I recently had to deal with ants in my kitchen and tested some home made ant killers. All of them worked to some degree, but what I ended up being most impressed with was the way that vinegar and water repelled the ants (at least temporarily) when used as a cleaner for my counters.
Vinegar can be used in so many ways in the house and garden. One of the beauties of it is how cheap a large container of vinegar is. Using it in place of very expensive house hold products makes perfect sense and saves so much money.
Here is a list of some of the uses that I have discovered for vinegar. Be sure to check back often. I’ll be updating this list as I try more ways to use it. Many of the suggestions come from Fans of my Facebook Gardening Cook page. I have used their names in color and italics below if this is the case.
In the Kitchen:
1. Soak your sponges in a container of vinegar overnight. Then just squeeze them out in the morning. They will be refreshed and ready to use.
2. Combine 2 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of water in your coffee make. Run it for a full brew cycle and the replace the filter and run the coffee maker with 2 cycles of plain water. Presto~clean coffee maker!
3. One of my favorites! Use vinegar in the dishwasher instead of Jet Dry to keep your glassware sparkling clean at a fraction of the cost.
4. Vinegar make a great disinfectant for wooden cutting boards.
5. Hate the smell of your hands after peeling onions and dicing garlic? Use vinegar to get rid of the smell.
6. Do you have a dirty microwave? Mix 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water in a glass bowl. Microwave on high for 5 minutes and then wipe clean.
7. Amy Paine says that she fills an 8 oz, glass with vinegar, and sets it on the bottom rack of my dishwasher. She says the stainless steel insides come out with no streaks and squeaky clean.
8. Brunella Clemental uses vinegar and a bit water to clean the inside of her fridge and freezer. She says it removes dirt and bad fridge smells.
9. Got clogged drains? Place some baking soda in the drain and pour over full strength vinegar. Finish with boiling water to clear the clog.
In the Bathroom:
1. Do your cats and dogs drink from the toilet? Don’t use harsh chemicals to clean it. Do what Elise Marshall does. Mix baking soda and vinegar together to clean your toilet in a non toxic way.
2. Laird Stevenson says that vinegar is great for removing mold on the walls in damp areas. He has found it better than any other products.
3. Sherri Burgener has a great tip. She says that she uses vinegar to get hard water marks off a dark tile shower seat and floor. She pours it over paper towels so it wouldn’t all run down the drain and left it for several hours and it cleaned the tiles and floor.
4. Soap scum can be hard to remove. Spray full strength vinegar and let it dry. Reapply and wipe clean.
5. You can remove old tub decals with vinegar. Heat full strength vinegar in the microwave. Saturate the decals with vinegar and let stand for about 5 minutes. This should loosen the glue that holds the decal. Remove the left over glue with a damp sponge and vinegar.
6. Wipe down the inside of the shower curtain in the bath to remove mildew.
7. Clean your shower head easily when it begins to lose its spraying force. Combine 1 cup of vinegar and 1.2 cup of baking soda in a zip lock bag and place it over the shower head and tie it at the top and let it soak for about an hour.
In the Laundry Room:
1. Use vinegar to remove the mildew smell from towels. Load the washer and add two cups of vinegar. Do a normal cycle and then dry thoroughly.
2. Add 1/2 cup to your wash to remove static cling from clothes.
3. Use vinegar to clean the inside of your iron. Just fill the reservoir and keep pushing the steam button until the vinegar is used.
4. If you have a scorch mark from ironing, rub the scorched area with a cloth dipped in white vinegar and then blot it with a clean towel.
5. Have an iron with a dirty metal plate? Use vinegar! Just mix 1 part vinegar and 1 part salt and scrub the plate with the paste.
6. To remove odors from clothes, add one cup to a washing load of laundry.
1. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water. Use the mixture on a cloth to wipe your keyboard and mouse. Also great to use on a phone and door knobs and other bacteria collecting items.
2. Bev Carr suggests using vinegar with old newspapers to easily clean your windows.
3. My friend Tanya from Lovely Greens has a recipe for a general all purpose cleaner using vinegar, water and essential oils. She says it smells much better than a regular mix of vinegar and water.
4. Combine equal parts of olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice to make your own furniture polish. Place in a spray bottle and squirt away. The olive oil will nourish your wood furniture and the vinegar and lemon juice will do the cleaning. The lemon juice helps provide a nice scent to the polish as well. Bye Bye Pledge!
