20 uses for Vinegar

Katherine - posted on 10/19/2011 ( 27 moms have responded )




Chances are you’ve got a big bottle of vinegar in your pantry right now that you only use it as a condiment. Prized for thousands of years, this fermented liquid was discovered by accident when products like wine, beer, and cider spoiled, turning them sour. But did you know that vinegar -- particularly the distilled white and apple cider varieties -- has hundreds of household, beauty, medicinal and even horticultural uses?

Here are 20 unusual, thrifty, and eco-friendly uses for vinegar that you may not have thought of.

1. Condition hair
Silky, shiny, buildup-free hair using a single cheap, natural product? Sign me up! It may sound odd, but using apple cider vinegar as a rinse after shampooing really does work like a dream. It removes residue from the hair shaft and closes the cuticles. Just add half a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of water, plus a few drops of essential oil if you like. Pour it on in the shower and then rinse it out. Sure, your hair will smell like salad dressing for a while, but once it’s dry, the smell dissipates.

2. Kill weeds
A few rogue weeds can wreak havoc in an otherwise flawless lawn, vegetable garden, or flowerbed and are especially annoying when popping up in the cracks of a sidewalk or driveway. Forget pricey weed killers full of toxic ingredients -- household vinegar really does kill unwanted plants; stronger vinegar made for horticultural use, which is 25% acetic acid, works even better.

3. Remove underarm stains
Unsightly sweat stains can really ruin an otherwise beautiful blouse. Ironically, if you use aluminum-based antiperspirants, they’re even more likely to appear, thanks to a reaction between aluminum compounds in these products and salts in your sweat. Spray full-strength white vinegar on the stain before washing, and it will disappear.

4. Soften fabrics
Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle, and not only will it prevent lint from clinging to your clothes and keep colors bright, it’ll also remove soap scum from both the clothes you’re washing and the washing machine itself. Vinegar is also recommended in place of dryer sheets -- simply add 3/4 cup to your washer during the final rinse cycle.

5. Remedy sore throats
Many people recommend sipping or gargling with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water to soothe a sore throat. Add a few tablespoons of honey (also a seriously versatile product!) to this mixture in order to make it even more effective and far more palatable.

6. Deter ants
Got trails of tiny ants weaving their way around your home? These annoying insects aren’t big fans of vinegar, so spraying a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water anywhere you have seen them can help encourage them to move out. The vinegar also erases the scent trails that they use to indicate sources of food to their brethren.

7. Soak sore muscles
Apple cider vinegar helps draw out lactic acid, which accumulates in muscles after exercise, causing that sore feeling. Mix a few tablespoons of vinegar into a cup of water, dip a cloth in the mixture, and apply it to sore areas for 20 minutes.

8. Freshen air
Whether it’s smoke, mildew, pet odor, or lingering whiffs of burnt casserole, bad smells can make a home less than welcoming. Store-bought air fresheners just cover up the smell with strong, clearly artificial scents, creating disturbing hybrid smells that only serve to worsen the situation. Acetic acid in vinegar absorbs odors, so spritzing it around the room will neutralize the smells. You can also use it to wipe down surfaces in the room that needs freshening.

9. Remove stickers
If you’re just getting around to removing that Kerry/Edwards decal from your bumper, or trying to peel a price tag off a new purchase, you’ll never guess what magic ingredient is about to make your life a lot easier. Warm a little bit of white vinegar on the stovetop or in the microwave and then dip a rag into it. Hold the rag over the sticker until it’s thoroughly saturated, and it will peel right off without leaving sticky residue behind. This trick also loosens wallpaper adhesive.

10. Cure hiccups
Most doctors claim that hiccup cures don’t actually work, but tell that to the thousands of people who swear by vinegar as a way to ease these involuntary spasms. It’s not clear how a shot of vinegar would actually help -- other than to distract you with its acidic flavor -- but next time you’ve got a bout of the hiccups, give it a try.

11. Clean crusty paintbrushes
So you forgot to clean your paintbrushes last time you used them, and now they’re so stiff and crusty, it seems that you’ll have to throw them away. Not so fast! Fill a saucepan with undiluted white vinegar and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Dip the paintbrushes into the boiling vinegar, one at a time, dragging the bristles along the bottom of the pan. Continue this process until the paint is dissolved.

