Preparedness blog

20 Uses of Vinegar that You Never Knew

By Jeff and Amy Davis
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Many Uses of VinegarPart of being prepared is being able to re-purpose and re-use items. That’s why discovering the many uses of vinegar is such a great thing! You can use vinegar for cleaning, emergency situations, food storage and more! Take a look at 20 uses below. You can also comment below to tell us what you have used vinegar for.

1. Clear dirt off PCs and electronics
Your computer, printer, fax machine, and other home office gear will work better if you keep them clean and dust-free. Turn off your machine and wash with a mix of equal parts white vinegar and water. Wash with a cloth, not a spray bottle. You can use cotton swabs for tight spaces.

2. Get rid of smoke odor
If you've recently burned a steak or can't get rid of that cigarette smell, remove the lingering smoky odor by placing a shallow bowl about three-quarters full of white or cider vinegar in the room where the scent is strongest. To get the smell out of the air, moisten a cloth and wave it in the air.

3. Wipe away mildew
Use undiluted vinegar to wipe away heavy mildew stains. Mix it with water to clean light mildew stains. You can even use a vinegar mist in a spray bottle to prevent mildew stains from forming in rugs and carpets.

4. Clean chrome and stainless steel
To clean chrome and stainless steel fixtures around your home, apply a light misting of undiluted white vinegar from a recycled spray bottle. Buff with a soft cloth to bring out the brightness.

5. Unglue stickers, decals, and price tags
Don’t you hate when you peel a sticker off of your new furniture or product and it’s still sticky from the glue? Worry no more! Use full-strength white vinegar and gently scrape it off the product. Use an expired credit card to scrape. You can also uses this solution to get glue off of glass, plastic and walls.

uses of vinegar6. Brighten up brickwork
Have dingy bricks around your fireplace? Use 1 cup of white vinegar mixed with 1 gallon of warm water to scrub the area. Your bricks will be looking shiny and nice!

7. Revitalize wood paneling
You can also use vinegar to shine up your dull wood paneling. Mix 1 pint warm water with 4 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Let the mixture soak for a few minutes and then polish.

8. Remove carpet stains
You can lift out many stains from your carpet with vinegar:

  • For light stains, mix 2 tablespoons salt with ½ cup white vinegar. Rub into the stain, let try and vacuum.
  • For tough, ground-in dirt and other stains, make a paste of 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and rub it into the stain using a dry cloth. Let it set for two days, then vacuum.

9. Keep car windows frost-free
Vinegar is a great way to keep frost from forming on your car windows. Spray the outside of your windows with a mixture of 3 parts white vinegar to 1 part water.

10. Refresh your refrigerator
Have you ever smelled a refrigerator that hasn’t been used for a long time? It’s gross! You can freshen up your fridge with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. You can use the solution to wash the interior and exterior of the fridge.

11. Steam-clean your microwave
Fill a bowl with 1 cup water and ¼ cup vinegar. Set the bowl in the microwave and cook on high for 5 minutes. Once the bowl cools down, use the solution to wipe off the walls of the microwave.

12. Disinfect cutting boards
Use full-strength white vinegar to clean wood cutting boards or butcher block counter tops. This is a great alternative to dishwasher detergent because it can weaken surfaces and wood fiber. It disinfects against E.coli, salmonella and staphylococcus.

13. Clean china, crystal, and glassware
Have soap spots and dingy spots on your dishes after you put them in the dishwasher? Simply add a few ounces of vinegar to your dishwasher. It will prevent those hard-water stains from showing up.

14. Trap fruit flies
Did you bring home fruit flies from the market? You can make traps for them that can be used anywhere around your house by filling an old jar about halfway with apple cider vinegar. Punch a few holes in the lid, screw it back on, and you’re good to go.

15. Tenderize and purify meats and seafood
Soaking a lean or inexpensive cut of red meat in a couple of cups of vinegar breaks down tough fibers to make it more tender. You can also use vinegar to tenderize seafood steaks. Let the meat or fish soak in full-strength vinegar overnight.

