Aside from flavouring and preserving food, white vinegar has been used for thousands of years to clean surfaces, heal wounds, fight infections, test soil and even manage diabetes. Below are 29 uses for distilled white vinegar to try in your home.
In Babylonia, it was a courtier who “discovered” wine, a beverage formed from unattended grape juice. Vinegar was later discovered and used as a food preservative.
What is Distilled Vinegar?
Vinegar is a mixture of acetic acid and water produced by a two-step fermentation process. A plant food, such as fruits, whole grains, potatoes, or rice, contains sugar or starch, which yeast consumes. The fermentation process produces alcohol. Over weeks or months, acetic acid bacteria and oxygen combine to form vinegar from alcohol.
What’s great about white vinegar is that you can use it for more than cooking.
It has many uses in the sewing room and even in the garden. If you’re a sewer, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to have holes in your fabric from needle holes. One of my favourite uses of vinegar is to remove sewing needle holes from fabric.
The advertising industry would like us to believe we need a specialized cleaning product for everything, but we don’t. As a homemaker, I love learning new ways to keep my home clean.
We need just a few simple and natural ingredients to accomplish these tasks, such as distilled white vinegar and essential oils.
However, white vinegar alone does not disinfect. It’s a powerful remover of grease, grime, and stains (source). Adding essential oils like tea tree, lemon, and rosemary to your natural cleaners will add antibacterial properties.
Vinegar is so widely available for a reasonable price and has so many uses, you’d be silly not to use it. If you’re a homemaker like me, you’ve probably used vinegar for a few things in your home. But do you know all these tricks?
29 Uses for Distilled White Vinegar
- Remove seam holes in fabric – To remove seam holes, iron over them with a damp cloth dipped in vinegar. Especially helpful when moving hems, as there can be seam holes left in the fabric.
- Fabric softener – Add 2/3 cup of vinegar to your washing powder in the washing machine. By doing so, the soapy residue is broken down, leaving the textiles lovely and soft.
- Soften blankets – To soften blankets, add 2 cups to the rinse cycle. The blankets will become softer and fluffier after this.
- Remove deodorant stains – Use a damp cloth dipped in vinegar to rub off deodorant stains from clothing and wash as usual.
- Dyeing fabric – Add 1 tablespoon to the final rinse to help set the dye.
- Remove stains in linen – If you own vintage cloths, soak them in vinegar and water to get rid of stains and extend their life.
- Boiled eggs – Add in 2 tablespoons of vinegar to prevent eggs from leaking from their shells while boiling.
- Rinsing fresh produce – Place store-bought produce in a cold-water bath with 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Make sure they are thoroughly cleaned with a vegetable brush before rinsing and storing.
- Rid cooking odours – Make a spicy dish last night and it still smells funky? Try this, mix vinegar and water in a pan and simmer for five minutes.
- Clean wooden chopping boards – Spray a vinegar and lemon essential oil blend onto wooden chopping boards to clean, deodorize, and disinfect them.
- Dishwasher rinse aid – Put a cup filled with 125ml or 1/2 cup of vinegar in the top of the dishwasher every month and run it through a quick cycle to clean it. No more disgusting, clogged dishwasher pipes!
- Lime scale on shower head – This one is common. Put the shower head in a bowl with one part vinegar and three parts water and leave for 30 minutes. Rinse well.
- Lime scale on taps – To remove lime scale from taps, soak a rag in vinegar and wrap it around the tap for at least 30 minutes. You can also fill a plastic bag with vinegar, then tie onto the tap and leave for 30 minutes.
- Lime scale in kettle – Fill the kettle ¼ fill with white vinegar and leave it to sit for an hour. Top up the kettle with water and boil. You should pour out the boiled water before cooling and rinse with cold water several times before boiling fresh water.
- Freshen up the fridge – To give your fridge a good clean, wipe it down with an equal mixture of vinegar and water. Add a few drops of lemon essential oils to help disinfect surfaces.
- Lime scale on iron – mix equal parts vinegar and distilled water, pour into the iron, and heat up for five minutes. Remove limescale by steaming over scrap fabric. After steaming, rinse the iron chamber.
- Freshen up toilet – To freshen up the toilet, spray vinegar around the bowl and clean with a brush to remove stubborn stains. Add in a few drops of tea tree or lemon essential oils to help disinfect.
- Clean windows – Vinegar is by far my favourite way to clean windows and mirrors. Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water. Spray on windows and wipe off with a cloth or newspaper.
- Floor Cleaner – Add 2 cups water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 3 tablespoons castile soap, 10-15 drops of essential oils like eucalyptus and lemon, and 1 tablespoon of baking soda to a bucket and use it to clean your floors.
- Floor polish – Make your floors shine with this polish. Combine ½ cup almond oil, 1 cup water and ½ cup vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray onto mop and use as usual.
- Polish brass and copper – Combine 1 teaspoon salt with 1 cup vinegar to make a paste. Paste the pots, pans, cutlery, etc. and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Wash with warm water and polish with a clean cloth.
- All-purpose cleaner – For cleaning all surfaces other than granite and marble this all-purpose spray is super handy. Mix ½ cup white vinegar, 2 cups water, 10 drops each, peppermint, and lemon essential oils to a spray bottle. Shake and use as needed.
- Stainless steel – Have you grown tired of looking at dirty fingerprints on your stainless-steel fridge? Pour some straight white vinegar onto a micro fibre cloth and wipe down your appliances.
- Keep cut flowers fresh – Add 2 teaspoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a vase filled with water, then add the fresh flowers. The flowers should be trimmed to allow them to drink more, and the water should be changed every five days.
- Test your soil – Wondering what type of soil you have? Put a cup of soil in a small bowl, then add water to make mud. Pour ½ cup vinegar to the bowl of soil if it fizzes your soil is alkaline. To test for acidic, do the same but with baking soda. If nothing happens with your soil it’s neutral – yay!
- Deodorize drains – Drains can be deodorized by pouring one cup of vinegar down them and leaving it for 30 minutes to one hour. Wash through with running warm water.
- Soften paintbrushes – You can soften hard paintbrushes by soaking them in hot vinegar, then rinsing them with soapy water. You can use castile soap to do this.
- Preserving food – This one comes with no surprise. White vinegar is often used to preserve foods like onions, carrots, and pickles.
- Burnt pans – If you have food burnt on pans this is the best way to clean them. Pour a generous amount of baking soda onto the pan and leave it overnight. The next day pour water and a splash of white vinegar into the pan or pot. Place on the heat and boil for a few minutes. Wash under warm water and wipe down any leftover bits.
Where to Buy White Vinegar?
Any supermarket should carry distilled white vinegar. Often, you can find large bottles for a few bucks; I prefer to buy my vinegar this way. It is a good idea to purchase white vinegar in bulk if you plan on using it for cooking, cleaning, or even sewing in your home since you will go through bottles very quickly.
Have I convinced you that you need to go out and buy a few bottles of white vinegar? Vinegar can be used in so many exciting and useful ways around the home. Why wouldn’t you want to benefit from this natural powerhouse?
With a few of your favourite essential oils, you have some serious but all-natural cleaning solutions on hand.
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