How to Clean Hot Water Heater With Vinegar

How to Clean Hot Water Heater With Vinegar | Simple 10 Steps

Last Updated on September 25, 2023

In the event of an anode rod failure, sediment is deposited in the water heater tank. As a result, water takes longer to heat up and can cause banging or knocking sounds. Additionally, you may notice a higher energy bill.

If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly and budget-friendly way to clean your hot water heater, using vinegar is a great option. This article is a guide on how to clean hot water heater with vinegar.

Vinegar is a natural cleaner and disinfectant, so it will remove any build-up in the tank and pipes, and it won’t damage the environment like harsh chemicals can. Read on for step-by-step instructions.

Can I Use Vinegar to Clean and Lube My RV Awning?

Yes, vinegar is an effective solution for cleaning and lubricating an rv awning. Its acidic properties help remove dirt, grime, and mildew, leaving the awning spotless. To use, create a mixture of vinegar and water, then spray it onto the awning. The vinegar also acts as a natural lubricant, ensuring smooth movement of the awning. Remember to rinse thoroughly afterward.

How to Clean Hot Water Heater With Vinegar | DIY Steps

Steps on How to Clean Hot Water Heater With Vinegar

Cleaning your hot water tank is an easy process, and you can save money on your energy bill by doing it yourself. There are a few simple steps that you can follow to clean a hot water heater.

Step 1: Preparing Your Cleaning Supplies

A first you need to gather your supplies. You will need a garden hose, a bucket with vinegar and baking soda solution, protective gloves, an empty detergent bottle or similar container, a wire or coat hanger for fishing out the anode rod. A scrubbing brush is also helpful.

Make sure that you have proper ventilation when preparing the cleaning solution as the vinegar and baking soda will cause a strong smell.

Step 2: Turn Off the Water Heater’s Power or Gas

Before you do anything else, it’s important to turn off the electric water heater power or the gas to your hot water heater. Switch off the circuit breaker or remove the fuse at its electrical panel and ensure that no electricity flows through the device

If you’re working with a gas-powered water heater, turn off the fuel line. You can also turn off the main gas supply valve if your water heater uses propane.

Step 3: Shut Off the Main Cold Water Supply Line

Next, shut off the main cold water supply line that supplies water to your hot water tank. A cold water supply ensures that no more water enters the heater, which prevents it from overflowing once you begin to pour vinegar into the unit.

You can shut off the line by finding the pipe it connects to and unscrewing the compression nut.

Step 4: Empty the Hot Water Tank

Empty the Hot Water Tank

Then, you need to drain the water from the hot water tank. You can do this by hooking up a garden hose to the hot water faucet at its bottom and allowing it to run until there is no more water in the tank.

Now, detach the hose without spilling any of your clean or dirty water. Do not turn on or off any faucets or water lines while the hot water tank is draining.

Step 5: Take the Anode Rod off The Water Heater

Before you can clean your tankless water heater, you will need to take the anode rod off. An anode rod is a metal or magnesium rod that helps keep the tank’s metal parts from rusting and is located near or on top of the heating element.

A water heater anode rod is usually attached with a bolt or screw. If you cannot remove it easily because it is corroded, use a wire or coat hanger to fish it out.

Step 6: Add Vinegar to the Anode Rod Chamber

Now the time has come to add vinegar to the anode rod chamber. Fill a bucket with one to three gallons of vinegar and pour it into the water heater tank. You can add more or less, depending on how much sediment is in your tank.

You should not put the lid back on until you finish these steps because adding vinegar could cause a chemical reaction that releases gas inside.

Step 7: Let the Vinegar Clean the Tank

After adding the vinegar, let it sit for 24 hours so that it can clean out your water heater. You can set a bucket or empty detergent bottle in the hot water tank to hold the garden hose and keep it from getting dirty.

