10 Weird and Wonderful Ways to Use Vinegar

Photo: Spiderstock

What comes to mind when you think of Easter?

Baskets, probably. Or perhaps the Resurrection. Maybe even cute little bunnies.

Not for me. I think of vinegar, much more so than any other time of year. It’s used to dye the requisite hard-boiled eggs, and in my family we pour it on top of boiled cabbage at Easter dinner.

When I thought about vinegar for a moment, I knew there had to be tons of applications for the acidic accoutrement. And there are. A quick search will reveal plenty of practical ways to use it. (See also: 30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace and 254 Uses for Vinegar)

The practical posts have been done to death, however, which is why I sent out a query to my contacts asking for unusual uses for vinegar. The responses I received were quite surprising — and one of them might have made me blush. Take a look at the tips.

1. Fix Anemic Plants

"When your large garden plants like rhododendrons and andromeda are showing signs of anemia (that would be pale leaves but darker green veins), soak rusty nails (not the Drambuie kind) or rusty anythings you might have around the garden in white vinegar for a few weeks. Then dilute the solution and pour it around the plant as far out as the leaves spread." — David Eisner

2. Remove Salt

"Diluted vinegar is a great way to remove salt residue from suede and leather shoes." — Allison Dent

3. Try to Have a Girl

"My friend, who is a midwife, after having two sons and desperately wanting a girl, gave herself a vinegar douche...It’s a fact — something to do with changing the chemical balance of the womb lining, which increases your chances of having a girl. It worked!" — Caroline Cheshire

4. Eliminate Sunblock Stains

"To remove sunblock stains on sheets and clothing, boil the vinegar, then dissolve baking soda in it. Dip the stained area in the mixture, set it in the sun to dry, and the stain will be removed." — Lara Goldman

5. Banish Blood

"To remove blood, use room-temperature vinegar, dissolve baking soda, soak the stain, and rinse. Do not use warmed vinegar, as it will set the stain instead." — Lara Goldman

6. Soothe Sunburns

"To reduce sting of sunburn, pour vinegar on it, and the sting will go away." — Lara Goldman

7. Remove Bruises

"To make a bruise disappear, put vinegar in microwave until it’s as warm as you can take it. Put sea salt in the vinegar and soak a cloth. Compress for five to seven minutes or until the cloth cools. The bruise will go away." — Lara Goldman

8. Settle Your Stomach

"The best use for vinegar: Use it instead of antacids. A couple of tablespoons will help your digestion. My friends who have used antacids have confirmed this. Furthermore, a couple tablespoons will stabilize your blood sugar." — Susan Schenck

9. Define Dye

"Half to one cup of distilled white vinegar in your laundry helps set the dye on clothing the first time you wash the item. Works great for dark denim." — Leslie Crook

10. Eliminate Epoxy

"Boat builders use vinegar to clean up uncured epoxy." — Dana Carini

What are some other ways to use vinegar that people might not know about? Let me know below.

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Guest's picture

Vinegar can be used to remove wallpaper. It dissolves the wallpaper paste and is much cheaper than removers. Also, I was told by customer service to only use warm vinegar to clean my Delta faucets.

Guest's picture
Scott Cordts

Use Number 3 is totally a "midwife's tale" and not true. The sex of your child is only dependent on whether the male's sperm that fertilizes the female's egg is carrying an X chromosome (which will produce a female offspring) or a Y chromosome (which will produce a male offspring). The fact that the contributor's friend had a girl after a vinegar douche was purely a coincidence. Any 5th grade science book could point this out. Check your references before publishing bad information.

Guest's picture

Right...but I've heard that sperm with the Y chromosome have a harder time living in acidic environment. Vinegar is an acid - so I think the idea is that douching with it would make it harder for the boy spermies to reach pay dirt.

Should we be talking about this?

Guest's picture

Plus a vinegar douche is one of the most awful things I can even think of. Douching with anything is almost always a bad idea and kills a ton of good bacteria, I can only imagine vinegar being that much more caustic.

