You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, the saying goes. But we’re talking about cleaning your house, here, and vinegar is your best bet, especially if you want to keep things au naturel.
A typical 1:1 ratio of water to white vinegar can clean just about anything in the house. And here are some specifics, one room at a time.
In the Kitchen
1. In this DIY dish soap, vinegar joins forces with Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds to take your dirty dishes to task.
2. As a natural all-purpose spray, vinegar can’t be beat. You can soften the vinegar smell with essential oils and citrus peel and use it on just about any surface, from the inside of the fridge to countertops. (However, avoid using on marble and granite.)
3. The acid in vinegar also cuts grease beautifully. Add vinegar to regular dish soap and water to wipe down stove-adjacent cabinets, or any surface where grease builds up.
4. Similarly, go at the baked-on gunk on your oven racks with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. They’ll sparkle.
5. Grab your brass accessories. As long as the brass isn’t lacquered, you can use vinegar, salt, and flour to make it shine again, or, if it’s a small item, soak it in a 2:1 vinegar bath.
6. Let a 2:1 ratio of water and vinegar run through the coffee maker to help remove mineral buildup — especially necessary if you use tap water.
7. Put a cup of vinegar in the top rack of your dishwasher and run it, empty, to sanitize. You can also put another cup in the bottom, if you’d like.
8. Mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda with hot water and soak your gross baking pans.
In the laundry room
9. Add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to brighten whites. Just don’t mix vinegar and bleach.
10. Or pre-soak your clothes in a vinegar solution to keep colors from running.
11. And, just like your dishwasher, you can keep your washer deodorized and sanitized by running an empty load with a cup or two of vinegar. Regular vinegar rinses will get rid of soap scum and that weird mildew smell.
In the bathroom
12. Simply use the classic 1:1 vinegar solution to wipe down all surfaces.
13. Vinegar is great for treating limescale. Soak your shower head in vinegar for an hour or more to get it gleaming and to help unclog whatever’s clogged. This can work for the taps on your sink as well.
14. Combined with essential oils and washing soda, vinegar makes an excellent DIY toilet bowl cleaner.
15. And for bath toys, which are secret harbingers of mold, bacteria and other yuck, just a ½ cup of vinegar put in a gallon of water makes for a sanitizing soak.
16. And for serious soap scum and water spots, use vinegar plus dishwashing liquid.
Throughout the house
17. If you’re lucky enough to have wood floors, treat them well with a DIY solution of vinegar, water, olive oil, and essential oil. (Check first, though, to be sure your finish can handle it). The solution works great on most non-wood flooring as well.
18. A simple solution that includes vinegar and cornstarch is perfect for cleaning both windows and glass throughout the house. Stubborn grime doesn’t stand a chance.
19. And to deodorize any room, Lifehacker has the world’s simplest solution: put a bowl of vinegar in the corner. Offending smells begone, in a matter of hours.