15 Uses for Incredibly Inexpensive White Vinegar

One of the best bargains in your local grocery store is plain old white vinegar. You can get a 32 ounce jug of it (half a gallon) for about $1.50 and it has a multitude of uses beyond the edible ones (like pickles and salad dressings). Here are fifteen uses for white vinegar, most of which I use myself.

Toilet cleaner Got a toilet bowl that’s difficult to clean? Before you go to bed, dump a cup of vinegar in the bowl, then close the lid. I usually spread the vinegar around the bowl a bit with a brush to coat the sides. In the morning, the whole bowl will be really easy to brush. I can’t remember the last time I bought actual toilet bowl cleaner.

Refrigerator cleaner I take a gallon of warm water in a bowl, add about two cups of vinegar, bust out a rag, and use that solution to clean the inside of the refrigerator. It does a great job of cleaning things up without much effort at all. If something’s really bad, I’ll put a tablespoon or so of pure vinegar right on it, let it sit for a bit, then give it a scrub.

Sunburn Is your skin a bit sunburnt? Just rub some vinegar on the affected area and it’ll feel much better really quickly. If it’s bad, you can reapply the vinegar a few times.

Kitchen drain odors If your kitchen drain has an odd smell, pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain, then don’t run any water for at least an hour. When you do run water, run quite a bit of it to flush out the drain. This usually takes care of any odors – if any still linger, repeat this a time or two.

Fabric softener Instead of using fabric softener, use about half a cup of white vinegar. It has largely the same effect without coating your clothes in chemicals and costs a lot less.

Rusty tools Just soak anything that’s rusty in vinegar overnight, then clean it thoroughly with a brush. The rust will wipe away nearly as well as it does with any expensive rust remover I’ve ever tried.

Vinyl flooring If you have a vinyl floor that needs cleaned, mop using equal amounts of water and vinegar. This works really well for getting up stains, especially if you go over it twice. Don’t do this with wood or wood laminate, however, because vinegar can react with the wood.

Window cleaning Forget Windex. Just put some vinegar in a spray bottle and get to work on any glass surfaces. It works really well and doesn’t seem to streak much at all.

Eyeglass cleaner If you use eyeglass cleaner, just take an empty container and fill it with vinegar. It cuts through grease on your lenses really well, leaving them looking great!

Microwave cleaning Put a cup of vinegar in the microwave, then run the microwave on high for three minutes. Let it sit undisturbed for half an hour, then remove the cup. The gunk in your microwave will be very easy to wipe down.

Carpet odors Did your dog do something funky on the carpet (or your toddler, for that matter – yes, I have used this tip to clean up some early potty training accidents)? Pour half a cup of vinegar on the spot that smells and just let it dry. This will kill off the odor and it’ll also make it easier to clean any stains.

Garbage disposal odors If your garbage disposal smells a bit odd, vinegar alone usually won’t do the trick because it doesn’t get into all of the cracks and crevasses in there. Instead, fill up an ice cube tray with vinegar and put it in the freezer until you have vinegar ice cubes. Toss those cubes into the disposal and run the disposal for five seconds or so (with water). Then let it sit for an hour or two, then run it again. This always works for us.

Air freshener Got that spray bottle of vinegar from the window cleaning? Spritz it in the air a few times to kill general odors. It smells vaguely vinegary for the first minute, then it just smells clean.

Nasty air Got a room that really reeks of smoke or paint fumes? Put a bowl of vinegar in there and just let it sit. If the room’s really bad, put out two or three bowls. The odor in the room will drastically improve in a few hours.

Whitening clothes Put a cup of white vinegar in a load of whites along with a quarter of a cup of baking soda. This will whiten your whites as effectively as bleach without the harshness.

These uses just scratch the surface. Whenever there’s a cleaning mission in my home, I usually tackle it with vinegar and baking soda as the first line of defense.

Do you have any great uses for vinegar? Share ‘em in the comments!

If you enjoyed reading this, sign up for free updates!

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...
  1. Shannon says:

    Do you really “bust out” a rag?

