How to Make an Effective Vinegar Cleaner That Smells Good

Vinegar is an effective and natural cleaning agent that can be used to clean a variety of surfaces in your home. With the addition of some simple ingredients, you can make homemade vinegar cleaners that will leave your home clean, disinfected, and smelling fresh.

Why Use Vinegar as a Cleaner?

Vinegar has several properties that make it a great cleaner:

  • Acidity – Vinegar is acidic, which helps dissolve mineral deposits, grease, and grime. The acidic nature of vinegar also makes it antimicrobial, killing bacteria and viruses.
  • Cutting grease – The acetic acid in vinegar cuts through grease and grime easily. Vinegar can help clean oily surfaces like kitchen counters and appliances.
  • Non-toxic – Vinegar is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. It’s safe to use on most surfaces.
  • Deodorizing – Vinegar neutralizes odors rather than covering them up. It’s great for removing smells from surfaces.
  • Streak-free cleaning – Vinegar doesn’t leave streaks or film behind like some cleaners. It will leave surfaces sparkling clean.
  • Affordable – Vinegar is an inexpensive alternative to commercial cleaners. Making DIY cleaners with vinegar provides an economical way to keep your home clean.

Basic Vinegar Cleaning Solution

The basic vinegar cleaning solution is easy to make with just two ingredients:


  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 1 part water


  1. Pour equal parts white vinegar and water into a spray bottle. For example, 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water.
  2. Shake bottle to combine.
  3. Use this solution as an all-purpose cleaner to clean countertops, kitchen appliances, windows, mirrors, floors, and other surfaces.
  4. For heavily soiled areas, allow the solution to sit for a few minutes before wiping to allow the vinegar to penetrate the dirt.
  5. Wipe surface clean with a dry cloth or paper towel after spraying the vinegar solution.

This simple vinegar solution helps cut through grease and grime. The vinegar smell dissipates as it dries.

Adding Essential Oils for Scent

While the vinegar smell goes away as it dries, you can add a few drops of essential oil to your vinegar cleaning solution to leave a light, pleasant aroma.

Some essential oils options to try:

  • Lemon – Bright, uplifting citrus scent
  • Lavender – Calming floral aroma
  • Peppermint – Invigorating minty smell
  • Grapefruit – Fresh, cheerful citrus scent
  • Tea tree – Clean, medicinal smell
  • Eucalyptus – Cooling, minty scent


  1. Make basic vinegar cleaning solution (1 part vinegar, 1 part water).
  2. Add 5-10 drops of your chosen essential oil.
  3. Shake bottle to distribute oil throughout the solution.
  4. Use as you would the basic vinegar cleaner.

The essential oil provides a lovely scent while the vinegar works to clean and disinfect surfaces. This is a great option for kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas you want to leave lightly scented.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Solution

Baking soda boosts the cleaning power of vinegar. The combination of the acidity of vinegar and the abrasiveness of baking soda makes an effective cleaner and odor neutralizer.


  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 quart warm water


  1. Add baking soda to a spray bottle.
  2. Pour in vinegar and let fizz.
  3. Once fizzing stops, add warm water.
  4. Shake well before each use.
  5. Spray solution on surface and scrub with a sponge or brush.
  6. Rinse with clean water and dry with a cloth.

Use this solution for cleaning tough grime on surfaces, scrubbing tile and grout, or even unclogging drains. The baking soda scrubs while the vinegar disinfects.

Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfectant

The combination of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide makes a powerful disinfectant solution. Hydrogen peroxide boosts the antimicrobial effects of vinegar.


  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 cup water


  1. Combine ingredients in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake to mix.
  3. Spray on surfaces and let sit for several minutes.
  4. Wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Use this solution to thoroughly disinfect and sanitize kitchen counters, bathroom surfaces, doorknobs, toys, litter boxes, and any area that needs disinfecting. The vinegar neutralizes odors as the hydrogen peroxide kills germs.

Vinegar Floor Cleaner

Vinegar makes an effective and affordable floor cleaner. It helps remove grease spills, scuff marks, and dirt from tile, vinyl, and sealed hardwood floors.