When waiting for your vinegar solution to do its job, make sure you do not turn on any of your hot water appliances nearby, such as a dishwasher or washing machine. Doing so could cause the vinegar to react with these products and give off toxic fumes.

Step 8: Rinse Out the Water Heater

Once 24 hours have passed, it is time to flush out the vinegar solution. Turn on each of your hot water appliances so that they all run until there is no more water in the hot water tank. As before, you should not turn any hot water faucet or water supply valve off while this is happening.

After everything has been turned back on, wait a few minutes and turn each appliance off one at a time. This forces any vinegar inside left to drain from the lines into your water heater tank, where it can then be emptied out.

Step 9: Put the Anode Rod Back In

The cleaning is almost finished once you have flushed out all of the vinegar from your hot water heater’s plumbing system. The final step is to put the anode rod back in its place.

Put it back into the tank where you removed it, making sure that the threaded end of the rod sits inside. Then, turn on your power or gas supply to resume usage of your water heater.

Step 10: Flush Out Your Water Heater Again

Following this procedure is necessary to ensure that all of the vinegar has been removed from your water heater. Make sure you flush it out two or three times so that only plain water runs through your plumbing system.

If your home uses well water, you should test the hot water tank by smelling and tasting the water before using it again. If any smell or taste of vinegar-infused water remains, do not use the water. Instead, call a professional to remove the chemicals before you can be comfortable again.

Safety Tips for Clean Hot Water Heater With Vinegar

Safety Tips for Clean Hot Water Heater With Vinegar

Every step in this process is important to make sure your hot water heater remains safe for use. You cannot skip or hurry any part of this procedure to avoid potential damage.

Here are a few important safety tips everyone should follow when cleaning their hot water heater with apple cider vinegar.

NO #1: Never Mix Chemicals

First and foremost, do not mix any chemicals together. This includes vinegar with drain valve cleaners or bleach. Doing so will cause a toxic chemical reaction that can poison you or your family members if they breathe it in or touch it with their bare skin.

NO #2: Turn Off Power and Gas

Cut the power and gas supply to your water heater before cleaning it. Never work on the appliance while there is still gas inside the hot water tank because it could cause an explosion if it ignites.

NO #3: Lock Up Your Home

If you are using your home’s plumbing system during this procedure, be sure that no one else is in the house. Turning on the hot water appliances during the apple cider vinegar treatment could release toxic fumes into your home that will make everyone inside sick.

NO #4: Smell and Taste First

If you are using tap water in the cleaning process, be sure to test out its smell and taste before allowing it to enter your water heater’s tank. If you notice any sort of chemical smell or taste in the water, do not use it.

Call a professional instead to remove chemicals from your well or treated city supply before you resume usage of your hot water heater.

NO #5: Only Use Vinegar

Do not substitute any other type of cleaner when using vinegar in this process unless specifically instructed by the manufacturer to do so.

If you do use a different product, the reaction could cause dangerous fumes that can poison your family or damage your hot water heater without proper ventilation.

NO #6: Ventilate Your Home

Finally, remember to use proper ventilation when working on your hot water heater. If you are using this appliance while cleaning it, be sure that any windows or doors are open to allow for the escape of toxic chemicals.

You may also need to run fans in the home or turn on an air purifier if you notice fumes inside your room after completing this process. If you do notice any fumes or strange smells coming from your water heater, it is best to avoid using the device and call a professional immediately.

This is a guide about cleaning hot water heaters with vinegar. If you want to clean your hot water heater and do not know how, then this article will help you out, as well as give some safety tips that everyone should follow when cleaning their water heater with vinegar.


When you are ready to clean your hot water heater, remember that this process requires time and lots of work. You must always be careful when cleaning or working on your hot water heater to avoid injuries or accidents.

You will need to work systematically and follow all safety procedures every second. Take your time when cleaning your hot water heater, and you’ll soon notice a healthier, cleaner hot water system in your home.

We hope that this article has helped you clean your hot water heater with vinegar without any injuries.

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