinegar in the dishwasher’s top rack and run an empty cycle on hot.
  8. Laundry cleaner: Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to soften clothes, and remove odors and stains.
  9. Bathtub and shower cleaner: Mix equal parts of vinegar and dish soap in a spray bottle, spray on the bathtub or shower walls, scrub with a brush, and rinse with water.
  10. Wood floor cleaner: Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray over the floor. Use a microfiber mop to clean hardwood floors.

A Warning Before You Begin Cleaning With White Vinegar:

It is always best to test a small inconspicuous area before using any cleaning solution, including white vinegar. You do not want to start on large or visible surfaces. Make sure to dilute the vinegar with water in a proper ratio (e.g., 1:1 or 1:2). Use a soft cloth, sponge, or brush to apply it gently, then rinse or wipe it off with clean water.

Do not use white vinegar on natural stone surfaces, such as marble, granite, or travertine, as it can etch or damage the surface over time. (My own marble floor can vouch to this! Long story including an eager and helpful son with big feet!)

Do Not Use Vinegar:

  • On unsealed grout, which can loosen or discolor.
  • On waxed or oiled surfaces, as it can break down the protective coating and leavThis post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something Kuel Life may earn a commission. Thank you for your support.e the surface vulnerable to damage.
  • Undiluted on delicate fabrics, silk, or leather, as it can cause discoloration or damage.
  • Remember Balsamic vinegar is only suitable for your salads, it will make a nightmare mess if used for cleaning. Keep it white.

Happy white vinegar cleaning- simplicity itself. Do you want to know more? Why not send me a message, or buy my cleaning book here – How to Clean Your Home Organically: De-stress Your Surroundings

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Kay Newton

About the Author:

Kay is the founder of Midlife Strategies, an award-winning International Speaker, and enthusiastic author. She is an acknowledged expert guiding women to find their mojo, through the Midlife Squeeze.

Kay’s books include: 

Today, Kay lives a simple life next to a beach in Mallorca, Spain. You can find Kay here: www.KayNewton.com.

2 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why And How To Use White Vinegar When You Clean

  1. Marjorie says:

    Thanks for sharing this in such detail Kay! I have used it for a few of these but wow, love it!!

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