The Power of Vinegar

Vinegar is truly nature’s gift to mankind. It’s an acidic liquid that is non-toxic and harmless to humans, a natural sanitizer and deodorizer, a stainless substance, and it can be used to clean virtually anything…from glass to plastic to fabric! Couple that with its low price tag, and you’ve got yourself a one-of-a-kind all-purpose cleaner that can be used in even the most unexpected and unusual circumstances.

**Note: If you absolutely cannot tolerate the smell of vinegar, add a few drops of your favorite organic essential oil into the mix!**

In the Kitchen

There are plenty of nooks and crannies in the kitchen where stains and smells can linger, but never fear! The power of a simple bottle of vinegar can cure your kitchen woes within mere minutes:

  • For stain-splattered dishwashers: If a dishwasher cleans dishes…then what cleans the dishwasher? In order to banish those ugly stains in your machine, pour 2-4 cups (depending on the amount of stain) of distilled white vinegar into the empty dishwasher and run a light wash cycle. One cycle should take care of the majority of the filth, but repeat if necessary.
  • For stinky garbage disposals: Have an unbearable odor seeping out from your kitchen sink? Read our article The Dirty Glove: Sink Editionand then grab your distilled white vinegar bottle and some baking soda! Flush the drain with boiling hot water and pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain afterwards. When a few minutes have passed, pour in a mixture of 1 cup vinegar/1 cup hot water, cover the drain with a plug if you have one, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. When finished, flush the drain with boiling water again. Voilà! No more stink! (For fragrance, take a lemon and/or orange peel slice and grind it up in the disposal)
  • For fridge odor removal: We’ve all opened the fridge and been hit in the face with a funky smell. For odor elimination, simply place 1 glass of apple cider vinegar in the fridge for 2 days.
  • For trashcan odor removal: Similar to fridge odor removal, getting the stink out of your trash bin is gloriously easy! Douse an absorbent item (i.e. a paper towel or a slice of bread) in white distilled vinegar and place at the bottom of the can. Within a day or so, the odors will dissipate.

Think vinegar is limited to only cleaning and sanitizing? Think again! Here are a few lesser known tricks to help you cook your food to perfection:

  • For soaking fish: To make your fillet firmer, sweeter, and more tender, soak the fish in white distilled vinegar and water before cooking it.
  • For boiling eggs: No need to toss out an egg that has cracked while boiling! Simply add a bit of white distilled vinegar to the water to prevent the white insides from escaping the shell.
  • For fluffier rice: If your rice is limp and boring, liven it up by adding 1 tsp of white distilled vinegar to the boiling water before pouring in the rice. It will make them fluffy, flavorful, and easier to scoop up!

In the Bathroom

Vinegar can be applied to every surface of your bathroom if necessary, serving as a dynamite all-purpose grime and stain remover for the tub, sink, floor tiles, and shower. But here are a few of vinegar’s more unusual applications:

  • For gunky shower heads: No need to grab that chemical-based calcium remover! For shower heads that are so caked in calcium that they’re nearly non-functional, fill a plastic bag (or douse a cloth) with white distilled vinegar and soak the shower head overnight– either by tying the bag around the appliance or wrapping it within the soaked cloth.
  • For dandruff relief: If you see too many white speckles while doing your hair, distilled white vinegar can help! After shampooing, rinse your hair with a solution made up of 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 cups warm water.
  • For sunburn relief: In the heat of sunburn season, rest easy knowing there’s an eco-friendly, cheap, and non-toxic way to treat that itchy, peeling skin! To temporarily subdue the burn, lightly rub either distilled white or apple cider vinegar on the affected skin.

Around the House

Vinegar is definitely not confined to the kitchen and bathroom. Several miscellaneous tasks around the house can be completed- and even expedited -with it!

  • For glass and glass windows: Leaving no streaks and no residue, white distilled vinegar is the perfect choice when it comes to glass cleaning! Spray a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water on the glass and wipe away with a clean, dry cloth.
  • For gold jewelry: If your gold jewelry has officially lost its luster, submerge it in one cup of apple cider vinegar for 15 minutes (be sure its real solid gold before trying this out!). Remove and dry thoroughly.
  • For weeds and unwanted grass: Tired of those unsightly weeds in between your driveway cracks? Simply spray or pour white distilled vinegar directly onto the unwanted plant.
  • For pesky fruit flies: There is no off-season for fruit flies, so if you find yourself stuck with an infestation, check out our article Natural Repellent for Pesky Summer Bugs and follow these stepsput apple cider vinegar in a container (heating the vinegar is optional) and seal it with plastic wrap. Puncture the wrap with a toothpick and set the container where the fruit flies are rampant. If you don’t want to use plastic wrap, a funnel works just as well; for a container with no top, put a few droplets of dishwashing soap in with the vinegar to prevent flies from flying away!
  • For long-lasting flowers: Never able to make your bouquet last long enough? Funnily enough, adding vinegar to the vase creates a natural preservative for cut flowers. Mix 3 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of white distilled vinegar per quart of warm water, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success!

In the Laundry Room

Although it may seem strange, vinegar has its rightful place on top of your washer and dryer! It’s natural ability to target and dissolve alkalies in clothes washing soaps- while still leaving the fabric even cleaner than before -is an old trick that dates back decades:

  • For fresher, softer clothes: To make your clothes and towels as fresh as they were off the rack, pour 1 cup of distilled white vinegar into the wash along with your softener and detergent.
  • For stain removal: Be it wine, mustard, or spaghetti sauce, vinegar can fix it! (Note: the fabric must be 100% cotton, cotton polyester, or permanent press for the stain to lift with vinegar.)  Pour a small amount of white distilled vinegar onto the stain within 24 hours of the accident and rub it away; afterward, run it in the washer according to its tag instructions.
  • For cloudy or moldy shower curtains: Like with clothing, add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the wash load before inserting the shower curtain. Let it hang dry instead of using the machine.
  • For maintaining fabric color: If you want your favorite outfits to hold their color, soak the articles in white distilled vinegar for a few minutes before washing them.
  • For wrinkle removal: Yes, there IS a way to de-wrinkle clothing without a hot iron! Hang the wrinkly culprits up and create a spray mixture with 1 part white distilled vinegar to 3 parts water. Lightly mist the wrinkled clothes, and let them air dry.

Craving even more vinegar hacks? We’re not surprised! Check out The Vinegar Institute‘s extended list of cleaning methods, Wild Oats‘ supplemental hacks, some medicinal uses of vinegar by Emergency Outdoors, and One Green Planet’s ode to apple cider vinegar!