  2. Johanna says:

    Did you dream up all these uses yourself (I imagine not, since you say you don’t even use them all yourself) or did you get them from somewhere else? And if you got them from somewhere else, why not tell us where? Not that uses for vinegar are subject to intellectual property laws or anything, but part of being a serious non-fiction writer is citing your sources, giving credit where credit is due, and not trying to represent other people’s ideas as your own.

  3. Jen says:

    I’ve been using vinegar to clean for years- love the stuff! My favorite: asking the kids if they want to “help make bubbles”- they sprinkle baking soda all around the sink, especially around the drain. When the vinegar is added- bubbles. Bonus: use the baking soda/vinegar residue to scrub the sink.

  4. Jen says:

    #2 Too funny, I usually don’t ask for sources, but I would like one on the sunburn advice. As it is kind of medical in nature and I would like to know if the source is reliable.

  5. the Dad says:

    @Shannon, who doesn’t?! :)

    Great tips, Trent.

  6. Henry says:

    No, Johanna, I doubt he invented them himself. Heloise and countless others have addressed the uses of white vinegar. Pamphlets are sold at the supermarket checkout devoted to the topic. Books have been written about the subject. The Old Farmer’s Almanac mentions white vinegar. 2.2 million Google results for ‘cleaning with vinegar,’ including numerous sites solely dedicated to vinegar. Vinegar’s place on this site should have been relegated to a one-line tip to “Google ‘cleaning with white vinegar’ for some money saving tips.” But I guess some people were just too busy ‘busting out a rag’ to come up with anything original today.
    I don’t think I would advise people to put just anything on their eyeglasses. Let that vinegar eat part of a frame and then take the warrantied frames back for repair, tell the tech what you did and he just might tell you to cough up some cash, your warranty is void.
    Same goes for the sunburn cure. People do have vinegar allergies, and even those that don’t may have adverse reactions when applied to skin in such a state. I guess for slightly burned skin you might recommend it, but for really bad cases it’s suggested that even more be applied!

    I always put a drinking glass full of vinegar in my dishwater and wash all of my pre-rinsed glasses first. It brings out the shine and prevents the glasses from building up a cloudiness that you often see in the drinkware of people who live in trailerparks and don’t care enough to properly clean their glassware. Fortunately none of us in the house have vinegar allergies, but I ask guests if they do before I serve them.

  7. Henry says:

    Oh! I completely glossed over the opening of this one!

    In part, it reads: “You can get a 32 ounce jug of it (half a gallon) for about $1.50 and it has a multitude of uses…”

    Anyone see where proofreading would have come in handy?

    Now, first, a 32 ounce jug is a quart. Half the size of a half gallon. Second, I do my shopping at the Wal-Mart. A half gallon of vinegar is about $1.72, while the gallon is $2.19. If you all are going to be so willy-nilly with the vinegar, you better go for the gallon and stay away from those quart sized half gallons, it’s more economical.

  8. Johanna says:

    I wasn’t actually trying to be funny. I’m sure that at least some of these have been around so long that it’s impossible to say who came up with them first, but that doesn’t mean Trent can’t or shouldn’t tell us where *he* got them from. If he learned them from his mom, he could say that. If he read them in a book or on another blog, he could tell us which one.

    Trent makes money off this site. If he’s getting his ideas from other people who are trying to make money by sharing those same age-old ideas, and he’s not giving them credit, that feels a little bit unethical to me.

  9. David says:

    Wondering vaguely whether all this advice about getting rid of odors is actually sound. I mean, most odors go away in a few hours anyhow, whether you apply vinegar or not. “Busting out a rag” has rarely been accomplished successfully by anyone since Scott Joplin.

  10. Anne says:

    Some of you folks need to lighen up! Especially you, “Henry”.

  11. Roxanne says:

    Love the tips. Love the comments more.

    Cloudy glassware and trailer parks? Really?

  12. Noadi says:

    Vinegar is wonderful for cleaning. However I do have to wonder about the wisdom of putting an acid on any burn even such a mild one as a sunburn. Don’t do it, cool water is better and probably safer.

  13. Kathy says:

    I agree with Anne #10, some of you need to lighten up.

    My main use for vinegar is in place of liquid fabric softener. My clothes come out very soft and not smelling like vinegar at all.

  14. stephanie says:

    Um, ditto on the lightening up. Geez, guys.

