5 Best Baking Soda and Vinegar Cleaning Solutions

Save a bundle on cleaning your home with these cheap alternatives to store-bought cleaning solutions. See our best baking soda and vinegar cleaning tips.

By Reader's Digest Editors
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    1. Clean a Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

    Follow these steps for a sparkling, fresher-smelling kitchen sink:
    Wet the sink, sprinkle baking soda over the surface and scrub, then rinse.

    Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and the same paste on the rim and caulk.

    Line the sink with paper towels that you've soaked in white vinegar. Leave them there for 20 minutes.

    For garbage disposals: Pour a half cup of baking soda down the drain, then a cup of white vinegar. Boil a kettle of water. Pour the boiling water down the drain. Add two cups of ice and one cup of rock salt to the drain. Turn on the disposal until it goes down. Take a lime or lemon, cut it in half, and send each half down the disposal.

    Use soapy water and vinegar-soaked paper towels to clean the faucet, too.

    See more:
    Green-Clean Your Kitchen Sink and Bathtub

    2. Make a Nontoxic Bathroom Cleaner

    Here’s a terrific deep-cleaning cleanser that works on any bathroom surface. It cuts through soap scum and mildew as well as any commercial bathroom product and costs just pennies.

    1 2/3 cups baking soda
    1/2 cup liquid soap
    1/2 cup water
    2 tablespoons white vinegar
    1 clean 16-ounce squirt bottle with closing cap

    1. Mix baking soda and liquid soap in a bowl. Dilute with water and add the vinegar. Stir the mixture with a fork until any lumps have been dissolved. Pour the liquid into the bottle. Shake well before using.
    2. Squirt on area to be cleaned. Scrub with a nylon-backed sponge. Rinse off with water. Keep cap on between uses.

    3. Remove Stains on Carpet

    You can lift out many stains from your carpet with vinegar:
    Rub light carpet stains with a mixture of 2 tablespoons salt dissolved in 1/2 cup white vinegar. Let the solution dry, then vacuum. For larger or darker stains, add 2 tablespoons borax to the mixture and use in the same way.

    4. Boost Laundry Detergent

    It may sound like a cliché, but adding 1/2 cup baking soda to your usual amount of liquid laundry detergent really will give you "whiter whites" and brighter colors. The baking soda also softens the water, so you can actually use less detergent. Adding 1/2 cup baking soda in top-loading machines (1/4 cup for front-loaders) also increases the potency of bleach, so you need only half the usual amount of bleach.

    5. Refresh the Fridge

    Did you know that vinegar might be an even more effective safe cleanser for your refrigerator than baking soda? Use equal parts white vinegar and water to wash both the interior and exterior of your fridge, including the door gasket and the fronts of the vegetable and fruit bins. To prevent mildew growth, wash the inside walls and bin interiors with some full-strength vinegar on a cloth. Also use undiluted vinegar to wipe off accumulated dust and grime on top of your refrigerator. Of course, you’ll still want to put that box of baking soda inside your refrigerator to keep it smelling clean when you’re done.


    Your Comments

    • Granny

      I love the shine I get with this mixture. My 2 year old granddaughter has her bath at my house maybe once a week and I feel good knowing my tub is clean but she’s not sitting in chemicals. Yes, very important to remember this solution makes a paste, not a liquid so you need a squirt bottle, not a spray bottle.

    • DukDukGuus

      To clear a partially blocked shower head, tie a sandwich bag filled with vinegar around the shower arm, immersing the shower head, overnight. Won’t harm the head or arm finish and will usually clear up the blocked shower spray nozzles.

      (And I recommend ice cubes and a half lemon or lime to the disposal for a clean smell and sharp cutting blades.)

    • elektricia

      I tried to clean something with vinegar and baking soda, but it foamed like crazy!!

      If I put this in a spraybottle, won’t it be “neutral” by the time I attack a stain with the concoction?

