Vinegar is one of those staples that I always keep in stock around my house and homestead. I rely heavily on it, using it as an alternative to harsh chemicals and other abrasive agents.
Not only can it be used for a large variety of recipes in the kitchen, but it’s also a super miracle cleaner, in my opinion.
If you aren’t using vinegar around the house and farm, you’re really missing out. It’s not only inexpensive, but it’s non-caustic and incredibly effective, too.
Here are 55 ways to use vinegar – which ones are you taking advantage of?
1. Add Acid to Your Soil
If you want to raise the acidity in your soil – albeit temporarily – a good way to do so is by adding vinegar. Certain acid-loving plants, like roses and azaleas, will benefit – just make sure you don’t get any on the leaves of the plants when you pour it in around the soil.
2. Boil Cracked Eggs
There’s nothing quite as tasty or versatile as hard-boiled eggs, but if they’re cracked, this can be a challenge. When you boil them, add some vinegar to the water.
About two teaspoons per quart of water are all you need to prevent the whites from seeping out and ruining the batch.
3. Banish Ants
If you have problems with ant hills all around your property, you can get rid of them with some white vinegar. Simply combine equal parts of white vinegar and water, then spray the mixture around ant hills in the garden.
4. Boost Your Dishwashing Abilities
For sparkly clean dishes, add two cups of vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher. Wash your dishes on the regular cycle but with the same amount of detergent, and you’ll find that your dishes are much cleaner as a result.
5. Loosen Rusty Screws
If you have a screw that’s rusted on, all you have to do is apply some white vinegar, and it will unstick.
6. Rinse and Clean Your Produce
You don’t need to buy those expensive fruit and vegetable washes at the grocery store- most studies show that they aren’t effective anyway. All you need is to wash them with this DIY vinegar rinse!
Combine half a cup of white vinegar with a sink full of warm water. Put your produce in, and let it sit. This removes pesticides and dirt, and can even help your produce last longer when you store it, too.
7. Freshen Up Cut Flowers
I love cutting fresh bouquets of lavender, sunflowers, coneflowers, and other blooms on my farm to decorate the inside of my home. However, they never seem to last very long.
If you add a couple of tablespoons of sugar and a couple of white vinegar to the water in the vase, though, the stems will last much longer. You can change the water out every few days and you’ll find that the flowers last a week or so longer than if you were just using plain water.
8. Get Rid of Gum
If you have gum on fabric or in your hair, heat up a small bowl of vinegar. Pour it over the area and the gu should dissolve.
9. Get Rid of Water Rings
If you have any water rings on wooden or leather furniture, you can usually get rid of it by combining equal parts of vinegar and olive oil. Just apply it with a soft cloth and rinse afterward.
10. Clean Your Floors Without Wax
You don’t even have to rinse! All you need to do is mop your floors with a solution of half a cup of white vinegar and half a gallon of warm water. You’ll have a beautiful shine with no expensive wax required.
11. Get All the Last Drops
If you have a few drops of ketchup or another condiment left in a bottle, and just can’t seem to get it out, squirt some white vinegar in there and shake. It will help you get the last bits out so nothing goes to waste.
12. Remove Wax
I love making and burning candles, but melted candle wax can be super difficult to get rid of. Simply add some vinegar to the area, then wipe away. You might have to let it soak for a bit, but usually, it will come right off.
13. Clean Your Hair
I wouldn’t recommend using vinegar every time you wash your hair, but if you apply it every few washings, you can remove shampoo residue (which can leave your hair looking limp and dull) by rinsing it with a solution of one or two tablespoons of vinegar.
Both apple cider and white vinegar will work for this. Apply it with a cup of water, and just adjust the amount you use to suit your hair type – dry hair types might require less than oily ones.
14. Soak Your Feet
After a long day of work on the farm, soak your feet in some vinegar and hot water. All you’ll need is about 20 minutes to feel like a brand-new person.
