Wednesday, July 11, 2012

White Vinegar + Dawn in the kitchen

Judging by the amount of Pinterest pins on the matter of cleaning, scrubbing, cleaning routine, how to keep clean, cheaper cleaner etc. I am comforted to know that I am NOT the only one who is cleaning challenged.

So here is a disclaimer for you: the picures you are about to see are before and after of my kitchen. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that a closeup with a 15 MPX camera would reveal such disturbing, not to mention gross, sights! No, I am not a slob, I am just, well as I said above, cleaning challenged!  That's my story and I am sticking to it!

How it all started:

There is a lot of buzz on Pinterest about this miracle cleaner you can make yourself out of white vinegar and Dawn dish detergent (it has to be the blue one). Like a lot of folks, I pinned the idea and forgot about it. That was until I developed COPD and realized I could not longer use my regular products because they would make me choke and seriously damage my lungs. I am an extreme couponer (more on that with later blog posts) so naturally, I have an entire drugstore's worth of Clorox, Fantastic, Lysol, Kaboom etc. in the basement. Turns out I can no longer use any of them. So I decided to go natural, and since I have also turned frugal, notice I say frugal - not cheap, I decided to make my own all-in-one cleaner.


White Vinegar
Blue Dawn dishwashing detergent
Empty Spray Bottle (e.g. Windex)


One Scotshbrite sponge (green top) + one wet towel (rinsing) + one dry towel (wiping).

I just mixed them and eyeballed the ratio white vinegar to Dawn. Some folks heat the vinegar first then add the Dawn, others use a half and half method (half vinegar - half Dawn). I did not heat mine, nor did I use the half and half way. I did realize however that the more Dawn you add, the more suds you will have to wipe away, so be conservative with the Dawn. I guess the lack of heating is the reason why mine looks cloudy and I am fine with that. Further, I have decided to make only a small amount each Sunday night to be used during the week.

I am not making a lot of cleaner at once, this will last me
at least one week if not a bit more. This is what the cleaner
looks like after mixing it. If I had heated the vinegar, it
would have remained clear. That is not something that
really matters to me, but I can see how the heat would
help diluting the Dawn.

What started with a simple experiment on the sink led to a frantic expedition throughout the darkest corners of my kitchen cabinets to fetch those items I dread cleaning (wait until you see the griddle!!), not to mention the rest of the kitchen. So here are a lot of samples of before and afters to let you know whether this white Vinegar and Dawn mix is really worth the buzz...You be the judge!

Experiment #1- The Sink:

There is a fabulous book I recommend to anyone who is cleaning challenged like me. Sink Reflections by the FlyLady is the bible of cleaning how-tos and routines. If you need help, I strongly urge you to purchase this book. The principles are easy to understand and here is one: Start with shining your sink. Once you see your sink all cleaned and dry, the rest of the kitchen will stick out like a sore thumb and you will become motivated to clean the rest. No matter what, your sink should always be shining and dry.  So over the years I have gone on and off with the FlyLady's many systems, to no fault of hers, I still think she is fabulous...Instead, it was my entire fault, but I am working on that. Logically, my first attempt at testing out the White Vinegar + Dawn mix, was with shining the sink.

Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley

Here is my kitchen sink before - not bad, but I am sure you've seen cleaner sinks than this. The issue is hard water deposit as well as some greasy and yellowish residue here and there.

And here is the kitchen sink after - it took only one round of cleaner, whereas usually I need to go twice over with the Clorox or Lysol sprays.

I can't recall when was the last time my sink was that clean. I am hoping you can see the shine on both the tub and the faucet! And since I was pretty much sold on the idea of using this cleaning solution, I decided to move one with other tasks...

Experiment #2 - The counter Lazy Suzanne.

I have this Lazy Suzan I use on the counter top for my cleaning products. It allows for easy access and is really practical. Needless to say, it does not get cleaned too often, so I decided to give my new cleaner a try since this would be DIY cleaner versus plastic and rubber...

Here is a rather horrifying picture of my counter Lazy Suzan before (please do not ask as I will deny having any kind of knowledge as to where the sticky goo and other weird substances come from):

And the after in WOW!

Here is my Lazy Suzan in full action, as you can see, I no longer require a lot of product(s).

Moving on to another task, I found myself carried away and decided to pretty much give my entire kitchen a white vinegar + Dawn overhaul!