12. Dissolve rust
The acetic acid in vinegar reacts with iron oxide to remove rust from small metal items like hinges, nuts and bolts. Simmer them in a saucepan full of vinegar, then rinse well with water to prevent the vinegar from further affecting the metal.

13. Eliminate stale odors
You know how lunchboxes and other food containers can take on a funny smell after a while? Vinegar can take care of that, too. Either wipe down the surface well with white vinegar or, in severe cases, leave a cloth soaked in vinegar in the container for a few hours to absorb the odors.

14. Remove mineral deposits
Calcium and lime deposits from hard water don’t just stain coffeemakers and bath tubs, they can actually clog showerheads and reduce dishwasher function. Run a mixture of half water, half white vinegar through your coffee machine to remove them. Use straight vinegar as a rinsing agent in your dishwasher to prevent buildup, and wrap a vinegar-soaked cloth around stained faucets until the deposits can be easily scrubbed away. To clean a clogged showerhead, remove it from the pipe and place it in a saucepan full of white vinegar. Simmer for just a few minutes, being careful not to allow it to boil, and then wash off the stains.

15. Neutralize spice in foods
You’ve got a dinner disaster on your hands: One too many shakes of cayenne powder has turned your award-winning chili into an inedible five-alarm blaze, and your guests are waiting at the table. Vinegar to the rescue! Add white or apple cider vinegar to your food, one teaspoon at a time, to neutralize the spice.

16. Prolong the life of cut flowers
Bouquets of cut flowers brighten a room all too briefly, often wilting after just a few days. Squeeze a little extra enjoyment out of your arrangements by adding two tablespoons of white vinegar per quart of water in the vase, which will keep them perky just a little bit longer.

17. Clean glass, plastic, chrome, and floors
A half-and-half solution of water and white vinegar will cut the grime on the shelves and walls of the refrigerator and eliminate spoiled-food smells too. Full-strength vinegar will remove tough smudges on glass and make porcelain sinks shine. Make it into a paste with a little baking soda to scrub chrome, or mix 1/3 white vinegar with 1/3 rubbing alcohol, 1/3 water, and 3 drops of dishwashing liquid for an economical floor cleaner. Just be sure not to get vinegar on marble, granite, or slate surfaces.

18. Treat fungal infections
Fungal infections like athlete’s foot, toe nail fungus, and dandruff are definitely no fun. White vinegar and apple cider vinegar can both be applied topically to affected areas of the body to kill fungus. For foot-related ailments, soak in a solution of one part vinegar to five parts water for about 30 minutes a day.

19. Tenderize and kill bacteria in meat
Marinate meat overnight in apple cider vinegar, and it will be delectably tender. This can reportedly also kill the bacteria that causes food-borne illnesses, including e. coli.

20. Open drains and freshen garbage disposals
Clear a clogged drain without the nasty, headache-inducing chemicals. Dump about 3/4 cup of baking soda down the drain and chase it with 1/2 cup white vinegar, then plug the drain. Leave it for about 30 minutes before rinsing with a kettle full of boiling water. You can use the same trick to clean and deodorize garbage disposals, or freeze vinegar in an ice cube tray and grind them up in the disposal to clean and sharpen the blades at the same time.


[deleted account]

I don't see it here, but this thread inspired me to try it. I have the coil stove top. My drip pans always are horrid. So while I was soking them in hot tap water with some dish soap; I added about 2 Tbs white vinegar to the water. Although they didn't come completely clean (they were really really bad), it took off most of the stuck on gunk with a good scrubing.

Hayley - posted on 10/21/2011




Vinegar is also good for washing windows. Also put a little in your washer fluid container in your car and it will help cut the grime from the road, especially in the winter time.

Angela - posted on 09/16/2012




Stole the following information from a website:


Dampen your appetite. Sprinkle a little vinegar on

prepared food to take the edge off your appetite.

Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting. Dot or douce the

irritated area with vinegar and relieve itching.

