8 Vinegar Cleaning Tips That Will Make Your Bathroom Sparkle

Cleaning with White Vinegar

White vinegar is a great safe and natural cleaner for all kinds of surfaces, but this post will focus on one room where vinegar can be particularly useful: the bathroom! Bathrooms are the site of all sorts of hard-to-clean messes, most of which are quick and easy to eliminate with the help of white vinegar.

The high acidity level of vinegar helps break down mineral deposits (such as limescale, rust, and hard water) and dissolve soap scum, making it perfect for bathroom cleaning! Its acidity creates a “hostile” environment for many microorganisms, so it can also be a powerful disinfectant.

According to the Journal of Environmental Health, undiluted vinegar can be just as effective as bleach in eliminating E. coli from surfaces and sponges. It’s also incredibly effective when used to deodorize or clean up grease — now that’s cleaning power!

However, not all vinegars are created equal, nor are all white vinegars, for that matter! So, before we go much further, let’s briefly explore those differences.

Types Of White Vinegars

All vinegars are made through fermentation of a plant-based substance. The foundational ingredient used in the process is what gives vinegars their unique flavors.

Also known as spirit vinegar, white vinegar is the most common type of vinegar used for cleaning purposes. It’s made by fermenting ethanol, which is made from starchy plants like corn, wheat, sugar cane, or potatoes, and consists of 5-20% acetic acid in water.

Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled vinegar has a relatively low level of acetic acid, making it suitable for use in cooking, flavoring, food preservation, and even first aid or home remedies. While it can be an effective cleaner, it may not be as effective as more acidic formulations.

Cleaning Vinegar

This type of white vinegar has a higher concentration of acetic acid than traditional distilled white vinegar. Cleaning vinegar is not suitable for use in cooking, as it isn’t produced to the same standards as vinegar intended for human consumption.

It’s not absolutely necessary to use cleaning vinegar for common household cleaning purposes, but you may find it more effective when used on particularly stubborn messes. (If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, you may wish to buy or make scented cleaning vinegar for a more pleasant experience!)

But let’s get back to cleaning, shall we? Here are 8 of the best ways to use vinegar to keep your bathroom sparkling clean.

8 Ways To Use Vinegar To Clean Your Bathroom

Cleaning with Vinegar

1. Clean Your Shower Head

If you have hard water, deposits can form on your shower head and slow the flow of water. Vinegar can help dissolve those deposits and get your shower head working properly again!

I removed our shower head and placed it in a ziplock bag full of vinegar to let it soak. If you don’t want to remove your shower head, you can place the bag of vinegar over the shower head in the shower, and use a rubber band to hold it in place.

Cleaning with Vinegar

Let the shower head soak in the vinegar for a few hours, or overnight. When it’s done soaking, just give it a scrub with a sponge or brush and watch the grime disappear!

Cleaning with Vinegar

2. Fill Your Reed Diffuser

When your reed diffuser needs refilling, fill it with white vinegar. It’s super affordable and a great deodorizer, and will help control bathroom odors for weeks.

Note: Ever wonder what makes this stinky substance so good at removing odor? The acid in vinegar is strong enough to alter organic molecules in the air, which are usually responsible for making things stink. The more you know!

Cleaning with Vinegar

3. Clean Your Mirror

Fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. and use it to clean your bathroom mirrors. Vinegar is a great cleaner and leaves a streak-free shine.

Cleaning with Vinegar

4. Remove Toilet Stains

Deposits under the rim of your toilet bowl can be really hard to clean! To help dissolve the deposits and make them easier to scrub away, grab a few paper towels and your trusty bottle of white vinegar.

Soak a wad of paper towels with vinegar, then tuck the towels up under the rim of your toilet bowl. Let the vinegar work its magic for a few hours, then remove the paper towels and scrub clean (you might want to use cleaning vinegar for this one).

Cleaning with Vinegar

5. Clear A Drain

Got a stopped-up or slow-moving drain in your bathroom? Clear the drain with white vinegar, a bit of baking soda, and some good old hot water.

Read More: How To Unclog A Sink Without Chemicals

Cleaning with Vinegar

6. Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Vinegar makes a great cleaner for a wide variety of surfaces. Check out my post about making your own scented vinegar for cleaning! It’s perfect for those who are sensitive to the strong smell of vinegar, and anyone who loves a good citrus-y clean scent. :-)

Read More: How To Make Scented Cleaning Vinegar

DIY Bath Salts

7. Clean Your Faucets

Hard water can quickly build up around your faucet and faucet handles. Find out how I used white vinegar to dissolve those stubborn deposits around my bathtub handles at the link below!

Read More: How To Remove Those Stubborn Hard Water Stains


8. Erase Soap Scum

No one wants to spend hours scrubbing soap scum in their bathtub or shower. But with a little help from vinegar, you don’t have to! Get the recipe for my very favorite shower cleaner that powers through tough soap scum without the need for endless scrubbing.

