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If I were to make a list of all DIY home hacks and remedies, the one ingredient that would shine through them all is vinegar. Unassuming, clear and tangy vinegar has so much more to offer than just making your salad a bit zestier.
The uses of vinegar extend to the home cleaning, kitchen applications and even for gardening. For all its uses, vinegar comes in pretty cheap and is available at most corner shops.
Why is Vinegar so Good at What it Does?
Vinegar’s acidity makes it an excellent cleaner, as it will dissolve most stains without much fuss. It can counter sweat sand grass stains, by acting as a solvent for these less strong acids.
It can also break down scum left behind by soap on shower stalls, windows and sinks by breaking down the stain molecules.
Vinegar can also remove icky stains, made by grease gradually building up upon a surface. As the vinegar dries up easily, it will not leave a slipping hazard behind, nor will it make it impossible to clean up after.
Since vinegar can dissolve in water, you can adjust the potency of whatever cleaner you make by adjusting the amount of water added. Vinegar also has a fresh scent, which may work in your favour by leaving behind a faint clean scent.
The acidic nature of vinegar also kills all germs that may be hanging around your house, and make it an inhabitable area for disease-causing pathogens.
On a larger scale, if you use a concentrated version of vinegar, the scent will repel all animals with a sensitive nose. This can work in your favour if you want to keep pets away from certain places where their wandering paws may follow.
41 Uses of Vinegar
1. Wash Fruits and Vegetables
The farmers market is an excellent source of handpicked fresh fruits and veggies, but they can come with a whole lot of stuff that you did not pay for. From some dirt to even small creepy crawlies, washing them with plain just does not cut it.
Even when buying from the store, farm produce can be coated in pesticides or food colours that enhance their vitality. Mixing apple cider vinegar with water and using it as a rinse for these products is an excellent way to remove all the hidden and visible dirt without destroying them.
2. Remove Salt Stains from Shoes
Tis the season to lament over salt stains that often pop up after a fun day out. If these white stains are left on for long periods of time, they can slowly eat away at your shoes and cause them to tear easily. To counter this, you can use a washcloth dipped in white vinegar and slowly rub in circles.
3. Banish Bruises
For all those who bruise easily, this may come as a saviour for the days you want to get rid of them quickly. Take a cotton ball and dip it either white or apple cider vinegar. Leave it on the affected area for around an hour and watch the bruise disappear right before your eyes.
4. Clean Plastic Containers
Plastic containers have become an essential storage device around our homes. We all have an army of Tupperware boxes that are always in use for one thing or another. Every once in a while, empty out all these containers and deep clean them with white vinegar.
Simply apply a coat of white vinegar and leave them to work their magic overnight. In the morning, rinse them out with water and they’ll be as good as new.
5. Freshen Up a Mattress
Whether you have children who wet the bed or have spilt your water on there a few too many times, mattresses can quickly become a source of the musty stink.
To get rid of this quick, throw together a solution of white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Spritz this on the mattress and allow it to dry naturally.
6. Remove Scuffs
Scuff marks are only natural, they appear even if you take the utmost care of your handbags, shoes or wallets. To restore their shine, all you need to do is wipe them down with a white vinegar-soaked microfiber cloth.
Rinsing with water is not a requisite, as vinegar easily evaporates on its own without leaving a mark behind.
7. Clean Glass-top Tables
Fingerprints, oil smears or water spots, tables are the prime spots for collecting all sorts of hard to clean marks. Rather than using a soap-based cleaner, try white vinegar to clean glass top tables. Vinegar leaves the glass as smooth as crystal, and will even restore its twinkle.
8. Clean Windows
windows need special care, as they are often the dirtiest places in our house. from keeping out grime to forming a barrier to allergens, they go through a lot in a single day.
Give them some well-deserved care by wiping them down with a solution of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol in water. To make your job easier, but this solution in a spray bottle for ease of use.
9. Loosen a Screw
A stubborn screw is one of the things that we all come across way too often. They will not budge with all of the oil or force in the world, but dousing these screws in vinegar does the trick. Leave the screw coated in vinegar for a few minutes and it’ll make it easier to pry it out of your walls.