Experiment #3 - The stove:

This is an embarrassing one! Yet, I find it very releasing to allow myself through such exposure. So here goes, my stove top, which by the way gets cleaned EVERY NIGHT after dinner, no matter what! This is the stove after breakfast that morning which consisted of sauteed vegetables, egg omelet and bacon...

Now this right below, is really mind boggling to me! I clean that stove every night. I spray the panel with the Lysol all purpose cleaner or whatever product I have and wipe everything. How on earth does the knob look like this in closeup? It is a mystery to me and I do encourage you folks to go ahead and take closeup pictures of your stove knobs and see for yourself whether yours are as clean as you think they are (of course mine are white, so it is even more apparent). Seriously, I was shocked, I thought I was doing a good job maintaining the stove!

EWWWW! So gross!

So I sprayed the entire surface with the cleaning solution of white vinegar + Dawn and let it sit for about one minute before  scrubbing with the sponge then wiping everything off with a wet towel first, then a dry towel. It did require a bit of elbow grease but I guess that is the cost one has to pay. I think the issue with the other household cleaners is that we have a tendency to believe they will handle the job for us, so we spray and wipe - WRONG! Here is the stove after using my DIY cleaner:

I can really see a difference on the burners. It looks like the mixture has
dissolved almost all the black stuff that was stuck there.

I just can't believe how much cleaner these knobs are after only
 one spray and wipe action!

Look at the shine on my porcelain salt cellar and spoon rest! Amazing!

At this point I was completely convinced this was the cleaner for me. The smell is not horrible, some folks add a few drops of natural oil to mask the scent of vinegar, again, it does not bother me at all. Better yet, this cleaner does not exacerbate my COPD and that is a big plus!

Experiment #4 - The Stainless Steel Colander:

So much for being stainless, look at the water deposit on this thing!

And here is the after...Again, amazing results!

Experiment #5 - The Griddle:

This is where I proceed to completely horrify all my family members and friends. Sure, I could blame Scott for this mess since he is, after all, the one who uses the griddle (as in takes it out, uses it, cleans it, puts it back where it belongs)...I usually just stand there and comment on how gross and absolutely repulsive the griddle looks. If you did not buy into this statement, I don't know what else to say other than "it wasn't me!" (how do you like my denial so far?)

Be prepared for utter shock and horror...The griddle, before:

Here it is, soaking under a generous layer of cleaning solution...

And the griddle - after cleaning!

Hopefully you are convinced, by now, that this DIY cleaner does a better job than anything else you have ever used, not to mention it is the cheapest thing to make!

Continuing with the cleaning frenzy, I took on the one item we clean every so often but really should clean every week...

Experiment #6 - The toaster:

Here, we have a toaster which is used for toasting all manner of yummy carbohydrates in the likes of bagel, toast, pop tart, Texas Garlic Toast etc. There is a tray underneath it that is supposed to catch stuff from falling onto the counter...Breaking news: this tray is USELESS!

Here is the toaster before:

Despite the catching tray, look at the stuff that came out of the toaster once I turned it upside down and gave it a good shake!!!

The toaster, after my white vinegar  + Dawn treatment!

Experiment #7 - The dishwasher:

Look at this!  I was wiping the dirt off this thing twice a week and never thought it would ever get any cleaner...On the left side of the picture is the untouched side - the right side is the one I cleaned with the white vinegar + Dawn...It speaks for itself!

It worked the same miracle on the fridge's handle bar as well as the microwave.


In all, I found that my DYI cleaner worked on all the surfaces in my kitchen including the cabinets. It was easy to use, did not irritate my lungs, did not interfere with my breathing, worked faster and better than any other products I once used in the kitchen. It is cheaper and easy to make. Dawn lifts the grease while the white vinegar does provide antibacterial properties, not to mention an excellent shine.

I am no longer using these!

The final test was very important to me. I am a tea and coffee drinker. My favorite mug, no matter how many trips to the dishwasher, remains stained on the inside from caffeine and tea deposit. So I tried the cleaner on it...Here it is before:

I kid you not, it just came out of the dishwasher! Can you believe these stains
would not come off?

 My mug, after using the cleaner:

I spent a good 2 hours going around the kitchen and trying the cleaner on every surface. It works wonders and I seriously recommend you give it a try. Next week, I am doing the same thing with the bathroom - that should be a treat (or not!)

Here is my kitchen after my cleaning experiment:

This cleaner works!

Thank you for sharing!


  1. It's a miracle! I wish I had taken a pic of the back part of my stove before I gave this a try. I have tried a ridiculous number of products and long ago came to the conclusion that the thing would never come clean. Low and behold it is as shiney as it was when it was brand new - and I didn't even scrub!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this!

