Does White Vinegar Get Rid of Smells?

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Often used to pickle foods, vinegar is also a condiment.

A common ingredient in many green cleaning recipes, vinegar is an inexpensive and versatile household item that contains acetic acid. Use white vinegar to get rid of smells on various surfaces in the home. White vinegar will eliminate odors associated with smoke, pets, cooking and other difficult-to-remove smells.


Washable Items

Set your washing machine to a normal cycle and let the washer drum begin to fill with cool water. Pour 1/4 cup of laundry detergent in the detergent receptacle. Add the detergent directly into the water if the washing machine does not have a detergent receptacle. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the washer drum and submerge the washable items into the washing machine. Shut the washer lid and let the machine finish a complete cycle.


Video of the Day

Carpets and Upholstery

Before removing odors, clean the carpets with a vacuum. For upholstered furniture, secure the upholstery brush to the vacuum hose and run the brush over the surface of the upholstery. Remove odors trapped in the fabric of carpets and upholstery by misting the surface with white vinegar. Allow the vinegar to air dry on the fabric. If any odors remain, reapply the vinegar to the surface.


Hard Surfaces

Keep your toilet bowls smelling clean by pouring 1 cup of white vinegar directly into the toilet bowl. Let the vinegar sit for five to 10 minutes before scrubbing the bowl clean. Flush the toilet to rinse the vinegar off the inside of the toilet bowl. Wash eating and cooking utensils, dishes, pots, pans and drinkware in a sink filled with warm, soapy water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Rinse the items clean with cool water and wipe dry with a towel.



Remove odors from the air by filling small bowls with undiluted white vinegar. Place the vinegar-filled bowls around the area where you want to remove odors. Let the bowls sit overnight. Discard the old vinegar; fill the bowls with fresh vinegar and let sit for another 24 hours if odors in the air remain. Make your own air freshening spray by pouring 1 pint of water into a spray bottle. Add 1 tsp. of vinegar and 1 oz. of rosemary or sage essential oil. Swirl the bottle gently for several seconds to mix the liquids together. Mist the air with the mixture to remove odors and freshen the home. To remove odors while cooking, boil a pot filled with equal parts water and white vinegar. Let the liquid boil dry to remove cooking odors from the air.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...