  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 gallon warm water


  1. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 gallon warm water in a bucket.
  2. For a pleasant scent, add 5-10 drops essential oil like lemon or lavender.
  3. Dip a mop into the solution and mop floors as usual.
  4. Let floors air dry—no rinsing needed.

The vinegar shine on the floors as it dries. Floors are cleaned and disinfected.

For tougher grime, make a paste of 1 part baking soda and 1 part vinegar. Rub into floor with a scrub brush and then rinse.

Vinegar Glass and Window Cleaner

Vinegar easily removes dirt, smudges, and streaks from glass and windows for sparkling clarity.


  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp rubbing alcohol (optional)


  1. Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to combine.
  2. Spray directly onto glass surface.
  3. Wipe clean with a microfiber cloth or crumpled newspaper.
  4. Polish with a clean dry cloth.

The vinegar cuts through grime while the alcohol helps evaporate any streaks or water spots. Your windows will be crystal clear!

Vinegar Bathroom Cleaner

Vinegar makes an effective and affordable cleaner for all bathroom surfaces. Its antibacterial propertieskeep the bathroom hygienic and odor-free.


  • Toilet bowls – Pour 1/2 cup vinegar into the toilet bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes then scrub and flush.
  • Bathroom tiles – Spray full-strength white vinegar and wipe tiles clean. Rinse with water.
  • Shower doors – Use undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray on glass doors and wipe away buildup with a cloth.
  • Bathroom sinks – Remove stains and disinfect by spraying vinegar and wiping with a damp cloth.
  • Showerheads – Remove mineral deposits by filling a plastic bag with vinegar and securing around the showerhead. Soak for 30 minutes then rinse.

The natural antibacterial and deodorizing properties of vinegar make it the perfect bathroom cleaner.

Vinegar Wood Furniture Polish

Vinegar’s mild acidity helps restore shine and luster to dull wood furniture.


  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 10-15 drops lemon essential oil (optional for scent)


  1. Pour vinegar and olive oil into a glass spray bottle.
  2. Add lemon oil for fresh scent if desired.
  3. Shake well to combine.
  4. Lightly spray onto wood surfaces.
  5. Rub into wood using a clean soft cloth.
  6. Buff until wood shines.

The olive oil conditions while the vinegar cleans to leave a natural polish.

Vinegar Leather Cleaner

Vinegar can be used to gently clean leather furniture, shoes, purses, and more. It helps preserve leather and retain suppleness.


  1. Make a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts olive oil.
  2. Apply to a clean soft cloth.
  3. Gently wipe leather item to clean dirt and condition the material.
  4. Buff dry with a clean cloth.

Test vinegar solution on a small hidden area first to check for any discoloration. For tougher stains, try rubbing with baking soda first.

Vinegar Produce Wash

Washing fruits and vegetables in diluted vinegar removes dirt, pesticides, and bacteria from the surface.


  1. Fill sink or bowl with cool water. Add 1 cup white vinegar.
  2. Soak produce for 5-10 minutes. Agitate to loosen dirt.
  3. Rinse under running water.
  4. Dry with clean towel.

The vinegar disinfects the produce while loosening debris. It will not affect taste. A vinegar wash helps fruits and veggies stay fresh longer.

Vinegar Garbage Disposal Cleaner

Freshen up smelly garbage disposals with vinegar. It deodorizes, cleans grease, and helps sharpen the blades.


  1. Run hot water into the disposal.
  2. Pour in 1/2 cup baking soda. Let sit for a few minutes.
  3. Pour in 1 cup white vinegar. Listen for fizzing sound.
  4. Flush with cold water for a full minute.

Do this treatment weekly to keep disposals clean and odor-free. The vinegar deodorizes while the baking soda scrubs away gunk.

