17 Ways to Clean and Remove Odors With Vinegar

“17 Ways to Clean and Remove Odors With Vinegar”

Vinegar, a staple in many households, is renowned for its versatility and effectiveness as a natural cleaning agent. From the kitchen to the bedroom, this humble liquid can tackle grime, disinfect surfaces, and eliminate odors with ease. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore 20 ways to clean and remove odors with vinegar, showcasing its power to transform your cleaning routine.

Benefits of Using Vinegar for Cleaning

Vinegar offers numerous benefits as a cleaning agent. It’s non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and affordable. Unlike many commercial cleaners, vinegar is free from harsh chemicals, making it safe for use around children and pets. Additionally, its antibacterial properties help sanitize surfaces, and its acidic nature effectively breaks down grime and mineral deposits.

How Vinegar Works as a Deodorizer

Vinegar’s deodorizing properties stem from its ability to neutralize alkaline odors, making it highly effective in eliminating unwanted smells. The acetic acid in vinegar binds with volatile compounds, neutralizing them and leaving surfaces odor-free. This natural process makes vinegar an excellent choice for tackling a variety of household smells, from pet odors to musty mildew, ensuring a fresher and cleaner environment.

Ways to Clean and Remove Odors

General Tips for Cleaning with Vinegar

Before diving into specific cleaning tasks, it’s helpful to understand some general tips for using vinegar:

  • Dilution: For most cleaning tasks, dilute vinegar with water. A standard ratio is 1:1, but for more demanding jobs, you may use it full strength.
  • Test First: Always test vinegar on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the surface.
  • Ventilation: Vinegar has a strong odor that dissipates as it dries but ensures good ventilation during use.

Removing Kitchen Odors

Cleaning Cutting Boards

Cutting boards can become a breeding ground for bacteria and retain unpleasant odors from food remnants. To effectively clean and deodorize your cutting board, spray it generously with full-strength vinegar, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with water. For a more thorough cleaning, sprinkle baking soda on the board before spraying it with vinegar, ensuring a more profound and more effective sanitization.

Deodorizing the Microwave

Microwaves frequently trap lingering food odors, which can be unpleasant and persistent. To effectively freshen your microwave, you can fill a microwave-safe bowl with equal parts vinegar and water, then heat it on high for several minutes until it begins to steam. This process loosens the trapped food particles and odors, allowing you to easily wipe down the interior with a clean cloth, leaving your microwave smelling fresh and clean.

Neutralizing Garbage Disposal Smells

Garbage disposals can sometimes emit unpleasant odors that can permeate your kitchen. To combat this, pour a cup of vinegar down the disposal and let it sit for an hour before rinsing with cold water to neutralize the smell. For an added boost of freshness, grind up a few ice cubes with vinegar in the disposal, which will help clean the blades and eliminate any lingering odors.


Bathroom Cleaning and Odor Removal

Cleaning Toilet Bowls

Due to its acidic properties, vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner and deodorizer for toilets. To use it, pour a cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl, allowing it to sit for at least 30 minutes before scrubbing with a toilet brush to remove grime and odors effectively. For particularly stubborn stains, you can leave the vinegar in the bowl overnight, ensuring a thorough and effortless clean by morning.

Removing Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew thrive in damp areas such as bathrooms, making them a common issue in these spaces. To tackle this, spray full-strength vinegar directly onto moldy surfaces, allowing it to sit for an hour to break down the mold effectively. Afterward, scrub the area thoroughly and rinse with water, repeating the process as needed for stubborn mold spots.

Freshening Shower Curtains

Shower curtains often accumulate mildew and soap scum over time, creating an unpleasant and unhygienic environment in your bathroom. To effectively clean the curtain, remove it and soak it in a tub filled with warm water and a cup of vinegar for about 30 minutes, ensuring the mixture penetrates the grime. For particularly stubborn stains, enhance the cleaning power by adding a small amount of baking soda to the vinegar solution, then rinse thoroughly and hang the curtain to dry.

Living Room and Furniture

Freshening Upholstery

To deodorize upholstery, start by mixing equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the upholstery with this solution and allow it to air dry, which helps neutralize odors. For tackling deeper, more persistent smells, sprinkle baking soda evenly over the fabric before spraying it with the vinegar mixture, allowing the baking soda to absorb the odors before drying.

Cleaning Carpets and Rugs

Carpets and rugs are prone to trapping odors and stains, which can be challenging to eliminate. For effective spot cleaning, apply a mixture of vinegar and water directly onto the stain, then blot it with a clean cloth, repeating the process until the stain is gone. To maintain overall freshness, sprinkle baking soda across the carpet, lightly spray with vinegar, and vacuum thoroughly to remove any remaining residue.

