As I was trying to tally all the uses of vinegar, I told our eldest I’m finishing with well over 40. Immediately, he replied, “I had no idea there were that many uses for it.”
Neither did I. Neither did I.
Vinegar to me has always been used for cooking and homemade salad dressings, but with five kids, I’ve spent years trying varying cleaning products. I’ve gone back and forth between couponing for free name brand cleaners, to using the more natural Mrs. Meyers (which is my favorite brand), but over and over I settle on two staples – baking soda and vinegar.
In my 50 Baking Soda Uses post, I shared my love of this miracle wonder product. Yes, I still use baking soda every day and now I want to share all the ways to unleash the power of white vinegar―an all-purpose cleaner, brightener, herbicide and more.
I had to get used to using this multitasker because I’d rather enjoy a different scent. I have a cursed hyper sensitive nose, but I appreciate it’s natural properties and I never have to worry about chemicals when I use it. Between baking soda and vinegar, they replace many pricier products that are huddled under your sink and I now have my own homemade mixture out often.
I can’t wait for you to try some of these uses for vinegar. Not only will they make your life healthier, but you’ll save money along the way.
40+ Unique Uses for Vinegar
1. Vinegar is perfect to freshen up the fridge. My daughter surprised me yesterday by reorganizing the fridge. It was such a gift and she cleaned the shelves and walls with a solution of half water and half vinegar (with a bit of essential oils mixed in too. I have used Young Living Essential Oils for over ten years (yes, before anyone had heard of them.)
2. Vinegar is a miracle worker for cleaning a dirty microwave. Fill a small bowl with equal parts hot water and vinegar, and place it in the microwave on high for 5 minutes. As the steam fills the microwave, it loosens the mess and you can literally wipe the mess clean. Sometimes I add a little lemon to the water for a fresh smell. Try it, it’s one of my favorite uses for vinegar.
3. Eliminate Odors. I admit, I still sprinkle a bit of baking soda in the bottom of the trash can and containers, but before I do that I often spray a mixture of vinegar, essential oils and water first.
4. Kill bathroom germs. Spray full-strength vinegar around the sink and tub. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
5. Brighten dingy coffee cups and teacups. If you’re a coffee drinker like I am, stains happen. Just gently scrub stains with equal parts vinegar and baking soda.
6. Clean and deodorize the toilet. Pour a cup or more of diluted white distilled vinegar into the bowl. Let sit several hours or overnight. Scrub well with a toilet brush and flush.
7. Eliminate carpet stains. If you haven’t treated a carpet stain yet, my first choice is to always use try this magic tip for cleaning spots on carpets first. If that doesn’t work, give this a try. Make a paste of 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and ¼ cup salt or baking soda. Rub into the stain and let dry. Vacuum the residue the next day. (Always test an out-of-sight part of the carpet first.)
8. Give paint brushes new life. I’ve used this a few times when I’ve let paint sit after painting furniture. To remove old paint, place brushes in a pot with vinegar. Soak for an hour, then turn on the stove and bring the vinegar to a simmer. Drain and rinse clean.
Remove ball point marks. When that beautiful blessing of yours draws their masterpiece all over the walls, don’t despair. Rather, dab some full-strength white vinegar on it using a cloth or a sponge. Repeat until the marks are gone.
9. Wipe off a dirty faucet. To get rid of lime buildup, make a paste of 1 teaspoon vinegar and 2 tablespoons salt. Apply to sink fixtures and rub with a cloth.
10. Stop static cling. Add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to your wash cycle. The acid reduces static and keeps dryer lint from sticking to your clothes.
11. Clean your computer mouse. If you have a mouse with a removable tracking ball, use a 50/50 vinegar-water solution to clean it. First, remove the ball from underneath the mouse by twisting off the cover over it. Use a cloth, dampened with the solution and wrung out, to wipe the ball clean and to remove fingerprints and dirt from the mouse itself. Then use a moistened cotton swab to clean out the gunk and debris from inside the ball chamber (let it dry a couple of hours before reinserting the ball)
12. Make old socks look new. If you have any boys or athletes, you know this is an issue. Get the stains out of old socks and sweaty gym clothes by soaking them in a vinegar solution. Add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water, bring to a boil and drop in the stained clothes. Let them soak overnight, and in the morning stained clothes are fresh and bright.
13. Get rid of weeds. Pour white distilled vinegar on the weeds growing in the cracks of your walkway and driveway. Saturate the plant so the vinegar reaches the roots.
14. Liven droopy flowers. Don’t throw out cut flowers once they start to wilt. Instead, add two tablespoons of white vinegar and one teaspoon of sugar to a quart of water. Pour the solution into your vase, and the flowers will perk up.
15. Put an end to itching. Dab a cotton ball soaked in white vinegar on mosquito bites and insect stings. It will stop them from itching and help disinfect the area so they heal faster.
16. Whiten your teeth. (Ok, I firmly believe that you should try my baking soda tip for this first, but gargling with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide does help prevent bad breath.) Brush your teeth once a week with white distilled vinegar. Dip your toothbrush into the vinegar and brush thoroughly.
17. Make nail polish last longer. Before you apply your favorite polish, wipe your nails with a cotton ball soaked in white distilled vinegar. The clean surface will help your manicure last.