10. Deodorize a Litter Box
A man’s second-best friend, the cat litter box keeps most of the stink associated with owning a cat restricted to only one area of your house. to even further reduce the stink, you can use a concoction of white vinegar mixed with warm water and clean out the litter box.
The vinegar keeps the germs at bay, which are primarily responsible for the stink and will not irritate your cat as well.
11. Clear Dirt off PCs and Peripherals
We are all guilty of snacking over our laptops and getting crumbs in hard to reach places. To disinfect your laptop and get the bread piece out from that one key, all you need to do is grab some vinegar-soaked cotton swabs.
Before you clean any appliance, make sure that they have been completely switched off. Only use these swabs to superficially clean your gadgets. If you still own one of those rubber ball mouses, you can use white vinegar to clean the ball for better mobility.
12. Erase Ballpoint-pen Marks
Budding artists should not be constrained, but the marks of ballpoint should definitely be. To clean out ball pen stains from walls, desks or whichever surface the painter has painted on, use vinegar-soaked sponges and rub them out gently, this will slowly erase the marks.
The sooner is better in this case, as the direr the stain, the more rinses would it require.
13. Burnish Your Scissors
Sticky scissors are the worst, and they can often result in poorly cut out shapes. If left in that state, they can cause rust which will rend them completely useless.
To remove grime and tape residue, all you need too is get some vinegar on board. Vinegar can easily cut through all stains, and leave your scissors sharper than before.
14. Clean Your Window Blinds
For every deep clean, there is one place that we often overlook. The window blinds gather up dust, dirt and even mould if not cleaned semi-regularly. However, cleaning them can quickly become an arduous process in itself due to their structure.
To make this easier, you can follow what we call the glove method. Don a glove and dip your hand in a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. Slide your fingers across the top and bottom of each slat for snow white blinds.
15. Clean Your Piano Keys
Here is a method to finally remove finger stains and grease off your piano. Start off by dipping a microfiber cloth into a solution of half cup white vinegar mixed with two cups water.
Squeeze the cloth until there are no drips present, and gently wipe the keys down. Follow closely with a dry to double ensure that no residue harms your keyboard. Leave the keys uncovered for a day to completely dry.
16. Get Rid of Water Rings on Furniture
From spills to smears, water stains are all too common in any household. They are unsightly and can steal the charm of your tabletops. To remove marks left by wet cups, mix together vinegar and olive oil in equal parts. Apply this on the stain with a soft cloth in circular motions.
17. Restore Your Rugs
Have your rugs lost their shine lately? With constant use and assault from feet day in and day out, they can become dingy very quickly. Revitalize your threads and bring them back the glow they once had with a solution of one cup white vinegar in a gallon of water.
You don’t need to rinse off the solution, as it will evaporate on its own. Experiment by adding a few drops of essential oils to add a pleasant scent.
18. Remove Carpet Stains
There are a lot of ways you can go about for this. For lighter stains, mix two tablespoons of salt with half a cup of vinegar. Rub the stains and let dry.
For larger stains, substitute the larger stains, substitute the salt with borax and use in a similar manner. And lastly, for stains that seem like they’ve been there for years, use equal parts vinegar and cornstarch to make a paste.
Rub the paste on to the stain and let it dry for two days. Vacuum afterwards.
19. Brighten Up Brickwork
For exposed brickwork, use a solution of one cup white vinegar mixed with a gallon of warm water. With a washcloth soaked in this solution go over your brickwork, be it the fireplace or garden and see how quickly it brightens up.
The same solution can be used for brick walls and floors, so don’t be shy when putting it to work.
20. Wipe Off Wax or Polish Buildup
Wax buildup is tough to get out. Even with multiple wipes down, it seems as if some part always remains stuck. To dissolve these build-ups, get some white vinegar and equal parts water.
Soak up a cloth in the solution and move it along the direction of the grain. Wipe dry with another cloth and let it remain exposed for a while. For leather, use half the amount of vinegar to achieve the same results.
21. Revitalize Leather Furniture
Leather couches and bean bags will always make your place look swanky. However, they may start to lose their shine rapidly if not taken care of.
Give your leather furniture some TLC by making a mix from white vinegar and boiled linseed oil. Put this in a spray bottle and coat the desired object. After the mix has settled in, wipe it down with a cloth.