    I use a vinegar and water solution with a couple drops of tea tree oil in it for antibacterial countertop cleaner. I’m not an antibacteria freak, but it works GREAT in cleaning out the smells from the compost bin (and those smells are *extremely* potent!)

    You can feel free to use that one gratis Trent ;)

  15. Trent Trent says:

    I’ve used most of these tips for as long as I can remember – I think most of them came from my great grandmother. Some of them only have infrequent uses – like the bowl of vinegar – so I just don’t use them very often. I learned at least a couple of them from community groups I’m involved with, because people there are constantly throwing such tips my way (and I usually jot them down in my pocket notebook).

    Yes, it’s easy to find such tips on Google by searching for “vinegar uses,” but one would have to know that vinegar has uses before searching. This article is for people who would have just bought Soft Scrub without thinking and were unaware of the uses of vinegar – a group I would include a lot of people my own age in.

  16. AC says:

    I don’t often read the comments – do most of them involve this much vitriol?

    Thanks for the tips, Trent.

  17. Kristen says:

    1) I only use 1/4 cup vinegar for softener.
    2) For glass cleaning purposes I use half vinegar, half water.
    3) For microwave cleaning I use lemon juice instead.

  18. Nick says:

    Awesome tips.

    The only note that I would add is if you’re going to be making vinegar ice cubes anytime soon, label them. :)

    That is, of course, unless you want to play a mean prank on your family…

  19. Java Monster says:

    #13 Kathy–when do you add the vinegar? Is it bad for certain fabrics?

  20. KC says:

    It works great as a de-odorizer, especially for really, really, funky smells. I grew up in a house full of women (except for Dad who we trained well) and I didn’t know about really funky smells. Then I got married and live in a house full of men – I don’t know where those smells come from, but they are deep-rooted and have legs and move around the house. Baking soda and vinegar are my two main ways of fighting the funk.

    You can also “google” uses for baking soda, WD-40, and ammonia – those are two other cheap things that have a variety of uses.

  21. Kara says:

    I like to use vinegar for most of the stuff here. I’d never heard about using it on burns, though. I just keep an aloe plant in the house. Vinegar is also good to use on copper pots, and I use it on cast iron cookware after my husband camps with it (he’s not very good at taking care of the pan). I just pour some vinegar in the skillet and leave it for a while, and then I use some baking soda to scour the pan. The vinegar doesn’t react with the iron the way water would.

    I, for one, welcome the “household hack” posts.

  22. KC says:

    oh and lemon juice has a ton of household uses, too.

  23. Tara says:

    I had some pretty ridiculous underarm odour last summer (chalk it up to homormonal changes after having 2 kids!). Anti-perspirant didn’t help, but then I read that washing your underarms with vinegar a couple times a day does the trick. It worked!

  24. tambo says:

    When we were kids, my mom used to put vinegar on our sunburns. It really did make it stop stinging but left us kids kind of smelling like pickles. :p

  25. George says:

    This felt lame since “vinegar as a cleaner” is used 6 times and “vinegar as a deoderizer” is used 5 times. Only 6 tips total instead of 15.

    (And I’m not real fond of the smell of vinegar)

  26. Bill says:

    Good article!

  27. Gretchen says:

    And here after all the questions about cheap butcher paper in yesterday’s comments, I was starting to think you didn’t read your comments section at all.

    Vinegar works very well for removing cat pee from laundry/laundryable items.

  28. Tara says:

    @George – Spoilsport! I love vinegar for housecleaning. It reminds me of greasy diner fries covered with ketchup and vinegar. Mmmm. Plus, once it dries the smell is totally gone…the house just smells like “clean.”

    It is absolutely the best for making laundry smell like it was dried on the line by a nice breeze, and the clothes end up much softer than with bleach!

  29. Kat says:

    LOVE using white vinegar (and baking soda) for cleaning. Best new uses in our house:

    Keep a spray bottle (about half vinegar/half water) in the bathroom and spritz the shower after using it. Helps to minimize mold and make cleaning easier.

  30. Sarah says:

    re: microwave trick…another one is put a small amount of water mixed with dish detergent into a bowl and microwave for about 5-7 minutes. After that it makes it sooo much easier to clean stains off the inside of your microwave its great!

