Enjoying a healthy lifestyle includes keeping a clean home, yet cleaning often involves using commercial cleaners with harsh chemicals—until now. Apple cider vinegar changes that with its natural acidity and antimicrobial properties.
Bought years ago and forgotten behind cans of beans, it collects the very dust it’s meant to banish. The long dark of your pantry mutes its golden hue; its latent power waits to be drawn forth from the depths of untouched food storage. Some call it a miracle. Some praise its unbridled capacity to bestow health and cleanliness. They aren’t far off.
It’s apple cider vinegar, of course, and it’s the cleaning secret you’ve been waiting for but had in your cupboard all along. This article explains what it is and how to use it for seven everyday cleaning jobs spanning your entire home.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Simply put, apple cider vinegar is fermented apple juice. Yeast is added to the juice, consuming its sugar over time and releasing alcohol as a byproduct. Bacteria in the mixture provide the vinegar with its signature acidity, sour taste, and smell.
Many laud apple cider vinegar as all-purpose nectar that rightfully earns its place on the top shelf of your pantry, cleaning cupboard, or both. It has been used for centuries to promote wellness, with some records showing that even the ancient Greeks used it to treat wounds. Today, people use it more liberally, gracing the ingredients lists of facial toners, armpit detox masks, and even household cleaners.
Wondering how long you can keep apple cider vinegar on hand? If you want to consume it at its freshest, it’s best to use it within two years. However, it doesn’t expire and remains an excellent cleaning agent for far longer! If you’re curious, learn more about how long apple cider vinegar lasts, how to store it, and other fascinating tips.
While there isn’t scientific evidence to back up every claim surrounding ACV’s healing powers, it’s a certified powerhouse for cleaning tasks in your home.
Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Clean?
Vinegar, in general, is one of the most powerful and versatile cleaning tools that is completely natural and environmentally friendly. It gets its dust-busting power through concentrations of acetic acid, which confers remarkable antibacterial and antifungal properties. This is excellent news for your tummy troubles or stuffy nose, but it spells certain doom for dirt, debris, and bacteria slinking around your home’s corners, cracks, and crevices.
So, if vinegar is the humble hero of household cleaning—why scrub with apple cider vinegar in particular? Simple. The sweeter variant offers the same fantastic cleaning abilities without the residue or pungent smell of white vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar Cleaning – Top 7 Uses
It’s time to put on the rubber gloves and start cleaning! We’ll use three main ACV concentrations in the following cleaning hacks, which we describe below.
- Diluted: Some surfaces like bare wood can become etched or cloudy from acidic ingredients like apple cider vinegar. For these scenarios, use a diluted mix of one cup of ACV to one gallon of water.
- One-to-One: Mix equal parts ACV and water, giving you that apple cider sweet spot between power and caution.
- Full strength. This is simply an unadulterated, high-powered apple cider vinegar with nothing to hold it back.
Here are our top seven ways to clean with apple cider vinegar. Crack the seal on that once-forgotten bottle of apple cider vinegar, and let’s do this!
1. Concoct a Kitchen Cleaner
Say goodbye to hoarding appliance-specific kitchen cleaners from big box stores. Replace them all (and then some) with a simple one-to-one mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. It kills bacteria on a cellular level and can be used on most surfaces in the kitchen. Wipe down the countertops, refrigerator, microwave, and more. There are so many uses for you to discover with your new kitchen cleaner.
Once you run out of appliances to clean, get creative and go to town on dinnerware and houseware such as stainless steel flatware, coffee mugs, and cutting boards.
- Apply it to a cotton cloth or paper towel and rub dirt from your forks, spoons, and table knives.
- Pour it into mugs and allow them to soak for up to 30 minutes. Scrub the stains with the abrasive side of a sponge.
- Cutting boards can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so regular washing is necessary. But for that extra kick, wipe down your cutting boards with one-to-one or full-strength apple cider vinegar.
Pro Tip: Never use ACV on stone surfaces like granite or marble—its acidity can cloud the stone’s shine. It can also discolor wood, so keep that in mind when wiping down your cutting boards.
2. Wipe Windows and Surfaces
That same one-to-one mixture you used in the kitchen is perfect for a no-streak clean on every window in your house. You can also use this mixture on painted walls and furniture to clean, remove stains, and block odors—perfect for a laundry room glow-up! Spritz your apple cider vinegar cleaner on your window or selected surface and follow it up with a tree-free paper towel to wipe dry.
