The Wonderful World of Vinegar

By now you probably know that vinegar is pretty useful for cleaning around the house. The smell isn’t always the best, or so my husband says, but it fades away quickly as the vinegar dries, so I really don’t consider it to be a problem.

Here are some of the many ways you can use vinegar around the house. Please feel free to share any further ideas you have.

1. Clean the microwave

Water can do this pretty well too, but it lacks the deodorizing capabilities of vinegar. Just heat a cloth that you have dampened with vinegar for 15 seconds or so. Once it’s cool enough to touch again, wipe the inside of the microwave clean with the cloth. The moisture should have helped to loosen some of the splatters.

2. Clean and unplug a showerhead.

Especially if you have hard water, your showerhead may get somewhat gunked up at times. Vinegar can do a slow but good job of cleaning it up.

Fill a plastic bag with vinegar. Put it over the showerhead and attach with a twist tie. Allow to soak for at least 15 minutes.

The vinegar may still be used after for other cleaning projects. Might be a good time to finish off cleaning the bathroom while you have it there!

3. Kill weeds

This can be a bit slow, as it kills the leaves but doesn’t touch roots. Spray it on the leaves and repeat as necessary. Eventually the plant will stop regrowing if it can’t get energy from its leaves.

4. Make soil more acid

On a gentler note, vinegar is good for adding a bit of acid to garden soil for plants that love acid soil.

5. Clean up pet urine

After cleaning up the mess by soaking up the liquid and then cleaning with water, pour vinegar on the area, blot out the excess and allow to dry.

6. Hair rinse

Rinse your hair with vinegar after shampooing. It removes the last of the shampoo nicely. Some say it helps with dandruff also.

7. In the laundry

Vinegar also helps to get the soap out from the laundry. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.

8. Afraid colors might run?

Soak brightly colored clothing in a mix of vinegar and warm water before washing. You’ll soon see if dye bleeding might have been a problem. I don’t know if this works with all dye types, but it’s been amazing what comes out of some red clothes.

9. Tenderize meat

There’s a reason why vinegar is so often used in marinades. The acid in it help to make the meat more tender.

10. Clear a drain

This one takes baking soda too, but it’s wonderful! Pour a half cup of baking soda down the drain, follow with a half cup of vinegar. Allow to work for 5-10 minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain. Repeat if necessary, but I’ve never had it be needed.

11. Deodorize the air

Spray vinegar in the air to control odors, or set a small pot of vinegar and water to boil. The vinegar smell will fade away.

12. Clean windows

Use vinegar as you would any other glass cleaner. Wiping with newspaper is highly effective too.

13. Use in the carpet cleaner

Vinegar can be used mixed with water at about 1 cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. Not terribly strong, but nice for a general cleaning.

14. Remove water rings from wood furniture

A mix of olive oil and vinegar can be rubbed on wood furniture to get rid of the white rings caused by leaving a wet glass on the wood.

15. Clean the garbage disposal

Make a few vinegar ice cubes. Put down the garbage disposal and run it while running cold water down the disposal as well.

16. Clean the dishwasher

Pour a cup of vinegar into the empty dishwasher, and run it.

17. Clean the coffeemaker

Your owner’s manual may even tell you about this. Pour a cup of vinegar into the reservoir and run the coffeemaker. Run it twice more with just water in the reservoir to rinse.

18. Soothe a sunburn

Apply vinegar to the sunburned areas with a cloth.

19. General cleaning

Use vinegar to clean hard surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen. It works well on tile and many other hard surfaces. You can dilute it with water for mopping as well.

20. Toilet bowl cleaner

That includes the toilet bowl. Pour 1 cup into the toilet and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before flushing. This won’t get the areas out of the water, of course.