Guest's picture

Vinegar is also a great way to clean your microwave.
You just put a little dish in there for a couple of minutes - and the vinegar vapors loosen up all that nasty gunk. Works great!

Guest's picture

Whoa! Never thought of the microwave. Great tip! Off to try this now...

Guest's picture

I add a half cup of vinegar to my dishwasher every time I run it, and my dishes come out sparkling and spotless. I have very hard water, and without the vinegar, my dishes always come out with a white film on them, even with brand-name detergent and rinse-aid.

Guest's picture

As well as being great on fish'n chips, vinegar cleans aluminum wheels. It'll make your alloys sparkle, bling bling.

My kidswill tell you that vinegar is awesome for volcano science experiments too.


Guest's picture

I soak the shower head in vinegar when hard water deposits build up. Soak for one hour, then wipe. Goodbye calcium deposits!!

Andrea Karim's picture

I have done so before, and will continue calling bullshit on the acid reflux tip - I'm thrilled if it works for some people, but it doesn't work for many. It is great for setting dye on cheap blue jeans, though. Also, hell, I just like it in my food!

Guest's picture

Apple Cider Vinegar is the one that works on reflux. The others just hurt.

Guest's picture

I'm with Andrea, I've used ACvinegar and only end up with my stomach hurting more. But my husband has great success with it.
I've soaked orange and lemon rinds in white vinegar for a month and then strain it. I mix it with water and use it as a cleaner around the house. Smells better then just plain vinegar.

Guest's picture

Use a mix of white vinegar and tap water - equal parts - in a spray bottle to remove wrinkles for silk and/or cotton shirts. Hang the shirt on a hanger, spray the wrinkles until saturated, and as the shirt dries, the wrinkles fall out. No worries about the strong vinegar smell, because the smell dissappears as the shirt dries. I've used this tip successsfully with cotton/tencel blends, rayon and 100% silk.

Mikey Rox's picture
Mikey Rox

Thanks for all the comments and additional tips. Some great ones here!

Guest's picture

It gets rid of the smell of cat urine on clothes. Put a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar in with your regular laundry detergent and the smell is gone. Beware that if you put in too much vinegar your wash will smell like a salad. But it's still better than cat pee!

Guest's picture

There is no way that #3 is true...people have tried holistic approaches in determining child gender for too many years...quite simply, there is nothing to determine this.

Guest's picture

What about using vinegar in dog's drinking water to prevent fleas? Is this another old wives tale, or is it true? (My vet says it's not true...but then, he wants to sell the expensive medicines, of course.)

Guest's picture

White vinegar is the only thing you should ever use on coffee makers, especially the plastic parts. Seriously, stop using soap, it tastes better and won't make you sick.

Guest's picture

Please remember when you read the posted comments, from doctors and nurses, that some may have an agenda; and if not, are certainly bias to western medicine. If we learn ACV cures many concerns, we no longer need western medicine's drugs, we no longer have to visit doctors. Thus, their agenda.
With that said, I drink ACV everyday for the health benefits, yes you should dilute it a bit. But the benfits of ACV are amazing. Two of my favorite that all medical doctors will say are not true, but trust me they are very true, are removing warts (anywhere on the body) and growing a certain body part. Apply a tiny piece of cotton or tissue paper folded a few times soaked in ACV straight from the bottle on the wart, it helps to scratch the top of the wart with a pin, put a band aid over top to hold in place. Twice a day for about one week and the wart will turn black and fall off completely.
The second, making the penis bigger. Apply ACV straight from the bottle to your member and do about 300 fast (1-2 seconds) dry jelging. The results (for me) about 1 inch every two months. Do once a day, every day.

Guest's picture

it would definately be a tragic event if the wart advice and the "member" growing were reversed!!!! Results being MEGA WART & sick, blackened and falling off "member"... LOL

Guest's picture

It didn't work!
Oh well, at least it felt good.

Guest's picture

i use apple cider vinegar for acid reflux, works better than prescription meds for me