As a busy working mom, I’m always trying to find new ways to make cleaning less of a chore, and to free up precious time. Over the years, I have bought all kinds of household products imaginable to clean every room in the home. And while they have all promised to banish grime, grease or any other stubborn stain in less time, I’ve never found one with impressive results. What’s more, my cupboard full of now redundant products has become an unnecessary expense on the grocery bills.
It isn’t any wonder why many people are starting to make their own cleaning products at home. In fact, when it comes to reliable, cleaning hacks, baking soda and white distilled vinegar make the ideal combo to tackle our chores. Praised for effectively removing dirt, stains and even bad smells, you’d be surprised at the many things you didn’t know you could clean with baking soda.
This is because baking soda has a mild alkaline pH that works quickly to break down dirt and grease easily when mixed with water. Best of all, when combined with the acidity of white distilled vinegar or lemon, the chemical reaction works wonders on the toughest of cleaning jobs. Plus, they are completely natural, non-toxic and odor-free, which makes it ideal for households with children and pets. If you want to know more, find out what makes baking soda and white vinegar so good at cleaning.
So with that in mind, I decided to ditch my shop-bought products to use only baking soda and vinegar to clean for a week. Find out what happened when I put these two humble ingredients to work around the home.
As my stovetop is used on a daily basis, it’s always prone to grease stains, splashes and food debris. First, I removed the grates before sprinkling baking soda liberally over the top. (Here's our guide on how to clean cast iron stove grates) Then, I sprayed a small amount of white vinegar onto the baking soda. I let it sit for about 15 minutes, to allow the baking soda to bubble up, and get to work on removing the dirt and stains on the stove. Then I simply got a damp dishcloth to ‘rinse’ off the baking soda residue until clean.
I was impressed that the grease and dirt was easy to wipe away, without any scrubbing or effort involved. After a few wipes to remove all traces of residue, my stove was clean and even had a sheen to it.
Unclog sink drain
There’s nothing worse than having a blocked kitchen sink. And despite spending a small fortune on specific drain cleaners, nothing seemed to work. So, armed with my baking soda, I sprinkled about half a cup of baking soda down the drain before pouring in about a cup of vinegar. I left the mixture to sit for about five minutes, until the chemical reaction stopped bubbling. Then I carefully poured hot water down the drain, before flushing any residue away with cold water.
Not only did this resolve my blocked sink, but it also made my stainless steel easy to clean. Since baking soda is a natural deodorizer, I no longer had that foul smell from the drain. Win-win!
Find out what happened when I tried this TikTok hack to deodorize a drain.
Toilet cleaner and freshener
One thing I dislike about using bleach to clean the toilet is its strong smell. Plus, I hate the idea of harsh chemicals in the home. To replace the bleach, I first sprayed white vinegar inside the toilet bowl, before sprinkling an equivalent quantity of baking soda. I let the mixture sit for about five minutes before scrubbing clean with a toilet brush. Alongside removing any grime and stains, this will also banish unpleasant odors. After a week, I noticed the toilet bowl looked whiter than normal, and even had a shiny gleam to it. What's more, spraying white vinegar all over the toilet brush made it odor-free (if you don't mind the faint smell of vinegar!).
If you live in a hard water area, it can often be tricky to easily remove limescale in bathrooms. But I’d found a simple hack you can use for limescale build-up on your faucets or showerhead. Simply soak a dishcloth or towel in white vinegar, wrap around the faucets or area you’re trying to clean, and leave it on your faucet for about two hours.
Once you remove the cloth, apply a paste of 50/50 baking soda and water to the area, and scrub with an old toothbrush to lift the limescale. Then rinse with a clean, damp cloth to wipe away any traces of the paste. I found this to be more effective than any limescale removers I’ve bought, and less elbow grease too. Impressive!
Top tips when cleaning with baking soda and vinegar
— It’s advisable to make a fresh paste of baking soda and vinegar as you need it, and don't reuse it.
— The best type of vinegar to use is distilled white vinegar. Avoid using malt vinegar as this could stain surfaces. If in doubt check out our guide on the best vinegar to clean with.
— If you don’t want your home to reek of vinegar, add in about 10 drops each of tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils. This will give your homemade cleaner a fresh scent, and banish vinegar odors. However, these are other ways on how to clean with vinegar without the smell, keeping things fragrant.
While you can convert to natural cleaners, bear in mind, these are the 7 things you should never clean with baking soda. And if you want tips for laundry day, here's 7 reasons you should use vinegar in your washing machine. Also, I write cleaning tips for a living — here’s what you will find in my cleaning cupboard.
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As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features.
Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.
With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!