22. Remove Candle Wax
From sleepy lulls to romantic getaways, candles can set the atmosphere for any occasion. However, the mood is quickly spoiled when you have to clean the candle wax off your furniture.
To make this process faster, melt the wax first with a hairdryer and blot up whatever melts. For the remaining residue, use an equal parts solution of white vinegar and water.
23. Unclog and Deodorize Drains
Combining two super ingredients, a team-up with baking soda can empower vinegar to get some deep clean action on. Use a funnel to deposit half a cup of baking soda in the drain. Follow it up with a cup of white vinegar.
Do not mix these ingredients beforehand, as it is the reaction between these two that helps to clean your drains. When the foaming stops, wait for five minutes and then allow warm water to flow into the pipe. Follow up with cold water.
24. Get Rid of Smoke Odour
Whether you’ve had an unfortunate grilling experience in your kitchen or had a chain smoker over recently, the lingering scent of smoke seems all-permeating. To remove the stink, place a shallow bowl of vinegar in places where the scent is strongest. The odour will be gone in less than a day.
25. Clean Chrome and Stainless Steel
For metal coatings such as steel and chrome, a wipe down with white vinegar can help to restore their shine. Use a soft cloth to slowly ebb away the dullness that comes with age. The end result will be a dazzling glean that seems fresh out of the catalogue.
26. Give Grease Stains the Slip
There is no chicken without butter, and therefore no stove without grease stains on it. With this concoction, however, you can give these stains a miss. Equal parts vinegar and water will remove any all stains you might see on your stove counter, pans or kitchen table.
It has multifold benefits where it will not only remove the stains but also kill any bacteria present as well as deodorize the entire place from yesterday’s cooking. You can even create your own nonstick pans by boiling two cups of vinegar in a sticky pan.
27. Deodorize Lunch Boxes
Does opening your child’s lunchbox evict some kind of horror in you? If yes, then it is time to get some serious cleaning done. Lunchboxes are the prime holders of your kid’s food, and having a whole colony of stink causing bacteria there is no good.
Rather, soak a slice of white bread in vinegar and leave it overnight in the box. Come morning, all stink would have evaporated from the box.
28. Steam-clean your microwave
For a hands-off approach to cleaning your microwave, try placing a glass bowl in there with 1/4th cup vinegar and one cup water. Turn on the microwave for 5 minutes on the highest setting and let it work its magic. For an added sheen, you can use the remaining solution to wipe down the microwave.
29. Refresh Your Refrigerator
If your refrigerator has been smelling funky for some time, its time for a much-awaited cleaning. Use equal parts vinegar and water to wipe down the interiors, everything from the egg tray to the fruit’s basket.
For places where mould and mildew are taking root, replace the solution with full-strength vinegar instead. Use this undiluted vinegar to clean off the dust that has accumulated externally as well and let the fridge dry off before using.
30. Disinfect Cutting Boards
Water and dish soap can weaken your cutting board, and reduce its shelf life by making it brittle. Rather use undiluted vinegar as a wash post every cutting to retain your board’s integrity.
Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is a powerful disinfectant. If your board needs cleaning as well as deodorizing, apply baking soda and then splash some vinegar for a deep clean. End with a cold-water rinse.
31. Refresh Your Ice Trays
Chances are that your ice trays are the least cleaned utensil in your house right now. Well, they store water itself, so they must clean themselves, right? The answer is a big no. Ice trays can develop stains and hard water marks if left untreated for too long.
You can clean your trays, disinfect them and even eliminate any kind of odour coming from them with the help of vinegar. Soak all your ice trays in some undiluted vinegar for a couple of hours and follow up with a cold water rinse.
32. Clean A Coffeemaker
Good coffee is essential for a good day. It can make or break your mood depending on its make. If your coffee has been consistently weak or bitter lately, you may need to clean your coffeemaker. Make a mixture of two cups white vinegar mixed with half the amount of water.
Pour this into the decanter. Follow by placing a filter in the machine and pour the remaining solution into the coffeemakers water chamber. Finally, turn on the coffee maker and let it run a full cycle. Replace the filter with a fresh one and run through the cycle two times again, this time with plain water.
Depending upon the type of water you use, you can vary the time between scheduled cleaning. For soft water, you can wait up to 80 cycles. If you’re using hard water, the grace time is 40 cycles.
