White vinegar is a wonderful thing. It removes calcium and lime deposits, odors from plastic, discolorations, and stains, and it is a great cleanser for almost everything except marble surfaces. (The acid in vinegar etches marble.) For cleaning various items, use undiluted full strength vinegar, or make a scouring paste by mixing vinegar with baking soda, salt, or cream of tartar. For jobs that require soaking time, liberally soak a small cloth with vinegar, apply, and wait several hours or overnight. Use hot or boiling vinegar for extra power. Suit the application to the job… for stubborn cases, you might need to apply the vinegar more than once, but vinegar works so well it is truly amazing.


  • Removes calcium and lime deposits from glass
  • Removes stains from coffee and tea cups
  • Removes odors and stains from plastic food containers
  • Cleans metal
  • Removes dark stains in aluminum pots
  • Cleans cooked-on grease off grills
  • Eliminates mildew
  • Cleans toilet bowls
  • Cleans and deodorizes drains
  • Shines faucets
  • Removes the glue left behind by labels and stickers

Flowering Almond (Prunus glandulosa)

You will probably think of other uses, too, once you discover for yourself how well vinegar cleans. Just last week I was cleaning my cockatiels’ cage and tried repeatedly without success to remove a white calcium stain from the dark-colored tray. The stain would disappear when I scrubbed it and reappear once the tray dried. I suddenly thought of vinegar, soaked a cloth, and put it against the stain. After only a few minutes of gentle rubbing, the stain was completely gone and has not reappeared. An added benefit is that I don’t have to worry that the birds might have been exposed to chemicals.

Last night I used vinegar to clean an unsightly mineral stain off the inside of the touchscreen of a small handheld computer. The computer had been ruined by an accidental encounter with water (don’t ask!), and we had previously taken it apart and dried it out, but the mineral stains that were left made using the touchscreen impossible. A small amount of vinegar took the stains away immediately and allowed the electrical connections to be made, and now the computer works again.

Vinegar is a cost-effective cleanser, too, especially in the larger sizes.