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Before I speak about the many uses of vinegar, let me begin by introducing it. Vinegar is an acidic liquid that is formed post the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. It is most commonly used for cooking, in order to flavor and elevate the taste of food. There are different kinds of vinegar available, including white, balsamic and apple cider vinegar.
Aside from its varied role in the kitchen, vinegar can be used for cleaning, disinfecting, and deodorizing too. It is deemed a natural disinfectant, with studies confirming the antibacterial properties that it has. This leads to the natural progression of implementation around the house- whether it is to clean floors and tiles or to tackle select equipment.
Vinegar deodorizes, too. The acetic acid component is known to bond the volatile odor molecules pervading the insides of a home, form a light mist, and eventually dissipate. Effectively ridding the house of any unpleasant odor.
Is Vinegar Safe?
On the whole, yes. White vinegar typically has an acetic acid percentage composition ranging between 3 and 6, while the rest of it is water. This makes it eminently suitable for controlled consumption and has been alleged to have positive effects on blood sugar and cholesterol.
Apple cider vinegar, on the other hand, has been proven to have skincare benefits- it improves circulation, unclogs pores and refines the skin.
Of course, caution must be exercised. Too much of anything is never the best idea, and the same can be applied for vinegar. When using it for cleaning, one must ensure that it does not come to direct contact with either pets or young children.
The following list bears 30 such uses of vinegar, each of which one can employ with ease.
30 Brilliant Uses of Vinegar in Household Cleaning
1. Remove Laundry Stains
Vinegar can be used to take out stains from laundry. Just dab a few drops onto the offending area, and put it in the wash. In fact, it might even be better if the garment is not washed right away so that the vinegar has enough time to soak into the fabric.
For a particularly stubborn stain, mix equal parts vinegar with baking soda to form a paste. Apply it onto the stain and scrub, using a soft brush.
Vinegar is an effectual cleaner, and also removes brine marks from hard water and lingering soap scum.
2. All-Purpose Cleaner
An all-purpose cleaner composed of vinegar, water, and natural oils. This functions particularly well, predominantly owing to the fact that vinegar is a natural disinfectant.
Bottle this mix in a spray bottle and sprinkle liberally onto any piece of furniture or floor that you would like to clean. A few drops of mint oil also never go amiss- the mint contributes a fresh aroma.
3. Laundry Detergent Tabs
Detergent tabs, I will admit, I house rather an exaggerated affection for. On the face of it, they are not much different from laundry powder- the components are the same, save that the tabs come as individual little nuggets of detergent. However, they are expensive and store-bought detergent can often cause lasting harm to delicate clothing when used too frequently.
Fret not, it is remarkably simple to manufacture “detergent tabs” at home. All you need is white vinegar, some detergent, water, and an ice cube tray. The vinegar helps keep the detergent together and works as a cohesive compound. And yes, it does work.
4. Yoga Mat Cleaner
Yoga mats are often home to bacteria, and for good reason. And while a quick wipe down with a dry rag and semi-frequent damp cleanse might seem to do the trick, it does not really.
It is fairly easy to concoct a mat cleaner at home- all you need is vinegar, water, and essential oils. The vinegar acts as a disinfectant- primarily because it is strong enough to kill bacteria. The water dilutes the vinegar concentration and keeps the solution from turning into a sticky liquid.
5. Deal with Carpet Stains
Carpet stains are fairly volatile. They do sometimes come outpost one good scrub, while on other days they stay on for days until the stain coalesces into a stubborn spot that is as good as indelible.
A home remedy one can employ in order to combat the problem of fussy carpet spots is to put together a solution comprising vinegar, baking soda, and water. The vinegar and baking soda both act as cleansing compounds and are quite likely to rid one’s carpet of the offending spot.
6. Sneaker Solution
Sneakers and sports shoes are susceptible to a common malady- they stink easily. And while airing them out regularly does work, it is also a temporary solution.
What can be done, however, and this is where the vinegar comes in- the shoes ought to be soaked in a vinegar bath once every week. The vinegar soaks up the sweat and rids the insides of the shoe of the pervasive odor.
Pro Tip: Cleaning the shoe with cotton wool dipped in vinegar also works.
7. Antibacterial Cleanser
It has already been established that vinegar is rather efficient in bringing about the swift demise of microbes. The same logic can be applied behind fashioning a homemade antibacterial cleanser- one that is non-toxic and always in ready supply!
8. Treat your Towels Right
Towels very rarely get to be completely dry before they are used again. A common problem plaguing towels of all shapes and sizes, it leads to the towel in question being perpetually damp. This causes discoloration and more importantly induces an unpleasant smell that never really goes away.
Combat this by treating your towels occasionally to vinegar and baking soda bath.
9. Garbage Disposal Sanitization
A clean garbage disposal bin or chute is an absolute blessing. It keeps at bay the bug infestations, leaky pipes, and some very expensive repair work.
Sanitizing with vinegar is always a good idea, owing to its roots from ethanol. It is quick and easy and leaves the area smelling fresh.
10. Cleaning Suede
For the uninformed (as I was until a few years ago), vinegar makes for a great suede cleaner. Of course, one has to be cautious, and a damp washcloth is always to be kept not more than a foot’s length away.
Vinegar is not just great for taking out stains, it also can considerably reduce the appearance of permanent scuffs on suede shoes.
