Are you a fan of vinegar? A few years ago, I would have never imagined I would buy gallon bottles by the case at Costco. A quick internet search will give you countless uses for the pungent-smelling, clear liquid. Today I want to share with you the ways I personally use it. It is much easier on our environment than many of the harsh chemicals we are purchasing from the store. It’s also a much more frugal option than many of those said chemicals. So grab a gallon, give a few of these a try, and then maybe branch out and try a few more.
1. As a fabric softener – I can’t tell you the last time I bought fabric softener. Granted, it imparts a laundry-fresh smell to your clothing, but at a cost. I, and my oldest son, have very sensitive skin. Even the products designed for washing baby clothes irritated our skin. Simply pour vinegar into the “softener” dispenser in your washing machine to the “fill” line. Your clothes will not come out smelling like vinegar at all, but clean, soft, and smelling fresh!
2. To Clean Your Washing Machine – If you have a front loader washing machine, you may have noticed that mildew can build up in the gaskets and begin to stink. Check the rim in the front regularly by gently pulling open the seal. If you see black build up, pour a little vinegar inside (maybe 1/4 of a cup), allow to sit for a minute or two, and then wipe clean with a rag. You can also pour vinegar into the detergent dispenser and run on the “clean washer” or “hot water” cycle. Another helpful tip is to leave your washer door open after doing laundry. I leave mine open overnight. This will help keep the mildew down as it allows it to dry properly.
3. To Clean Your Dishwasher – When you see soap scum buildup at the bottom of your dishwasher, simply pour vinegar (about a cup) into the bottom of your dishwasher and run it on a hot cycle without dishes.
4. To Replace a Rinse Aid in Your Dishwasher – We’ve been programmed to think that we need to use a rinse aid in our dishwasher and that may be true, but I bet you can guess that I use vinegar instead of the pricey chemicals that are sold in the store. I also don’t use the compartment that calls for it. Some have suggested that you put the vinegar directly into the rinse aid compartment, but I have read that the acid in the vinegar can react with the rubber components. In my dishwasher’s detergent compartment, there are two sections. I put detergent in the first and vinegar in the second, smaller section. If your compartment is single, you could use both the detergent and the vinegar in the same section and run your normal cycle.
5. To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances – Back in the day, I used to purchase cleaners specifically labeled for my stainless steel appliances. These days, you guessed it – vinegar and a clean rag is all I need. The vinegar cleans and shines just as well, and the smell dissipates soon afterward.
6. To Clean My Ceramic Cooktop – I used to use the white stuff in the bottle to clean my cooktop. Now I wash it with vinegar. For stubborn spots, I allow the vinegar to soak before wiping down. This works on a regular stovetop, as well.
7. To Clean My Ceramic Sink – I have a white sink that stains easily. To combat this problem, I sprinkle baking soda in the sink, pour vinegar over the baking soda, and allow it to sit for awhile. After it has sat anywhere from a few minutes to overnight, I scrub and rinse with hot water. For stubborn stains, bleach is sometimes necessary, though I find if I keep up with the baking soda/vinegar solution, I don’t need to reach for the bleach very often. I also use this method to clean my bathroom sinks and the bottom of the shower/tub.
8. To Disinfect My Countertops – Vinegar is a great disinfectant. You can simply pour a small puddle on your countertop or island and wipe clean, or you can dilute 1 part vinegar with 1 part water in a bottle and spray on like your favorite store-bought disinfectant. I do this in both the kitchen and the bathroom.
9. To Disinfect Cutting Boards – As previously stated, vinegar is a great disinfectant. I often use it on my cutting boards, especially after cutting meat. I scrub with a sponge, soap, hot water, and then run a little vinegar over the board before placing into the dishwasher. Please note that I am referring to plastic cutting boards. Wood cutting boards require extra care so as not to ruin the wood fibers. According to my research, water and soap can damage the wood fibers so wiping down a wood board with full strength vinegar is the recommended solution. Click here to see my favorite cutting boards. My favorite features are the grooves around the edges that prevent spilling and the fact that they are dishwasher safe. I highly recommend them.
10. To Disinfect My Sponge – If I am running a load of dishes, I will put my sponge in the top rack. Sometimes, however, the dishwasher is running, but I still need my sponge for another use. In that case, I will soak my it in a jar of 1 part vinegar and 1 part water, overnight, and rinse before use. Click here to see my favorite sponges.