      • sorryfortheoffensivecomment

        It doesn’t say to put it in a spray bottle it says squirt bottle; Whatever that is.

    • barf-a-lot


      It is a tale told by a %!@#@& full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
      Great show of bubbles, fizz

      Why? From somewhere on the web, read on:

      the acetic acid (that’s what makes vinegar sour) reacts with sodium bicarbonate (a compound that’s in baking soda) to form carbonic acid. It’s really a double replacement reaction. Carbonic acid is unstable, and it immediately falls apart into carbon dioxide and water (it’s a decomposition reaction). The bubbles you see from the reaction come from the carbon dioxide escaping the solution that is left. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air, so, it flows almost like water when it overflows the container. It is a gas that you exhale (though in small amounts), because it is a product of the reactions that keep your body going.

      What’s left is a dilute solution of sodium acetate in water.

      In other words, pouring vinegar and sodium bicarb down the disposer to make water is dumb, given that water comes out of the tap in the first world!

      • sorryfortheoffensivecomment

        I think you’re retarded

      • Angela Anuszewski

        I looked up sodium acetate on Wikipedia – “It is often used to give potato chips a salt and vinegar flavor.” I guess if you wanna make your own potato chips, here ya go. ;-)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2JGOK63PCTSG2662MLSFIP4W7U world's tiniest violin

      seems like overkill for the garbage disposal

    • Jacky

      The baking soda to liquids ratio in this recipe is way off. When we mixed it up we got a paste not a liquid. We had to add more water just to get it into the spray bottle. Then it clogged up and broke our spray bottle. Thanks RD you owe us a spray bottle.

      • Jenkem

        Where does it say to put both baking soda and vinegar in a spray bottle?

      • Am

        This is for a bathroom cleaning paste that you use to clean porcelain and tile sufaces. You know, like ajax etc. It says to put it in a squirt bottle (like the kind dish soap come in) not a spray bottle. You didnt read the article very well did you? Apparently seven other people didn’t either.

    • http://www.cupcakecarriers.com Marie Chan

      I really try to stay away from chemical based products for cleaning everything in my house…vinegar and baking soda are my primary cleaning products…

      • Zaiton_8855

        Hi, please guide me how to use vinegar n baking soda in carpet or pvc or canvas
        handbag cleaning

      • R.Norm

        Baking soda and vinegar are both chemicals. so this solution is a chemical based cleaner. It’s the same as they use in industrial cleaners

      • R.Norm

        Baking soda and vinegar are both chemicals. so this solution is a chemical based cleaner. It’s the same as they use in industrial cleaners

      • http://www.facebook.com/tdibble11 Tom Dibble

        Vinegar is an acid, and baking soda is a base.  Their chemical reactions are exactly why they work (and why pouring both of them down the drain causes CO2 bubbles which dislodged sludge from the sides of the pipes).  Maybe you mean “products based in chemistry beyond 6th grade science class”?

      • Bob

        Sorry to break it to you, kid, but both vinegar and baking soda are chemicals. Most things are chemicals.

    • http://www.acoadental.com/home.php Daniel Todman

      I’m quite surprised too, even though I’ve heard about baking soda being used in toothpastes, teeth whiteners – even household cleaners! But Laundry detergent booster? Now that’s one, awesome ingredient!

    • http://www.pinecreekdental.com/dentists-in-colorado-springs-colorado/ Ed Mcgoldrick

      And I thought that baking soda is just for making your teeth white! Who would have guessed that you could use baking soda in a lot of stuff?!

      • http://www.thecleaningservicesgroup.co.uk/5/locations/4/bournemouth/248/office-cleaning-bournemouth-commercial-cleaning-bournemouth/ Cleaning services Bournemouth

         Baking soda is very good cleaning agent and it also
        used for house cleaning, window cleaning and other type of cleaning. It has
        good level of acidity.

        • DFord

          I thought baking soda was a base, not an acid.

        • Scott

          Baking soda is alkaline, not acid.

    • Guest