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The Many Uses of Vinegar

by Damien Andrews

Vinegar has been around for thousands of years. Like many things that have been used by humans since before history was accurately recorded, the origins of vinegar are dubious. One thing that is clearly not in dispute, however, is that vinegar has countless uses. Some uses of vinegar are commonly known, others are not. And some uses of vinegar are utterly amazing.

To clarify, this treatise references white vinegar. Not its much more expensive cousin balsamic vinegar. Unlike the very inexpensive white vinegar, balsamic vinegar can cost hundreds of dollars per ounce. White vinegar is commonly available in grocery stores and discount stores, and can be purchased in gallons. Larger containers are also available at some locations.

White vinegar is an amazing deodorizer. Some great uses of vinegar for deodorizing are:

• Wash out the inside of your refrigerator (or freezer) using a white vinegar and water solution of 2:1. (2-parts water to 1-part vinegar) The vinegar odor will disappear quickly, and along with it the odors.

• If you have lingering smoke odors in your home, place a small bowl in the room with 1-cup of undiluted vinegar in it. Close the room for 24-hours. If the smoke odor is very bad, use two bowls and leave the room closed for up to 72-hours.

• After working with onions in the kitchen, put a few drops of vinegar on your hands and rub them together. Rinse with water – onion smell gone!

• When you wash your cat’s litter box, use a 2:1 vinegar and water solution to eliminate odors.

• Put some undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle and set the sprayer head for fine mist. Use this to eliminate odors just about anywhere – including garages and closets. Spray the mist high, and throughout the area, avoiding spraying directly onto sensitive items such as clothing or lampshades.

• To remove the musty smell (or mothball odor) from stored clothing, wash the clothes using 1-2 cups of vinegar with the water.

• If your dog or cat runs into a skunk, use a strong vinegar and water solution to help make the odor go away. Sometimes it will work in the first treatment, but if the skunk’s odor has already permeated the animal’s fur, it will take two or three treatments. Sure beats tomato juice!

If you have battery terminal corrosion, vinegar is the quickest, easiest way to remove it. Simply dribble the undiluted vinegar over the terminal and watch it disappear. You won’t need much, so dribble slowly.

Home remedies that call for vinegar include cleaning minor cuts and scratches. Yes, it will burn a bit. Folks used to commonly use vinegar for curing hiccups, too. Put a few tablespoons of vinegar into a small glass. Between hiccups, take a tiny sip and swallow it. Vinegar is still widely used to treat mild sunburn. Just gently rub some vinegar onto the affected area and you can feel the pain disappear.

Vinegar is a must-have for any cat fancier. Not only does it clean and deodorize litter boxes, vinegar helps manage undesirable cat behavior. As a rule, cats find the odor of vinegar quite offensive. Spray undiluted vinegar in places you don’t want your cat. If your cat is marking places with urine, spray the spots with the solution and rinse – then spray again.

Vinegar is also a cleaning phenomenon. It is a natural cleaner and degreaser. Here are some cleaning uses for vinegar:

• Nothing cleans glass better than vinegar and water. Use a typical 2:1 solution. Use paper to ‘polish’ glass. Newspaper is great for this!

• A mild vinegar and water solution will do wonders for wood floors.

• Use a 2:1 solution of vinegar and water to prepare metals for painting. It will not only clean the metal, but remove all oil and grease to ensure good paint adhesion.

• Use a 2:1 vinegar solution for polishing chrome fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens. Use the spray sparingly. You’ll get the added benefit of a deodorizer when you use vinegar on chrome.

• Remove hard water stains from just about anything. Just use the 2:1 vinegar solution and paper or a rag.

• Can’t get that ‘greasy feeling’ out of your reusable plastic containers. Use vinegar and water – problem solved – they’ll be ‘squeaky clean!’

• After cleaning your oven, use a vinegar solution to prevent unpleasant odors the first time you heat up the oven.

• remove coffee and tea stains from your cups with a 2:1 solution of vinegar and water.

I’ve only mentioned a few of the countless uses of vinegar. There are way too many great uses for vinegar for any single article to cover. Experiment! Come up with your own ways of making this amazing product work for you. It’s cheap, it works great, and it’s an easy way to go green. Using vinegar helps you save money on prepared cleaners, while it helps you save the environment. Using vinegar is a truly win-win situation.


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