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How to Clean Washing Machine with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Musty Clothes in the Closet

What should you do when clothes smell musty in the closet ? Sure, you can take out everything and wash it, but if you don’t address the underlying problem, they’ll just get musty again.

First, examine the layout of the closet, and look for mold and mildew. Our homes are being built tighter. Less airflow = increased mold and mildew risk.

Closet corners are notorious for harboring mildew and mold growth, and it can easily go unnoticed. If you find mold or mildew, you can use the all purpose spray cleaner and carpet deodorizer recipes from the DIY natural cleaners post to help clean up.

Note: If the problem is severe, please contact a trained mold remediation team. Mold spores can cause serious health problems. If you have a room or basement that smells musty, check out “Musty Smells in the House – Finding Them and Getting Rid of Them“.

Three DIY steps for when clothes in the closet smell musty:

  1. 1. Open up your closet doors! If possible, keep closet doors open to increase airflow. Louvered doors are better than solid doors, because they allow some airflow even when closed.
  2. 2. Clean your closet! Get rid of unused or rarely used items, and organize what’s left to improve airflow.
  3. When you clean, you may want to consider the old trick of reversing the hangers as you put the clothes back in. When an item is worn, the hanger gets returned to normal. After a given amount of time, anything not worn is removed from the closet and donated.
  4. 3. Consider a small fan at floor level. My in-laws had a basement closet with a chronic musty odor. The finally purchased a couple of tiny fans and put them in the bottom of the closet, directing air in and out. This got rid of the mildew and odor.
  5. You could set these up on a timer if you didn’t want them running 24/7. Get a Holmes mini fan here.

These tips should help you get rid of musty clothes and towels so your laundry smells fresh and clean. For laundry stain removal tips, check out “Do It Yourself Laundry and Household Cleaners“.

How to Soften Towels with Ammonia

If you don’t have any baking soda or vinegar on hand, ammonia will also work to remove laundry detergent or fabric softener residue from towels. Just add 1 cup of ammonia in with your normal laundry detergent.

Some people soften their new towels by soaking them overnight in the washing machine in water and a cup of ammonia then washing as usual.


Grout Cleaner

Slobo / Getty Images

Tile grout is notoriously difficult to clean, but baking soda and vinegar can help make this job a little easier.

The abrasive action of baking soda can help lift away stubborn stains, and the bubbles from the combination with vinegar mean you need less elbow grease. 


  1. Make a thick paste with baking soda and water.
  2. Apply this to the grout and rub in with a small brush
  3. Pour vinegar into a spray bottle and squirt it over the paste mixture you’ve already applied.
  4. Leave for 10 minutes or until the mixture has stopped bubbling.
  5. Rub in with a small brush before wiping away the paste with a damp cloth .

Awesome Ways to Use Baking Soda and Vinegar at Home

Make Your Silver Gleam

Baking soda makes an effective silver polish that can make your tarnished and dull looking silver sparkle again. To polish silver, make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part warm water.

Add some of the paste to a clean cloth and rub it onto the silver. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry.

If your silver is extremely tarnished, you can create a baking soda bath. Just line your sink with aluminum foil and add your silver. Pour in one cup of baking soda, a dash of salt, and enough boiling water to cover all the silver. Soak the silver for a few minutes, then rinse with warm water and dry with a soft, clean cloth.

Boost Your Laundry Detergent

Make your liquid laundry detergent work better by adding a ½ cup of baking soda to a load of laundry. Adding baking soda to the wash gives the detergent an added boost by balancing the pH of the water. When you restore the pH of the water, you end up with cleaner, brighter, and fresher clothes.

Clean Your Bathroom

Baking soda is a non-toxic and effective way to get your bathtub, sink, and tile clean. You can also use baking soda to clean rust stains from your fiberglass tub. All you have to do is place a light layer of baking soda onto a clean, damp sponge and scrub away.

Rinse the bathtub with hot water and use a clean towel to wipe it dry. If you want some added cleaning power, you can make a baking soda paste for a deep clean.

tb1234 ½ cup baking soda1 tablespoon coarse salt1 tablespoon liquid dish soap tb1234

Mix the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Apply a thin coating of the cleaning paste to the area that needs cleaning and let it stand for ten minutes. Use a clean sponge to scour the area and thoroughly rinse with warm water.

Clean Your Pots and Pans

Baking soda is an incredibly useful product for cutting through grease and removing food that is stuck on pots and pans. To clean enamel cookware or pans with baking soda, add one tablespoon to a sink of warm water, along with some liquid dish soap.

Use a clean sponge or cloth to scrub the items, then thoroughly rinse with water. This is an important step to take before greasing your baking pan to add cake batter. Clean pans equal a food-safe surface for cooking.

If your pans have baked-on food, soak them in the baking soda water for at least ten minutes. Pour some baking soda on a clean sponge or cloth and use it to scour the pan. The best part about utilizing baking soda to clean your pots and pans is that it doesn’t leave scratches.