EOSR8042 2

Removing Pet Odors

Pet odors can be notoriously persistent and challenging to eliminate. To effectively remove them, generously spray full-strength vinegar directly onto the affected area, allowing it to sit for about 10 minutes to neutralize the odor. After blotting the area with a cloth, enhance the cleaning process by applying a pet-friendly enzymatic cleaner to break down any remaining odor-causing particles for a more thorough cleaning.

Bedroom Cleaning Tips

Freshening Mattresses

Mattresses can quickly accumulate odors over time due to sweat, spills, and general use. To freshen your mattress, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, lightly mist the surface, and let it air dry to neutralize odors. For more stubborn smells, sprinkle baking soda over the mattress first, then spray with the vinegar solution, allowing it to fizz and lift the odors before vacuuming it off.

Deodorizing Closets

Closets can often develop musty odors due to lack of ventilation and the accumulation of moisture. To combat this, you can place a small bowl of vinegar in the closet, which acts as a natural odor absorber, or lightly spray the interior with a mixture of vinegar and water for a refreshing effect. Additionally, leaving the closet door open for a while helps improve airflow and allows the space to air out, reducing the likelihood of musty smells returning.

Laundry and Fabrics

Removing Sweat Odors from Clothes

Sweat odors can be stubborn and tend to cling to clothing fibers, making it difficult to get rid of them with regular washing. Adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine can effectively neutralize these persistent odors, leaving your clothes smelling fresh. For particularly intense items, soaking them in a mixture of vinegar and water prior to washing can provide an extra level of deodorization, ensuring they come out odor-free.

Cleaning and Deodorizing Washing Machines

Washing machines can sometimes accumulate mold and unpleasant odors due to moisture and detergent residues. To clean and deodorize, run an empty cycle with hot water and two cups of vinegar, which helps eliminate any buildup and freshen the interior. For front-loading machines, it’s essential also to wipe the rubber seal with vinegar, as this area is particularly prone to trapping dirt and moisture.


Outdoor Uses for Vinegar

Cleaning Patio Furniture

Patio furniture often accumulates dirt and unpleasant odors over time. To clean plastic, metal, or glass surfaces, use a cloth soaked in vinegar and wipe them down thoroughly. For fabric cushions, prepare a solution of vinegar and water, spray it on the cushions, and allow them to dry in the sun for a fresh and clean result.

Removing Odors from Trash Bins

If not properly maintained, trash bins can become a source of unpleasant odors. To clean them effectively, spray the interior with full-strength vinegar and allow it to sit for 15 minutes to break down any residue. After rinsing with water, enhance freshness by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of the bin before placing a new bag. This will help neutralize odors and keep the trash bin smelling clean.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Creating Scented Vinegar Cleaners

If you find vinegar’s smell too strong, you can create scented vinegar cleaners by adding citrus peels, herbs, or essential oils to a jar of vinegar. Allow the mixture to sit for a week, which will infuse the vinegar with pleasant scents from the added ingredients. After a week, strain the mixture to remove the solid pieces, and use the scented vinegar as usual for cleaning purposes.

Combining Vinegar with Other Natural Cleaners

Enhance vinegar’s cleaning power by combining it with other natural cleaners for a more effective solution. For example, mix vinegar with baking soda to create a powerful scrubbing agent that can tackle tough stains and grime. Additionally, combine vinegar with hydrogen peroxide to create a potent disinfectant that can effectively kill germs and bacteria on various surfaces.


FAQs: Ways to Clean and Remove Odors With Vinegar

What types of vinegar are best for cleaning?

White distilled vinegar is most commonly used for cleaning due to its high acidity and clear color, which won’t stain surfaces.

Can I mix vinegar with bleach?

No, mixing vinegar with bleach creates toxic chlorine gas, which is dangerous to inhale.

Is vinegar safe for all surfaces?

Vinegar can damage certain surfaces, like marble and granite, so it’s essential to test on a small area first.

How often should I clean with vinegar?

The frequency depends on the task: daily for high-use areas, weekly for routine cleaning, and as needed for deep cleaning tasks.

Can vinegar remove all types of odors?

Vinegar is adequate for most common household odors but may not eliminate very strong or persistent smells.

Is vinegar eco-friendly?

Yes, vinegar is a natural, biodegradable product that is safe for the environment, making it a great alternative to chemical cleaners.


Vinegar is a powerful, natural cleaning solution that can tackle a wide range of household tasks. Its ability to clean and deodorize makes it an essential tool in any cleaning arsenal. By incorporating these 17 tips into your routine, you can maintain a fresh, clean home without relying on harsh chemicals.