11. To Clean Kitchen Appliances– I wipe down my Kitchen Aid Mixer, food processor, waffle maker, the inside of the refrigerator etc. with vinegar to clean and disinfect. I like that vinegar is food safe and I don’t have to worry about the chemicals – especially in the refrigerator!
12. To Clean Toilets – You can make a paste of baking soda and vinegar to use as a scrub, but we prefer a simpler method for our toilets. We sprinkle baking soda around the inside rim of the toilet and then pour vinegar around the rim. We then scrub with a toilet brush and flush clean.
13. Mirrors, Windows, and Shower Doors – I wipe down my mirrors, windows, and shower doors with vinegar and a clean rag. If you find that streaks are left behind, just follow with a dry rag and it will be spotless!
14. Black Mold – During winter, we find that mold accumulates on our windows and doors due to the condensation. Vinegar is the best remover of this unwanted visitor. Simply wipe the surface with undiluted vinegar and follow with a clean cloth. If you happen to have a wood grain as I do, dip an old toothbrush into a cup of vinegar and scrub to remove from the grain.
15. Floors – I have linoleum in my kitchen, dining room, bathrooms, and front entry. I have a steam cleaner that I use to clean these areas. It only uses water and cleans by steaming the floors. If I feel that I want them extra clean, I will pour a small puddle of vinegar directly on the floor and then steam as usual. A spray bottle would also work well. I highly recommend my Shark. Click here to for more information or to purchase.
16. Cleaning Walls – Vinegar and a clean rag is an easy way to clean the walls of your home.
17. Cleaning Toys – When I taught preschool and when I had young children, I would disinfect their toys by soaking them in a solution of 1 part vinegar and 1 part hot water.
18. Cleaning Blinds – To clean my blinds, I first remove the dust with a rag or vacuum and then wipe with a clean rag dipped in undiluted vinegar.
19. To Clean Hands – If you’ve ever sliced fresh, hot peppers, you know the danger of touching your lips, eyes, etc. before the oils have been removed from your hands! A rinse with vinegar works like a charm. It also helps remove strong odors from your hands like onions and garlic.
20. To Clean Produce – I used to pay high prices for produce wash. Now I simply wash my produce in vinegar. You can use it diluted or full-strength directly on the food by spraying or soaking. Do not soak vegetables that tend to wilt, like lettuce.
21. In Cooking – I add about 1 Tablespoon of vinegar to the water when I am boiling eggs. It is supposed to make the eggs easier to peel, as well as a few other advantages. When I am making broth from a whole chicken, I add 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to the pot. It is supposed to help pull the calcium from the bones, thus resulting in a healthier broth. Vinegar is an excellent marinade for meat, as well as a common ingredient in dressings. For excellent hard boiled eggs, this timer is a great tool. I use it often and have given it as a gift.
22. Retainers, Brushes, and Combs – soak retainers, brushes, and combs in vinegar to clean and disinfect. (I have read that this works for Invisaline braces, as well.) I have also read that vinegar will remove residue from curling irons and flat irons, but have not tried this myself.
23. As a Replacement for Conditioner – I sometimes use Apple Cider Vinegar (though I have read that you can use regular white vinegar) as a hair rinse instead of conditioner. Residues from shampoo and conditioner can build up over time. Vinegar can reduce the build up, leaving your hair soft and shiny. I use 1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar per 1 cup of warm water. Pour over clean hair and rinse well. The vinegar smell will dissipate quickly.
I’ve also read that vinegar cleans microwaves, strengthens nails, removes rust, unclogs drains, and a host of other uses. How do you use it? Please share your tips in the comment section below.
Note: When I first started using vinegar around the house, my husband and children complained about the smell, but we have since become used to it so we are no longer bothered by it. Also note that when cleaning with it, your house will not smell like vinegar for long. We have found the benefits far outweigh the temporary smell!
*Disclaimer: I am not an appliance specialist, but am only giving advice on how I care for mine. Please see your manufacture’s instructions for proper care of your appliances.
*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You are not obligated to make any purchases, but when you do through one of my links or the Amazon search box to the right, I will make a small percentage on the sale. Thank you for supporting my site.
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