Add Baking Soda to the Dishwasher

Use baking soda in the dishwasher to eliminate unwanted grease and remove baked-on food from your pans and dishes. Add some baking soda to the dishwasher’s regular cycle. The baking soda reacts with the water during the cycle to remove grime and grease that has a tendency to buildup on your dishes and pans.

Baking soda can also serve as a drain cleaner for dishwasher. This dishwasher component accumulates all kinds of food debris and grease and can get clogged and smell if not cleaned regularly. Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher when running a cycle to keep the drain flowing smoothly.

Deodorize a Garbage Disposal

With all the leftover food that you put down the garbage disposal, it can start to smell pretty bad in there. Deodorize your garbage disposal with baking soda and keep food odors from lingering and making an unwanted comeback.

To deodorize the garbage disposal, run warm water down the drain, then pour in some baking soda. The baking soda neutralizes basic acid and odors and will leave your garbage disposal smelling fresh.

Clean Your Mattress

Your mattress can get incredibly dirty if you don’t take the time to clean it regularly. Over the years it collects enough dust mites and dead skin cells to double its weight.

Merely running the vacuum over it every once in a while isn’t enough to thoroughly clean your mattress. However, with a little bit of baking soda and some hydrogen peroxide, you can take care of the dust mites and start to sleep better at night.

tb1234 1 cup hydrogen peroxide2 tablespoons baking sodaSeveral drops of lemon and lavender essential oil tb1234

Pour the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and essential oils in a spray bottle. Spray the cleaning solution on the mattress and allow it to sit for an hour. Use a clean towel and rub the surface of the bed. Allow the mattress to completely dry.

When the mattress is dry, vacuum to clean up the residue. Follow the same procedure to clean a sofa with baking soda and vinegar, too. Eliminate odors and stains at the same time.

Clean an Oven

Baking soda has the power to clean an oven. It does a surprisingly good job getting rid of the baked-on food, grease, and other substances, plus it costs a lot less than commercial oven cleaners at the store. There’s also no need to worry about touching toxic chemicals or breathing in harsh fumes.

Start cleaning your oven by creating a thick layer of baking soda in the bottom of your oven. Fill a spray bottle with water and spray the baking soda until it is damp. Every couple of hours spray down the baking soda again to keep it moist.

Continue spraying the baking soda with the water when it starts to dry. After several hours, scrape the baking soda out of the oven. Place a garbage can lined with a garbage bag next to the stove. Use a sponge or clean rag to scrape the baking soda out, depositing it into the garbage can.

As you scrape out the baking soda, you’ll also scrape out any food residue from the bottom of the oven. After you’ve removed all of the baking soda, use a clean bucket filled with water and a clean sponge to remove the remaining residue from the oven. You may need to change the water often to rinse thoroughly.

Freshen Your Sponges

After a while, kitchen and bathroom sponges smell like mildew. Eliminate the stale odors from your overused sponges with baking soda. All you need is four tablespoons of baking soda and a quart of warm water.

Combine the two ingredients in a large bowl and allow your sponges to soak in the solution for several hours. Remove the sponges and rinse thoroughly with warm water.

While you are cleaning your kitchen sponges, address the sweat, dirt, and other debris in your makeup sponges. Baking soda and water with a little dish soap is an effective makeup sponge cleaner. Combine the ingredients and use your fingers to work the solution into your sponge. Squeeze under warm water to get rid of the residue and air dry.

Clean Your Coffee Pot

If your coffee pot or teapot has developed a brown stain over the years, get it sparkling clean with the help of baking soda. Add a ¼ cup of baking soda to one quart of warm water and wash your coffee pot and mugs in the solution. Not only will this baking soda solution remove stains, but it also helps to eliminate the bitter taste that is often left by dried coffee residue.

Cleaning With Lemons

Lemon juice is another natural substance that can be used to clean your home. You can use it to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits, and it's great for shining brass and copper. You can also use lemon juice to treat stains, given its natural bleaching qualities, but that can also be a drawback. It's a good idea to test it out on a hidden area first.

Lemon cleaning applications include:

  • Cleaning paste: Mix lemon juice with vinegar or baking soda.
  • Dishes, surfaces, stains: Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut section of the lemon. Use it like you would a sponge.
  • Furniture polish: Mix 1 cup olive oil with 1/2 cup lemon juice for a natural furniture polish for hardwood furniture.
  • Garbage disposal drain odors: Put a whole lemon peel or orange peel through the garbage disposal; it freshens the drain and the kitchen.

The Spruce / Cali Godley

Using Other Natural Cleaners

There are quite a few other options for natural cleaners. You might be surprised to learn that things like ketchup, rice, coffee grounds, and other kitchen ingredients can do a fantastic job cleaning the house.


The vinegar in ketchup is the active ingredient making it a good backup cleaner for removing rust from metal, removing burned-on food, and cleaning silver, copper, brass, and stainless steel.

You can also always buy commercially available natural cleaners, but be aware of what you need to look for in a green cleaning product before you buy it. Learn how to read labels on the products; many of these commercial products use natural ingredients that you may have in your home, but not all green cleaners are created equal.

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