16. Control your dandruff
Can’t wear those black shirts because your dandruff will show? Vinegar to the rescue! After shampooing, rinse your hair with a mixture  of 2 cups apple cider vinegar and 2 cups cold water.

17. Ease sunburn and itching
Gently rub a sunburn or rash with cotton balls or a soft cloth soaked with white or cider vinegar. Try to apply this before the sunburn begins to sting. You can use this to help treat insect bites or rashes from poison ivy or poison oak.

uses of vinegar18. Clean your eyeglasses
When it’s more difficult to see with your glasses on than it is with them off, it’s a clear indication that they’re in need of a good cleaning. Applying a few drops of white vinegar to your glass lenses and wiping them with a soft cloth will easily remove dirt, sweat, and fingerprints, and leave them spotless. Don’t use vinegar on plastic lenses, however

19. Stop reds from running
Unless you have a fondness for pink-tinted clothing, take one simple precaution to prevent red washable clothes from ruining your wash loads. Soak your new clothes in a few cups of undiluted white vinegar for 10-15 minutes before their first washing. You’ll never have to worry about running colors again! This also works with other bright colors that you worry might run.

20. Speed germination of flower seed
You can get woody seeds, such as moonflower, passionflower, morning glory, and gourds, off to a healthier start by lightly rubbing them between a couple of sheets of fine sandpaper-and soaking them overnight in a solution of 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 1 pint warm water. Next morning, remove the seeds from the solution, rinse them off, and plant them.

(Hat tip  to Reader’s Digest for help with this article)

Your solutions!
What have you used vinegar for? Comment below and share your knowledge! Don't forget to check out our emergency preparation product selection as well to make sure you are always ready.

