Vinegar for Cleaning - What to Use

In your efforts to ditch the toxic nasties in your cleaning products, you'll no doubt have come across many an advocate of vinegar for cleaning - they're not wrong!. There are many good reasons why vinegar has been used for centuries by our ancestors, not least of all that it actually works! My favourite uses for it are as a glass cleaner and a descaler. I've never found anything better for getting rid of stubborn limescale from taps, nor have I found anything to better it as a glass cleaner. Basically, for anything shiny - vinegar's your top choice. No horrible residue either. Perfect.

It can be a bit of a minefield at first trying to find out which vinegar to use for cleaning. Here I'll give you the lowdown so you can see for yourself what a wonder this stuff is!

Which Vinegar Should I Use for Cleaning?

White distilled vinegar.  (not the brown, malt vinegar you put on chips). 

It's the acetic acid content that gives vinegar its cleaning power (and it's taste). As a general rule, 6% acetic acid is what you should be looking for, however I've found that 5% white distilled vinegar works fine if you can't get hold of the stronger stuff.

Distilled Vinegar, Spirit Vinegar or Vinegar?

Broadly speaking, vinegar is derived from foods that naturally contain sugar, such as apples or grapes, whereas distilled vinegar - also known as spirit vinegar - is derived from malt, corn or barley, produced through a double fermentation process. 

Look out for white distilled / spirit vinegar for cleaning.

 Vinegar Glass Cleaner Recipe

You can add citrus if you're not keen on the vinegar smell, but I've found that the vinegar smell doesn't tend to linger - it disappears when dried. 

First make citrus vinegar as follows:

1. Add citrus peels of your choice - lemons, limes, oranges - to a container of white vinegar (Kilner jars work well for this)

2. Leave to stand for at least a week, two is best

3. Strain so you have a clear liquid 

4. Mix equal parts of the citrus vinegar you made to filtered water

5. Shake well

6. Pour into a clean spray bottle


To clean glass:

Spray the citrus vinegar / water solution onto the area you want to clean.

Wipe over with a microfibre cloth 


Limescale Remover

Pour white vinegar over the area. 

Leave for 20 minutes. 

Wipe over with a microfibre cloth and watch the limescale wash away!

Do Not Use Vinegar On:




Hardwood flooring


Do not mix vinegar with 


Hydrogen Peroxide


If in doubt, check it out.

In fact, to keep things simple, it's best to just mix with good old filtered water.