15. Clean a Coffee Maker
I am absolutely terrible when it comes to cleaning my coffee maker. Vinegar makes it a lot easier, though. About once a month, you can fill the reservoir on your coffee maker with some white vinegar and then run it through a brewing cycle.
Empty the carafe, then run a reservoir of clean water. This will help remove any minerals, and oily residue.
16. Get Ready for Summer Grilling
You can remove charcoal build up from the grill by spraying some white vinegar on balled-up pieces of aluminum foil. Use them to scrub the grill grates and you’ll be ready for brats and hot dogs in no time.
17. Whiten Your Teeth
Brush your teeth once per week with some white vinegar – it will serve as an all-natural whitening solution! Plus, it can help you banish bad breath.
18. Have a Relaxing Bath
Add a half cup of vinegar to warm bath water for a relaxing spa session at home – bonus points if you add a few drops of essential oils. It will smell magnificent, and can help remove dead skin, leaving you feeling soft, rejuvenated, and smooth.
19. Vinegar Weed Killer
If you have any grass or weeds popping up in areas where you don’t want them, just pour some full-strength white vinegar on them. It will kill them instantly as it dries them out – just make sure you don’t get any on the plants you want to keep around!
The beauty of using this kind of weed killer is that you can use it as often as you want and it won’t harm pollinators, nor will it create any risks to your own health, as most pesticides and herbicides will.
20. Wipe Down Faucets
Use vinegar to remove lime buildup on faucets or other fixtures. Simply combine a teaspoon of vinegar and two tablespoons of salt to make a paste, then apply to your fixtures and wipe clean.
21. Banish Static
If static cling frustrates you, simply add a quarter cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle. This will reduce static and prevent dryer lint from clinging to your clothes.
22. Window Cleaner
Vinegar is an amazingly effective window cleaner, and with none of the harsh smells or health risks of using ammonia.
All you have to do is combine equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then apply to your windows and wipe them clean with a squeegee. Clean a whistle, with no streaks!
23. Remove Mildew Smells on Clothing and Linens
Forgot about a load of laundry in your washer overnight? No big deal. Just rewash the load with a half cup of white vinegar and you’ll never know the difference.
24 DIY Reusable Cleaning Wipes
I use vinegar every time I make my own cleaning wipes. All you have to do is combine a quarter cup of white vinegar with two tablespoons of baking soda and a quarter cup of water.
You can also add any essential oils you’d like to improve the scent of the wipes and to boost their cleaning power.
Fill a container with reusable rags like paper towels or old pieces of towel. Then, pour the solution on top and you can use the wipes whenever they are needed.
25. Cleaning Blinds
If you have washable blinds in your home, they can be super challenging to clean. All you have to do is mix half a cup of white vinegar, a quarter cup of baking soda, and a gallon of warm water (it will fizz a bit when you first mix everything together, so you might want to do this in the sink!). Using a clean cloth,, wipe the blinds clean. That’s all there is to it.
26. Remove Pen Marks
If you notice any pen on your walls or other surfaces, you can wet down a sponge with some vinegar and then use it to remove the marks.
27. Get Rid of Showerhead Clogs
If you find that your showerheads get clogged from time to time, it could be because they have some serious mineral buildup. Just add a cup of vinegar to a plastic storage bag, and position it so the showerhead is resting right in the vinegar.
Let it soak overnight, then in the morning, remove the bag and turn on the shower. It will rinse away the vinegar so you don’t have to worry about the smell.
28. Stop Itching
Whether you’ve been bitten by a mosquito or got into a patch of poison ivy, vinegar can save the day again. Simply dab a cotton ball in some white vinegar, then apply it to the itchy spot. It will not only help stop the itching but will help with disinfecting, too – faster healing!
29. Clean Pewter, Brass, and Copper
There’s nothing quite as elegant as brass, copper, and pewter dishes and fixtures, but they, unfortunately, tarnish quite easily. To remove it, apply a mixture of a teaspoon of salt, half a cup of vinegar, and a bit of flour.