  31. Rosa Rugosa says:

    @Kat-How do you think this compares with those commercial daily after shower sprays? The primary ingredient in those is always water, so I wonder if I’m a sap for buying them. I’m also getting a lot of seemingly permanent streaks on my fiberglass tub surround, which I try to take really good care of siince we waited a long, long time for that bathroom remodel! I also wonder if anyone else objects to the fumes? Oddly enough, I actually find them more bothersome than those of chemical products.

  32. Rosa Rugosa says:

    One more thought – you can get an enormous jug at Costco for really small money!

  33. Courtney says:

    We go through lots of vinegar in our house, between cleaning and using it as fabric softener. Sam’s Club has the best price I’ve found – 2 gallons for $3.38.

  34. Jeanne says:

    I do the spray bottle in the shower too with a squeegee! Using vinegar as fabric softener is great for our family, our kids have very sensitive skin.

  35. It can be used as a food ingredient too! ha ha, we forget because of all the other uses.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  36. Shirl says:

    Although I do love to use vinegar for cleaning or softening, my favorite use is in cooking.

    It makes the most glorious french fries. I soak french fry cut raw potatoes in an equal amount of water and vinegar for about 15 minutes before deep frying.(Pat dry before frying). It makes the best french fries, crispy with a very slight tang. We have used cider, white and malt vinegar with equal results.

  37. Sam says:

    Microwaving a glass of plain water works well and is even cheaper than vinegar. All you’re looking for is the stuff to be softened to make it easier to wipe away.

  38. friend says:

    Today’s comments remind me of one of those essay questions, “Imagine you could invite any three people to dinner; what would they talk about?” I can imagine Trent making a tablecloth out of butcher paper and serving us a humble but “tasty” casserole. Johanna plumps down in a chair and enumerates four sound reasons why she would have chosen a different dinner. Henry, meanwhile, is eating all he can hold and stuffing buttered rolls in his pockets for later. (I guess Friend is just over in the corner chuckling.) Cheers, y’all, and thanks for the grins.

  39. MoneyReasons says:

    I’ve used white vinegar as ant killer. I hate spraying the poison that comes in a spray can.

    The important thing to not is that vinegar isn’t as harmful to use around your kids. I prefer vinegar over the pleathora of toxic chemical that we would have to use instead.

  40. Sherry says:

    @stephanie I didn’t think of mixing tea tree oil and white vinegar. Do you rinse it with water after? Just wondering if it leaves an oily resideue. Would love to know what vinegar to oil ratios you use.

    I have used white vinegar instead of fabric softener for months, and it has worked out great. I think I tend to use a lot more (up to 1 full cup for a large load) than some, but my towels come out even softer when I do. It doesn’t cut the static as much as fabric softener, but I have noticed the close are not as staticy as they are if I use nothing at all.

    My mom used to swear by white vinegar to keep the mosquitos at bay, and one of my daughter’s teachers does as well.

  41. Shevaun says:

    Another use for vinegar: I dilute it half-and-half with water and keep a spray bottle by the sink, then I use it to clean vegetables with a scrub brush. While organic produce is best, it’s awfully expensive in my area. Considering the lesser-of-various-evils, I’ll wash and scrub some foods with vinegar and water to remove surface pesticides and germs, I’ll buy organics of other foods, and I’ll pass by still others. It depends on your knowledge of agricultural practices at source-farms.1

  42. Michelle says:

    We use a highly diluted solution of vinegar and water on our unsealed hardwood floors and it works well, no bleaching, staining, or other interactions. We actually use one of those battery-operated, automatic sprayers with the disposable pads that attach with velcro (I can’t remember which brand we use, but it has a purple bottle), although I’m sure the real frugalistas will probably want to use re-washable rags instead of those pads. Or just use a good old mop and bucket. This is just so convenient and I really hate wringing out mops.

    You can use a pair of pliers to gently remove the white bottle top (the part that goes down into the dispenser). Once you’ve removed it a few times the teeth on the inside wear down enough that removing it by hand is easy. I’ve removed the labels so I don’t know how much the bottles hold, but for the large bottle (about 10 inches tall), I’d estimate it’s 14 oz. or so, we add 1 oz. vinegar and fill the rest with water.

