20 Uses of Vinegar

24 June 2009

Written by guest blogger, and sweet friend, April Pointer

Did you know vinegar goes WAAAAY beyond salad dressing? I thought I'd hit the jackpot when I discovered all the uses for VINEGAR! Since May was National Vinegar Month (did you forget??), I thought I'd give you readers a closer look at this inexpensive, versatile "go to". Do you hate those irritating and smelly chemicals you currently use to clean your house? Do you wish you didn't have to use gloves to clean? A natural and environmentally safe solution is to use Vinegar. Vinegar is an all-natural solution to clean and deodorize throughout your home. Vinegar is great used on laundry, shoes, carpets, your elbows and feet, cars, floors, wood, linoleum and the list continues to grow.

So, what's so great about vinegar? Besides being effective, vinegar is cheap and widely available. I buy it in the 1.5 gallon jug at Costco for a little over $3. I prefer the Heinz brand as they guarantee they use no petroleum in the making of their vinegar. Some companies use petroleum to make their vinegar but you just have to read the ingredients on the label. When I finish off a 1.5 gallon jug I either recycle the bottle or I fill it up with water and add it to our Emergency water supply. Either way, it gets recycled instead of hauled off to a landfill.

In the spirit of "National Vinegar Month" (a few weeks ago) I put together a list of 10 ways I use vinegar. I actually use it for many other things and I'll give you some resources for more ways at the end of this post. But first, tell me, How do you use vinegar? Please, add your own ideas in the comments!

1. Cleaning and Mopping
I mostly use vinegar to clean. White vinegar is non-toxic and lasts for a very long time without losing strength. It does not pollute land, air or water or combust. It's much safer to have under your sink than bleach, ammonia or other toxic cleaning products. First use is mopping: instead of using harsh cleaners that your feet will later on absorb it's remnant chemicals (mopping as well as breathing), use a solution of 1C vinegar to 1 gallon water for mopping. The scent of vinegar may linger for about 20 minutes but it will actually deodorize odors in your home. I hate mopping personally so I keep a 50/50 made up bottle that I spray my countertops with. I spray my floor with it then I dampen 2 large dishcloths and stand on top of them and kind of scoot & skate around my kitchen ceramic tile on them and get a great leg workout at the same time. I know it sounds hilarious but having a bad back, this is what works for me. (Be careful not to slip!) Not only does it keep the floors shiny but it kills the dust mites! great for us since we have severe allergies. Use vinegar instead of harsh chemicals to clean the toilet bowl too. Let it set overnight if you can; it will help keep germs down. This is also an excellent way to clean your kids toys and keep harsh chemicals out of their little developing systems. Pour vinegar in place of Jet Dry in the dishwasher. It makes everything sparkle! And lastly, mix 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 olive oil to clean and moisturize wood.

2. Fresh Laundry
Vinegar is a veritable powerhouse when it comes to pretreating stains, softening water, and boosting regular laundry detergents. When cleaning fabrics, distilled white vinegar is preferred, but apple cider vinegar works just as well if that's what you have on hand. When your big washing day comes around, toss in a couple capfuls of vinegar. Your colors will come out bolder and your whites whiter. However, if you've recently had an encounter with a skunk, it will take more than a capful. Go green, avoid the petroleum in fabric softeners and use 1/2 - 1 C white vinegar as your fabric oftener. its cheaper than regular fabric softener AND works better! If you're obsessed with scent, take a few drops of your favorite essential oil, add them to an old rag and toss in the dryer with wet clothes.

3. Clean Carpets
"Spots in carpets often remove with a simple dilution of one part vinegar, one-sixteenth part lemon juice and eight parts distilled water."

4. Wash Produce
Vinegar can help remove bacteria and pesticide residues from fruits and veggies. Mix three parts water to one part white vinegar, and dispense in a spray bottle. Then rinse with water. I have read it kills 98% of bacteria on produce.

5. Fight Hiccups and Cramps
Try mixing 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of honey and a cup of hot water. Some have also said they were able to cure pesky hiccups instantly by swallowing a teaspoon of vinegar.

6. Deter Cats
We love cats here at my house but I don't want them doing their business in the kids' sandbox. Or in my flower bed. A simple solution is to pour vinegar around the edges of the area you want to protect every few months.

7. Sore Throat
Use 1 tablespoon vinegar to an 8 ounce glass of warm water for a sore throat. Gargle every hour and swallow after gargling, with two mouthfuls. I got this from a Vermont Folk Medicine book by D.C.Jarvis many years ago. If started at the first hint of a sore throat, it always works, usually within a night's sleep. I don't mind the taste, but some children might. Adding 2 tsp to a humidifier is another home remedy for this.

8. Burnt smells
Put vinegar on white bread (or in small bowls) around a house to get rid of smoke smell from a fire (or often time my cooking). I keep s small bowl of this up high in our laundry room where we keep our litter box for our 2 cats and there is no litter box smell, according to our guests. It absorbs bad odors!

9. Freshen vegetables:
Freshen up slightly wilted vegetables by soaking them in cold water and vinegar.

10. Beauty Tips
clean curling irons, use as aftershave,

11. Restore Shine to hair
Vinegar restores luster by removing build up from other hair products. It leaves hair smooth and silky and is said by many to remove tangles. Use 1-3x weekly. Can cause minimal dryness to hair, so try to condition first, then use a vinegar rinse. To make a vinegar rinse, add 1 cup vinegar to 2 cups warm water, add a a drop of essential oil, if you like, and work into hair.

12. Hairbrush Cleaning
Remove old hair from brush. Make a mix of half water and half vinegar, add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil, and soak your hairbrush overnight. Rinse and brush.

13. Scalp Help
To clean your scalp, improve its health, and fight dandruff, rinse with a solution of ½ cup vinegar mixed with 2 cups of warm water after shampooing. You can add a few drops of sage oil, you can also leave the rinse on for up to 30 minutes. A scalp rinse can be done daily, and should be done at least once a week.

14. Sludge, I mean, coffee anyone?
Clean lime deposits and calcium sludge from an automatic drip coffee maker. Once a month fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run through the brew cycle. Rinse thoroughly with two cycles of cold water. Also works on stained coffee/tea cups!

15. Disposal
Keep a garbage disposal clean and smelling fresh. Mix one cup of vinegar in enough water to fill an ice cube tray, freeze the mixture, grind the cubes through the disposal, and flush with cold water.

16. Lunch Box
Deodorize a stale lunch box by soaking a paper towel or cloth napkin in vinegar and leave it inside the closed lunch box overnight.

17. Sunburn
Apply straight vinegar to the burn

18. Ear Infections
Dip a cotton bud into pure vinegar and dab onto affected areas.

19. Acid Reflux
2 tablespoons in a full glass of water, sipped, usually first thing in the morning and 1 tablespoon before meals to control acid reflux/hiatal hernia.

20. Relieve a cold
Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with one-quarter cup honey. Take one tablespoon 6-8x daily.

So, tell me, how do you use vinegar?


Anonymous said...

I use 1/2 c. distilled white vinegar in my prewash for my cloth diapers. I use it in my rinse aid compartment of my dishwasher as well. Do all of my cleaning, mopping, carpet stain removingm etc. with just plain water and an antibac Norwex microfiber cloth...even easier, safer and cheaper than using vinegar! :)

Sarah said...

These are some really great ideas! I'm going to have to try that garbage disposal idea because ours just gets so nasty and I can't stand it! I'm also going to need to try the small bowl in the kitty/litter box room...nothing worse than litter box smell through out the house!

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