  2. Thank you Brandy! You made my day! Just make sure you use the blue Dawn. I have used other ones since including Gain and Palmolive, nothing works better than the blue Dawn. I am glad this helped you. Thanks for sharing.
    Sophia, NJ.

  3. Hi Sophia what is the proportion of the dawn/vinegar you used. I have tried 4oz dawn to 12oz vinegar but that still feels bubbly?cheers

  4. Awesome! tried this tonight and now my kitchen is sparkly clean as can be!

  5. Best ever! I used about 3 parts vinegar to 1 part of blue Dawn. Didn't heat it up & took your advice about not using too much Dawn & having it be Sissy. Stayed at a friends place when she was gone for the weekend & had such fun deep cleaning! She calls me a sister from another Mother! Lol!

  6. Is it safe to use on granite countertops?

  7. I have tried this, and I do like the cleaning effect. However the place smells like vinegar for at least a couple of days. I use l part dawn to 3 parts vinegar. Has anyone else had this issue of vinegar smell?

  8. I have used this cleaner for over a year now. I clean houses for a living. I do not buy all the cleaning products on the market for the Kitchen and Bathroom. I use Power Clean Dawn and white Vinegar. The vinegar smells, does go away, I have never had it last more than 30 min. I actually put some in a bowl and set it out in every room of my home to get rid of smells! Then you can smell it all the time but when your cleaning with it the smell usually lingers after cleaning with it for about 30 min.

    1. Thank you Laura, that's a great comment. Yes I agree with Mair it does smell a bit for a minute or two, but it s not a toxic smell like chemicals and it does dissipate. I found out that it also works great on pet stains too!

  9. Wow, I am very cleaning challenged due to my busy life style and I really want to try it out on my stained tile floors. However, I live in Southeast Asia and we don't have Dawn Dishwashing liquid. Will other dishwashing liquids be apt?

  10. Excellent website. A lot of useful information here. I¡¦m delivering it to some buddies and also discussing in delightful. And of course, thanks in your sweat! Household Cleaners

  11. Is this okay to use on the tops of cabinets> I'm having the worst time with the grime removal up there!

  12. I hate the stains of soap scum and limescale all over the bathroom. I also must say that the only product which helps me with that is the bleach but the bleach smells awful and let's face it, it is so toxic. Thank you a lot for sharing these incredible natural cleaning solutions!East Dulwich Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

  13. It's a great kitchen that you have, and mixing Dawn and vinegar is a great idea! I cleaned my stove and those ugly stains in the sink and I'm so glad I tried our recipe. I totally agree that this homemade cleaner is better than any store-bought one. Thank you for sharing your idea!

  14. I live in UK so Dawn not sold here will any wash up liquid do?

  15. Really enjoy the videos. The cup is so impressive😃 also suffer hard water here.

  16. IPAX Caribbean is a manufacturer of superior quality cleaning products that are environmentally responsible for the industrial and commercial workplace. Our products prove that cleaners can be universal, powerful and safe, without being hazardous. Each IPAX solution is a proprietary formula and the result of careful scientific research and development. IPAX products are of the highest quality and excellence with a dedication to, production quality, Green Cleaning, Environmentally friendly Products, Biodegradable Cleaning, Eco Friendly , Earth Friendly, Safe cleaning , Non- Toxic, Green Seal Certified, Multi Propose Cleaning, Hospital Cleaning , Industrial Cleaning, NEUTRAL DISINFECTANT, application technology, operational performance and human safety.

  17. Hello, Everyone Lotuskitchensolutions are the best kitchen solution and manufacture services provider. We are offered some items like home kitchen Sinks, accessories are designed using best quality of steel and most advanced technology kitchen accessories.

  18. Thank you so much! I was checking the internet for recipes and yours was the most "no nonsence" and it is working wonderfully in my home!! My kitchen has never been so clean and I use it for everything but windows (vinegar and water work great for that!!) Thank you for your honesty and pics to prove it!! I am happily cleaning in Australia :)

  19. Hello, Everyone we the are the best kitchen solution and manufacture services provider. We are offered some items like home and kitchen accessories are designed using best quality of steel and most advanced technology kitchen accessories.

  20. You share informative post I hope you will share another good post. I read about Kitchen remodeling Austin


I welcome your feedback and comments. If you have a question or a specific request, do not hesitate, I am here to help! Thanks, S.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover