How to Wash Dishes With Baking Soda & Vinegar

So many dishes, so many ways to get them clean.

Overhead view brothers doing dishes at kitchen sink
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Vinegar and baking soda are a great way to clean dishes.

Whether washing dishes with baking soda in the sink or in the dishwasher, the fairly common, always affordable and easily accessible pantry item does a great job. Pair that with vinegar, and you have a highly effective and cost-saving way to get dishes clean every day.

Homemade Dish Soap

Making dish soap at home can be a simple endeavor if you have the right products lined up. Castile soap makes a good foundation for an effective and natural homemade dish soap. Use citrus-based essential oils to get the most cleaning action from your homemade dish soap.

A basic homemade dish soap recipe includes 1 ¼ cup boiling water, ¼ cup grated Castile soap, 1 tablespoon of washing soda, ¼ cup liquid Castile soap and 10 drops of essential oil (or more to your taste).

Mix the grated Castile soap with the boiling water until it is dissolved. Add the washing soda and liquid Castile soap. Once the mixture is cool, add the essential oils and transfer to a container, such as an old dish soap bottle.

Baking Soda to Clean Dishes

It's tough on stains and can do a lot of good work after just a small sprinkle on top of dirty dishes. Baking soda is great at breaking down grease and can lift stubborn sauces stuck on plates and utensils.

To clean dishes with baking soda, fill a sink or basin with warm water and a few drops of mild liquid dish soap. Add 1 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda to the soapy water to help remove stubborn, stuck-on bits of food from the cookware and dishes.

Baking soda also deodorizes plastic tubs and glasses. For seriously stained plastic, make a paste of 3 parts of baking soda and 1 part water with a drop of liquid dish soap and rub it over areas that are discolored. The plastic can be bathed in a mixture of baking soda and hot water overnight to rid it of sauce stains or baked on foods.

Vinegar for Cleaning Dishes

Washing dishes with vinegar makes them squeaky clean with a gleaming finish. To clean dishes by hand, add a few teaspoons of vinegar in the soapy water. Dishes will come out clean from any film that can get left behind from low-grade liquid dish soap.

For serious stains, put a light layer of salt in the bottom of the plastic, glass or stainless-steel dish and pour vinegar over the salt. Let it sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it away.

If you have cloudy glasses, then vinegar can remove the film with just a few flicks of the wrist. Dip cloudy glass or ceramic cookware in a bath of 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water to remove the unsightly film.

Using Baking Soda and Vinegar in Dishwasher

Using vinegar and baking soda in a dishwasher can clean the dishes, as well as all the moving parts inside the hardworking appliance. Baking soda in the dishwasher works as a cleaning agent for both the dishes and the many moving parts of the hardworking appliance. Vinegar also works well to create sparkling dishes from start to finish.

Place 1 cup of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher before each cycle for a natural finishing cleaner. Add a 1/4 cup of baking soda to the bottom of the dishwasher before a cycle to clean dishes that are covered in a layer of sauce or bits of food. Then, place a 1/2 cup of baking soda in the tub of the dishwasher and add 1 cup of vinegar to clean out the bottom of the machine.


Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.