30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace
Who knew that vinegar could do so much? It serves a purpose in just about every room of the house, and there are dozens of household (and personal) products that vinegar can replace, as you will see below. It's cheaper, better for the environment, and better for your health and home (in eliminating unnecessary chemicals).
Vinegar in general is a natural (and inexpensive) disinfectant. It can be used on almost anything except marble. So stick it in a spray bottle and get to work! Here are a few more "recipes" for various cleaning purposes. (See also: Household Cleaning Hacks that Save You Money)
All-purpose cleaner: 2 parts vinegar, 1 part water.
Extra dirty spots: Scour dirty areas with baking soda, then spray the all purpose cleaner (recipe above) over the area and wipe clean.
Floor cleaner: Brew a cup of peppermint tea (use 1 tea bag: one cup for you, one for the floor). Squeeze half a lemon in to the floor mix, and add 1 cup of vinegar. Mop away with your solution; the vinegar disinfects, the tea has antibacterial properties and removes marks, and the lemon freshens and disinfects.
Pee stains on carpet (presumably from pets): Blot up the initial stain, flush it with water, then apply equal parts vinegar and cool water. Blot it all up, rinse, and let dry. This will eliminate odors and stains.
Hard water stains and mineral deposits: Allow a cloth soaked in vinegar to sit on a hard water stain (for example behind your faucet) or mineral deposit for a few hours. Wipe clean.
Appliance cleaning: Clean your coffee maker or laundry machine or dishwasher by running vinegar through it, followed by water. This reduces soap buildup and keeps everything in working order.
In The Kitchen
Remove labels from glass jars: Saturate the labeled area in vinegar and scrape the stickiness right off.
Dirty pot bottoms and cooking utensils: Fill the pot with enough water to cover the stain, add 1 cup of vinegar, and boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Let cool, then scrub the stains off. While you're at it, put your stainless steel cooking utensils in the pot to get them sparkly clean too.
Fruit stains on hands: Had a little too much fun making that cherry pie or berry salad? Just rub your hands with vinegar to remove the stains.
Coffee stains on china: Use a mixture of salt and vinegar to clean coffee stains from china.
Wooden cutting boards: Wooden cutting boards are great, except they can be a hothouse for bacteria (especially if grooves have been cut into the board with use). Disinfect it regularly with vinegar to keep it (and your food) clean.
Veggie maintenance: Clean and crisp up your veggies by soaking them in a mixture of water and a tablespoon or so of vinegar. Any bugs lingering on your produce will float away, and your soggy celery will come to life again (depending on how far gone it was to begin with).
Smelly onion hands: Eliminate onion odor off your hands by rinsing them in vinegar. This also apparently works with other stinky parts of your body that soap isn't cutting through, such as underarms.
Clean sticky scissors: Sometimes those scissors get so gummy you can't even make them work. Just wipe them down with vinegar, and they'll be like new again.
Fabric softener: There are a few fabric softener strategies you can play with. Add equal parts vinegar and baking soda, OR just ½ a cup of vinegar to your wash when you would add fabric softener (final rinse cycle). Line dried towels will come out softer with a vinegar-based softener.
Water: You can also add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to your wash water, which does the following:
- Reduces the amount of soap you need to use
- Reduces lint
- Brightens colors, and stops them from running
- Acts as a rinse aid
- Keeps the washing machine running clean and well
Stain removal: Use vinegar on stains before washing to remove stubborn ones like perspiration, fruit, mustard, and coffee.
In The Garden
Kill grass and weeds: Pour or spray full strength vinegar on grass or weeds poking through your driveway or rearing their heads in other unsavory places.
In The Car
Frost-free windows: If you know a chilly night is on the make, you can ensure that your windows will be frost-free when you wake up in the morning. Simply mix 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water, and coat your windows with the mixture the night before.
In The Bathroom
Kill soap scum: Wiping a scummy area with vinegar and rinsing with water will do as good a job as any at attacking your bathroom shower grime. If the scum is particularly stubborn, scrub with baking soda (a great natural abrasive) after wiping with vinegar. Rinse with water.
Unclog your shower head: Unscrew it, throw it into a pot of equal parts vinegar and water and boil for a few minutes to loosen deposits that are blocking your shower head.
Hair rinse: If vinegar removes soap scum on your tiles, it stands to reason that it will also remove soap scum on your hair. Rinse with a cup filled with ½ a cup of warm water and ½ a cup of vinegar, and your locks will be shiny and free of buildup.
Dandruff treatment: Using the same technique as the hair rinse above but with a higher concentration of vinegar; also acts as an effective dandruff treatment.
Acne treatment: Apply equal parts vinegar and water to problem areas.
Facial toner: Using vinegar as toner is a great (and inexpensive) alternative to using alpha hydroxyl based products.
Athletes foot (and other fungus): Apply full-strength vinegar to the affected area twice daily until symptoms abate.
Eliminate smoke odor: Simply put a bowl of vinegar in the offending room near the offending source. Smoke odors be gone!
Air freshener: If you would like to reduce icky smells but would like a nicer room smell than vinegar, add some fragrant spices (like cardamom) to your bowl of vinegar and leave it in a warm corner of the room.
Chrome polish: Use full strength vinegar with soft cloth to make that chrome shine.
Insect traps: Vinegar is an active ingredient used in various insect and pest traps.
Not enough reason to stock up on vinegar? Paul described 254 uses for vinegar.
What are your favorite uses for vinegar?