Pro Tip: If you want to clean a delicate material and aren’t sure how it might react with apple cider vinegar, spot clean a small, conspicuous area that no one is likely to see. Observe the results and continue cleaning if no adverse effects occur.
3. Scrub Off Soap Scum
Use apple cider vinegar at full strength to remove soap scum from sinks and tubs. It works similarly to removing hard water stains, using its acidity to break down mineral deposits and soap buildup, without leaving unpleasant odors or harsh chemical residue.
As an alternative to spritzing, make a powerful paste.
4. Banish Mold and Mildew
If mold and mildew in your bathroom keep you up at night (eek!), we’re here to introduce you to bacteria’s worst nightmare. The acetic acid in your apple cider vinegar will have an absolute field day with the gross mildew in your shower and other bathroom surfaces.
Go all out with a full-strength apple cider vinegar rinse to keep pesky mildew away from bathroom surfaces. Add your ACV to a spray bottle sized accordingly to the severity of your mold invasion and spray liberally. Wait for about 30 minutes, then wipe the mold away. Repeat if necessary. It is important NOT to wash the vinegar off after cleaning. Doing so will introduce moisture back into the environment, making it more habitable for mildew and mold.
Pro Tip: Although apple cider vinegar has a milder smell than regular white vinegar, adding a couple of drops of essential oils to your rinse goes a long way to make your bathroom smell as fresh and invigorating as you feel. We recommend tea tree oil in particular, allowing you to double down on antifungal and antibacterial prowess.
5. Unclog Stubborn Drains
If you rock luscious locks, we get it—no matter what you do, it’s impossible to keep hair out of your drain! But that’s yesterday’s problem, thanks to ACV. You can unclog your drains naturally using the following method.
- Pour baking soda down the drain and follow it up with a half-and-half ratio apple cider vinegar solution, starting with around a half cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar.
- Allow your grade-school chemistry volcano project at least 15 minutes to work inside the pipe.
- Wash it all down with boiling water, wearing an oven mitt and eye protection to prevent potentially dangerous backsplash.
Pro Tip: While the alkalinity of the baking soda neutralizes some of the vinegar’s natural acidity, that’s okay. The fizzing and foaming reaction is what breaks up gunk in drains. Just make sure never to try this after using commercial drain cleaner, as ACV could react negatively to those chemicals.
6. Do Away with Drink Rings
We’ve all been there. A child or guest (but definitely not you!) set down a beverage on your furniture, and the condensation left a permanent mark. Drink rings are unsightly and may cause you to hide your beautiful furniture under a throw or tablecloth. These stains are formidable indeed—but still no match for apple cider vinegar cleaning. Dampen a cloth or paper towel with full-strength apple cider vinegar. Wipe across the drink stain until it fades away.
Note that the acidity of apple cider vinegar, while relatively mild compared to some commercial household cleaners, can still mar wood. To avoid clouding or etching, use the diluted mixture on wood furniture, heirloom pieces, or items of sentimental value. Also, consider spot-cleaning before use.
7. Say Goodbye to Water Stains
Limescale, mineral buildup, hard water deposits—whatever you want to call them, they’re tough to remove from faucets, cookware, countertops, and more. These milky white stains appear when water evaporates, leaving behind calcium, magnesium, and other minerals suspended within. But these milky white stains have one weakness, and you guessed it: apple cider vinegar.
- Heat a small amount of apple cider vinegar over medium heat in a saucepan—enough to coat a rag.
- Once the vinegar is hot, soak the rag, squeeze out the excess, and place it over the stain.
- The apple cider vinegar will break down the coarse minerals and lift the stain for one to two hours.
- Wipe away and celebrate your victory! However, if the problem persists, you may need to take more drastic measures, like installing a water softening system.
Pro Tip: Skip the rag for more prominent stains in confined areas like a sink or tub. Plug the drain and pour the warmed ACV directly over the affected area.
Environmentally Friendly Cleaning at Public Goods
Apple cider vinegar is a versatile solution to a wide range of cleaning conundrums. It makes short work of traditionally grungy jobs in your home’s kitchen, bathroom, and general living areas. Even then, this list only scraped the surface of what ACV can do.
At Public Goods, we’re always looking for ways, and we’re excited to be a part of your natural and sustainable cleaning journey. Now that you’ve unlocked the golden secrets of ACV, check out our blog for more eco-friendly cleaning hacks that make your home look immaculate for less effort.
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