White distilled vinegar isn't just cooking, this budget-friendly alternative is great for making your kitchen surfaces sparkle to, too.

By Lauren David
April 05, 2021
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White vinegar and cleaning utensils
Credit: Pat_Hastings/Getty

White distilled vinegar may be a staple kitchen ingredient for making salad dressings, sauces, reductions, and pickling. But did you know vinegar can also be used as a cleaner? Vinegar can be mixed with water in a spray bottle, and used directly to wipe down surfaces to keep your kitchen sparkling clean.

White distilled vinegar has about five percent acetic acidity, which is commonly found in many household cleaners. Additionally, this powerful acid is known for tackling mildew and bacteria. Vinegar is a great alternative to chemical-based cleaning products and is more environmentally-friendly. Plus, it's affordable. That explains why they often sell this clear liquid in big gallon jugs in the cleaning section.

Here are eight different ways to use vinegar to clean different surfaces and appliances in the kitchen.

Clean the microwave.

If you notice splatters or food buildup stuck to the side walls of the microwave, you'll enjoy this easy trick for simple but effective cleaning. Mix a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar, such as ¼ cup of vinegar and a ¼ cup of water in a glass bowl and microwave for a couple of minutes, or until the water is boiling. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before opening the door so that the steam helps make your work easier, then wipe the walls clean. 

Clean plastic cutting boards.

These handy boards are an important item in the kitchen. And after each use, it's a good idea to wipe them down with vinegar before washing them, especially if you've cut meat or fish on the board. Spray with vinegar, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then wipe clean with water.

Clean the stove top.

The stove is a hard-working kitchen appliance that gets greasy and dirty easily, even with basic use. To combat the grime, combine equal parts vinegar and water, and spray onto a greasy stove top. Allow the solution to sit for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing with a wet sponge. If grease or food particles don't come off easily you may need to wait a bit longer.

You can also opt for sprinkling a bit of baking soda over the stove top and then spray vinegar over it. You'll notice that when vinegar comes into contact with the bicarbonate, it will start to fizzing. Leave it for several minutes before wiping or scrubbing with a sponge or damp cloth. After a wipe down, you should have a sparkly clean surface.

Descale your coffee maker.

If you use your coffee maker frequently, you may find it often gets left on the back burner when it comes time for cleaning. However, the insides of your coffee maker occasionally need a good cleanse, too. You'll want to remove mineral build up, which is known as descaling.

Mix equal parts vinegar and water and pour into the coffee maker reservoir. Then run the coffee maker as normal, as if you were making a pot of coffee. Then, to help rinse and remove the vinegar smell, repeat the process by running the maker again, but this time, only with water. This may need to be done a few times to completely eliminate the smell and taste of vinegar. But trust me, it's worth the minimal effort to avoid waking up to a pot of exceptionally acidic coffee, yuck.

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Mop the floors.

Who says you need a special cleanser to mop the floors? Combine an equal amount of vinegar and water to minimize the overpowering acid in vinegar. Ta-da, you have a fabulous ready-to-go floor cleaner. Mop the floor and you'll notice how easily and quickly it cuts through dirt and grease.

Remove tough stains on sheet pans.

Are there a lot of hardened food particles stuck on your sheet pans that you can't get clean? Here's a trick: Mix equal parts water and vinegar and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling liquid over the pans and let sit for several minutes. You should start to notice the stains and grease dissolving. Then, drain the liquid and wash the pans as you normally would.

Wipe down the countertop.

Want an easy and quick method for getting the counter sparkling clean? You can spray vinegar directly onto the surface or dab a little onto a clean cloth or rag and wipe down.

Note: Do not use vinegar on marble or granite countertops.

Wipe down fridge shelves.

Noticing that the shelves are in need of a quick wipe-down or you just discovered a spill? Don't worry. Combine 1:1 vinegar to water and dab onto a damp cloth or sponge. Then wipe down or scrub, if needed, for shiny shelves.

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This story originally appeared on allrecipes.com