11. Weed Killer
When tackling the weeds in my backyard, I gravitate towards non-toxic, non-chemical ingredients so as to ensure that the soil in which the weeds grow is not harmed.
Vinegar is actually a rather good (and au naturel) weed killer. Put some white vinegar in a spray bottle, and add a small amount of liquid dish soap. The soap acts as an adhesive and keeps the solution from slipping off of the surface of sprayed weed.
12. Get rid of Soap Scum
As with the weed killer, a solution of soap and vinegar can work wonders. It has proven itself capable of cleaning soap scum, difficult-to-remove stains, and hard water deposits.
13. Prevent Mildew
Mildew can be removed, as well as prevented, courtesy of vinegar.
All one needs to do is mist the backs of rugs, carpets, and shower curtains with full-strength white vinegar.
14. Shining the Silverware
Not every home ingredient can be employed to treat silverware, vinegar happens to be one of the only few. Prepare a bath to soak the silverware in- it should ideally have about a half cup of white vinegar, and between two to three tablespoons of baking soda.
The average soaking time for optimum results is estimated to be around two hours.
15. Ink Stains
Ink stains, especially ones of the drier, but more indelible ball-point pen variety can be dealt with by using vinegar. A direct application is recommended.
Vinegar makes for a great natural deodorizer- it has a clean, tangy scent that is especially appealing when in combination with spices like cardamom.
17. Homemade Leather Polish
A mix of distilled vinegar and linseed oil can be used in order to clean and polish leather articles- like shoes, clothing, and accessories.
The oil component is responsible for lending the material a natural sheen, while the vinegar cleanses and removes dirt and grime from the surface of the leather.
18. Water Ring Removal
Water rings can be removed from wooden and glass countertops by using a homemade scrub which consists of distilled white vinegar and olive oil.
19. Get Salt Off Of Your Shoes
Living near the beach comes with a lot of perks, and a few cons. One of the latter is the salt buildup on shoes. The sand may come off( it usually does), but the saltwater stains remain.
Undiluted vinegar can be used to treat these stains, given the stains are recently acquired.
20. Removal of Candle Wax
Candle wax, especially the remains after the major chunks have been extracted and removed, rarely fade. Using a blow dryer to blot up as much as possible is obviously still the first choice, but I would suggest you give the good old vinegar scrub a try.
Put together a solution with equal parts of white vinegar and water.
21. Conceal Scratches in Furniture
Scratches in wooden furniture can be concealed and rectified by painting over the scratch with a solution of distilled white vinegar and iodine.
The ratios vary, depending on the shade of the wood. More vinegar is advised for lighter woods and more iodine for the darker varieties.
22. Pesticide and Insect Deterrent
Vinegar is a fairly good pesticide and functions particularly well with respect to smaller bugs and moths.
Placing a bowl of undiluted vinegar inside musty closets and cupboards (strongholds of infestations) show positive results. The bugs are attracted to the liquid, they fall into the bowl and promptly drown. A conventional, rather ancient method- but effective, all the same.
Probably the simplest and most fuss-free way to keep insects (especially ants) at bay is to spray the edges of doors and windows with a light layer of undiluted vinegar. The sour aroma acts as a warning to ants and small bugs and keeps them from approaching.
23. Whiten Grout
Grubby grout is an eyesore. And while unleashing on it an industrial cleaner always works, it might be time to veer towards something a little more Eco-friendly.
Undiluted white vinegar. Grout lines tend to be slim, and are best dealt with using a spare toothbrush.
24. Brighten your Laundry
Regular washing eventually leads to a slow but sure fading of clothing colors, until they are half as bright as they originally were.
A pre-wash soak in undiluted vinegar does the trick, however, or helping the clothes retain much of their original hue. 10-15 minutes of time is sufficient.
25. Window Cleaner
Mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water to form a quick, effective, and easily available window cleaner. It gets out stains and spots, and also lends the glass a sheen that is characteristic of vinegar cleaning.
26. Clean Washable Blinds
The perfect cleaning solution for tackling washable blinds is this- 1 cup ammonia, half a cup of distilled white vinegar. one-fourth cup of baking soda and a gallon of mildly warm water. Dip a washcloth into the solution and use it to wipe each blind clean. Follow up by wiping it dry with a dry fabric or rinse the remnants off.
27. No-wax floor cleaning
Rinse-free cleaning saves time, and more importantly, is much easier to follow through than a cleaning procedure that would require a subsequent round of rinsing.
Put together a solution containing half a cup of distilled white vinegar in a gallon of warm water and use it to clean the floors. Keep changing the water as it gets dirty to avoid having to rinse.
28. Rust Removal
Soak the rusted object(s) in undiluted vinegar overnight. The vinegar acts as a bleach and leaches the iron residue from the surface of said object.
29. Cleaning Scorched Cutlery
Metal cutlery, especially plates or pans made out of iron compounds tend to scorch easily. And even when cleaned with regular dish soap, the burn marks just get darker over time until they are impossible to eliminate.
A good old-fashioned homemade scrub might do the trick- vinegar and salt. The salt is abrasive and helps in loosening the solidified gunk. The vinegar acts as a cleanser.
30. Unclogging Drains
There are many skills a homeowner must acquire during their lifetime and arguably the most important is to know how to unclog a drain.
It is easier than it sounds, all one needs to do is prepare a solution of baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. Pour it down the drain to see it works its magic.
And there you have it, 30 different uses for that spare bottle of vinegar you have lying around the house.