You’ll make a paste that can be applied to the metal. Let it stand for fifteen minutes, then rinse it with clean water and polish it off.
30. Re-Fluff Your Towels
If your towels have begun to get dingy and lack their former fluff, all you need to do is run a load of laundry with a quarter cup of vinegar.
31. Soften and Clean Paintbrushes
I love painting things around the homestead, from fences to barns. Not only does a fresh coat of paint make things look beautiful and updated, but it can help prevent wear and tear, too. However, I’m awful when it comes to cleaning up afterward!
You can get built-up paint on a paintbrush by soaking it in hot white distilled vinegar. The brush should soften, and you can then wash it in warm, soapy water.
32. Banish Litter Box Odor
You love your cat, but its litter box? Not so much. Get rid of odors by soaking the box with vinegar. That nasty smell will be gone in no time.
33. Remove Bathtub Grime and Film
If you have a ton of film buildup in your bathtub, you can remove it by wiping it down with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Rinse it away with clean water.
You can also use this remedy to get rid of soap scum buildup on your shower doors. Simply wipe them clean with a sponge that has been soaked in white vinegar. No rinsing needed!
34. Clean the Toilet
Use a cup of water and a cup of vinegar to clean and deodorize the toilet. I recommend leaving it in there for a few hours overnight before you scrub with a toilet brush and then flush. No harsh chemical cleaners required!
35. DIY Fabric Softener
If you want to replace your store-bought fabric softener, an easy way to do so is with white vinegar. Just add some to the softener compartment in your washing machine. The vinegar will break down the detergent better, plus there are no nasty chemicals. It’s a win-win!
36. Clean Pet Urine
We love our furry friends, but when they leave behind messes on the carpet, it can be incredibly frustrating. You can easily remove the odors with a bit of white vinegar.
Get rid of as much of the urine as you can by blotting it with some paper towels, then lay several over the area and walk on them – the pressure will increase the rate of absorption.
Then, test the area with a small spot of vinegar in an inconspicuous area to make sure the colors don’t run on your carpet. If they don’t, you’re good to go – let the vinegar sit on the urine-soaked area for ten minutes, apply some baking soda, then vacuum. No more stink!
You can pickle practically anything with fresh white vinegar! Apple cider vinegar works too, but white vinegar is perfect for a clean, clear pickling job on green beans, cucumbers, peppers, radishes – even eggs!
38. Clean Scissors and Pruning Shears
It’s important to keep all of your gardening equipment clean and sanitized – you can do it by whipping them down with a cloth dipped in white vinegar.
39. Rinse Dingy Clothes
Over time, certain garments can get dingy as a result of soap and detergent buildup. You can get rid of this by adding a cup of vinegar to the last rinse. If you’re washing something heavy, like a blanket or quilt, add two cups.
You can also use vinegar to get rid of deodorant stains in the armpit areas of light-colored clothing. Just add a bit to your wash c cycle and treat as many times as needed.
40. Remove Fruit Stains from Hands and Cutting Boards
There’s nothing better than fresh berries! However, they have the potential to seriously stain your hands and the surfaces you are processing them on. To remove berry stains, just wash the surface of your hands with vinegar. It’s as easy as that!
41. Eliminate Odors
This is especially effective in stinky areas like trash cans! Simply spray the inside of a trashcan with a combination of water, essential oils, and vinegar. It should get rid of the odors nicely. You can also use it to deodorize your garbage disposal.
42. Get Rid of Wine Stains
Nothing better than a relaxing glass of red wine at the end of a long day’s work, am I right? Unfortunately, red wine stains cotton and permanent press fabrics quite easily.
If you’re able to get at the stain within 24 hours, one of the best ways to treat it is with a light application of white distilled vinegar. Just blot the area until the stain disappears, then wash according to the instructions on the garment’s label.
43. Clean the Kitchen Drain
This is one of my favorite uses for white vinegar. All you need to do is pour a cup of white vinegar down your kitchen drain once a week. Let it sit for half an hour, then flush it with cold water. Your drains will smell much better and you won’t have to worry about pesky drain flies, either.