    I got this idea from some dog forums from people who want to avoid using chemical cleaners on their floors where pets and children are likely to play but still have something that can actually clean. It works quite well. It will even dissolve dog drool though it might take a little bit of elbow grease. And best of all, no horribly perfumed, cloying scent from the original cleaning solution. The vinegar smell is gone in less than 5 minutes, when the floor dries.

    As for the eyeglasses, I concur that using vinegar can be a bad idea. If your glasses are actually made of glass, it’d be fine probably. But really nearsighted people like my husband and myself have plastic lenses because of the weight and thickness and I’d be worried about vinegar clouding the lenses. Also, if you have any additional treatments like photo-chromatic or non-glare, these are often thin coatings placed on the surface of the lenses. Over time, these coatings eventually start to peel off and I suspect vinegar would speed up their degradation.

    For eyeglasses of any kind, dampen them with water and dry with a microfiber cloth. The cloth will remove dirt and grease without scratching the lenses. The cloths sold at eyeglass stores or your optometrist are lint free, machine washable and work well. A cloth will last years. I personally prefer the fleecy microfiber cloths to the ones that look and feel silky. The silky ones don’t absorb water very well; they seem designed to work with the glasses spray cleaners also sold at the stores.

  43. Tamara says:

    vinegar is also a great de-calcifier for kettles, rice makers, coffee makers, and any other appliance that often has water in it and can be heated.

  44. TheMightyQuinn says:

    I use vinegar in laundry to defunkify musty towels, and it works great.

    I also use vinegar to clean faucets and really make them shine.

    I tried using it to clean the shower, but it just left a hazy film on the glass and tile, plus is did nothing to the mildew. The best thing for the shower has been bleach water.

    The funny thing is the fumes from vinegar seem just as potent as the fumes from bleach or any store-bought cleaner. So no improvement there!

    I’ll have to try vinegar in the toilet and on the windows.

  45. Ryan says:

    LOL @38

    When people started complaining and asking for sources, I imagined what the outcry would be for tomorrow’s post:

    “8 Uses for Oxygen”

    Five minutes after Trent publishes:

    Johanna: WHO TOLD YOU YOU CAN BREATH OXYGEN?

    Henry: Wow Trent must be so busy “bustin out the O2″ to credit his articles correctly.

    This thread made my day…thanks everyone!

  46. Todd says:

    People in trailer parks have glassware? You must be talking about beer bottles, Henry. Everything else drinkable comes in a can.

  47. Anna says:

    @ Ryan, YOU MADE MY DAY!! These two people have almost made me want to stop reading Trents articles, I can’t stand such negative people who critize someones every move. If you hate Trents articles so much, DON’T READ THEM!!

  48. Anna says:

    @ #42 Michelle, I bought a shark steam mop, a pretty pricy initial investment $59 (at walmart) but it comes with washable pads and than you just use water to clean, I have 2 dogs and it cleans my hardwood floors wonderfully! I also love knowing that my water is free and the pads to clean are reuseable.

  49. Melissa says:

    @Sherry #48 – like stephanie, I use homemade cleaner with 2 parts water, 1 part vinegar and about 10 drops of tea tree oil. This cleaner gets used on everything. I’m not an anti-bacteria nut either, but tea tree oil is quite a powerful anti-baterial agent. It’s safe, but the occasional person may be allergic, and I’ve read that it’s not good to use heaps around young kids, pets, when you’re preggers etc, but it’s such a small amount that I don’t worry. It doesn’t leave an oily residue, gives a lovely clean smell.

  50. Hope D says:

    I don’t agree with Trent about using vinegar on burns. Vinegar burns my skin. It will take off an outer layer. It doesn’t hurt, but I wouldn’t use it on damaged skin. I also don’t see how a dish of vinegar would take away odors. I would think it would need to be topically applied. I could be wrong on that.

  51. Henry says:

    Yes, Todd I’ve seen them with glassware. It’s usually something they came by for free, like the jelly jars with the Flintstone’s on the side or Mason Jars.
    Sorry I exist Anna. Sorry for trying to save people discomfort and complications before they take medical treatment from a site that is “for entertainment purposes only.”