Relieve itching by using a cotton ball to dab

mosquito and other bug bites with Vinegar straight

from the bottle.

Relieve sunburn by lightly rubbing it with

vinegar. You may have to reapply.

Take 1 cup of vinegar and warm water into a

large glass and use to rinse your hair after

you shampoo. Vinegar adds highlights to brunette

hair, restores the acid mantel, and removes

soap film and sebum oil.

You take 1 tablespoon full and swollow when you

have the hiccups. It stops them instantly.

Relieve dry and itchy skin. Add 2 tablespoons to

bath water.

Fight dandruff, by rinsing with vinegar and

2 cups of warm water, after shampooing.

Soothe a sore throat. Put a teaspoon of vinegar

in a glass of water. Gargle, then swallow.

Cure for colds. Mix one-quarter cup Apple Cider

Vinegar with one-quarter cup honey.

Take one tablespoon six to eight times daily.

Treat sinus infections and chest colds.

Add 1/4 cup or more vinegar to the vaporizer.

Feel good recipe. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass

of water, with a bit of honey added for flavor,

will take the edge off your appetite and give

you an overall healthy feeling.

Remove fruit stains from hands. Rub with vinegar.

Remove warts by applying a lotion of half cider

vinegar and half glycerin.

Apply daily to warts until they dissolve.

Relieve arthritis. Before each meal, drink a

glass of water containing two teaspoons

Apple Cider Vinegar.

Give it at least three weeks to start working.

Remove corns by making a poultice of one crumbled

piece of bread soaked in one-quarter cup Vinegar.

Let poultice sit for one-half hour, then apply to

the corn and tape in place overnight. If corn does

not peel off by morning, reapply the poultice for

several consecutive nights.

Cure an upset stomach by drinking two teaspoons

Apple Cider Vinegar in one cup water.

Prevent yeast infections. Douche with one

tablespoon vinegar to one quart warm water,

to adjust the pH balance in the vagina.

Clean dentures by soaking them overnight in

vinegar, then brush away tartar with a toothbrush.

Relieve cough by mixing one-half cup Apple Cider

Vinegar, one-half cup water, one teaspoon cayenne

pepper, and four teaspoons honey.

Take one tablespoon when cough acts up.

Take another tablespoon at bedtime.

[deleted account]

I used plain white vinegar with no water and a spray bottler with a fine mist nozzle for a more even application.

This conversation has been closed to further comments


View replies by

Katherine - posted on 09/16/2012




1. Get Rid of Water Rings on Furniture

To remove white rings left by wet glass on wood furniture, mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil and apply it with a soft cloth while moving with the wood grain. Use another clean, soft cloth to shine it up. To get white water rings off leather furniture, dab them with a sponge soaked in full-strength white vinegar.

This one is really helpful!

Angela - posted on 09/16/2012




1. Get Rid of Water Rings on Furniture

To remove white rings left by wet glass on wood furniture, mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil and apply it with a soft cloth while moving with the wood grain. Use another clean, soft cloth to shine it up. To get white water rings off leather furniture, dab them with a sponge soaked in full-strength white vinegar.

2. Disinfect Cutting Board

To disinfect and clean your wood cutting boards or butcher block countertop, wipe them with full-strength white vinegar after each use. The acetic acid in the vinegar is a good disinfectant, effective against such harmful bugs as E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. Never use water and dishwashing detergent, because it can weaken surface wood fibers. When your wooden cutting surface needs deodorizing as well as disinfecting, spread some baking soda over it and then spray on undiluted white vinegar. Let it foam and bubble for five to 10 minutes, then rinse with a cloth dipped in clean cold water.

3. Unclog and Deodorize Drains

The combination of vinegar and baking soda is one of the most effective ways to unclog and deodourize drains. It’s also far gentler on your pipes (and your wallet) than commercial drain cleaners.

- to clear clogs in sink and tub drains, use a funnel to pour in ½ cup baking soda followed by 1 cup vinegar. When the foaming subsides, flush with hot tap water. Wait five minutes, and then flush again with cold water. Besides clearing blockages, this technique also washes away odour-causing bacteria.

