Vinegar: the magic cleaner around the house

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White distilled vinegar is more than just for cooking. All over your home, there’s a whole range of things you can use it for just on its own. We give you 15 reasons why it’s better than soap for your household cleaning.

It’s cheap, readily available and extremely versatile; vinegar can cut grease, remove odours and even repel bugs. It’s also a safer, natural alternative to bleach and other household detergents.

So have a bottle or two of undiluted white distilled vinegar ready (it’s more convenient in a spray bottle!), as we show you 15 ways to use vinegar to manage a spotless home, and save money too!

Clean

  • Clean glass windows, greasy oven doors and glassware by spraying on undiluted vinegar and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then wipe away with newspaper or a sponge.
  • Adhesive residue from tape and glue can be cleaned off by wiping off with undiluted vinegar.
  • To remove residue buildup from glass bottles, pour in hot water and vinegar in equal parts and leave for an hour, then scrub the inside with a brush.
  • Effectively rid grime, soap scum, mold and mildew in your bathroom by wiping with undiluted white distilled vinegar and wash off with water. You can also bring the shine back to chrome taps by polishing with vinegar.
  • Say goodbye to white water rings from wood furniture with a half-and-half white distilled vinegar and vegetable oil solution. Simply rub the solution on the stain along the grain of the wood.
  • Calcium and mineral build-up on ceramic heaters in some kitchen appliances can be easily removed by pouring on undiluted white distilled vinegar, and scrubbing off the remaining calcium deposits after 20 minutes.

Deodorise

  • Wipe away bad smells on kitchen countertops with an undiluted vinegar-soaked sponge or cloth.
  • Use diluted white distilled vinegar for a final wipe in your just-cleaned oven to avoid smell while heating up.
  • Use a vinegar-dampened cloth to wipe up plastic food containers with stains or a lingering smell.
  • You can freshen up your toilet bowl by pouring in 750ml of white distilled vinegar and letting it rest for ½ an hour before you flush.
  • Eliminate accumulated smells from sponges and rags by soaking them in water (just enough water to cover the contents), then add in 60ml of white distilled vinegar and leave it overnight.
  • Smells from garbage bins and rubbish chutes can be eliminated by pouring in a cup of vinegar, and leaving it in for an hour before rinsing with water.
  • Leaving a bowl of vinegar in a room overnight will eliminate any lasting smell.

Repel bugs

  • Ant problem? Spray some undiluted vinegar at your doorways, windowsills, around your appliances or just anywhere you find them to stop them in their tracks.
  • Fruit flies hate vinegar too. A small dish of undiluted vinegar near your fruits will keep fruit flies at bay.

Disclaimer

Do remember that vinegar is an acid (though a weak one); certain kitchen appliance manufacturers do have an (often strong) opinion about using it in their products, particularly dishwashers and washing machines that have rubber components to ensure water-tightness. So make sure to read the instruction manual for your kitchen appliance for advice and clarification before using vinegar on it.