Thrifty and Chic
Thrifty and Chic
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  • Salt Lake City, UT

Cleaning hard water stains with vinegar

Vinegar can clean years of encrusted hard water stains in a matter of seconds! Who knew???
years of hard water stains
years of hard water stains
water dispenser before and after
water dispenser before and after
cup with and without cleaning with vinegar
cup with and without cleaning with vinegar
silverware with and without cleaning with vinegar
silverware with and without cleaning with vinegar
Thrifty and Chic

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

4 questions
  • Djd7065933
    on Jul 1, 2016

    What ratio?

    on Jul 2, 2016

    I'd love to try it, but I recently read that using vinegar in a dish washer or clothes washer is hard on the rubber seals and could make them deteriorate faster than normal. Anyone had this problem?

    • Martha
      on Jul 7, 2016

      Hi! I've been using vinegar in lieu of fabric softener and my front loading washing machine's rubber seal looks good so far. I've been doing it for about two years now. In the dishwasher I still use the regular rinse liquid because I also read about the damage to the seals if using vinegar, but it might be worth a try.

    • Laurie
      on Jul 30, 2016

      I used a half cup of vinegar in my dishwasher twice and had to have the seal replaced, not to mention the water leak cleanup! Now, I pre soak any foggy glasses and started to wash dishes on "normal", not "econo", and haven't had a foggy glass since!

    • MK McDonald
      on Sep 20, 2016

      Hmm. That's odd. Couple times a week I splash some vinegar in the d/washer before starting it up. Pretty well all my adult life. Never had a seal problem and actually didn't know it could be a problem. 😁

    • Guinevere Bear
      on Oct 25, 2016

      I haven't used in dishwasher but have used for 20+ years in my clothes washer without a problem.

    • Lov4431646
      on Nov 12, 2016

      I had a problem also. The vinegar works but the coating on the rack came off and the rack is rusted here and there. It sometimes stain my white dishes. Better to use proper dish washer soap, although it's a bit more expensive.

    • Kay White
      on May 25, 2017

      When I was a youngster, I remembering using vinegar to rinse my hair.
    • Debra Paige Beard
      on Sep 13, 2017

      We always rinsed our hair in vinegar water at home after shampooing it. We didn't know about conditioner. Our hair always came out very soft and so shiny!
    • Lorraine Gibb
      on Sep 16, 2017

      Using vinegar to clean shouldn't be a problem as long as you dilute it (which happens anyway when you put it in a washer or dishwasher). However, undiluted, straight-out-of-the-bottle vinegar should not be used to clean most other things (hazy glass is the exception) because it is ACETIC ACID! It can cause etching/pitting of metals and breakdown of some "plastics". And dilute it if used on hair! After all, it IS an acid, albeit a fairly mild one, and can cause skin. eye and mucous membrane irritation.
    • Lorraine Gibb
      on Sep 16, 2017

      Stainless steel should be okay if diluted vinegar is used. Just keep in mind that some things that LOOK like stainless steel are actually "brushed" metals such as regular steel [which can stain or rust], aluminum, pewter, nickel, or other alloys. I suggest testing vinegar on small, hidden area first and always diluting vinegar in at least a 1:1 ratio (better still, 2-4 parts water to 1 part vinegar).
    • Sheiba
      on Oct 2, 2018

      I agree with you , i also heard that

    • Sharon sherwood
      on Jan 21, 2019

      i use vinegar In my washing machine, especially when some clothes smells funky. Half a cup in to a load of wash with remove all smells on clothes.

  • Carol
    on Jul 3, 2016

    Can you use vinegar to clean the "fog" from the head lights?

    • Teri Boling Moye
      on Jul 6, 2016

      I've had success using simple car wax for this problem. Just takes a little elbow grease and a rag.

    • Sha4775837
      on Jul 19, 2016

      Toothpaste and a little elbow will also work on headlights.

    • Carol
      on Jul 21, 2016

      Thank you

    • AlisonGrimes
      on Jul 25, 2016

      Doesn't it make the clothes smell like vinegar?

    • AlisonGrimes
      on Jul 25, 2016

      Sorry - my post ended up in the wrong place...

    • Lorraine Gibb
      on Sep 16, 2017

      The paste cleaner for smooth glass electric cooktops works on foggy headlights.
    • Sandy
      on Jul 21, 2018

      It is about $12-15 but product called wipe new works like magic on headlights and is easy.

    • ChrisW
      on Sep 1, 2018

      Mosquito spray can(deep woods) works best for me for head lights n last longer also !

  • Baby
    on May 26, 2017

    What's the ratio for the fogged glasses?
    • Puppymom
      on Sep 8, 2017

      If you go to link above for her page, it says she soaked a paper towel in vinegar and wiped glass. Hope this helps.

Join the conversation

4 of 44 comments
  • Lilbit0609
    on Aug 13, 2016

    We have rental property ( Apartment Complex) and when we first purchased the dishwashers were horrible, interior a light brown color from hard water stains. We asked around and were told the easiest way to clean then was to use plain unsweetened lemon cool-ade! We just put the contents of 2 packages in the dishwasher and let it wash but not drain the water, re-set it to wash again, do this as many times as needed and let it finish the cycle and it came out snow white. Another use of the lemon cool-ade is for the hard water stain in the toilet bowl, sprinkle it on the stain, then apply a layer of WET toilet paper, keep toilet paper damp,let soak for about an hour, then flush. It's the citric acid in the lemon cool-ade that does the cleaning...Give it a try, a cheap but effective solution. .Peggy from Louisiana

    • Gail
      on Oct 2, 2018

      That is a lot more effort than the vinegar method. Plus, lemon kool aid costs more than vinegar.

  • Lilbit0609
    on Oct 3, 2018

    You go ahead and use your vinegar method if you like it, but what could be any easier than emptying 2 packets of plain lemon cool aid, no sugar in it, into the dishwasher, then running it thru just the wash cycle for maybe 2 times. Just don't let it drain, reset it to wash again. You can repeat this with the same two packets until its sparkling white. How much effort is it to pour 2 packets of the lemon cool aid into the dishwasher and let the dishwasher clean it for you. Also,plain cool aid is cheap, I never pay more than 10 cents a packet for it, can't get any cheaper than that with hardly no effort at all, unless you consider that a lot of effort just opening 2 packets of cool aid. Your not wasting water either by recycling it back to wash (not letting it pump the water out) for however many times it needs. Besides, most people won't let their dishwashers get as bad as the former owners of our apartments did, so it probably would only take letting it wash the first couple of times. I had never seen dishwashers this bad and thought we might have to replace them but after another owner shared this cleaning tip with me they all looked new again! Since then, I have been sharing this tip with everyone I know too.

    PLUS, when your through, your house smells so good and clean.

    • Pam Murray
      on Nov 26, 2018

      I have used kook aid many times to clean my dishwasher. I have just run it through on a regular cycle, flavor and sugar free did not make a difference. I have even used the red flavors and the dishwasher came out clean.

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