Tips for Using Vinegar Cleaners

Follow these tips when using vinegar for cleaning:

  • Always test vinegar on a small inconspicuous area first to check for any discoloration.
  • Dilute vinegar with water for use on hardwood floors, stone surfaces, and for regular cleaning. Undiluted vinegar may damage some surfaces.
  • Vinegar can dull or etch certain surfaces like stone countertops with prolonged exposure. Limit contact time.
  • Use white distilled vinegar for cleaning purposes. Other vinegars like apple cider vinegar may stain.
  • Store vinegar solutions in clearly labeled spray bottles. Never mix vinegar with bleach—this creates toxic chlorine gas.
  • Wipe surfaces with clean water and dry after using vinegar to prevent a strong vinegar odor from lingering.
  • Open windows or use fans when working with strong vinegar solutions for ventilation.

Why You Should Use Vinegar as a Cleaner

Vinegar is clearly one of the most versatile, economical, and effective cleaners and disinfectants for home use. Here’s a recap of the key benefits of using vinegar for cleaning:

  • Vinegar is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and safe to use on most surfaces.
  • The acidic nature of vinegar cuts through grease, soap scum, hard water deposits, and grime with ease.
  • Vinegar has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that disinfect as it cleans.
  • It neutralizes odors rather than simply masking them.
  • Solutions made with vinegar are very affordable compared to commercial cleaners.
  • Vinegar removes soap scum, mildew, stains, stickiness and cleans just about everything!
  • It leaves behind no chemical residue, just a fresh clean scent.
  • Vinegar naturally deodorizes smelly garbage disposals, drains, and toilets.
  • It can be used to clean tile, glass, floors, countertops, appliances, and much more.
  • Vinegar removes stains, stickiness, and odors from laundry. It works well as a fabric softener too.

Give vinegar a try as a non-toxic cleaner in your home. With just some simple vinegar solutions, you can tackle all your cleaning needs affordably and effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cleaning with vinegar safe?

Yes, vinegar is generally safe to use for cleaning in your home. White distilled vinegar is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Be sure to dilute vinegar with water for cleaning most surfaces. Undiluted vinegar may damage some surfaces. Always test on a small area first. Open windows and avoid mixing vinegar with other cleaners.

Does vinegar really disinfect?

Yes. Vinegar has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties due to its acetic acid content. Vinegar can effectively kill bacteria, viruses, mold, and germs on surfaces and objects. Using vinegar to clean helps disinfect your home.

How should you use vinegar to clean floors?

Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water. Mop floors with this solution then air dry—no rinsing needed. The vinegar will disinfect and clean the floors while leaving a beautiful sheen. For tougher grime, make a paste with baking soda.

What’s the best way to clean windows with vinegar?

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. For streak-free windows, add a bit of rubbing alcohol. Spray solution onto windows and wipe clean with newspaper or a microfiber cloth. Vinegar will leave windows sparkling clean and streak-free.

How do you use vinegar to clean the bathroom?

Vinegar can clean all bathroom surfaces. For toilets, pour vinegar in the bowl and scrub to disinfect. Use undiluted vinegar to remove soap scum from tile and shower doors. Spray sinks with vinegar and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Can you clean leather with vinegar?

Yes, vinegar can be used to gently clean and condition leather surfaces. Combine a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts olive oil. Apply to a soft cloth and gently wipe leather. Avoid soaking leather in the solution. Test on a small spot first.

Does vinegar sanitize vegetables and fruit?

Adding 1 cup of white vinegar to water creates an effective wash for fruits and vegetables. Soaking produce in the vinegar solution removes pesticides, dirt, and bacteria from the surface. Rinse under running water after a 5-10 minute soak.

What’s the best way to use vinegar as a fabric softener?

Add 1/2 cup vinegar during the rinse cycle instead of commercial fabric softener. Vinegar softens fabrics and neutralizes odors without leaving a smell. It’s an affordable fabric softener option.


Vinegar is truly a versatile natural cleaner that can replace many harsh chemical-based products in your home. With just white distilled vinegar and some simple homemade solutions, you can clean and disinfect all sorts of surfaces affordably and effectively. Harness the cleaning power of vinegar to tackle dirt, grease, grime, and stains throughout your home. Keep a spray bottle of diluted vinegar handy for quick cleaning jobs. With the addition of essential oils or other ingredients like baking soda, the cleaning potential of vinegar is astounding. Vinegar is an economical, eco-friendly way to keep your home fresh, clean, and germ-free.