- to speed up a slow drain, pour ½ cup salt followed by 2 cups boiling vinegar, then flush with hot and cold tap water.

4. Refresh Your Refrigerator

Did you know that vinegar might be an even more effective safe cleanser for your refrigerator than baking soda? Use equal parts white vinegar and water to wash both the interior and exterior of your fridge, including the door gasket and the fronts of the vegetable and fruit bins. To prevent mildew growth, wash the inside walls and bin interiors with some full-strength vinegar on a cloth. Also use undiluted vinegar to wipe off accumulated dust and grime on top of your refrigerator. Of course, you’ll still want to put that box of baking soda inside your refrigerator to keep it smelling clean when you’re done.

5. Trap Fruit Flies

Did you bring home fruit flies from the market? You can make traps for them that can be used anywhere around your house by filling an old jar about halfway with apple cider. Punch a few holes in the lid, screw it back on, and you’re good to go.


1. Remove tape residue

Make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Rub the paste onto bits of tape stuck to windows, then wipe clean.

2. Douse flames

Keep a box of baking soda in your workshop or kitchen to sprinkle on a fire if one breaks out.

3. Zap roaches

Set out a shallow dish or bowl containing equal parts sugar and baking soda. Roaches are attracted to the sugar, but the mixture is deadly to them.

4. Spot-clean a rug

Sprinkle baking soda on greasy spots and let sit for about an hour. Scrub gently with a damp sponge or brush, then vacuum to remove any leftover grime.

5. Absorb moisture

Keep an open box of baking soda in your tool cabinet to fend off moisture that could rust saws or other equipment.

6. Keep drains clear

Once a week, pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar down your kitchen sink. It’ll help keep your pipes clog-free.

7. Clean a shower door

Pour some baking soda on a damp sponge, wipe the door, and rinse with warm water.

8. Uncrust your grill

Sprinkle baking soda directly on an indoor or outdoor grill. Let sit overnight, then slough off the grime with a wire brush and warm water.

9. Scrub your paws

Rubbing your hands with warm water and a palmful of baking soda will remove stubborn odours.

10. Banish book odours

Seal musty-smelling books for a few weeks in a plastic bag with baking soda sprinkled inside to eliminate mildew and odours.

Tamara - posted on 11/14/2011




yea it was a few months ago, its no biggy I figured why stay some where where they owner of the group didnt want me there. :)

Tamara - posted on 11/12/2011




If you have white counters, if you have kids like mine you get pink, purple or blue koolaid stains on the counters, put a paper towel i fold it in fourths, pour the vinegar on it leave it for about 5 minutes its gone. :) My favorite part of it :)

Maryann - posted on 11/07/2011




All these ideas are great. I have used white vinegar to clean with for years. Picked up a few new uses. The smell does not last long. You are left with a clean smell. It also is great as an antidote to bleach on your skin. If you get bleach on your hands ...that slimy feeling is your disolving skin! Spray or pour vinegar on your hands. Cancels the bleach. I rarely use bleach for anything anymore. The vinegar disinfects without the odor or bleach spots on my clothes! I read another article that advises not to use on your wood floors.....Hmm, don't agree. I have used it for years!

[deleted account]

I tried using vinegar as a conditioner but I mixed with cold tap water instead of warm. When I poured it on my hair (after being in hot water for about 5 minutes) it felt like ice hitting my head and I ended up dumping it down my back instead. Yikes! Will have to give it another go tomorrow with warm water :/

Katherine - posted on 10/23/2011




Has anyone tried to condition their hair with it? I was thinking about it....

Katherine - posted on 10/21/2011




When you put it in a spray bottle, how much do you use and how much water? And do you use white vinegar?

[deleted account]

I love using vinegar around the house!! Plus it is super inexpensive :) I put it in a spray bottle and use it like Fabreeze on furniture and bedding. Just be careful, if you use too much the smell will linger for a few days! Nothing worse then going to sleep and your bed smells like a salad! LOL

Kimberly - posted on 10/19/2011




wow, there are so many uses that I had no idea about! Thanks for posting :)

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