33. Clear the Air in Your Kitchen
Is the smell of yesterdays cooking destroying today’s appetite? To get the stink of food out, use this hack to clean your kitchen in no time. Mix half a cup vinegar with 1 cup water and set it to boil. Let the mixture boil until the stink evaporates, and enjoy easier breathing in no time.
34. Clean a Dirty Thermos
From black coffee to milk chai, there are a lot of liquids that your thermos carries. To avoid the flavours blending into one another, use vinegar and water as a soak.
Pour the mixture into the bottle and let it sit overnight and rinse it out later with cold water. If you see some stains or residue stuck to the walls of the thermos, add in some uncooked rice with the vinegar and shake it around.
35. Purge Bugs from Your Pantry
Moths, ants, lizards or cockroaches, they seem to have decreed your cabinets as their favourite place to lounge. To banish these bugs, there are a lot of chemical solutions present in the market.
Not only do these come with an overpowering scent, but they are also extremely harmful to everyone, not just the bugs. Rather, fill up a bowl with 1.5 cups of apple cider vinegar and a couple of drops of liquid soap.
This mix will attract all bugs who will fall into the bowl and drown. Later, lean out your cabinets thoroughly before placing any grains inside.
36. Brush-clean Can Opener Blades
Lately, does it seem like more of an effort to get those cans open? The reason might lie in the edge of the blade. If you see residue from all other cans you’ve opened previously, its time for a scrub.
Dip an old toothbrush in undiluted white vinegar and run it along the edges of the blade to get them squeaky clean.
37. Trap Fruit Flies
If you’ve got delectable fruits from the market recently, chances are that they’ve come with their own hoard of fruit flies. To eliminate these buggers, place some apple cider vinegar in a jar.
Screw on the lid and punch a few holes on the top. Place them wherever the infestation is at large, and watch them scatter.
38. Remove Bumper Stickers
From baby on board to proclaiming your love for the states, there are some stickers we all grow out of. To remove these stickers without damaging the car itself, all you require is some vinegar and an expired credit card.
Soak the sticker in undiluted vinegar and let it stick for about 15 minutes. After, slowly peel off the sticker with the help of the card. If there is still some sticky residue left, let it soak in more vinegar before rubbing it off with the help of a cloth.
39. Keep car windows Frost-free
The holidays come with their share of family visits and get-togethers. To make sure that your car doesn’t add to the list of growing commitments, spray on a coat of vinegar on the outsides.
It will keep the frost from forming up to several weeks, making sure that your wheels are ready to roll whenever you need to move.
40. Remove Mineral Deposits from Showerheads
For people obsessed with cleaning, the mineral deposits on the showerheads irk like none other. they are always present, hard to get out and oh so ugly to look at.
Place your showerheads in a soak of one-litre hot water and half a cup vinegar for 10 minutes. Gently scrub away any remaining residue before dousing it with cold water.
41. Stop Reds from Ruining
Stop your bright clothes from bleeding on to other garments by adding just one step to your routine. Soak all your new clothes in a few cups of white vinegar before throwing them for their first wash. You’ll never have to worry about the colours running again.
When Not To Use Vinegar?
There are some items are becoming a strict no-no for vinegar. White vinegar can clean quite effectively due to its acidic nature, the very same property can do more harm than good in certain situations.
Be careful while vinegar in any kind of appliances that have rubber parts, as vinegar can slowly erode them over time.
With stone-based surfaces, vinegar is best kept far away. While they might look tough, vinegar can slowly erode them, leaving behind unsightly scratches.
Same is the case when used for cleaning iron coated pans or aluminium-based crockery. Unfinished wood is also on this list, as vinegar can destroy the fibres present in their make.
With these precautions in mind, let’s get to the good part. The uses of vinegar are so much more than where you should avoid it.
A single bottle of this stuff can give your house a deep clean at the fraction of what it would have originally costed. Read on ahead to discover 43 uses of vinegar in and around your house.
After this list, you’ll never look at white vinegar the same way ever again. A single bottle of vinegar can cut down on a variety of superfluous costs around the house and is a perfect substitute for those who want to employ less harsh methods of cleaning. With a bit of caution, you can get started on your daily upkeep armed with a single bottle of vinegar.