8 DIY Ways To Clean Your Home With Apple Cider Vinegar
When you are looking for a home cleaner, you might be tempted to run to your nearest drugstore and grab a bottle of an all-purpose solution. However, there is another all-purpose tonic that might be right in your kitchen, if you're in the mood to try your hand at the DIY approach.
Make an all-purpose kitchen cleaner.
Long gone are the days of buying a new cleaner for every kitchen appliance. Thanks to the antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar1, many folks use it to make all-purpose cleaners. To try it for yourself, combine 2 cups water and ½ to 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. Use the solution to clean surfaces throughout your kitchen, including the countertops, microwave, and refrigerator. (Don't use it on granite or marble countertops, though. The acidity of vinegar can ruin the shine of stone, so opt for an all-natural stone cleaner instead.)
Wipe down your windows.
Let's be real: You don't need a bright blue liquid to freshen up a window. A diluted ACV solution can get the job done. First, wipe the window with a dry cloth to remove dust. Spritz the window with your all-purpose ACV cleaner, then wipe with a paper towel. Quickly dry the window with a microfiber cloth or dry paper towel to prevent streaking.
Remove coffee stains from mugs.
If you're an avid drinker of coffee or tea, you know all about those unsightly (and inevitable) mug stains. Luckily, with a bit of apple cider vinegar, it is possible to get rid of them. Carefully pour equal parts ACV and hot water into the mug. Let soak for at least 30 minutes, then scrub with a steel wool pad. For extra cleaning power, you can add some coarse sea salt or baking soda before scrubbing.
Freshen up your cutting boards.
Cutting boards can harbor a lot of bacteria and odors, especially if you frequently cook at home. So, in addition to regularly washing them with hot soapy water, take it even further by applying apple cider vinegar. Some people like to wipe down their cutting boards with undiluted ACV, while others prefer to use the diluted solution mentioned above. However, it's worth mentioning that vinegar can naturally stain wood, so use caution if you have wooden cutting boards.
Trap fruit flies, once and for all.
Is your kitchen ridden with fruit flies? Make a quick and easy trap with apple cider vinegar. Pour ACV into a small jar until it's one-third full. Add a teaspoon of Castile soap on top, then leave it out on the countertop near your sink (or wherever the buggers are hanging out). The apple cider vinegar will attract the flies, while the soap will hold 'em hostage.
Clean the drains.
Take a tip from grade school science and clean your drains with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain, then follow with 1 cup apple cider vinegar. The combo will fizz and foam like a science fair experiment—minus the food coloring. The foam helps break down gunk in drains, while the baking soda and ACV deodorizes stinky odors. Wait at least 15 minutes, then pour hot water down the drain. This method is commonly used for routine maintenance, but you might have to try it several times if your drains are super clogged.
There's just one catch, though: Never try this after using a commercial drain cleaner, as the vinegar might negatively react with the chemicals.
Scrub the toilet.
When it comes to all-natural home cleaning, many people use apple cider vinegar as a toilet cleaner. One method is to spray apple cider vinegar in the toilet bowl, let sit for 15 minutes, then scrub and flush. Alternatively, you can pour ½ to 1 cup of ACV into the bowl instead of spraying it. Some folks like to add a light layer of baking soda to the bowl before scrubbing.
Get rid of mildew and soap scum.
While you're cleaning the bathroom, remove mildew and soap scum with apple cider vinegar. You can use it in a diluted spray or cleansing scrub. To make the latter, combine ¼ cup baking soda, 1 to 2 tablespoons Castile soap, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Stir to form a thick paste, then use to clean the sink, bathtub, and mirror.
The bottom line:
Apple cider vinegar can act as a multipurpose home-cleaning product for a plethora of uses (it doesn't need to replace your other cleaning products but can act as a complement). While apple cider vinegar has a strong odor at first, the smell of ACV does eventually fade. If you truly can't stand the odor while using it, add a few drops of essential oil to your ACV cleaning solution or paste—it will help. And as with any cleaner (natural or otherwise), always do a spot test before doing a complete clean to make sure you don't have a reaction. Feeling crafty? Learn how to make your own apple cider vinegar with our step-by-step guide.
Kirsten Nunez is a health and lifestyle journalist based in Beacon, New York. She has a Master of Science in Nutrition from Texas Woman's University and Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from SUNY Oneonta. Kirsten specializes in nutrition, fitness, food, and DIY; her work has been featured in a variety of publications, including eHow, SparkPeople, and international editions of Cosmopolitan. She also creates recipes for food product packaging.