9 years ago
Comments
Jon
9 years ago at 4:52 AM
Clean my distiller boiler tank by soaking tank in full strength white vinegar overnight. Dissolves most mineral deposits and allows me to continue to distill my well water again. I have heavy minerals like lime and calcium and it removes them just fine. No commercial cleaners necessary.
Jon
9 years ago at 4:52 AM
Clean my distiller boiler tank by soaking tank in full strength white vinegar overnight. Dissolves most mineral deposits and allows me to continue to distill my well water again. I have heavy minerals like lime and calcium and it removes them just fine. No commercial cleaners necessary.
Cherie
9 years ago at 5:45 AM
#1 Vinegar and baking soda mixture for stinky socks on a small load in hot water wash. #2 Straight vinegar/alchol equal amount combo- on work related stains in uniforms,pour on stain and let set an hour then wash. #3 Straight vinegar on chrome of vehicle and headlights/tailights/mirrors/glass use a cotton cloth to prevent scratches.
Stephen Hanley
9 years ago at 6:04 AM
I used to vinegar to wipe down picnic tables. Flies left the area and did not return to the picnic table. I sprayed vinegar to the exposed areas of my body such as my arms, legs and neck and did not get mosquito bites. This was especially helpful in the evening in the rural areas of the Dominican Republic.
Joe
9 years ago at 6:42 AM
Clean Automatic Drip Coffee Makers Pour about 1/2 cup of Vineger into the water recepticle and turn on the coffee maker running through the brew cycle, then follow with a cup of water.
Dawn
9 years ago at 6:54 AM
Fabric softener,
Jaime
9 years ago at 6:56 AM
We use undiluted white vinegar as a laundry softener. Our clothes are softer and smell better than they did using liquid softener.
Geno
9 years ago at 7:12 AM
Awesome info, keep it coming!
joe
9 years ago at 7:18 AM
it's also good if you mix it 50/50 and drink a half cup to get rid of a head ache.
VICKI
9 years ago at 7:24 AM
A washing machine repairman once told me to use vinegar instead of fabric softener. Absolutely no smell, your clothes are soft, and is a lot cheaper. That was 3 years ago. I been using it ever since.
Cynthia Salyer
9 years ago at 7:30 AM
I use vinegar with baking soda for cleansing agents for sinks, bathroom fixtures, ceramic top stove...it acts as a natural disinfectant and works as well as commercial scrubbing agents. Vinegar and baking soda in their own right are natural ingredients and each dismiss bad odors. Also, use vinegar in water to mop our floors. Our tile man told us when he laid the ceramic tile to ONLY use this for cleaning the tiles...it cleans better than anything, it is natural and will not harm the ceramic tile and will not take off the sheen on the tile. The vinegar/water solution does not leave residue or streaks, and the floor dries faster. Vinegar is also good for cleaning windows/mirrors. Spray on surface and wipe down with old newspaper. Amazing! AND, one of the benefits I have found in addition to low cost, it helps to deodorize the house...remember that it absorbs odors? Well, there you are ... it is multi-purpose.
Cliff
9 years ago at 7:54 AM
For indigestion (not acid reflux) instead of using an antacid (which dries up all the acid in your stomach causing it to generate a BUNCH all at once) I take a shot glass and fill it half full of either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Take my shot and indigestion is cured INSTANTLY (within a minute or so!)
Mark
9 years ago at 8:02 AM
Plain white distilled vinegar is also used to counteract the poison from a jellyfish sting.
jane
9 years ago at 8:07 AM
White vinegar is also fabulous at killing weeds. You dont have to spend a fortune on those expensive gallons of weed killer. Put straight white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray on weeds. By the next day they will be yellow and die exactly like weed killer. A gallon is only 99 cents.how much better can you get! .
Colleen
9 years ago at 8:07 AM
Just read the vinegar solutions - there is a sketch of a woman cleaning the shower - Can vinegar be used to clean fiberglass shower stalls? Hope you say yes! The commercial stuff is awful and the shower never looks clean. thank you - Colleen Marie
Peter
9 years ago at 8:29 AM
Cleans out mineral deposits clogging water heater coils (in furnace). Just get a hand-drill pump from any hardware store. Use garden hoses to connect pump to coil input valve. Connect another hose to output valve and circulate straight clear vinegar through coil for 15 minute. Works great! Plumbers charge $300 buck for an acid wash.
Tracey
9 years ago at 9:08 AM
I use a 1/2 cup vinegar mixed with water in a spray bottle to clean my laminate floors. Just a lightly spray sections, mop it, DONE!
