I cleaned my house using only baking soda and vinegar for a week – here is what I learned

Baking soda and Vinegar is often touted to be one of the best home cleaners, but does it work for everything?

A pile of cleaning cloths with a scrubbing brush beside a owl of baking soda and a cut open lemon
(Image credit: Alamy)

I, like many people I know, am constantly on the lookout for ways to make household cleaning quicker and more efficient. After all, who wants to spend all their time scrubbing? 

I think everyone has heard about all the things you can clean with baking soda and things you can clean with vinegar before. I had certainly used the baking soda and vinegar mix for a few things around my house before, but I decided to truly test out its capabilities around my home in some of the most used rooms, notably my kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. 

Here is how I got on with this simple solution, so you can try out this miraculous cleaning tip for yourself. 

Baking soda

(Image credit: Alamy)

1. My stove has never looked shinier

As someone who loves to cook, my kitchen stove sure does take a beating each night. I am always having to clean stove burners, especially because I am unable to make anything without making a mess – that is the joy of cooking from scratch I suppose. 

It only made sense that I started my vinegar-baking soda cleaning experiment in my kitchen, sprinkling an ample amount of baking soda over my cold stove in as even a layer as I could manage before saturating it in white vinegar. Only when every inch of the baking soda was fizzing did I leave the solution on the stove for 15 minutes to do its thing. 

Given that I have tried every way of scrubbing off some of the burnt-on food before I didn't have high hopes (I am looking at you, burnt milk) but I was amazed. After leaving it to sit for a while I used a gentle scrubbing brush to work the paste around and start to lift the grime away. I removed the mixture using some paper towels before wiping it down with plain water and drying it with a towel. My stove had not looked that shiny since it was first fitted!

2. It helped stopped slow draining in my bathroom sink, but didn't do so well for my kitchen

Cleaning a bathroom sink is not exactly the hardest of household chores. The drain, on the other hand, is not as simple (particularly if your hair falls out as frequently as mine does). How my hair has managed to clog my bathroom sink drain I have no idea – although maybe it has to do with brushing it there each morning and not collecting it all from the basin before turning it on...

Regardless, I have always heard that vinegar and baking soda were great to unclog a sink so I decided to try it for myself. And boy do I wish I had tried it sooner. 

I started by pouring boiling water down the drain to clear it of loose debris before pouring one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar down the drain immediately after one another, allowing it to fizz within the drain rather than in the basin. No, the important bit, I covered the drain with the plug (although a damp cloth would work just as well) to keep the reaction within the pipes. If this sounds like a lot of baking soda to be buying at the grocery store, consider buying a huge, commercial-sized container of stuff like this on Amazon for household cleaning.

I left this for 15 minutes once again before clearing the pipes through with another liter of boiling water. A bit of research taught me that this also helps to fight fungi and bacteria in my drains too! 

The solution did not do as well for my kitchen drain, however, much to my disappointment. The vinegar-baking soda solution did a little bit to help improve the flow of waste water but I don't think it was quite enough to shift any kind of grease build-up from food and fats. I think I will be sticking to more traditional unblockers in the meantime. 

3. I was finally able to shift old grime on my tile floor

My kitchen flooring ideas have seen a lot of foot traffic, both from the previous tenant and myself as I went back and forth from the yard when we first moved in. The result was a once-white marble tiled floor that was coasted in a seemingly unmovable layer of grime. It looked awful if I am being honest with you. 

I had tried a few floor cleaners and floor wipes to clean tile floors to no avail, so, seeing what the solution did for my stove, I decided to try it on my floors too! 

I combined a cup of warm water, a cup of liquid dish soap, four tablespoons of white vinegar, and three-and-one-third cups of baking soda in a bucket and used a tough scrubbing brush dipped in the solution to coat and scrub my floor. It was not the most relaxed of cleaning experiences, requiring a lot of elbow grease on my hands and knees, but it paid off. The dark shadowy stains finally came away and, after a quick mop with some plain warm water, the floor finally looked whiter again. 

Now just to put some kitchen rug ideas in the space to keep it looking that way.

4. It was the solution I needed to freshen up my washing machine

Knowing how to clean a washing machine was not something I was familiar with until I listened to my grandmother's five laundry lessons, but luckily vinegar and baking soda makes the job far easier. 

A washing machine uses soap all the time, so why does it need cleaning? I hear you ask. I used to think the same thing until I realized that a build-up of detergent can quickly lead to mold and I certainly don't want to be washing my clothes in that. 

When my washing machine started to smell a little damp, I put one cup of baking soda in the drum and four cups of white vinegar in the detergent drawer and allowed the machine to run on a hot cycle. 

Once done I quickly wiped around the drums seals and drawer slot and left the door and drawer open to dry out. It is the perfect solution for freshening up my machine between washes. 

However, my house did smell like vinegar for a week...

While vinegar and baking soda really did help to clean so many stubborn things around my home, the smell of white vinegar certainly started to get to me after a while. I think, if I was to do this again, I would space out my cleaning projects so that my house didn't have a constantly lingering smell of vinegar.

One way I could have combatted the vinegar smell was to add lemon juice to each of my cleaning solutions, with the acidic lemon supposedly neutralizing the strong vinegar scent, but I had forgotten to buy some when I started my cleaning trial. Luckily, the smell wasn't something my best dehumidifier and a few open windows couldn't handle. But it is certainly something to think about before scrubbing your house top to bottom with this miracle mixture.  

What happens when you clean with baking soda and vinegar

When mixed together, vinegar breaks down baking soda to release carbon dioxide gas, the violent reaction means that the solution is idea for removing grease and grime as it breaks down the molecules and lifts it away from a surface. Because of this, it is best to clean with vinegar and baking soda while it is still bubbling and fizzing, and not when it has become still. 

Can I mop with baking soda and vinegar

A combination of baking soda and vinegar is a safe combination for cleaning floors, especially if you are faced with long built up dirt and grime. While you can mop with the mixture, it is best used for spot cleaning with a scrubbing brush to tackle areas that traditional floor cleaner has not managed.

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.