  52. Jules says:

    @ Friend:

    No, Trent serves up a decent meal. Johanna criticizes his choice of serving platter and then questions whether or not the salad fork isn’t actually a dessert fork. And Henry calls for pizza halfway through.

  53. Alexandra says:

    I use vinegar to clean my guinea pig’s cage. It rejoins the other uses (clean & deodorize) and does it in a way that won’t irritate his skin (they are sensitive little animals) and pet-cage deodorizer is EXPENSIVE stuff so it’s my favorite use for vinegar.
    I also add a little baking soda between the layers of newspapers (and top it with wood chippings) so that keeps some odors at bay as well.

  54. deRuiter says:

    A bit of vinegar in your laundry wash water neutralizes or cuts the soap / detergeant which then flushes out of the clothing during the rinse cycle. I pour vinegar in the toilet tank as well as the bowl, when the toilet won’t be in use for a while, it seems to dissolve the minerals in the tank. It’s off topic, but after someone uses the bathroom, if there’s an unpleasant smell, light a couple of big, wood stemmed matches and the sulphur flare will make that smell disappear. WORKS LIKE A CHARM! Bravo Ryan, by the way. An occasional negative comment can be spicy, but a constant drumbeat of only negativism gets to be a bit of a bore.

  55. The only one I hadn’t really heard about was using it for sunburn.

    I’ll add that to the list.

    Great post.

  56. Matt says:

    Sounds like I need to get some gallon jugs of vinegar, wrap them with parchment paper and yard, and I’m all set for Christmas this year!!

  57. cynthia says:

    Thanks! These are great tips and I look forward to trying them out–especially the carpet one.

  58. Pete says:

    @#9 David: ““Busting out a rag” has rarely been accomplished successfully by anyone since Scott Joplin.” That is the funniest thing I have read this week. Thanks for the laugh.

  59. Sue says:

    I use vinegar in the dishwasher alongside of the detergent (in that separate compartment) instead of purchasing the “no streak” stuff and it works great. The glasses and dishes come out squeaky clean and shiny.

    I’ve also used vinegar and water to clean my hardwood floors for years. They come out shiny and clean, as well. About a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water.

  60. Peggy says:

    #53 Alexandra is right, we use it for cleaning the guinea pig cages too. It takes animal urine out of furniture and rugs efficiently.

    But, be forewarned: plain white vinegar is made from genetically modified corn. If you buy it you are casting a vote for more to be grown, and the jury is most definitely out on its safety (see Grist article Dec. 16) Organic vinegar is too pricey for just cleaning purposes for most of us. But vinegar is one of the few cleaners we can use (children have multiple chemical sensitivity.)

  61. stephanie says:

    Sherry (#40) — I have a small spray bottle that I fill with about a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar, to total about 3 cups… then I add 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil. Occasionally I add other antibacterial and nice-smelling oils along with it, like pine essential oils, or sage… but I find tea tree works best.

    You CAN add too much oil, to the point where you get an oily residue. In my small spray bottle, I’ve added 10 – 15 drops of a couple different oils, and noticed some residue… So my best guess as to what works (I’ve never taken notes or really measured!) would be for every cup of water / vinegar solution, add 1 drop of oil, and shake well.

  62. Jennifer says:

    I use vinegar on my kitchen floor, and a side benefit is that ants don’t like it.

  63. Tammy says:

    When I was redecorating my daughter’s bedroom last year, we had the most stubborn old wallpaper paste that would not come off the wall. I used a big bowl full of warm water and white vinegar, and the wallpaper paste wiped right off with an old washcloth.

    Thanks for the tips, especially the one about the microwave!

  64. jana says:

    Warning-this is gross…..apple cider vinegar applied to a fungus nail will clear it up. I had one nail with fungus for 20+ years. Now in just 6 months it’s completely cleared up.

  65. Vicky says:

    I use vinegar a lot because of my pets. I have a carpet shampooer, and I shampoo often and I always use 50% vinegar and water mix to clean the carpet. It removes all the pet odors like a charm.