Linda
9 years ago at 9:46 AM
My grandmother used to use vinegar to clean the outside of her windows. I remember it got all the hard water off but cannot remember how she did it or what the solution recipe was. Does anyone know?
Julian Stovall
9 years ago at 10:27 AM
My wife uses white distilled vinegar instead of fabric softener in the wash rinse cycle. It has been working great, leaves no residue and seems to help rinse the detergent out of the clothes. Overall clothes seem cleaner.
Rob Dell
9 years ago at 11:11 AM
I always use full strength white vinegar to eliminate pesky squirrels. It's easy and effective. Pour full strength white vinegar into a 3 quart pot to about 4-5 inches depth. Catch the squirrels with a net and hold them face-down in the vinegar until they stop twitching. After that, the treated squirrels will no longer raid your bird feeder. Try it and see for yourself.
Arlyn
9 years ago at 11:13 AM
1oz of white vinegar in spray botle fill with water them you use for iron the clothes that have hard wrinkles is great
Dranda
9 years ago at 11:35 AM
With all the animal abuse going on, I don't think Rob Dell is funny. Your suggestion is cruel, and I'm sure that is how you treat the people and animals in your life. Lets keep this to the cleaning or health uses of vinegar not animal abuse.
Rich
9 years ago at 3:06 PM
Vinegar is also called Acetic acid. That is why it is such a good cleaner.
Mary S.
9 years ago at 4:50 PM
In stead of taking costly medications for acid indigestion that rolls up in your throat and burns, I get up and go get the (raw) apple cider vinegar out of the fridge, put 1 tablespoon in a glass of water and drink it straight down. Indigestion gone, no pills, no antacids pure raw apple cider vinegar, and the indigestion is gone and no side effects either. Another benefit from it, it seems not to come back for a long time but when it does back to the fridge and another 1 tablespoon and a glass of water. IT's great.
Jeannine
4 years ago at 6:02 AM
Apple cider vinegar is best stored in a cool, dry dark place. In a cupboard or cellar. It prolongs the freshness and is good for about 5 years from date on bottle. It is not recommended to place in the fridge.??? Have a blessed day!
Ben Novick
9 years ago at 7:38 PM
For medical marijuana growers, soak seeds in a 8 oz glass of water with ten drops of distilled white vinegar and most will sprout within 48 hrs.
Patrick R.
9 years ago at 12:49 PM
Run a Cycle of Vinegar Diluted with Water to Clean the Build-Up, especially from Hard-Water, in a Coffee Brewer/Pot.
Tore
9 years ago at 1:28 PM
Hi! Please keep in mind that as carbs are not carbs (but high glycemic or low glycemic). Fats are not fats (but Omega 3, 6, or 9; trans, etc.) So, vinegar is not vinegar. For laundry and other cleaning purposes, use white vinegar. For consumption, apple cider vinegar (brown) is best. Paul Bragg's vinegar with the "Mother" still present is the absolute best for medicinal or recipe applications. White vinegar is not a wise choice for consumption.
DAVID
9 years ago at 1:41 PM
For a sore throat, a couple three tbl spoons(whatever you stand) in a glass of orange juice, and sip...kills germs like a hammer kills ants, tho less violent.....for emergency prep: a lot of vinegar and a lot of honey. Both can be used internally and externally to treat wounds...a dab of honey on cuts or larger cleaned wounds works better than expensive antibiotic creams. Dilute vinegar in juice also cleans your teeth......NEVER drink vinegar straight! too pwoerful...tastes terrible too....
Tore
9 years ago at 3:01 PM
Hi! David has a great and worthy tip. But again, be aware that honey is not honey. Most major brands and generic brands of honey today are from China and are seriously diluted. In an alarming number of cases, they actually have contaminants that could infect a wound or feed the bacteria present. Use raw honey; preferably organic. Try to obtain your honey from a local beekeeper or at a farmer's market. Top of the line in effectiveness is Raw Manuka honey (expensive) which usually is graded for its bioactivity (usually from 15 to 35.
Michelle
9 years ago at 7:29 PM
My children would get incredibly high fevers when they were younger. Even after a dose of Motrin or Tylenol, they were still high. My boss once told me to soak their socks in vinegar, then put them on. Yes, the house smelled funny for a while, but every single time it broke their fever.
sue
9 years ago at 11:41 PM
i dont think youre very funny mr squirrel man. matter of fact, dont think id want you in my pack.....
Betty
9 years ago at 1:45 AM