Read More: How To Make A Powerful Homemade Shower Cleaner

How do you use vinegar to help keep your house clean?

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • I wish l had seen the reed diffuser use earlier. We have a bathroom that my older parents use. The vinegar helps some, but the smell still lingers- even with a small spaces air freshener.

  • My Aunt helped people organize and clean their homes. And she did use a vinegar solution on certain areas, but would always use Dawn on bathtubs,basins, and stone counters to avoid degrading the surfaces over time. Tub debris is a combination of skin cells and body oils.

  • I’ve recently started using vinegar on our sink faucet handles.l just soak paper towels and just let them sit about 30:minutes. It’s really great for the hard water spots that accumulate in the faucet area.

  • Gloves are essential when using straight vinegar and possibly diluted vinegar. I love using vinegar and hate gloves so when I started noticing irritation around my fingernails that wasn’t going away I began to use a process of elimination and found it was the vinegar. Now I use gloves while cleaning with vinegar.

  • The cost difference is huge between Costco Heinz distilled white vinegar (5%), $3.33 for 1.32 gallon = 168.96 fl oz
    compared to 2023 Heinz Cleaning Vinegar, 128 Fl Oz 6% acidity $14.90 amazon

    I’ll be sticking to 5% distilled white, too. I use it mostly as deodorant, throw some in dishwasher. Never cooking.

    • For those who use a lot of vinegar, buy a gallon of pure acetic acid (the acid in distilled white vinegar) and mix it with distilled water. Near me a gallon of glacial acetic acid is around $55 (you can also buy on Amazon), and a gallon of distilled water is just over $1. That makes 32 gallons of 5% for under $3 a gallon. You can of course mix any strength you need as well.

  • I’ve used it on the caulk area by the floor of the toilet. It helps with urine odors. I’ve also used Jillees shower head tip. Its great for when it gets clogged and water starts having problems coming out.

  • Dear Jillee,
    You are so clever love your website!
    I only wish I found you sooner
    Keep up all those creative juices
    and wonderful ideas looking
    forward to the next batch

  • Hi jillee
    First must say I absolutely love your emails and your website your amazing!!!! I have a question….I absolutely hate cleaning my mom’s black porcelain stove and her stainless steel fridge….I tried everything on both appliances and nothing works…..I tried baking soda homemade solution and it was a disaster…..PLEASE HELP!!!!

    Elenajo1959 aka CHICKY

  • Do NOT use vinegar or a water/vinegar solution on old or antique mirrors. It will disolve the silver coating from the back of the mirror and ruin the mirror. I use only water to clean mirrors.

  • I’ve been using apple cider vinegar in my bathroom, throughout the kitchen and to clean mirrors and windows. It works very well. Is the white vinegar any better?

  • Another use for vinegar in the lady’s room is to lightly spray toilet paper immediately before using. If a woman has ever had a weight gain, or given birth, as she ages internal organs may drop or droop, therefore leaving her more open to bacteria ,which among other things can lead to yeast infections. By lightly spritzing toilet paper before using germs and bacteria are eliminated and no more nasty infections!

  • Love the shower cleaner! I can spray it right before I shower and I’m an asthmatic. I have a clean shower and can breathe well, too!

  • So many wonderful recipes, Jillee! Thank you for all of the hard work you do researching and experimenting for all of us!
    Just a heads up: if organic matters to you and not using GMO’s, white vinegar, unless it says on the container is made from GRAIN Alcohol, is made from petroleum products now! So be careful. I know that many don’t care, but some people do, and the organic is much spendier, but I feel it is worth it to NOT have petroleum products in my home and on surfaces and in my leach field.
    Thanks again, Jillee!!!

  • I have learned to clean a different way thanks to you! I save time and I save money. Also best of all I don’t have to inhale the many chemical odors that I inhaled through the years. It’s nice having everything in one container. My bathroom now has it’s own bottle of vinegar. Amazing how white our bathtub is these days. Keep those good tips coming! Myna

    • I agree with you Myna. What a difference it makes to just get rid of all that cleaning product clutter and just use my vinegar and dawn for almost all my cleaning needs. WOW. By the way, my daughter works for a national known professional cleaning company and they use vinegar and dawn too. She was so surprised when she started there and they handed her the spray bottle of vinegar and dawn. She had to call me to tell me that because she was so surprised. Now she uses it at her home too (couldn’t just use it at Mom’s suggestion only I guess). Oh well, good stuff. Thanks, Jillee.

  • I’ve been noticing containers of vinegars labeled “cleaning vinegar” sold along with the white distilled vinegar. Is this just a marketing ploy? I’ve been ignoring them and sticking with my white distilled vinegar. What’s your opinion, please, Jillee?

    Thank you.

    • Cleaning vinegar has twice the acidity of regular white vinegar. You usually pay about double, so it’s probably smart to stick with your regular vinegar, unless you need the additional acidity to clean mineral deposits around taps, or whatever.

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