Vinegar is a powerful substance. Made from fermented juice, vinegar’s strong acidity lends it the power to cut grease, eliminate odors, disinfect surfaces, reduce buildup and more. Unlock the power of this natural substance with these 20 uses for vinegar.
Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
Cleaning with Vinegar
1. Cut grease. Dip a sponge in vinegar and wipe down any surface where grease lives: ovens, countertops, cooking dishes, even exhaust fan covers.
2. Tackle dirty tile grout. Spray a solution of 1 part water and 1 part vinegar onto the offending grout and scrub with an old toothbrush. For mildew, apply pure vinegar, let sit for 30 minutes then rinse with warm water.
3. Disinfect surfaces. Dilute 1 part vinegar in four parts water for an all-purpose cleaning solution that you can use to disinfect anything from countertops to doorknobs.
4. Clean the toilet bowl. Pour 1 cup of vinegar into the toilet and let sit for several hours. Use a toilet brush to remove rings, then flush. The vinegar will naturally deodorize and kill germs.
5. Clear drains. Pour ½ cup of baking soda down a clogged drain then follow with a ½ cup of vinegar. Watch it fizz! (This same combination also works well at deodorizing smelly garbage disposals.)
6. Clean glass. Combine 2 cups water, ¼ cup vinegar and ½ teaspoon of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle to create a natural window cleaner. For a streak-free clean, use newspapers to wipe away grime.
7. Remove mineral deposits. Clean old showerheads of crusted-on mineral deposits by soaking them in pure vinegar for 15 minutes (or until the buildup is gone). This trick also works well for removing hard water stains from drinkware.
8. Polish furniture. Combine ¼ cup of olive oil, 4 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice for a homemade furniture polish that will leave wood tables and chairs gleaming.
9. Remove stains from clothes. Combine ½ cup white vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda and 3 cups water into a spray bottle for a pre-wash natural laundry stain remover. Spray the solution on stained clothing then toss into the washer as normal.
10. Soften laundry. Add a ½ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. Vinegar naturally breaks down and dissolves laundry detergent to make clothes, sheets and towels softer.
Food and Cooking
11. Revive wilted greens. Soak droopy leafy greens in a cold water of 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon of vinegar.
12. Boil cracked eggs. Adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to boiling water will help prevent the egg white from seeping out of the shell while you boil it.
Beauty and Health
13. Soften hair. Rinsing with vinegar removes buildup and residue and closes the cuticle, leaving hair soft and shiny. Try this simple recipe for a hair-softening vinegar rinse.
14. Prevent dandruff. Vinegar’s acidity helps kill some of the bacteria responsible for dandruff. Rinsing with vinegar deep-cleans the scalp and helps remove flaky dead skin cells. Try this simple “no-dandruff” vinegar rinse.
15. Kill warts. The acid in vinegar will eat away at warts, helping to kill them over time. Dip a cotton ball in vinegar, place it over the wart and secure with a bandage.
16. Treat yeast infections. Douching with vinegar can help restore vaginal pH balance upset by yeast infections. A vinegar bath can also counteract yeast infections (and rinse away soap residue from the skin, leaving it soft).
17. Freshen breath. Eliminate strong odors such as onion or garlic from your breath with a vinegar-salt water rinse made from 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup water.
18. Remove sticky residue. Vinegar’s acidic qualities can break “bad bonds.” Use a vinegar-water solution and a rag to remove sticky substances such as the glue from bumper stickers and decals or chewing gum from carpets and upholstery.
19. Soften paintbrushes. Dip the bristles of hardened paintbrushes in a bowl of vinegar for an hour (any longer and the paintbrushes may be ruined, however!). Wash the brush with warm water and soap, then let dry before use.
20. Remove rust. Revive rusted nuts, bolts, nails or tools by soaking them in a bath of pure vinegar for several hours. Change the vinegar if it becomes cloudy. Wipe away the rust with a cloth.
Note: Not all vinegars are equal. Check the label before you buy. Look for terms such as “grain alcohol,” “neutral grain spirits” or “wine,” which indicate that the vinegar was naturally fermented from ingredients such as apples, grapes or grains.