18. Keep car windows frost-free. I do not need this one in NC, but it may have been helpful to try when I lived in WI. Prevent windows from frosting over in a storm by coating them with a solution of three parts white distilled vinegar to one part water. The acidity hinders ice, so you won’t have to wake up early to scrape off your car.
19. Great on your dog to keep fur shiny. Spray your dog with one cup white distilled vinegar mixed with one quart water. The solution is a cheap alternative to expensive pet-care products, plus the vinegar will help repel pests like fleas and ticks.
20. Battle litter-box odor. Cat litter can leave behind an unwelcome smell. Eliminate it by pouring a half-inch of white distilled vinegar into the empty litter box. Let stand for 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water.
21. Kill bacteria, while tenderizing, meat. Marinating in vinegar knocks out bacteria and tenderizes the meat. Create a marinade by adding ¼ cup balsamic vinegar for every 2 pounds of meat to your own blend of herbs and spices. Let the meat sit anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours, depending on how strong you want the flavor, then cook it in the morning without rinsing.
23. Save a garment. To remove light scorch marks on fabrics, rub gently with vinegar. Wipe with a clean cloth. This technique also works on antiperspirant stains.
24. Repair DVDs. If you have a worn DVD that skips or freezes, wipe it down with white distilled vinegar applied to a soft cloth. Make sure the DVD is completely dry before reinserting it into the player.
25. Get those last drops. If you can’t get that final bit of mayonnaise or salad dressing out of the jar, dribble in a few drops of vinegar. Put the cap on tightly and shake. The remaining condiments will slide out and since they’re vinegar based, it doesn’t affect the taste.
26. Rinse fruits and vegetables and preserve berries by an extra week. Add 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar to one pint water. Use the mixture to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, then rinse thoroughly. The solution kills more pesticide residue than does pure water. See my tip here for extending the life of berries.
27. Dye and brighten Easter eggs. Before your kids dye Easter eggs, mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar with ½ cup of hot water, then add food coloring. The vinegar keeps the dye bright and prevents the color from streaking.
28. Loosen a rusted screw. Pour vinegar onto the screw, and it will easily unstick.
29. Remove gum. To remove gum from fabric or hair, heat a small bowl of vinegar in the microwave. Pour the warm vinegar over the gum, saturating the area. The gum will dissolve.
30. Restore handbags and shoes. Wipe white distilled vinegar on scuffed leather bags and shoes. It will restore their shine and help hide the marks.
31. Renew a loofah. Soak your loofah in equal parts vinegar and water for 24 hours to dissolve soap residue, then rinse in cold water.
32. Remove wax. If you get melted candle wax on your wood furniture or floors, gently wipe it away with a cloth soaked in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water.
33. Take a relaxing bath. Add ½ cup of vinegar to warm bath water for a cheap spa session at home, but add a few drops of essential oils to truly soothe and offset the smell. The vinegar removes dead skin, leaving you feeling soft and smooth.
34. Brighten your hair. Remove hair product buildup by rinsing a tablespoon of vinegar through your hair once a month.
35. Freshen fabrics. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spritz your home to neutralize odors in fabrics, carpets, shoes or any sprayable surface.
36. Erase crayon. If your kids get crayon marks on the walls or floor, dip a toothbrush in white vinegar and gently scrub. The vinegar breaks down the wax, making for an inexpensive, nontoxic way to clean up after children.
37. Sticky stickers. Don’t scratch at the residue left by stickers or price tags. Instead, apply vinegar to the gunk, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe the glue away.
38. Clean the dishwasher and coffee pot. Reduce soap buildup and food residue by pouring a cup of vinegar into your empty dishwasher or coffee pot once a month and letting it run a full cycle.
39. Sanitize pet accidents. You can remove the stain―and smell―of your pet’s accident by mixing ¼ cup vinegar with a quart of water and blotting the mixture onto the mess with a washcloth. Continue dabbing until the spot is gone.
40. Prep for summer grilling. To remove charcoal buildup from your grill, spray white distilled vinegar on balled up aluminum foil and scrub the grate thoroughly.
41. Restore shower head pressure. If you have a clogged shower head, remove the mineral deposits by soaking it for 15 minutes in a mixture of ½ cup vinegar and 1 quart water.
42. Clean your scissors. When your scissor blades get sticky or grimy, don’t use water to wash them off; you’re far more likely to rust the fastener that holds the blades together — or the blades themselves — than get them clean. Instead, wipe down the blades with a cloth dipped in full-strength white vinegar, and then dry it off with a rag or dish towel.
43. Unclog drains the natural way. For a nontoxic way to unclog and clean pipes, pour one cup of baking soda, followed by one cup of white vinegar, down the drain. Let the products bubble and foam, then flush the pipes with a pot of boiling water.
44. Eliminate dandruff and create healthy scalp. If your scalp is feeling dry or flaky, vinegar can be a simple at-home remedy. Once a week, pour one cup of apple cider vinegar over your scalp, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cool water.
45. Soften your feet. Summer sandals leaving you with cracked heals and calluses? Soak your feet for 20 minutes a day in one part vinegar to two parts warm water. Again, I use a few drops of essential oils too. The vinegar removes dead skin, leaving your feet soft and smooth.
Don’t miss all the ways I use baking soda. It’s my every day frugal miracle worker. 🙂
Vinegar…The invented miracle. 🙂 A staple in our home.
Exactly – miracle worker 🙂
Great post! I have missed your common sense wisdom!
Thanks Barrie – you’re always so kind. 🙂