The Best Uses for White Vinegar

I love frugal everyday products that we can use in our home for multiple purposes.  White vinegar is one of those.  Today I’m going to share with you the best uses for white vinegar. 

best uses for vinegar

We are also going to answer the common question, “what is cleaning vinegar used for?”  We’ll also talk about whether it’s worth it to buy the cleaning vinegar over regular vinegar and where to buy cleaning vinegar if you decide it’s something you want to purchase.

Usually we hear about all the benefits of apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar has amazing benefits and uses as well.  


Dissolving hard water deposits

This is one of my favorite uses for vinegar.  We have hard water and we often have build up in places like our tea kettles, shower head, and coffee makers.  Vinegar will help dissolve hard water. 

For my kettles I just pour a bunch in the bottom of the kettle and let it sit for awhile until the hard water is no longer stuck to the bottom.  For a showerhead you can put some vinegar in a plastic sandwich bag. 

Wrap it around the head of the shower and secure it with an elastic.  Leave it on there for a few hours, or even overnight. 

For a coffee maker you want to run vinegar through the coffeemaker to deal with the hard water.  You can see more thorough instructions of how to clean your coffee maker with vinegar here.

Cleaning out the microwave

The microwave is the appliance that often gets forgotten in my house.  By the time I notice it needs to be washed, it’s a big mess.  But no need to be discouraged by the look of your microwave because it’s actually very easy to clean with some vinegar.  Just put about a cup of vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl and put it on high for a couple minutes.  

Once it’s done you’ll be able to wipe down the inside of your microwave with ease.  You’ll be so impressed with how easily the grime and dirt come off.

Clean your windows

I like to mix vinegar and water into a bottle and add a few drops of essential oils.  You don’t need the essential oils but they do add a bit more cleaning power and a nice scent.  Cleaning your windows with vinegar and water is a super frugal option.  You can also clean your mirrors with the same method.  Check out this all-purpose cleaner recipe.

Clean up your stainless steel appliances

Use vinegar and a dry cloth or paper towels to clean up your stainless steel fridge or stove, microwave or dishwasher.  Those stainless steel appliances are gorgeous, but boy do they show fingerprints like nobody’s business, am I right?  Thankfully, vinegar will take care of that problem rather easily.

Cleaning up pet messes

Three years ago we got our first dog.  I’ve never had a dog in my life before and it never dawned on me that I’d be dealing with things like…well….dog puke. 

And why, oh why is it always in the only place in the house that either has carpet,or the dog just happens to be on the couch at that point (I guess that’s why some keep their pets off the couch.  Smart. : ) ) 

Anyways, whenever that happens I scrub it out with some vinegar and in a spray bottle.  This not only cleans, but also prevents any horrible odor from happening.

Unclog your drain

Pour some baking soda down your drain and then top it off with pouring some vinegar.  This dual action method can unclog drains and will clean your sink up while you are at it!

Brighten up your glassware

Every once in awhile I notice my glasses looking dull from all that hard water.  That’s when I know it’s time to fill a sink with warm water and add a bunch of vinegar in the water.  I let my glasses sit there for about 20 minutes and then I use a cloth to clean then up and let them dry. No more water spots!


As the name suggests, cleaning vinegar is used for…well, cleaning (though you can use it for other things.)  What’s the difference between the regular vinegar you buy from the store and cleaning vinegar? 

Cleaning vinegar has a higher acidity level.  It isn’t much, just 1%, but that 1% makes it 20% stronger than regular vinegar.  Regular vinegar has an acidity level of about 5% and cleaning vinegar is 6%.


This post contains affiliate links.  Please see our full disclosure here.

Most places that you can buy regular white vinegar, you can buy cleaning vinegar, so check your local grocery store or department store.  You can also get it on Amazon here if that’s easier for you (and I don’t know about you, but anything I can order online these days instead of going out to buy, I am all about!)


While it may seem like vinegar is that multipurpose product that cleans anything, there are a few things you don’t want to clean vinegar with as it can ruin some things.  Porous stone is one of these things.  Some people have porous stone countertops.  Vinegar will damage it.

You also shouldn’t use vinegar to clean up egg that you spilled.  I know, it sounds weird, but vinegar reacts with the egg and makes it more difficult to clean up.  So next time you drop an egg on the ground (or your child does when you ask them to carry the eggs….) don’t reach for the vinegar because you’ll regret it.

You also don’t want to put vinegar in your washing machine.  I know many people do because it can help clean your clothes and brighten them up, however, vinegar can actually ruin the rubber in your washing machine.  Eventually this can cause your washing machine to leak and let’s not talk about how expensive it is to get a washing machine fixed.  Nobody likes doing that.

It’s even recommended to not use vinegar in your dishwasher for the same reason you shouldn’t use it in your washing machine.  Now, for me, I don’t mind using it once in awhile for these purposes, but you don’t want to use it regularly or can deteriorate your appliances.


Now that you know what the best uses are for white vinegar, you can go around cleaning what you need to with this super cheap product.  And on top of that you can use it for cooking, of course.  I love how versatile it is.

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