44. Wipe Down the Microwave
Dirty microwave got you down? Just fill a bowl with equal parts of water and vinegar along with two drops of lemon essential oil (this helps with the smell) and it will loosen the mess inside the microwave. You can use it to scrub if there are any stuck-on spots, too.
45. Unclog and Clean an Iron
When you’re using hard water to fill your steam iron, it can lead to mineral residue and build up over time.
To dissolve it, pour in equal amounts of white vinegar and water. Turn it on to the steam-setting and let it steam for five minutes in an upright fashion.
Then, unplug your iron and allow it to cool. Empty the reservoir and all the dissolved minerals right along with it.
You can also use white vinegar to clean an iron’s bottom, too, particularly one that is scorched. Just heat up equal parts of salt and white vinegar, then rub the mixture onto the bottom of the iron when it is cooled.
46. Get Rid of Scorch Marks on Clothes
If those same scorch marks from the dingy iron appear on your clothes, don’t worry – there is a way to get rid of them. Just use vinegar! Rub the corner of a clean cloth in white vinegar, then dab it on your clothes. Wipe it with a clean cloth, and repeat as needed until the stains are gone.
47. Remove Lime Deposits
If you have lime build-up on your faucets, a great way to get rid of them is with vinegar. Just combine salt and vinegar to make a paste, wipe clean, and repeat as needed.
48. Prevent Colors from Running
If you want to keep colored fabrics from running together in the wash, soak them for a few minutes in white vinegar. It will lock in the color, and prevent the ensuing mess.
You can also use it to set colors when you are dying fabrics – just add a cup of white vinegar to the water during the last rinse.
49. Clean Clay Pots
Clay gardening pots and containers ten to get a bit grimy over time and they’re also hard to clean since they absorb salts, minerals, and calcium. Combine equal parts of vinegar and water and you should be able to de-gunk them with ease.
50. DIY Condiments
You can make just about any condiment that you would normally buy at the store – all with the help of plain white vinegar! From ketchup to barbeque sauce and everything in-between, vinegar is the way to go.
51. Prevent Snakes in the Garden
Snakes offer gardeners plenty of benefits, helping to control pest populations in a natural way. However, if you have issues with poisonous snakes where you live – or simply don’t want them around – an easy way to get rid of them is with a few cups of white vinegar.
Simply spray a bit of white vinegar anywhere in which snakes are a problem. You can even use it to form a perimeter around the garden.
52 Soothe a Sunburn
Spent too much time outside – and neglected the sunscreen? We’re all guilty of making this mistake. You can soothe it with a bit of cool white vinegar. All you have to do is combine a tablespoon of white vinegar with a cup of water, then spray it on the burn.
53. DIY Fruit Fly Trap
Fruit flies tend to strike right in the middle of the harvest season. You can easily get rid of them by putting out a bowl of white vinegar.
54. Clean Livestock Waterers
As long as you aren’t using galvanized waterers (the vinegar can strip away the metal and cause toxins to leach into the water), vinegar is an excellent cleaning solution for your livestock waterer.
Just combine a bit of vinegar with some warm water, and you’ll be able to rinse them clean – no scrubbing required.
55. Make a Fresh Vinaigrette
A vinaigrette offers you a wonderful way to enjoy your freshly harvested salad greens with fewer calories than regular salad dressings. Combine a bit of vinegar with your favorite herbs, and you’ll be able to enjoy a tasty meal that’s filling and nutritious.
Of course, this list is far from exhaustive -there are probably thousands of other ways you can use white vinegar around the house and homestead, too.
Consider giving a few of these a try – and make sure you keep your pantry well-stocked with white vinegar at all times! You’ll be glad you did.
Rebekah is a high-school English teacher n New York, where she lives on a 22 acre homestead. She raises and grows chickens, bees, and veggies such as zucchini (among other things).