    When I vaccuum I sprinkle baking soda all over the carpet first, and it smells super fresh after.

    I also use a spray bottle of 50% vinegar/water for cleaning my ferret room, because it’s MUCH safer than any chemicals and doesn’t damage their sensitive respiratory system.

  66. BonzoGal says:

    I use vinegar to clean out our coffee maker. I fill the carafe with half white vinegar, half cold water and run it through the whole cycle. I use the now-hot vinegar solution to mop the kitchen floor, and run another pot of plain water through the coffee maker. There is no vinegar after-taste, and it really seems to clean out the coffee oils and scale from the machine.

    Count me in as dismayed by the amount of vitriol given to Trent by some commenters- we’re talking FREE and USEFUL tips, folks. Lighten up or go read something else!

  67. Becky says:

    I use vinegar as a hair conditioner. Wash with bar shampoo (such as Liggett’s) or another mild shampoo, then apply watered-down vinegar, leave on for a minute or so, and rinse. I have a spray bottle of watered-down vinegar in the shower, but I’ve also used a regular plastic bottle and just poured the diluted vinegar into my hand, then put it on my head and combed it into my hair. It makes my usually coarse, wavy, and dry hair soft and manageable. If it still feels dry, I put a small amount of commercial conditioner on the ends.

    I actually use home-made apple cider vinegar for this purpose; it is mild and smells nicer to me than white vinegar. It is the result of hard-apple-cider-making gone awry, and isn’t tasty enough for culinary use. Anyway, it was free, considering otherwise I would have composted the cider.

    The dilute vinegar does *not* make my head smell like pickles. Once it’s dry, it simply smells clean.

    I started using vinegar as a conditioner because I wanted to find a use for all this inedible apple-cider vinegar, but now I enjoy the fact that my container of wonderful, expensive commercial conditioner will probably last a year instead of three months. Also, I’m using a lot fewer random chemicals on my skin, and rinsing a lot less of that stuff down the drain.

  68. Michelle says:

    @ #48 Anna Actually I own one of those too, haven’t “busted it out” in a long time though. If I remember right, the manual says not to use it on unsealed hardwood floors, so we damp mop instead. The steamer is lovely for cleaning in the bathroom and, if the hype is to be believed, good for killing dust mites on your mattress. In fact, now that you’ve reminded me, I’m gonna drag it out of the closet!

  69. Sharon L says:

    The chemical name for vinegar is “acetic acid.” I would hesitate to put it on already-irritated skin. And I find that it does irritate my lungs, but not nearly as much as ammonia, which I can’t use at all.

    All plants we eat are “genetically modified.” So are our animals. Humans have been modifying organisms for millions of years.

  70. Virginia says:

    I’m coming in late here but I wanted to add that vinegar is great at removing skunk smell. Our big dog has only met a skunk once (thank goodness) but we once had a Springer Spaniel who would go looking for them! I would just pop her in the tub, fill a bucket with half vinegar, half water and slosh that on her with a washcloth. You have to be careful not to get it in the dog’s eyes and she’ll still smell a little musky for a few days but the acids in the vinegar are much better than tomato juice at cutting through the spray. A scrub down with dogy shampoo finishes the job quite nicely.

  71. Lynne says:

    Great tips! I also used vinegar to clean the potty my daughter used as a baby many years ago and vinegar does a *great* job of zapping the mold you may see in the bathroom (if your exhaust fan isn’t doing its job)

  72. Rita says:

    I use alot of these tips as well. Two ways I really like to use vinegar that are not mentioned are for my laundry. The first is I use it with my dark colors to prevent fading and it works very well. The other is if something makes it in with your lighter colors and fades on them, soaking them in vinegar will take out the faded color.

  73. Erin says:

    Great tips. For the microwave this works too – microwave a wet sponge for a short time and then you will be able to wipe off any crusted-on gunk off the microwave.

  74. Georgia says:

    I have used vinegar in its many forms for over 65 years. As a youngster with long, thick hair, it was a great conditioner to get the soap out.

    As for soaking burned pots and pans, I don’t soak for a length of time. I just fill the pot or pan to the burnt area and add 1 cup of vinegar. I boil for 5-10 minutes and then wash. Takes out the crud immediately.

