5 Clever Vinegar Hacks!

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fruit in bowl with water

We go through A LOT of vinegar in our home. This is not because we like to pickle things or eat a lot of fish and chips. Vinegar is an amazing cleaning product! It’s inexpensive, it’s readily available, and so many people already clean with it, but may not know why.

Why Use Vinegar For Cleaning?

First of all, vinegar is a great deodorizer. This might seem counterintuitive because many people think vinegar stinks, but vinegar seeks out those terrible odors, traps them, and ultimately gets rid of them. The next vinegar does well is de-grease, by lifting dirt and grease to the surface. And finally, it leaves a nice streak free shine, which is why it’s such a fantastic glass cleaner.

A couple things to keep in mind when you’re using vinegar. It can be harmful if it gets into your eyes, so be careful. What you want to look for is plain, white, 5% vinegar. Make sure that you don’t use it on any natural stone surfaces like marble, travertine or quartz because, over time, it can ruin the finish. Now let’s get to those five great hacks.

Fruit & Vegetable Wash

You’ve probably noticed that some of your produce has a waxy coating on it. That’s a combination of pesticides and other products that are used to safeguard your produce while it’s in transport and to help it last longer. But truthfully, you probably don’t want to be eating it, even though it’s FDA approved. To remove that film simply make up your own produce wash:

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  1. Mix together: 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of vinegar.
  2. You can either put this in a spray bottle, or if you have something like grapes, you can pour it directly into a clean bowl or even a sink.
  3. Spray your produce, or put your produce inside that bowl/sink and let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. After the produce has soaked, just give it a good rinse and dry it. Now it’s clean and ready to be eaten.

laundry machines

Laundry Booster

Vinegar is a great helper when you’re doing your laundry, and one of my all-time favorite laundry hacks. Just pour a bunch of vinegar in all the different compartments. It helps to lighten and/or brighten fabrics—depending on the color of your fabric—and it helps to soften your fabrics and deodorize them. If anything’s a little bit stinky vinegar is definitely going to help out. Then, you can just take your clothes and either hang them to dry or put them in the dryer. You’ll notice a big difference, and don’t worry, your clothes are not going to come out smelling like vinegar!

loading the dishwasher

Dishwasher Cleaner

There’s a good chance you haven’t cleaned your dishwasher in a while. Honestly, I haven’t either. However, we can both clean our dishwashers very easily with nothing more than vinegar and baking soda. Start by emptying your dishwasher before you go to bed. It’s okay if there are dirty dishes, just pile them onto your counter or into your sink—it’ll be okay, I promise! Take a cup of baking soda and throw it around the bottom of the dishwasher and let it sit overnight. This will deodorize the dishwasher as a first step.

In the morning, run the dishwasher on a super hot cycle to remove all the baking soda. Now we’ll start the dishwasher again. For the first couple of minutes, your dishwasher starts to fill with hot water, you want to stop it right there, open it up and dump 2 cups of white vinegar into that water. The vinegar is going to break down odors, remove deposits from detergent, and neutralize other bacteria that builds up. Again, you want that cycle to be super hot—the sanitize cycle if possible. Once that’s done, your dishwasher will smell better and look a lot better too. Remember to reload your dishwasher with those dirty dishes you took out the night before, too!

using flat weave cloth

Glass Cleaner

As you probably know, one of my all-time favorite uses for vinegar is cleaning glass. Get yourself a clean spray bottle and add equal parts water and white vinegar, then slowly add about a teaspoon of cornstarch. Give it a good shake and use that to clean your glass. The vinegar will help remove any of that dirt and grease, while the cornstarch works as a gentle abrasive. And of course, when you’re cleaning glass or mirrors, you want to make sure that you’re using a high-quality microfiber cloth so that you don’t leave any streaks behind.

Make Your Cutlery Sparkle

This is a great tip that I learned from working at a steakhouse. You know when your cutlery starts to get those weird spots on them that don’t come off even after they’ve been cleaned?  Well, this trick will solve that problem. Take boiling hot water, about a cup or two, and add a cup of white vinegar. All of this should be done in a shallow dish or container big enough to submerge the cutlery. Then, simply dump your cutlery into that container and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, pull the cutlery out one by one (if the water is still super hot, you might want to wear gloves to do this) and using a microfiber cloth you’re going to wipe the cutlery wherever it needs it. I love to do this before we have guests over for dinner—it really makes our flatware shine!

Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Melissa,
    Thank you for your precious advices!!!
    Very helpful for me to set a cleaning routine that works.

    I also use vinegar and baking soda to clean.
    I wanted to know, is there a possibility that the use bleach is recommended instead of baking soda for cleaning surfaces or not?
    Waiting for your kind reply,
    Regards from Italy,

  2. Gosh,Melissa! You’re a Godsend and my cleaning hero! You’re so motivating and know so much. I’m taking small baby steps but eventually I’m hoping I’ll get there. Thanks so much for all you do, congrats to you and your hubby on your beautiful baby, and for making cleaning fun. You’re a great motivator. I’m a devoted fan and love your videos. I watch and rewatch all the time. Thanks for freely sharing your knowledge and techniques and great hacks.
    All the best and keep it up.
    Xoxo, Rachel. 🇨🇦🇺🇸🐈🐈🐈🐈❤️💄😘🌷

  3. Thank you Melissa for your GREAT tips on cleaning floors, and everything as well as walls with the simple solution. I certainly would like to try it. This is something I have been wanting to use because I had been using all different kinds of products, and they were very expensive and chemically strong.
    I have never written any reply online but you I prefer, My goodness, you are darling, so sweet on your profession. Thank you, BG

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