Cleaning With Vinegar in Your Kitchen

By: Christine Halvorson  | 
A drawing of a man cleaning an oven with a sponge. 
Vinegar can be used to prevent grease buildup in your oven.
Publications International, Ltd.

Mos­t people find that the kitchen­ is the most difficult room in their home to keep clean. And with good reason! But, cleaning with vinegar is the solution to the endless supply of spills, drips, and mystery stains that live in most household kitchens.

An indispensable tool in any kitchen, this affordable, accessible, and effective ingredient can clean practically anything. Now you know that vinegar can be a key weapon in the never-e­nding battle of keeping your kitchen clean.


In this article, we'll show you how to clean just about anythin­g in your kitchen using white vinegar, from pans to sinks.

­We'll start with basic appliances, then move to other areas of the h­ouse:

  • Coffeemakers, Teakettles and Teapots
  • Dishwashers
  • Microwaves
  • Ovens
  • Refrigerators
  • Cookware
  • Sink Clogs
  • Sink Odors
  • Sink Stains
  • Countertops
  • Wood

Coffee Makers, Teakettles and Teapots

Buildup in a coffeemaker's brewing system can affect coffee flavor. Get rid of buildup with these steps:

  • Run 1 brewing cycle of cold water and 1/4 cup white vinegar.
  • Follow with a cycle of clean water.
  • If you can still smell vinegar, run another cycle using fresh water.

To help remove any mineral deposits inside the pot and spout:


  • Boil water and 1/2 cup vinegar in a teakettle for 10 or 15 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Clean a teapot by boiling a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water for several minutes.
  • Let it stand for 1 hour.
  • Rinse with water [source: Cox].


To open up any clogs in the dishwasher drain lines and deodorize the machine.

  • Add 1/2 cup vinegar to an empty dishwasher.
  • Run the rinse cycle.



If your microwave is spattered with old sauces and greasy buildup:

  • Place a glass measuring cup with 1 cup water and 1/4 cup vinegar inside microwave.
  • Boil for 3 minutes.
  • Then remove the measuring cup and wipe inside of oven with a damp sponge [source: Wharton].



Twice a year you should "de-grease" the vents of your oven hood. To do this:

  • Wipe vents with a sponge and undiluted vinegar, or
  • Remove vents and soak them for 15 minutes in 1 cup vinegar and 3 cups water.
  • Finish the job by using a sponge to wipe entire surface with a mixture of half vinegar and half water. This will help prevent grease buildup.



Prevent mildew buildup inside your refrigerator or on its rubber seals by wiping occa­sionally with a sponge dampened with distilled white vinegar. No need to rinse.



To prevent egg poachers or double boilers from becoming discolored, add 1 teaspoon vinegar to the boiling water.

Take care of a really greasy frying pan:


  • Simmer 1/4 inch water and 1/2 cup vinegar in it for 10 minutes. [source: Wellbank]
  • The lingering oily smell or residue should disappear.
  • Wash as usual.

Aluminum pans can develop ugly dark stains over time, to remove those stains:

  • Using 2 tablespoons vinegar in enough water to cover the pans.
  • Boil the pans in a large kettle.

Clean the burned-on mess off a broiler pan:

  • Add 2 cups vinegar and 1/2 cup sugar to pan while it is still warm.
  • Soak pan for an hour.
  • Clean as usual.

Sink Clogs

A mixture of equal parts vinegar, salt, and baking soda may help open up a slow-draining sink:

  • Pour the solution down drain.
  • Let it sit for 1 hour.
  • Then pour boiling or hot water down the drain.

To clear a minor sink clog:


  • Use a mixture of 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar.
  • Let it stand for 3 hours.
  • Flush with warm water.

Sink Odors

The rubber seal on garbage disposals can retain odors. To deodorize it:

  • Remove the seal.
  • Let it soak in a diluted vinegar solution for 1 hour.


Sink Stains

To tackle mineral deposits around your sink's stainless steel faucets:

  • Squirt them with a spray bottle full of undiluted vinegar.
  • Let the vinegar sit 15 minutes or longer.
  • Scrub away deposits with an old toothbrush.

To clean minor stains in a white porcelain sink:


  • Sprinkle a little baking soda on the stained area.
  • Wipe with a sponge dampened with a few drops vinegar.

Stains are best tackled immediately, but for tough or aged stains in a white porcelain sink:

  • Cover stained areas with paper towels saturated in household bleach (wear rubber gloves and make sure room is well ventilated).
  • Leave paper towels for 1/2 hour or until they dry out.
  • Remove towels and rinse area thoroughly.
  • Follow this treatment by cleaning sink with white distilled vinegar to remove bleach smell.


Wipe your kitchen countertops with undiluted cleaning vinegar once a day to shine them and keep your kitchen smelling fresh.

To eliminate soap scum and for everyday cleaning of tile and grout, rub with a little apple cider vinegar on a sponge. This gives off a clean scent and will help cut any greasy buildup.


A wooden breadbox tends to become sticky with fingerprints and food. Freshen it up by wiping surface with vinegar on a sponge or cloth. Do this periodically to prevent grime buildup. For heavy buildup, try repeated wipes with a sponge dampened with vinegar and sprinkled with salt.