21 Surprising Uses for Vinegar

By Paul Michael on 20 July 2015 0 comments

As an Englishman, I spent most of my life knowing only one use for vinegar — well, malt vinegar to be precise — and that was as something to make my fish n' chips taste great. After I discovered the fine cuisines of Guam and the Philippines, I used white vinegar in my cooking. I also heard that vinegar was helpful with cleaning windows.

However, when I started digging, I found hundreds of uses for vinegar. It has to be one of the most versatile and useful liquids on the planet, and it's also very affordable. Here are 21 of the more unusual uses I found for several types of vinegar. All hail its mighty properties!

1. Calm Your Sunburn

You can soothe sunburn with white distilled vinegar (WDV), particularly if you keep it in the fridge. It also has properties that can help stop, or minimize, the peeling and itching.

2. Revitalize Your Rugs

If they are looking grimy from a lot of foot traffic, don't immediately reach for the carpet cleaner. Instead, mix a cup of WDV with a gallon of warm water, and apply with a clean, soft push broom. It's also good for removing stains, if you use a more concentrated form of the solution, and add some table salt.

3. Bring Windshield Wipers Back to Life

If they are starting to streak and stick, don't replace them. Instead, soak a cloth with WDV and rub it back and forth along the rubber. You will be amazed at how much dirt is removed, and how well they clean after.

4. Boost Your Laundry

Adding a half-cup of WDV to your wash will not only make whites whiter, but it will remove any musty smells that clothing of fabric can acquire after a long time in storage. It will also reduce static cling in the dryer.

5. Conceal Scratches in Furniture

Simply mix some apple cider vinegar (ACV) with iodine to make a concoction that makes most scratches disappear. The darker the wood, the more iodine you should use. Experiment.

6. Kill Fruit Flies

Take a small saucer and pour in some ACV, then add a little dish soap to reduce the surface tension. The flies are attracted to the smell, but quickly drown in the vinegar bath. You may catch more bees with honey, but for flies? Use vinegar!

7. Minimize a Bruise

If you soak a paper towel with WDV and apply it to a freshly bumped area on your body, some believe it will reduce the intensity of the bruise, or even prevent it from appearing at all.

8. Keep a Clear Complexion

Actress Scarlett Johansson washes her face with ACV, and the results are quite impressive if it's all down to that. Of course, we don't know what else she applies. But what we do know is that ACV has antibacterial properties, cutting grease and killing bacteria.

9. Alleviate Athlete's Foot

That fungal infection is not pleasant, and can cause severe itchiness, dryness, blistering, and discomfort. Take nightly footbaths using one part WDV to two parts water and you should see a massive improvement.

10. Turn a Chicken Bone Into… Rubber!

Why you would ever need this is a head-scratcher, but it can be a lot of fun at parties. If you soak a chicken bone in WDV for at least a few days, it will become as soft and flexible as a rubber bone. But it's highly doubtful the dog will go near it...

11. Kill Weeds

If you don't like the idea of nasty chemicals around the home and garden (and who does?), then reach for the WDV. There are many variations of the way it should be prepared and diluted, but whichever you choose, it will definitely get rid of those nasty weeds in your garden.

12. Soothe Aching Muscles

If you've been overdoing it at the gym, or in the yard, you will have sore muscles. This is due to a build-up of lactic acid, and ACV can draw out that lactic acid. Simply dip a rag into a mixture of ACV and water (about one part vinegar to four parts water) and apply to the areas that need the most attention. Or if you've got a few gallons lying around, prepare a bath of the stuff. You may need a shower after though!

13. Destroy Dandruff

Yes, it's pesky and embarrassing, but it can be eliminated with ACV. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle (you can find them for a buck or two at your local hardware store) and apply to your hair after the shampoo, and leave for about 10–15 minutes. Then, rinse out. Do this a few times a week, and dandruff will be history.

14. Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

Adding just a tablespoon of WDV to the water of your flowers will help them stay fresh for much longer.

15. Cat-Proof Your Home

Our feline friends really don't like the smell of vinegar, so pour some WDV in a spray bottle and treat areas that you want kitty to stay away from.

16. Clean Your Microwave Quickly

After a while, the inside of the microwave becomes covered in small pieces of food that explode out from the plates and bowls during the heating process. Further use of the microwave makes them tough to remove. So, bring vinegar in to the rescue. Fill a small bowl with equal parts water and WDV, and nuke it for about two to three minutes. You want it to be steaming inside there, which will loosen up the food for you. Then, dip a cloth into the hot vinegar mixture (make sure you don't burn yourself) and wipe away the food and grime.

17. Make Paint Brushes Good as New

Whether using paint brushes for art or interior decorating, it can be tough to get them really clean. Vinegar can help. Fill a large saucepan with WDV and put your brushes in it to soak for at least an hour, but no longer than two. Then, put the vinegar pot on the stove and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 mins. Your brushes will be completely paint-free. Any residue can be cleaned away with soap and water.

18. Bring Old Socks Back From the Dead

We all have gym socks that look well-used, but they have life left in them. You can reinvigorate them with WDV. Fill a saucepan with water, and add one cup of vinegar, and bring it to a rolling boil. Then, drop in those stained socks. Leave overnight, then rinse with cold water in the morning. They will be white again.

19. Clean a Litter Box

The odor-banishing properties of WDV come in very handy here. By pouring a half-inch of vinegar in the bottom of the litter box you have just emptied, you can neutralize those smells. Then, rinse, pat dry, and add new litter. However, as we mentioned earlier, cats do not like that vinegar smell. So, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned and dry before adding new litter, or you could find your cat protesting in the worst way.

20. Soothe a Sore Throat

It seems odd to add something as harsh as vinegar to a sore throat remedy, but it works. Add a few tablespoons of ACV to a cup of hot water, and stir in a few tablespoons of honey to counteract the acidity. Sip the mixture and make that sore throat go away.

21. Say Goodbye to Rust

Instead of paying a lot of money for a CLR treatment, or other over-the-counter rust removers, use WDV instead. Pour the vinegar into a saucepan (the size will depend on the object from which you need to remove rust) and bring to a boil. Then, add in your rusty objects, and simmer for 10–20 mins. The rust will just fall off.

Now, those are the 21 biggest uses I uncovered, but did I miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments section.

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21 Surprising Uses for Vinegar

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Guest's picture
Wade M. Nye

Apple Cider Vinegar is a time-proven remedy for preventing and curing many ills. Acid Reflux or Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) is a modern scourge. For my serious GERD, doctors prescribed acid inhibitors (Previcid, Omeprazole). These reduce acid in the gastrointestinal track, but over time, I got very sick. There was a critical lack of acid in my stomach. I began to take apple cider vinegar with a little honey three years ago, without medication. My acid reflux is gone. The PH balance 2532was restored by the vinegar.