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Vinegar to Water Ratio for Cleaning

Vinegar and Water Cleaning Ratio

Discover the correct vinegar to water ratio for cleaning different surfaces and items, so you know what you really need for your specific purposes.

More and more families are turning to vinegar as a cleaning agent. Did you know that in the past, vinegar was regularly used to rid homes of dirt? It was replaced by commercial products, but there is a resurgence in the popularity of this wonder cleaner.

Depending on the surface and your cleaning needs, vinegar can be used diluted or undiluted. And it is important to know the right vinegar to water ratio to use for cleaning the different surfaces/things in your home.

Vinegar can be used undiluted for tough dirt if the surface is non-porous. Floors can be cleaned with half a cup of vinegar to half a gallon of warm water. Dishes can be washed with equal parts vinegar and water. Boil a vinegar-water mixture with a quarter being vinegar to clean the microwave.

A bottle of white vinegar and glass jar of water with text that says, "Vinegar to water ratio for cleaning".

Vinegar could be an excellent solution if you, like so many of us, are looking for non toxic, safer cleaning alternatives. What was once a household norm is making a solid comeback, and we love the applications of vinegar for cleaning.

White vinegar is a staple in my home, I use it for cleaning all the time. It’s cheap, safe to use around the home and it gets the job done. What’s not to like about it.

And to help you use this amazing cleaning agent correctly, I have compiled a guide on vinegar-water ratio that should be used for different surfaces, so let us dive in.

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Water to Vinegar to Ratio for Cleaning Floors

When it comes to cleaning floors, vinegar can be a fantastic option. It is not advisable to mop in a traditional way when using vinegar since you will use more than is financially viable.

Instead, consider soaking a cloth in a bowl or basin with your vinegar solution. Attach the rag to a dry mop or broom and use it that way.

Different makes of floors require slightly different ratios of vinegar to water. Let’ s take a look at:

  • Hardwood, ceramic, and stone floors
  • Porcelain and linoleum floors

Hardwood, Ceramic and Stone Floors

It is not advisable to use vinegar on porous surfaces. If your floor has not been treated, use a commercial cleaning product to avoid damaging it. Some experts also advice not to use vinegar on ceramic and stone floors because the acid in vinegar can damage the surfaces making them look dull.

For hardwood floors, it is advisable to sweep, dry mop, vacuum, and spot clean. If you want the disinfecting properties of vinegar for your floors, try a mixture of one cup of distilled white vinegar with about one gallon of lukewarm water.

The solution will not be as potent as you may like, but by significantly diluting it, you ensure your floor’s long-lasting shine and quality, even after cleaning.

Porcelain And Linoleum Floors

With these durable materials, the world is really your vinegary oyster. The rule of thumb is that stronger solutions make for better cleaning and disinfecting properties.

For porcelain and linoleum floors, aim to dilute equal parts vinegar and water or even more vinegar. The only factors to consider are if you can stomach the smell of strong vinegar and the grout between the tiles.

A more diluted solution is easier on grout and on the nose; however, a more concentrated one is better at ridding floors of germs.

For these kinds of floors, it is truly up to you.

Vinegar to Water Ratio for Cleaning Washing Machines

Washing machines tend to get grimy and moldy because they are often left wet and shut. When you notice your machine smelling a little funky, it could be time to give it a good clean.

White vinegar is a great cleaning agent for washing machines. Not only can you use it to clean the machine itself, but you can also add it to the tray for an extra clean cycle of clothes or bedding.

If you use any other type of vinegar other than white, it may not be a good idea for washing clothes since some kinds of vinegar stain.

To clean your washing machine with vinegar, add neat vinegar to the part of the tray for softener. Wash a complete cycle, preferably on hot. Be wary of wiping the rubber seal with vinegar since it will likely damage it.

Vinegar to Water Cleaning Ratio for Dishes

When cleaning dishes in the sink or dishwasher, adding a little vinegar can go a long way in getting a radiant shine, especially for that glassware.

To use vinegar for cleaning dishes, add a dash of the liquid to the full sink (an estimated vinegar-water ratio of 1:100).

To wash your dishes in the dishwasher with vinegar, secure a bowl to the top rack . Fill it halfway with white vinegar. Add your regular dishwasher soap and run the cycle as usual. The bowl of vinegar will disperse the cleaning agent over the other dishes and give them a fantastic sparkle and shine.

Vinegar to Water Ratio for Cleaning Microwaves

Did you know that you can use vinegar to clean your microwave? While you can wipe it down, there is another method to try, too.

Place a cup of water and vinegar in the microwave. The solution should be one-quarter vinegar and three-quarters water. Boil the water in the microwave until you see condensation droplets forming on the door.

Once the microwave is moistened from the condensation, wipe it down with a cloth or paper towel. For stubborn dirt, use a little baking soda, then wipe again.

Using vinegar in this way cleans and sanitizes your microwave for tasty, warm, and healthy food.

Vinegar to Water Ratio for Cleaning Rusty Items

A great use of white vinegar is cleaning rusty items around the house or garage. Soak the item in pure white vinegar for around twenty-four hours to clean rust off tools or other items.

There are two ways you can soak rusty items in vinegar:

  1. Place pure vinegar in a container. Place the item in the vinegar and retrieve it later.
  2. Soak a rag in pure vinegar and wrap it around the item. Seal the wrapped item in a plastic bag and leave it for the allotted twenty-four hours.

After soaking, wipe the item with a scotch pad or a similar cloth to remove the excess rust and dirt. The item should be almost as good as new.

Vinegar to Water Ratio for Cleaning Shoes

If you find that your shoes, particularly boots, have salt residue or other dirt, you may wish to consider creating a ready-to-go cleaner using vinegar and water.

Fill a spray bottle almost to the top. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar. Mix and spray. Wipe the shoe after spraying to remove the salt or dirt.

Do not soak the shoe with the solution. Simply make it damp enough to clean.

How to Hide the Smell of Vinegar

Vinegar is an excellent cleaning and sanitizing agent. It does have a potent smell, though. If you find the odor too strong for you or your family, you can try a few tricks to disguise or minimize it.

  • Ventilate the house during and after cleaning with vinegar.
  • Add essential oils to the solution.
  • Soak citrus peels and, or lavender in the solution overnight before using it.
  • Create a more diluted solution by adding more water. (The more diluted the solution, the less effective it is.)


Vinegar is a wonderful, clean, and safe way to clean many surfaces in the home. You may need to experiment with ratios that work the best for you, but there are certain guidelines you can follow when cleaning specific items.

It is best to use white vinegar to avoid stains. You can disguise or minimize the smell of your vinegar cleaning solution by adding essential oils, citrus peels, or ventilation to the mix. Enjoy vinegar for all its benefits – clean home without toxic chemicals!

Did you find our vinegar to water ratio for cleaning guide helpful? Leave your comment below.

A gallon of vinegar and a bowl of water with text that says, "Vinegar to water cleaning ratio".

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Linda Behr

Wednesday 24th of April 2024

Your suggestions for using vinegar are great. I have the industrial vinegar. I use it for cleaning my stainless-steel sink.

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