14 Uses for Vinegar
I feel like I owe white vinegar an apology. It’s pretty much the wonder cleaner, good for tackling everything from streaky windows to water spots on stainless steel. But last week I passed vinegar over in favor of other earth-conscious natural cleaners. This week, I’m make up for that slight with a list of my 14 favorite uses for white vinegar.
If you’ve only heard of one way to use vinegar for cleaning, this is probably it: Mix one part white vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle. Spritz the mixture on glass, then wipe with a wadded-up piece of newspaper. Voila, instant glass cleaner.
Next use your leftover half-water, half-vinegar mixture as a carpet stain remover. Spritz it on the stain, let sit for about two minutes, then blog off with a clean white rag. (Always test any stain-removing method in an inconspicuous spot first.)
Still have some vinegar-water mix left over? The New Homemaker has a formula for cleaning wood panels: Three parts water, one part white vinegar, one part olive oil. (Test this in an inconspicuous area, too.) I also like her idea of setting a bowl of vinegar out overnight to get rid of persistent room odors.
Other Vinegar Uses
Doing laundry? Add 1/4-cup of white vinegar instead of fabric softener; your towels will come out nice and fluffy.
Is a plain vinegar wash not cleaning well enough for you? Dissolve some salt in the vinegar to create an even stronger cleaner, then try again.
Revive a scorched pot or pan by soaking the scorch marks in vinegar (I think a 50-50 concentration works best), then scour the marks away. A little vinegar also helps loosen any stuck-on crud that just won’t come off otherwise.
Stuck with persistent odors on your hands? Spritz a little white vinegar on them and rub vigorously.
Care2 says you can use vinegar to rescue lightly scratched or scuffed DVDs and CDs: Just wipe them with a soft, vinegar-soaked cloth.
Mix vinegar and vegetable oil to remove water spots from wood (again, props to Care2!) or use straight vinegar and a soft cloth to polish water marks off stainless steel.
Use vinegar to release sticky residue: That includes the sticky labels on glass or plastic bottles, leftover residue from stickers, and even stuck-on bubble gum or candle wax.
Loosen mineral deposits on your showerhead, faucets, or even your pots and pans with a good soak in white vinegar. (For the showerhead and faucets, saturate a dishtowel with white vinegar and then wrap said towel around the part in question.) If your glassware comes out of the dishwasher cloudy, wrap it in a moist, vinegar-soaked towel to remove dishwasher residue.
Make it easier to be around your stinky dog by washing him with a diluted solution of vinegar in water. (The Vinegar Institute recommends 1 cup vinegar in 2 gallons water.) Saturate dog, dry dog, but do not rinse dog. Voila — dog does not stink!
What’s your favorite use for vinegar?
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