How to Wash Dishes With Baking Soda & Vinegar

Using baking soda and vinegar is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to achieve clean and sparkling dishes and glassware. Baking soda is tough on stains and can be sprinkled onto dirty dishes to help remove grease and stubborn food residue. In the dishwasher, a vinegar-and-water rinse can effectively dissolve dull soap scum on glassware often left by commercial cleaners and rinse aids. Baking soda and vinegar are both safe to use on most household surfaces and are non-toxic, making them ideal substances to clean dishes, utensils and glassware.

How to Wash Dishes With Baking Soda

Washing Dishes by Hand

  • When using a commercial detergent, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda to the soapy water for extra cleaning power and to neutralize food odors.
  • Generously sprinkle baking soda on pots and pans and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a damp sponge with a little hot water to make it into a paste. The slightly abrasive quality will work to gently remove caked grease and dried-on food debris. For extra-stubborn food stains, leave the paste on overnight.
  • To remove coffee and tea stains, dissolve 1/4 cup of baking soda in a quart of warm water and fill cups, mugs,coffeepots and teakettles. Let it sit for one hour.
  • Make a paste with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water to clean and polish silver utensils and dishware. Rub the paste on the surface and rinse with warm water. Use a soft cloth to dry the items.
  • Soak plastic food containers overnight in a mixture of baking soda and hot water to completely remove food odors.

Using a Dishwasher

  • Place a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda in the wash compartment of your dishwasher instead of commercial dishwasher soap to clean a load of dishes. If desired, use a vinegar rinse afterwards to remove any baking soda residue that might appear on glassware as a result.
  • Add a cupful of baking soda to the bottom of your dishwasher and run a cycle using the hottest water setting to freshen and sanitize the area.

How to Wash Dishes With Vinegar

Washing Dishes by Hand

  • Use distilled white or apple cider vinegar for best results.
  • Add 3 to 4 teaspoons of vinegar in your dish detergent to give it more grease-fighting power.
  • Boil 2 to 3 cups of vinegar in a greasy pan for 10 minutes to restore its non-stick quality.
  • Remove coffee stains by scrubbing coffee cups and mugs with equal parts of salt and vinegar.
  • Combine equal parts of salt and flour with enough vinegar to make a paste to use as a scrub for pots and pans. Use vinegar instead of baking soda on aluminum cookware; baking soda can react with the aluminum and gradually break it down.
  • Rinse glassware in 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and allow it to air-dry.

Using a Dishwasher

  • Fill a small cup or bowl with 1/2 to 1 cup vinegar and place it in the dishwasher before running it as usual. Vinegar can also be added during the last dishwashing cycle in place of a rinse aid.
  • Pour 1 to 1 1/2 cups vinegar at the bottom of an empty dishwasher and run a cycle once a month to help remove calcium buildup.

Tanya Soraya Ruys

Tanya Soraya Ruys is a published author who writes about home improvement, interior design, alternative medicine, culture, film and social media. She is currently working on her master's thesis in film and creative writing at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif.