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!

Trent Hamm
Trent Hamm
Founder of The Simple Dollar

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 after developing innovative financial strategies to get out of debt. Since then, he’s written three books (published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press), contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.

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