254 Uses for Vinegar. And Counting.
Vinegar. As an Englishman, I had one use for it. I put it on my Fish 'n' Chips. Then I married a girl from Guam and found another use for it...Adobo sauce. Mmmm. But as a frugal shopper, I began hearing whispers of the incredible versatility of vinegar. So I did some research. I was shocked! (See also: 6 Secret Homemade Stain Removers That Kick Butt)
Pop along to the frugal living section of About.com and you'll be met with a plethora of useful tips.
One page is devoted to the mighty vinegar, and it's a long page. Really long. I mean "use up all of your paper printing it out" long. So here I reprint the top 50 from this huge list. The rest you can get yourselves from the link above. But I'll tell you something...you'll never be short of a bottle of vinegar in my house!
NOTE: Recently, About.com took down their vinegar list. Why I have no idea. But I hate to keep you guys hanging so this page should help out. It has many, many uses for vinegar.
- Used as a hair rinse, vinegar neutralizes the alkali left by shampoos.
- A quarter cup in a quart of water makes a good window cleaner. A reader adds: "When you use vinegar in your water to wash windows, dry with newspapers. Your windows will sparkle!"
- Fabric softener and static cling reducer — use as you would liquid fabric softener.
- Air freshener, used with baking soda — use 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2 cups of water. After it stops foaming, mix well, and use in a (recycled) spray bottle into the air.
- Chewing gum dissolver — saturate the area with vinegar. If the vinegar is heated, it will work faster.
- Stain remover — for stains caused by grass, coffee, tea, fruits and berries. Soak clothing in full strength vinegar.
- Corn and callus remover — soak a piece of stale bread (a cloth would probably do as well) in vinegar, and tape it over the callus or corn overnight.
- Remedy for age spots — Mix equal parts of onion juice and vinegar and use it daily on age spots. This will take a few weeks to work, just like its expensive relative from the store.
- Kill grass or weeds by pouring hot vinegar on it. This might take a couple of times to work completely. Use white vinegar straight from the bottle to pour on the weeds and grasses that come up through the pavement. Just pour on and let set a couple of days and the weeds will die back and wont reappear for several months.
- Wash your windshield with vinegar in the winter to help keep ice and frost away.
- If you have a septic tank, use vinegar instead of harsh chemicals to clean the toilet bowl. Let it set overnight if you can; it will help keep germs down.
- Spray your hands with a mist of vinegar, or dip them in vinegar and dry after washing dishes or having them in soapy water to keep your hands soft.
- It's an ongoing battle as to whether vinegar can help you lose weight, but the ones who say it will, say to drink a glass of water before each meal in which you've added a tablespoon of vinegar and a tablespoon of honey.
- Use diluted 1:1 in water to take pet odors out of carpets. Find the spot, and saturate it with about 1 1/2 times the original volume. Let set for a while then blot up. Repeat if your cloth is very dirty after blotting. I make sure to turn on a fan and open a window, especially for large spots!
- Splash vinegar on your varicose veins. The vinegar is supposed to reduce the veins and relieve the pain and swelling. Of course, you might smell like a tossed salad!
- Use about a tablespoon of vinegar in the water when poaching eggs. It helps the eggs to keep their shape. No taste of vinegar, either.
- Use 1 tablespoon vinegar to an 8-ounce glass of warm water for a sore throat. Gargle every hour and swallow after gargling, with two mouthfuls. I got this from a Vermont Folk Medicine book by D.C.Jarvis many years ago. If started at the first hint of a sore throat, it always works, usually within a night's sleep. I don't mind the taste, but some children might.
- It is also helpful when children get lice, if you take warm vinegar and put it on the hair also take your nit comb and dip it in the vinegar. As you run it through the hair it helps remove the nits. It is supposed to be able to help break down the glue the nits use to stay attached to the hair.
- Set a container (shallow bowl) of vinegar throughout the house to absorb unpleasant odors. Works great on burned food odors. Do not use styrofoam. It will soak through it.