I don't think your idea of getting rid of squirrels is very kind. You must be a horrible person to want to abuse innocent animals. I don't care for animal abusers in any form. Could have done without your suggestion. I will pray for you.
margo watt
9 years ago at 2:45 PM
Instead of waving the vinegar soaked cloth in the air, clothes peg it to the front of a fan and turn on low.
margo watt
9 years ago at 3:14 PM
Squirrel killer.........you are not funny or acceptable to the majority of people....Why don't you take yourself off to a locked cellar somewhere and stay there.
rebecca
9 years ago at 5:04 PM
I use vinegar to clean my washer machine to rid it of the build up and it works well. My biology teacher said that vinegar has the same properties as bleach, but it does not brighten like bleach does.
Kathleen O'Neil
9 years ago at 12:57 AM
Apple cider vinegar makes an excellent hair conditioner. I would pour it on my already wet hair straight from the bottle. Work it in and after leaving it in for a couple of minutes I would rinse it out of my hair with water and let it dry. The smell goes away when it dries, and your hair is soft and silky, and wonderfully shiny.
Shila
9 years ago at 10:22 PM
when"brains" took paint above him on ladder & the inevitable happened, all over his hair, & he srarted screaming that it was burning., I just poured a half ottle straight over his hair[ & over his calling Me stupid & ignorant]& it quit burning right away[vinegar cuts effects of most acidic & burn problems]
Donna Johnston
9 years ago at 1:21 PM
When I get a new black tactical duty uniform I keep the color from fading over time by adding 1 cup of white vinegar to the washer and then run them through a rinse cycle to set the color.
Rick
8 years ago at 5:55 AM
Air conditioner units sometimes get clogged with a build up of a liquid mold in the drip pan / drain lines, and on the cooling coils. A couple of ounces poured into the pan will flush out the mold. A spray bottle with a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water sprayed on the coils, let sit for 5 minutes (longer damages the alum. vents) then rinse with fresh water clears up the mold.
Tracey
8 years ago at 6:38 AM
I use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) for my pet pigeons. It provides acidity to the water that keeps bad bacteria in check and creates an environment for good gut bacteria to flourish. I give 1 tablespoon per gallon of filtered water as their only drinking source for one day a week for general maintenance. For illness, I up the dosage to 2 tablespoons ACV to 1 gallon of water 1 to 2 times a week. For those who may not know, pigeons make great pets and are actually very intelligent birds. For more information, search for "pigeon talk" online. A great and helpful group of pigeon fanciers.
JoAnne
8 years ago at 8:17 AM
My mother and grandma put a small amt of vinegar in homemade bread as a natural preservative. Kept the bread from getting moldy.
Ruth
8 years ago at 12:41 PM
I use vinegar in a sinkful of water to clean combs and hairbrushes.
lisa
8 years ago at 10:50 AM
i think Clorox is best to kill mold.. put in a spray bottle with water and spray it.. should go away..
Jim
8 years ago at 8:23 AM
The use of vinegar for squirrels broke me up. I was expecting a hint so it caught me by surprise and made me laugh. It's a joke, get over it.
NameLinda
8 years ago at 2:14 PM
A lot of people suggested vinegar for stomach and other medical uses. I mix the apple cider vinegar(with mother)that I get at the Health Food Store with raw honey or local honey and add a little warm water. It tastes better and is easier to drink than just vinegar and the honey is good for you. It is nice if you can get local honey, if you can, because it helps with pollen alergies.
helen
8 years ago at 8:46 AM
I had bad blisters and itching on my feet. went to a dr and he said it was a fungus. prescribed me medicine; didn't work. after 3 years of suffering, I thought, what the heck. I tried soaking my feet in in vinegar. guess what. after a couple of weeks of soaking, cleared up whatever what was with my feet. haven't had a problem now for 10 months.
Carra
8 years ago at 2:23 PM
