Vinegar for cleaning

More beautiful flowers

More beautiful and longer lasting flowers can be obtained by cleaning the outside of their terracotta pots, brushing them with warm water and vinegar and then rinsing. This clears the pores in the terracotta and allows the roots to breathe. Vinegar also prolongs the life of cut flowers: add two spoonfuls to the water, along with two spoonfuls of sugar.

Remove stale air

Stale air, for example in rooms where someone has been smoking, can be removed with one or two containers for vinegar. Likewise if a room has been painted to counteract the annoying smell of fresh paint.


Laundry is better when you add a few spoonfuls of vinegar to your normal detergent. This helps very dirty garments to release grease and also makes fabrics softer. Coloured items will not fade if you add a couple of spoonfuls of vinegar to the rinsing water. For waterproofs stained with mud, leave the coat to dry and scrape the mud off, then rub with a solution of water and vinegar, gradually adding more vinegar. Once the mark has gone, blot the place repeatedly with plain water and leave to dry completely before use. Stains on fabrics can be treated and removed by blotting with white vinegar. If a t-shirt is stained with deodorant, soak it in water and vinegar before washing. Whitewash stains on work clothes can be removed by scrubbing with vinegar. Wool can be washed in vinegar and water to prevent felting. In the same way woollen blankets can be soaked in water and vinegar after washing, and returned to their original softness.


Floors in recently painted rooms lose all traces of plaster and dust if they are washed in water and vinegar, then rinsed with plain water.

Wooden furniture

Unpainted wooden furniture can be polished using equal parts of oil and vinegar, following the grain of the wood and rubbing with a soft, dry cloth. If wax has dropped on the wood, it can be gently scratched off, then removed using a warm iron and a piece of absorbent paper. When all the wax is gone, simply rub with a cloth soaked in vinegar and allow to dry. Lacquered wood regains its shine when it's cleaned with a cloth soaked in warm water and vinegar, following the grain of the wood and drying immediately with a soft cloth.

Copper and brass

Copper and brass can be cleaned by rubbing with coarse salt and vinegar before rinsing with plain water and drying with a soft cloth.

Windows and balcony glass, chandeliers etc…

The glass of windows and balconies, chandeliers, ornaments and other items can be washed with equal parts of warm water and vinegar. If there is evidence of flies or other insects, the patina left on the surface by the vinegar will discourage insects, allowing your glass to stay clean much longer.

In the steam iron

Steam irons are often affected by limescale. To remedy this, fill the iron with equal parts of water and vinegar, then heat it and release a little steam, then unplug the iron and leave it in a vertical position until it's completely cold; empty and rinse with clean water. If you want to clean the grill, just rub it with warm vinegar and fine salt.

The washing machine

The washing machine tends to accumulate limescale in its tubing. This can be dissolved by pouring in 4 litres of vinegar diluted in water, and washing at 90° with the machine empty. Water and vinegar are also recommended for cleaning the inside and outside of the washing machine; wipe over afterwards with a sponge soaked in plain water.

Stains on the washbasin

Stains on the washbasin, taps and other places can be removed by wiping with a sponge soaked in warm vinegar, then rinsing and drying thoroughly. If the grilles of taps and shower heads become blocked, unscrew them and immerse them in vinegar until the limescale dissolves. The shower cabin can be cleaned by wiping the glass with a coarse sponge soaked in white vinegar, then rinsing and drying thoroughly. If there are mould marks on the shower curtain, wash it with water and vinegar, and re-hang it without rinsing.

Glass and crystal

There's nothing better than vinegar for glass and crystal. Glasses and bottles washed and then rinsed in a vinegar solution (2-3 tablespoons in a litre of water) will be clear and shiny as new without the need for drying; just turn them upside down and leave them to dry.

Pots and crockery

Encrusted burnt food on a pot? Vinegar's an excellent solution. Just pour some in and leave it to work for half an hour. If you're in a hurry you can boil the vinegar in the pan, either on its own or with a little water, until the crust comes off completely. Vinegar is an exceptional degreaser. A few spoonfuls added to the dishwashing water means you waste less detergent; and your dishes will be completely odour-free.

Removing limescale

Removing limescale from kettles and other recipients? First fill with 2/3 vinegar, 1/3 water and a handful of salt. Boil for a few minutes, then turn off and leave for 12 hours. Rinse well before using. The same method, with more water and less vinegar, works well for teapots and aluminium pots marked by limescale. If the marks are on stainless steel, a sponge soaked in warm vinegar will remove them easily. Does your thermos smell stale after being closed for a time? Just wash it with hot water and vinegar, and rinse with cold water.

Coffee pot and cups

If the coffee pot is encrusted, scrub it with vinegar and fine salt, then rinse well and leave open to dry. Cups stained by tea or coffee can be scrubbed with fine salt moistened with vinegar, then rinsed with clean water.


A stainless steel sink marked by limescale or water can be cleaned with a sponge soaked in vinegar, If it's blocked, pour boiling vinegar down the plughole, then wait at least an hour before running water.

The dishwasher

Every so often, and especially when you're away from home for a while, the dishwasher needs to run on empty. Add a litre of vinegar when you do this.

The fridge

If the fridge smells bad it needs to be emptied and cleaned, then place a small bowl of hot vinegar on one of the shelves. When it cools, repeat the operation if necessary. For ordinary fridge cleaning, scented detergents are not recommended; instead use a sponge with water and vinegar, then rinse with clean water and dry.

The oven

The oven needs to be degreased. A sponge soaked in vinegar wiped over the walls, and repeated if necessary, will do the job nicely.

Unpleasant smells

Unpleasant smells in the kitchen arise when you fry food or cook cauliflower; they can be overcome by boiling vinegar and water in a small pan. Or even by sprinkling a few drops of vinegar on the hotplate. Or by adding a couple of spoonfuls of vinegar, or a piece of bread soaked in vinegar, to the cooking water.

Hands that smell of fish

If your hands smell of fish, onion or something else, vinegar is a true friend. Just wet your hands with vinegar, then rinse with water and vinegar.