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How Vinegar Can Help Keep Your Dog and Your House Clean

From dewaxing ears to neutralizing pet odors, vinegar works wonders as a multi-purpose cleaning solution.

Wendy Newell  |  Nov 4th 2016


Editor’s note: Have you seen Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our October-November issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the magazine delivered to your home.

My pup, Riggins, is an 11-year-old German Shorthair Pointer mix whose age hasn’t slowed down his ability to get himself and our house filthy! The struggle to keep him and our living space clean is real. What’s a dog mom to do? Vinegar is the answer! This magic liquid is well-known for its ability to clean and disinfect. It’s also safe enough to use around your pup: A quick lick won’t require a trip to the vet. Here are some of the benefits of cleaning with vinegar:

Green solution

You can safely use vinegar on its own or add it to your current products and cleaning routine to give them a boost. All vinegars are biodegradable, safe, and chemical free.

Cleans your dog’s ears

Vinegar clears wax, helps eliminate bacteria, and restores normal pH balance necessary to keep away fungal infections. Acid leads the charge with a follow-up punch by the antiseptic properties.

Dog ears by Shutterstock.

Dog ears by Shutterstock.

Cleans pet urine from carpet

Due to its acidic nature, vinegar can neutralize the ammonia from dog urine, helping to eliminate the smell. You may need to repeat cleaning or add additional treatments like baking soda or even a commercial urine cleaner.

Neutralizes odors

Spray it in the air, around areas your pup sleeps or hangs out in, or simmer it in a pot on the stove. Or, add it to your laundry detergent or carpet cleaning solution. When the vinegar smell dissolves, so will the stink!

Cleans mineral buildup

Sometimes the water bowl has that white buildup of lime and other minerals. The acid in vinegar helps break down that tough-to-remove substance. You can even add vinegar to your current dish detergent, and let the dishwasher do all the work.

Clean dog by Shutterstock.

Clean dog by Shutterstock.

Cleans glass

The acidic nature of vinegar helps break down grease and dirt to clean glass doors and car windows. Pair with a squeegee, and you’re almost guaranteed a streak-free finish.

How to

Ease itchy skin: The antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties of ACV works especially well on itchy spots caused by fleas and ticks. It is also a natural repellent for those nasty little creatures.

Make an all-purpose cleaner: Mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle. For the toughest jobs, use a one-to-one ratio. The easier the job, the less vinegar needed in the solution.

Make a steam clean solution: Substitute vinegar for your store-bought carpet cleaning solution. Add vinegar or a vinegar/water mix to the tank in replace of your machine’s recommended amount of water.

Remove dog smell from blankets: Throw smelly blankets into a warm-water wash using your detergent like normal. Add 1 ⁄2 cup of washing soda (not baking soda). Add 1 ⁄4 cup of hydrogen peroxide. Fill the softener dispenser with 1 ⁄2 cup of vinegar.

Clean pet urine from carpet: Pour vinegar directly onto the stain until it is soaked. Add a small amount of baking soda. Allow to dry for a day or two. Sweep up and vacuum.

Clean your dog’s ears: Mix equal parts vinegar (white or apple cider). Use a dropper to place in your dog’s ears. Rub ears and allow him to shake his head. Wipe excess solution using a cotton ball.

ACV

Apple cider vinegar — or ACV — is made from apples, while white vinegar starts as grain or ethyl alcohol. The acidity in both makes them mostly interchangeable for cleaning. ACV’s color can cause staining on some surfaces, so test it first. ACV contains antioxidants, so it’s a better choice for a healthy solution.