Vinegar Cleaning Gel (Great for Showers and Tubs)

3 Materials
10 Minutes

Do you love cleaning with vinegar, but need a product that will more easily stay on surfaces such as shower walls? All it takes is two ingredients from the kitchen to make this gel cleaner.


Here are the ingredients that I used:

  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
Choosing the Best Thickener

After researching, I found that there are 2-3 ingredients that are perfect for thickening vinegar to make it into a gel:

  • Cornstarch
  • Tapioca powder
  • Xanthan gum

While you are probably familiar with cornstarch, tapioca powder and xanthan gum are not as well known. They are predominantly used in gluten-free recipes. So I chose not to use those two ingredients because they cost more than cornstarch, and they are likely not to be in your pantry.

How to Make

  1. Add the vinegar and cornstarch to a saucepan and stir together.
  2. Using medium low heat, constantly whisk the ingredients in the pan for about 7-10 minutes.
  3. When the mixture suddenly starts to thicken and cling to the whisk, remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Stir in essential oils a minute or two after bringing it off the heat.
  5. Store in an air-tight container. I chose a small canning jar, but you could use a squeeze bottle for short term storage.
Why Use a Vinegar Gel?

I love spraying vinegar cleaners throughout my home just like anyone else who loves homemade cleaning recipes.

(Especially using this  DIY Sage Spray or  All Purpose Kitchen Cleaner.) However, there are times when a liquid solution doesn't work so well.

Often you have soap scum, grime and maybe even mildew or mold on places that need a cleaner to stick and soak. Such as surfaces like:

  • Shower walls
  • Shower doors
  • Faucets
  • Any vertical surfaces

Sure, you can spray liquid on these surfaces. But it will start to drip down immediately. Which means you don't get the long lasting cleaning benefit of having a product stay on the surface and dissolve soap scum and grime.

Helpful Tips

  • Do not add cornstarch to hot vinegar. It just clumps and becomes messy. It's similar to adding cornstarch to pan drippings for Thanksgiving dinner to make a gravy. You need to add the thickener to water (or in this case, vinegar) before adding it to something hot, otherwise it doesn't dissolve.
  • This cleaner does leave a bit of a residue. Which is no worries in the shower or tub when you are rinsing well anyway. But if you use it on a countertop or in place of any other liquid cleaner, you might be surprised at the need to wipe it up more.
  • When storing in a glass jar, my vinegar cleaning gel stayed decently moist and usable for at least a week. It was much more soft, though, right after making it. So you can store it and it will work well, I just wouldn't make a big batch in order to store for long.

For even more helpful tips on creating this easy green cleaner that cost only .25 cents to make, visit my blog post linked below!

Resources for this project:
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Kimberly Button
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 29 questions
  • Can this be used on marble shower walls or porcelain floors?

  • Barb Brown Barb Brown on Apr 18, 2022

    Does it work on grout? If not, do you have a diy for it?

  • Sue Sue on Sep 15, 2023

    Is there a concern about the corn starch clogging drains/harming septics as it is a thickening agent ?

Join the conversation
4 of 58 comments
  • Maxine Crawford Maxine Crawford on Apr 18, 2022

    I use 1cup Dawn and 1 1/2 cup very warm vinegar. Put and spray bottle shake very well and spray it on it's very thick. So thick in fact it's hard to get it to come out with spray bottle

    • Frances Anderson Frances Anderson on Apr 18, 2022

      this is a lot of dawn but its same receipe i use for my windows and mirrors and shower , but find buying a cheap washing up liquid is thinner and sprays better

  • Led60444439 Led60444439 on Apr 18, 2022

    Thanks for this idea. I will definitely try it.