- Use vinegar and olive oil as a frugal dressing with a selection of herbs on your salad. A different reader adds: "I like to use vinegar the old-fashioned way: I eat it!! I use all sorts of vinegars as salad dressing ingredients (my favorite is the classic red wine vinegar mixed with olive oil). I also eat my fish with malt vinegar, which is also very good on french fries."
- This reader says: "I liked the 'spray mister' approach to air freshening, but as a sometimes poor bachelor cook, I have blackened fish when it isn't on the menu. Vinegar in a towel, twirled about the head will quickly stop the smoke detectors from screaming. It also freshens the air, and captures the smoke smell before the whole house is caught."
- Added by another reader: "Put vinegar on white bread around a house to get rid of smoke smell from a fire."
- Another reader writes: "You can use vinegar to remove wallpaper. I just redid my entire kitchen and it was a snap. First remove top layer of wallpaper. Then spray vinegar on and let set for a minute or two. Then pull backing away. Scrape excess glue off wall. Wipe remaining glue off with vinegar and rinse with water. You don't have to use harse chemicals and it is cheap, cheap, cheap."
- Another reader writes this: "Keep it in mind when cleaning the walls after removing wallpaper: I use vinegar water (2-3 parts vinegar to 1 part water) to remove (new or old) wallpaper paste. Add more vinegar as needed if the paste is really stubborn."
- This reader writes: "My grandmother swears by vinegar as an antiseptic for abrasions to reduce itch from poison ivy or mosquito bites, and even to help rehydrate sunburned skin."
- She also uses it diluted 50/50 as a skin cleanser, as most soaps are alkaline as compared to skin ph.
- On a different note, most meat marinades are most effective if acidic, so an extra few spoonfuls of vinegar can't hurt.
- On heavily tarnished copper or copper-alloy to be cleaned up, use a paste made of salt and vinegar.
- A reader writes: "I use white (not apple cider) vinegar mixed with water to rinse off the dishes after washing them to take the soap off and leave them squeaky clean. This also takes the soap residue off of my hands at the same time."
- Another reader wrote: "I am allergic to crabs. However, I love them. I have found that when I dip my crab meat in vinegar, I don't get an allergic reaction. This may not work for everyone, but it works for me."
- Pour vinegar around the sides of your pool and it helps keeps flies away.
- Add 1/2 cup vinegar to a gallon of water to keep your vinyl no-wax floors clean and shining. A reader adds: "Not only does it keep the floors shiny but it kills the dust mites! Great for us since we have severe allergies." Another reader adds: "We moved into a new house 6 months ago, and it's a vinyl floor haven. Lots of vinyl floor! Since my old house was relatively small with only about a 10x8 vinyl floor in my kitchen, I usually just got down on my hands and knees to do the deed. Not now! My back isn't that great! I bought one of those mops with the detachable, washable heads, and I squirt pickling vinegar ('cause it's stronger) on the floor, mop it up and squirt more as needed. My floor is impeccable, my back is just fine, thanks, and there's no need to buy any of that Mop and Glo stuff. It's affordable (read 'frugal'!) and environmentally safe."
- Use as a meat tenderizer. Add a tablespoon to water when boiling ribs or meat for stews, and even the toughest meat will be so tender you can cut with fork or will fall off the bone.
- One teaspoon to one tablespoon of vinegar gets rid of hiccups. Another reader writes: "I've found that gargling with cider vinegar will stop the most horrible case of hiccups!"
- Vinegar is great for removing calcium deposit build up. Use full strength and allow to set. Time depends on condition.
- Sunburn Remedies: At bedtime, cover sunburns with a towel soaked in water and vinegar and try to persuade the victim to sleep this way. Younger ones, of course, will have a struggle with this, especially because of the smell! Put vinegar in a spray bottle and spray on sunburn. It soothes for quite a length of time. Just like store bought stuff.
A reader wrote this: "I used this on my son when his legs were sunburned. I used half and half which was half water and half vinegar. I saturated tea towels in it and layed them on his legs and he said it didn't smell too good but it sure took out the burning. You must do this several times but it works and then it gives you a nice tan."