I hope none of you followed David's advice from August 10th, 2012 at 1:41 pm or the other person who suggested rinsing with vinegar for a toothache. No disrespect to either of you! I am a dental hygienist with over 20 yrs experience, and another 10 yrs dental assistant experience. Vinegar, and many juices, are very acidic. Acid demineralizes our teeth. (Like soda!) If your teeth demineralize you will have decay leading to needing dental treatment! If you don't want to use commercially produced toothpaste than use xylitol in its granular form (looks like sugar). If xylitol is used 5x/day it can reduce your decay risk by 70%! Tastes great and comes in many forms - you don't have to brush 5x/day! If you always "have a lot of build up" it will decrease that also. It won't magically remove the tartar you have. You still need a professional cleaning (sorry), but after your cleaning (floss and brush, too, of course) you will notice less accumulation by using the xylitol because there will be less of the sticky biofilm present on your teeth to calcify into tartar! Just the tip of a teaspoon of xylitol into your mouth. Your saliva can be the liquid to made a rinse. Then brush with it, and spit. I don't make any money to promote xylitol. I don't have any stock in any of the companies, and I know this is about vinegar, but I just couldn't allow people to unknowingly damage their teeth! Keep them strong and healthy, folks! We may need them to chew through tree branches if we don't have anything else to eat! : )
Donnie
8 years ago at 10:34 AM
I lowered my insulin by half. Take two of the Apple Cider Vinegar Formula 900mg pills each day. I still ate the same foods, which is what I want.
Michelle
7 years ago at 1:07 PM
I use it to clean my bunny's litter box. It works really well!
jan
7 years ago at 10:11 AM
wonderful information, I will use all of them, tried the one with paper towels soaked with vinegar on the chrome on my kitchen sink, ALL THE LIME IS GONE, YAH
Jessie
7 years ago at 10:38 PM
I was wondering if anyone had ever use vinegar to keep pest out like mice or sonethiñg I was told to use it was wondering if it Worked
Bill
7 years ago at 8:46 AM
Mixing vinegar and baking soda to make a cleaner isn't very wise since the two neutralize each other to create a weak acid. A better cleaner is white vinegar, borax and a few drops of Ivory Liquid dish soap. You also can mix just the vinegar with the borax for use as an antibacterial/fungal treatment. Spray it on cleaned surfaces and let it dry. That'll leave a surface residue of acetic acid and borax crystals which will deter any growth until it's washed off. Dried straight white vinegar residue will repel ants. I spray that around the windows, doors and brick next to the eaves to keep them out of my house.
Angela
7 years ago at 7:31 AM
I use a 1/2 cup of vinegar and some water in my iron for the mineral deposit clogging the iron.
Ruby
6 years ago at 11:11 AM
If you need to let out a hem on clothing, take out stitching, fold hem out flat. Dampen a cloth with vinegar, pat hem line to dampen it with the vinegar and press with iron. Removes the line so it doesn’t show. Re-hem as needed.
Cher
5 years ago at 11:42 PM
I had a toe nail fungal infection, I thought I was going to loose the nail. A foot doctor/ podiatrist told me to soak a cotton ball with straight reg white viniger and let it sit on nail for a period of time as often as possible and do this repeatedly till funfal infection is gone. About a month it took me. Worked great!!!
Namesally
7 years ago at 11:57 AM
When I do water bath canning I put about 1/2 cup of white vinegar in the water and my jars come out sparkling not white and nasty.
Crystal Peterson
7 years ago at 9:48 PM
I have a wide collection of sea shells, and in order to keep them fresh and clean I soak them for ten to fifteen minutes in Vinegar. I generally do this once a year, but it also works for if you want to lighten and blur the colors on a shell. You can leave it for thirty minutes or longer, depending on how much color you want left on the shell when it's done. I also use vinegar to whiten shark teeth that I collect at the beach. Shark teeth, when found on the beach in the sand, are black. In order to make them white they are often soaked in bleach, but I've found that using vinegar is a safer and nicer way to do it. It does take a little more time to whiten shark teeth using vinegar than it does with bleach, but I know my two children are much safer with vinegar around than with bleach around so I no longer use bleach. Vinegar can do almost any job bleach can, as long as the vinegar is used correctly and for long enough. Vinegar is also more stable, it doesn't cause brain or respiratory damage by breathing it in, and it is less reactive to other chemicals than bleach is, so it's overall a good, natural chemical to use around the house. I use it in my everyday life.
Sam
7 years ago at 11:12 PM
A guy told me that, for years, he's been taking a shot glass full of apple cider vinegar to get rid of muscle cramps.
Steve
6 years ago at 3:33 PM
If you have a long eared pooch that keeps getting ear infections mix 1tbs spoon of filtered h2o to equal parts of Braggs apple cider vin and flush and wipe ears. Saves a lot of Vet bills for antibiotics. Using it for over 29 yrs.