vinegar cleaner in clear spray bottles

The Only Vinegar Cleaner Recipe You Need

By Megan Edwards,

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Detox your spring cleaning routine with a DIY cleaner made from a powerhouse pantry staple: distilled white vinegar. Mixed with water and optional natural scent enhancers, this easy recipe is great at removing grime, grease, and odor around the kitchen. The vinegar base contains 5% acetic acid, a natural cleanser and mild disinfectant that kills common foodborne bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.

Apart from being environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and pleasant on the nose, a homemade vinegar cleaner doesn’t require the same safety precautions as strong chemical-based cleaners that can irritate your skin, eyes, and airways. Just keep in mind that vinegar isn’t enough to eliminate COVID-19 or other cold-causing viruses, so we recommend using a stronger commercial disinfectant for more serious sanitizing jobs.

DIY Vinegar Cleaner Recipe

In a 16-ounce glass spray bottle combine 8 ounces of distilled white vinegar and 8 ounces of water. Optional: Add a few long strips of lemon zest and/or a handful of fresh rosemary sprigs, or 5 to 10 drops of lavender or lemongrass essential oil. Adding scent isn’t essential for the solution to be effective, but it adds a pleasant aroma to everything you clean!

Use Vinegar Cleaner For:

  • Stainless-steel appliances. Use a microfiber cloth to buff out stains, going with the grain in small circles.
  • Greasy stove tops. Spritz liberally, let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then gently wipe away.
  • Sinks and tile counters. Sponges or soft bristle brushes are ideal for using with vinegar cleaner on these surfaces.
  • Cloudy glasses and dirty windows. Spray glassware and windows, let sit for a few minutes, and then wipe to remove grime and hard water mineral deposits.
  • Trash cans. Vinegar is great for wiping down and deodorizing stinky bins.

Use Something Stronger (or Gentler) to Clean:

  • Stone countertops and wood floors. Vinegar can etch granite and marble, ruining its natural shine. It can also eat away at the enamel on hardwood paneling, causing it to dull or warp.
  • Metal and rubber appliances. Acetic acid can corrode low-quality metal and rubber parts used in coffee makers or blenders.
  • Medical gear. Despite the mild disinfectant properties of vinegar, rubbing alcohol works better for sanitizing thermometers or pulse oximeters.
  • Light switches and door handles. Stop the spread of germs by using a stronger cleaner to wipe down these frequently touched surfaces.
  • Children’s toys. Hot soapy water or a mild bleach solution is better for disinfecting germ-gathering items.

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About the Author

Headshot of Megan Edwards

About the Author

Megan Edwards

Megan Edwards is a staff writer and content producer for Forks Over Knives. She is also a certified RYT-500 yoga teacher who is passionate about cultivating holistic wellness through plant-based eating, mindful movement, and meditation. With a background in journalism and marketing, she supports both the online presence and quarterly print magazine for Forks Over Knives.
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