Oh how I love white vinegar!
When newly married, I remember a tiny bottle of vinegar in my baking cupboard that rarely got used. These days I have gallons of it on deck waiting because I go through so much. (Buy it in bulk here.) It seems like we use it for everything: kitchen, bath, cooking, garden, laundry, and even deodorizing!
The multipurpose nature of vinegar is catching on quickly (even Mr. Clean secretly loves it). Over the last few years we have watched the price nearly double. Since ditching chemicals and cleaning “green” has become more popular, vinegar is flying off store shelves. White vinegar can still be purchased fairly cheap, and is a tough contender against most commercial products.
Cleaning is not the only thing vinegar is good for though – here are 10 specific ways we use white vinegar around our house.
10 household uses for white vinegar
1. Get your dishes to sparkle
Pour vinegar into the rinse aid dispenser of your dishwasher and stop spending the money on expensive commercial rinse aids. This trick works well whether using commercial or homemade dishwasher detergent. If hand washing dishes, add a cup of vinegar to your rinse water for spot-free dishes. The savings over commercial rinse-aids is insane.
2. Clean your produce
Have you seen the expensive produce wash sold in stores? If you don’t want to rinse fruits and veggies in plain water, you can simply wash them with one part vinegar and three parts water. Add a little lemon juice and a touch of baking soda to the mix to get non-organic veggies really clean. Just be sure to rinse well with plain water before eating.
3. Perk up leafy vegetables
Don’t throw away wilted lettuce. Droopy greens can be brought back to life with vinegar. Soak in a bowl with cold water and a splash of vinegar for 10 minutes. Just rinse and dry before enjoying your revived produce. I told you this stuff was magic!
4. Cooking (of course)
Over the last few years vinegar has made its way into our kitchen with a vengeance! We now love to make pickles, dressings, and flavor soups and sauces with vinegar. For most edible stuff Matt using organic ACV with the mother or red wine vinegar, but the white stuff makes it to the party every now and again.
5. Keep colors from running
Soak new colored garments to help them retain their color longer. Before washing for the first time, soak garments in a bucket with one part water and one part white vinegar for 20 minutes. This will save you money in the long run because you’ll be extending the life of your clothing.
6. Soften laundry
White vinegar is very effective at removing soap residue in the laundry and softening your clothing and linens. Add one cup to the fabric softener dispenser of your washing machine, or fill a fabric softener ball with vinegar and toss it in the load. Laundry comes out feeling soft and fluffy, with no chemical coatings or perfumes like commercial softeners. Did I mention it’s a great softening alternative for sensitive skin.
Where do I begin? I use diluted vinegar on floors, walls, windows, carpets, showers, sinks, mirrors, and faucets. My favorite cleaning trick is to spray vinegar around the lid, bowl, and floor surrounding the toilet. I allow it to sit while I go about my chores (and make sure nobody uses the bathroom). When I return I sprinkle baking soda inside the toilet bowl and scrub the inside of the toilet, wipe away any remaining vinegar, and flush! Cheap, easy, and effective.
Since moving into a new house, we have been trying to eliminate odors left by the last tenants. Smoke and pet odors are improved by spraying a mixture of ½ cup vinegar and ½ cup water enhanced with a few drops of my favorite essential oils. Spritz this mixture into the air throughout the room; the vinegar smell will dissipate after a few minutes leaving a fresh scent.
9. Repel ants
Ants seem to hate vinegar. Spray it in cracks, around baseboards, on countertops, or anywhere ants tend to crawl around your house. No need to put poisonous ant traps on your floor that kids or pets could get into.
10. Kill grass or weeds without chemicals
Spray full-strength vinegar on young weeds or grass that creep into places they’re not welcome. The acidic properties of vinegar wilt and kill the baby plants by the very next day. Really tough weeds will need a few treatments and are sometimes better off pulling – just pull them and spray any remaning roots.
Be creative and try new ideas
These ideas only begin to scratch the surface of the many wonderful uses for vinegar.
How are you putting white vinegar to use in your home? Share below!
photo credit: elycefeliz