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Top 10 Uses for Vinegar around the House

Vinegar has been used for centuries to pickle and preserve food. However, while most people don’t recognize vinegar beyond its use to pep up salads or add tang to condiments, distilled and apple cider vinegars have hundreds of uses ranging from household cleaning to deterring pests to deodorizing to removing stains and more. Vinegar is a powerhouse. We guess once you understand this potent liquid’s potential, you’ll start buying it in bulk—and the best part? It’s a great non-toxic and eco-friendly alternative to many of the household cleaners on the market today. 

Top 10 Uses for Vinegar around the House

  1. In the bathroom: Use a vinegar and baking soda mixture to clean your shower/tub floor with minimal elbow grease. Spray the entire tub or shower floor with distilled vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda. Don’t be alarmed; it will fizz and bubble like a science experiment! Let sit for 15-20 minutes before a quick scrub and rinse.

    Use undiluted distilled vinegar to manage mold and mildew growth on bathroom tiles. Spray. Wipe. Rinse. Voila!

    (NOTE: Avoid using vinegar on marble or natural stone. Vinegar may damage the surface.) 

  2. Clean appliances: Run vinegar through your coffee maker, tea kettle, steam iron and washing machines to remove mineral deposits and hard water build-up and keep your appliances running like new.  Always make sure to review your owner’s guide for a proper breakdown of water to vinegar ratio for your appliance before cleaning.

    Coffee Maker:  Use 1 part distilled vinegar to 1 part water (enough to fill your coffee maker). Add an empty filter and run your machine as usual. Repeat with several cycles of plain water.  

    Tea Kettle: Use 1 part apple cider vinegar to 4 parts water. Bring to a boil and let steam for several minutes to break up deposits.

    Iron: Fill the chamber with 1 part distilled vinegar to 1 part water. Stand the iron in an upright position and turn to a steam setting for 5 minutes. When cool, refill the chamber with cool water and shake through the vents and spray nozzle. Test before using on beloved garments.

    Washing Machine:  Add 2 cups of distilled vinegar to your machine and run the machine through a full cycle.

  3. Clean and disinfect surfaces: Vinegar contains acetic acid which can be effective against some bacteria and other micro-organisms. (However, it has not been proven to kill E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus.)

    Cutting boards: Wipe down cutting boards with undiluted distilled vinegar to keep bacteria at bay. For deep cleaning and deodorizing your wooden cutting boards, sprinkle the surface with baking soda, spray with vinegar, and let sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.

    Prewash your fruits & veggies: Vinegar has been proven more effective than rinsing with water (and those fancy fruit washes) at removing dirt and bacteria from the surface of your fruits and veggies. Try spraying them with 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Rinse well and get ready to enjoy!

    Disinfect surfaces: wipe down surfaces like computer keyboards, light switches, counter tops and more with a clean cloth dampened with equal parts vinegar and water.

  4. Clean wood floors and paneling: Get your wood paneling and hardwood floors to sparkle with vinegar.

    Floors: Combine 1 gallon of warm water with ½ cup of distilled vinegar. Damp-mop as usual, making sure to completely remove water from wooden floors.

    Wood Paneling: To clean wood paneling, thoroughly combine 1 pint of warm water, 4 tablespoons of distilled or apple cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Apply to wooden surface with a dampened cloth. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Finish up with a quick polish using a dry cloth.

  5. In the laundry: Add 1 cup of vinegar to a regular load of clothes to help eliminate bacteria and odors, soften and brighten fabrics, and reduce lint and static. Vinegar even helps prevents some dyes and colors from bleeding.

  6. Keep pests out of the garden: Are four-legged friends are raiding your prized garden? Make them think again with vinegar. Deer, rabbits and raccoons aren’t fond of the pungent smell. By placing vinegar-soaked rags around your planting beds, you might just encourage Bambi to dine elsewhere.

  7. Stain and gunk remover: Stains and sticky messes, beware! Vinegar has its eye on you!

    Sticker remover: Vinegar is an excellent gunk remover and is great at removing stickers and price tags. Use a cotton ball to apply undiluted vinegar to the surface and edges of the sticker. Let it sit for a minute. Scrape off the sticker with the side of an old credit card. Wipe with a clean cloth. Boom! Done!

    Stain remover: To remove carpet stains, try dabbing on a solution of ½ cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons salt. Let the mixture dry before vacuuming.  

  8. Clean and deodorize drains: Is your drain stinky and slow? Vinegar to the rescue! Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain. Add 1 cup of vinegar. When the fuzzing and bubbling subsides, run hot water for a minute. Clogs should be cleared and odors banished.

  9. In the dishwasher: Add ½ cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle to get rid of hard water spots on your glassware. Vinegar will also help eliminate coffee and tea stains in your favorite cups.  

  10. Beauty uses: For centuries, apple cider vinegar has been used in beauty routines and for medicinal purposes. With its varied uses, you’ll find this wonder tonic deserves a place in the bathroom as much as in the kitchen.

    Hair: Apple cider vinegar can be used as a hair rinse to remove build-up and helps prevent dandruff.

    Skin: A diluted mixture of vinegar and water can be used as a facial toner. Additionally, apple cider vinegar soothes skin irritations like eczema and psoriasis.

    Medicinal: Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your next glass of water. Believe us—it tastes great! Plus with health benefits like reducing acid reflux, aiding in digestion, increasing energy, and balancing your body’s PH levels, you’ll want to make this a daily drink.  Step aside, coffee!

For more great tips for using vinegar around your home, don’t miss these sites: