Does Vinegar Really Clean Bacteria on a Shower Head?

Updated April 17, 2017

Vinegar is an effective cleaning and sanitising agent. Due to its high level of acidity, vinegar kills most mould, bacteria and germs. It's inexpensive, non-toxic, environmentally friendly and an all-natural product. Clean and sanitise your home using undiluted white distilled vinegar or create a homemade solution according to your needs.


Vinegar is a highly effective antibacterial cleaning agent. Michael Mullen, spokesperson for the Heinz food company, referenced numerous studies to show that a 5-percent solution of vinegar kills 99 per cent of bacteria, 80 per cent of germs and 82 per cent of mould. Vinegar also increases the disinfecting power of bleach. As reported by The American Society for Microbiology in 2006, researchers from MicroChem Lab, Inc. found, "adding white vinegar to diluted household bleach greatly increases the disinfecting power of the solution, making it strong enough to kill even bacterial spores."

Vinegar for Cleaning

Any brand or type of vinegar is appropriate for cleaning and disinfecting, but distilled white vinegar is cheap and will do. Don't get caught up with brand names or more expensive vinegar products. The United States Food and Drug Association mandates all vinegar sold at retail level in the United States should be at least 4-percent acidity to ensure quality. Purchase a spray bottle or two and keep them filled with undiluted distilled white vinegar. Spray cutting boards, counters, bathroom tile or anywhere you need to clean and disinfect.

Cleaning Shower Heads

Spray your shower head liberally with undiluted, distilled white vinegar anytime you want to disinfect. Allow the vinegar to sit for 20 minutes.

Vinegar also helps remove hard lime deposits from plumbing fixtures such as shower heads and faucets. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension suggests removing stubborn lime deposits with vinegar alone. Soak paper towels in undiluted white distilled vinegar and cover the shower head with the paper towels for one hour. Wipe clean after one hour has elapsed.

Other Vinegar Solutions

Several general homemade cleaning solutions can be made using vinegar. Utah State University's Cooperative Extension recommends making your own all-purpose cleaning solution by mixing 1/3 cup vinegar, 2 tbsp baking soda, 1/2 cup ammonia and 1 gallon of water. The website also suggests cleaning glass shower doors by wiping them with a sponge soaked in undiluted distilled white vinegar to remove water marks and soap scum.

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