6. Ninny Gail J Addington-Erwin mixes three parts water to one part vinegar in a spray bottle for cleaning glass, mirrors, counter tops, stainless steel sinks and appliances “because she was taught to”. Nice to see cleaning tips passed down from generation to generation, Ninny!
7. Clean the ugly deposits left in a fish bowl by rubbing the inside of the bowl with a cloth dipped in vinegar. Rinse well.
8. Got dirty scissors? Clean them with vinegar. It won’t rust the blades the way plain water will.
For Home & Garden:
1. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and use it where you find ants indoors. Ants hate it and will avoid the area for days. Be sure to also check out my article on natural ways to keep ants out of the house for more ideas.
2. Add 2 tbsp of vinegar and 1 tbsp of sugar to a vase of flowers. Your flowers will stay fresh for much longer than they will with just plain water.
3. Outdoor lawn furniture grows mold easily from exposure. Clean it by using full strength vinegar and letting it set for about 10-15 minutes. Before it dried, scrub it with a scrub brush and rinse off. Repeat if necessary.
4. Use vinegar as a vegetable wash. Mix 1/2 cup vinegar in a large pot filled up with water and soak the veggies in it, then rinse… This helps to remove dirt, wax, and other “stuff” from fresh veggies and fruits.
5. Deanna Wilson uses white vinegar on weeds in the garden. Sometimes it is combined with dish washing soap and salt too. (It does work, although some weeds are persistent and do start regrowing.) See my recipe for a vinegar weed killer here.
6. Ashley Morrison uses vinegar for flea treating her home. She mixes half water/half vinegar in a spray bottle, then sprays down all rooms and even the animals themselves. Ashley says fleas don’t like the acidity of the vinegar.
7. Clean clay pots which have a white salt build up by soaking them in full strength vinegar.
8. Attract fruit flies. Place plastic wrap over a bowl of apple cider vinegar and poke holes in it. This will attract fruit flies under the plastic wrap.
1. Robyn Stacey uses apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle to stop the itch of mosquito bites. He says the vinegar stops the itchies and you don’t get bumps and sores.
2. Sherry Burgener combines natural cider vinegar mixed with honey and water for a refreshing and healthy drink called honegar.
3. Got a sunburn? Soak a washcloth in vinegar and gently apply to sunburned skin for a cool relief. Reapply it as it evaporates. Also helps with bee stings!
4. Vinegar helps to sooth an upset stomach. Mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and drink slowly.
1. Have green hair from swimming in a chlorinated pool this summer? Rinse it with vinegar. It takes out the green!
2. Use vinegar as a dandruff rinse. Put a few tablespoons of vinegar on your hand and massage into your scalp. Leave it for a few minutes and rinse and wash hair like you normally do. You should see results in a few days.
3. Polidentis very expensive. Use vinegar instead. Just soak them overnight in white vinegar and brush away the tartar in the morning with a toothbrush.
4. This tip works double duty. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to your bath water. You will get softer skin and a cleaner bathtub to boot!
5. Do you have cracked, and dry skin on the heels of your feet? Smooth on a little vinegar to help them heal.
6. Have you priced eye glass cleaners lately? Just add a drop or two of vinegar to your lenses and wipe clean in seconds.
Miscellaneous Uses of Vinegar:
1. Prevent the yolks of hard boiled eggs from turning brown by adding 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the water. Perfect hard boiled eggs every time!
2. If you are soft cooking eggs, add vinegar to the water. It will help to keep it from spreading out in the pan, so it will keep its shape.
3. Use vinegar to make your own vinaigrette salad dressing. Just combine 3 parts oil with one part vinegar.
4. Vinegar will tenderize the toughest cuts of meat and flavor them as well!
5. Make your own baby wipes with vinegar and essential oils. Just cut up old T shirts, and soak them in 2 cups of vinegar mixed with 30-50 drops of an essential oil, such as tea tree oil. Fold them and place them in an old baby wipe container.
6. Do you have a residue from sticky labels? Just dip an old rag into vinegar and rub away. The residue will come off easily. Beats Goo Gone in price too!
7. Stephanie from Garden Therapy infuses vinegar with herbs. One recipe needs only fresh tarragon sprigs and garlic cloves to make a fine vinegar usually reserved for gourmet grocery store shelves.
9. Do you have scratches in wood furniture? Mix together apple cider vinegar and iodine. (use more iodine for dark woods and more vinegar for light woods). Dip a paint brush in the mixture and brush over the scratches.
What other uses have you found for vinegar? Please leave your comments below. My favorites will be added to the article with a shout out to your name.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."