    As for sunburn, I have used it for years. I used to worry about it being acidic until I read that vinegar is the cheapest skin softener in the world. And the smell does go almost immediately. I currently have on hand about 10 gallons of vinegar which I got at $1.99 a gallon.

    I currently use 1/3 spray bottle of alcohol and the rest is water for my showers. Keeps them germ free, mildew free, and clean. I spray the shower each time I use it and before I step out. I did this for 2 years in an apt. shower and I never had to clean the shower. It stayed shiny clean and no mildew (it was in the basement).

    I use it in my washer (I use the softener ball you can get at Walmart.) Works great. I use it in the rinse water when I wash dishes. Removes all kinds of soap scum.

    My husband used it for years when he farmed to keep from getting poison ivy. He was highly allergic to the p.i. I read it was good for that, so he would take a bath each night when he came in from work, fill the tub as high as he could and add 2 cups of vinegar and soak for 10-20 minutes. In all those years he only got p.i. once and it was a very mild case. Apparently it washes off all those spores before they can dig in.

    Speas vinegar used to put out a booklet about a lot of uses for their project. I also had a booklet called “The Vinegar Book.” I have also read a lot of uses on this site and others.

    Good luck in using this stuff. Talk about savings!!

  75. Anna says:

    I saw on HGTV the other day that White Vinegar is a great alternative to cleaning stainless steel appliances, I personally don’t have stainless steel so I haven’t tried it.

  76. Here is a great recommendation I just read in the Jan/Feb issue of Natural Home magazine: use white vinegar in your dishwasher’s rinse aid dispenser instead of the commercial rinse aid.

  77. Robin says:

    @#41 Re: vinegar for cleaning produce: Cooks Illustrated tested this and concluded that vinegar is very nearly as effective as the commercial produce-washing solutions. The CI test was for how well it removes wax from cucumbers (since pesticides, dirt, etc. are trapped beneath the wax.)

    I’ve used vinegar as an herbicide. Spray it on weeds and it kills the foliage. For tiny weeds, this also kills the plant — great for just-emerged crabgrass. For larger weeds, the foliage will grow back and will have to be sprayed again. Often the second spraying does the trick. This method is not environmentally ideal (think acid rain), but I figure it’s better than Round-Up for weeds that can’t be effectively pulled.

    Re: the trailer park comments: offensive and not funhy. Not even clever.

  78. I always learn something new from posts like these – thanks, Trent! I linked to this on my weekly roundup, post is under my name.

  79. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the tips, Trent!

    I use apple cider vinegar to condition my hair, and it works much better on my oily thin hair than commercial conditioners (They always felt too heavy and often left my hair really flat).

    I’ll definitely have to try the tea tree oil disinfectant. I’ve been looking for a solid surface cleaner that doesn’t have a lot of the chemicals the commercial ones do, and I will give this one a try.

    The one we use: If you start to feel a sore throat coming on, gargle a bit of apple cider vinegar and water (Just pour a bit in a cup and dilute with an equal amount of warm water) for a minute twice daily until the sore throat goes away. It tastes horrible but is really good at killing all the bacteria that cause the sore throat.

  80. Lis says:

    Thanks for all the hair conditioning tips! My daughter has very curly hair, and I have very thin hair… We’ll give it a try!

  81. We have had some badly behaving cats recently, and have gone through quite a bit of vinegar trying to clean up their messes! I wasn’t aware of all of those uses, thanks for the compilation.

  82. Alexandra says:

    We use it quite a bit as well. It did eat through one of our older faucet handles, so it’s fairly acidic, and should be rinsed off well if you are using it for cleaning.

    I use it to neutralize pet stains(great in our cold water carpet cleaner) and get soap residue out of laundry(fabric softener). It works especially well for those blemishes that never quite come to a head, but hang around as big welts. If you hold a cotton ball dipped in vinegar on it a few times a day, it will go away. It also stops the “weeping” of wounds.

  83. If reducing the application of toxins and harsh chemicals can improve health, why not we start using some natural and safe products in our daily routine. If white vinegar, baking soda and other domestic things can carry out the cleaning task in a far better manner, then why to invest on other products available in the market? Keep natural and keep safe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>