Virtues of Vinegar: Uses for Vinegar Beyond Cooking

Updated on April 19, 2019
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Thelma is a former field editor for Taste of Home magazine and has a huge collection of recipes submitted to her from cooks across the USA.

The liquid miracle every homemaker should know about!
The liquid miracle every homemaker should know about! | Source

Learning Ways to Use Vinegar

When I first became a homemaker at age 19, I was told, "always keep a bottle of vinegar in your cupboard". So, I bought a small bottle and there it sat. It was still sitting there a couple of years later as I wondered what am I going to do with this stuff. This was before the internet had been invented, so I couldn't just look up suggestions on how to use vinegar.

Then, one day I saw a little pamphlet at the library and the title really hit me. It was called Virtues of Vinegar. So, my adventure to find ways to use vinegar began. Little did I know, close to 50 years later, I would write an article extolling the benefits of using this liquid miracle not just in the kitchen but all over the house. And, of course, there was no problem coming up with a title for this guide to using vinegar ... it would be called Virtues of Vinegar.

Note: apple cider vinegar is more expensive and normally used in cooking. For the vinegar suggestions noted here, use the less expensive white distilled vinegar that can be found in all grocery stores.

How to Use Vinegar to Clean Windows

One of the first virtues of vinegar is it isn't just about salad dressings. Of course, there are wonderful dressings and marinades you can make with vinegar, but don't be limited by just using it in the kitchen. There is so much more to vinegar. One of the most common uses is cleaning windows, mirrors, and other items made of glass.

  • Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and use just as you would a more expensive glass cleaner.
  • When cleaning automobile windows, I prefer not to use a spray bottle. I don't like to breathe in the spray when using it in small places such as closed up in a car with it. I also don't like for it to settle on me once it gets in the air. So I pour a little straight vinegar (don't add any water) onto a lint free rag. Don't be skimpy with the vinegar but you also don't want it dripping all over you and your car. Wipe the rag all over your window then just wipe it dry with another lint free rag. That's all there is to it!
  • I also use the vinegar rag method when cleaning small glass items that I don't want to spray. It comes in handy for small mirrors, decorative items like knick-knacks, picture frame glass, eye glasses, and more.

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Kitchen Uses

These tips are not only money savers but time savers too!

  • Microwave cleaning: I wish I would have learned about this years ago. To make your microwave sparkly clean without using "elbow grease", just put 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Set the timer for 5 minutes. Remove the bowl and wipe out any debris. Voila!
  • Another method to clean the microwave: When making hard-boiled eggs, I remove them from the pan and then add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the steaming hot water left in the pan. I put the pan in the microwave and close the door. Don't turn the microwave on - just let the pan sit in it. When ready to wash dishes, pour the vinegar and water mixture into the sink with your dish detergent. Wipe out the microwave. The pan and the microwave are squeaky clean and the dishes you are washing will get a little extra cleaning boost.
  • Deodorize your kitchen sink drain: Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow with 1 cup of vinegar. Wait for the foaming to stop and then run hot water down the drain for 30 seconds. This will wash away bacteria that causes odors. If you keep a box of baking soda in your refrigerator to keep it smelling nice, remember this little hint when you are replacing the box. Don't just throw the old box away, keep it for sink deodorizing.
  • Cleaning stainless steel appliances: Put undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle. Mist the appliance then wipe off with a soft cloth. Remember to wipe in the direction of the grain.
  • Make your bottle of liquid dish soap last longer: Add four tablespoons of vinegar to your dish soap bottle and shake. This will help it cut through grease causing you to use less detergent.
  • Clean and deodorize your garbage disposal: Make vinegar ice cubes by pouring full strength into ice cube trays. Put them down the garbage disposal then turn on to grind them up. Rinse with cold water.

Remember when using full-strength vinegar in the kitchen or the bathroom, it is an excellent disinfectant!

Do You Plan to Use Any of These Suggestions for Vinegar Use?

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More Ideas for Using Vinegar in a Variety of Ways

  • Did you know vinegar can help with the problem of static cling with your clothes? Just add 1/2 cup of vinegar to your washing machine wash cycle. The acid in the vinegar gets rid of static. Less static means less lint on your clothes.
  • Remove deodorant stains from clothes by applying full-strength vinegar to the area and rubbing gently. Launder as usual.
  • Make your tile or linoleum floors shine by using a solution of 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 gallon of water for the final rinse.
  • When replacing wicks in your propane lantern, soak the wicks in vinegar for 4 hours then let them dry completely. This will make them burn longer and brighter.
  • If you have rings on your wooden furniture caused by wet glasses, you can remove them by rubbing with a soft cloth moistened with equal parts vinegar and olive oil. Be sure to rub with the grain.
  • Relieve the sting or itch from insect bites by applying a little vinegar to your skin using a cotton ball.
  • To remove soap film from your hair when washing, rinse well after shampooing then pour a little vinegar on your hair. Let it soak in for a minute or two then rinse out completely. It also makes your hair soft and smooth. If you have dandruff, be sure to rub it into your scalp before your final rinse.
  • Water your azaleas, rhododendrons, gardenias and other acid loving plants with a gallon of water and 1 cup of vinegar. The vinegar releases iron in the soil which makes your plants thrive.
  • Don't you just hate trying to remove those gummy labels from glass containers? Vinegar to the rescue! Just warm a little vinegar in the microwave, dip a sponge into it and place sponge over the label for a few minutes. The label will come off without leaving a sticky residue.
  • To clean wood paneling, mix 1 ounce olive oil with two ounces vinegar and 1 quart warm water. Dampen a soft cloth with the solution and wipe paneling. Wipe dry with a clean cloth.
  • Lastly, here is one I haven't tried yet: Swallow 1 tablespoon of undiluted vinegar to stop hiccups!

© 2016 Thelma Raker Coffone

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