Vinegar will take the sting out of a sunburn — just soak a paper towel and apply to burn. Smells bad but, hey, if you're in pain, who cares? To relieve swelling and fluid from too much sun, mix a paste of baking soda and apple cider vinegar and apply.
This reader says it will draw out the fluid: "I met a girl who was told by her doctor to sit in the sun (she had some sort of skin problem). She was to use diluted red wine vinegar to keep from burning. She was out in the sun every day of the summer and had a nice tan. (You have to understand that she lived in Philadelphia, PA and I was visiting from Florida). When I went on a trip to the Keys to spend a lot of time on the water, I used a spray bottle filled with undiluted red wine vinegar. I had my friend spray my back occasionally while spraying the front more frequently. My back did get somewhat burned, but from head to toes the front of me was nicely tanned. (I did look really red from the vinegar, but after showering...ta da...tan) I'm not sure, but using the red wine vinegar has seemed to help me tan faster."
- Use 2 cups of cider vinegar in the tub to soak sore muscles and add potassium to muscles.
- Use for a throat soother. Take equal amounts of honey and cider vinegar, stir or shake until dissolved. Take a tablespoon at a time to cut mucous in the throat.
- Heat vinegar to boiling point. Then poor over your fixtures that have deposits of lime. This will release or remove lime deposits.
- Use a cup of vinegar in two gallons of water in the diaper pail to neutralize the urine in cloth diapers. It also helps keep them from staining.
- Keep a spray bottle of 50% vinegar, 50% water near the laundry station. Spray it on stains before tossing the clothing into the washer (just as you would a commercial spray stain remover). As a carpet spot and stain remover — take a trigger spray bottle and fill with one part white vinegar to seven parts water. Take a second spray bottle and fill with one part white, non sudsy ammonia and seven parts water. Saturate stain with vinegar solution. Let dwell for a few minutes and blot thoroughly with a clean, white cloth. Then go over the area with the ammonia solution, let dwell and blot again. Repeat until the stain is gone. Also works for pet stains to help remove the odors.
- Keep a solution of 50/50 white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to use for cleaning windows.
- From a reader: "When I apply a weak bleach solution (to a counter after handling raw chicken, or to grout to whiten it), even after rinsing it still smells like bleach. Spraying it with the vinegar solution does away with the bleachy smell." This also works if you use bleach when washing fabric — try an extra rinse with a cup of vinegar in it to get rid of the bleach smell. Note: A reader cautioned against using vinegar with bleach because it produces chlorine gas, so I asked about it on our chemistry guide's forum here at About.com. He said that, while the mixture does produce chlorine gas, using a few drops at a time (to rinse hands or counter, as opposed to gallons) as a spot neutralizer would cause no problem. You can read the posts yourself, if you like.
- Another reader wrote this: "Fill the water reservoir half way and run the coffee maker as you normally do and then run it once full of water and the coffee maker will be spotless. (Well, cleaner anyway.)"
- Vinegar in drinking water is very effective in eliminating the low-grade fevers that are present in Chronic Fatigue sufferers. It also helps eliminate the 'thrush' coating in the mouth which is sometimes caused by antibiotic use. Mix four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a gallon of drinking water. Drink up to one gallon each day.
- Add a splash of vinegar, a tablespoon or so, to the water when you hard-boil eggs. If one cracks, it will not boil out of the shell.
- Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a quart of drinking water. Helps to deal with heat stress. Also helps to repel mosquitoes.
- From another reader: "After years of suffering from athlete's foot, consulting doctors, and spending hundreds of dollars on so called cures (some prescription, some over the counter), I read in one of the magazines in which I subscribe to try soaking in vinegar. Something was said about it changing skin ph so that the fungus could not grow. I soaked three evenings in a row. Now, no more fungus and that has been several months ago."
- This reader says: "I feed vinegar to my horses to keep the flies away. I pour 1/4 cup of cider vinegar on their grain once a day and it really keeps the flies away from them! They seem to like it too."
- I use cloth diapers and my baby kept breaking out in a rash. From another web site, it suggested adding a cup of vinegar during the rinse cycle. It equalizes the ph balance. I've been doing it ever since and, viola, no diaper rash!