Almost everyone has a bottle of distilled white vinegar in the pantry. It’s one of those household must-haves that most commonly lends itself to recipes, Easter egg dying and cleaning out the coffee machine.Lately, it also has become a popular household cleanser because of its effects on mold and germs due to its high level of acidity. You may be surprised, however, to learn that vinegar can be used in countless more ways throughout your home. Not only is white vinegar versatile but it’s also very economical. Here are some other ways you can put this nontoxic, environmentally friendly and inexpensive staple to work.
1. Have your vegetables gotten a bit wilted after a week of sitting in the crisper? Soak them in cold water with a spoonful or two of vinegar to bring them back to life. This will save you from having to throw them out and make yet another trip to the grocery store.
2. Vinegar is commonly used to make those Easter eggs’ colors really pop. However, did you know that you can add a tablespoon or two to the water to keep your eggs from cracking while cooking?
3. Instead of using harsh chemical bug killers, use vinegar to eliminate your ant problem. Vinegar repels these pests, so pour it onto areas where they congregate, and around doorways and windowsills to keep them from coming in.
4. Use vinegar to increase the acidity of your soil. Add a cup to a gallon-sized watering can and you’ll see acid-loving plants like rhododendrons, azaleas and gardenias really thrive.
5. Have a grease-splattered oven door? Pour vinegar on it, let it soak for about 15 minutes, then them clean with a sponge. The grease should come right off. No need for harsh oven cleaners!
6. When it comes to deep-cleaning your blinds, you don’t need to take them down and soak them in the bathtub. Simply don some white cotton gloves, dip your finger into a mixture of half warm water and half vinegar, then run your finger over both sides of the slats.
7. Deodorize and clean your garbage disposal by tossing in some vinegar ice cubes. Freeze full-strength vinegar in an ice cube tray and toss the cubes down your running disposal. Be sure to have cold water running.
8. Deodorize your dishwasher by pouring one cup of vinegar into the machine and running a full cycle once a month.
9. Want a good, nontoxic scouring cleaner? Combine ¼ cup of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of liquid detergent, and add enough vinegar to give the solution a creamy, thick texture.
10. Be green and also save some green when it comes to spot cleaning your kitchen and bathroom floors. Combine equal parts of vinegar, water and alcohol, then add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid to make a natural cleaning spray that really tackles grime.
11. Instead of tossing those grungy sponges, place them in a bowl, cover with water and add ¼ cup of vinegar. Allow to soak overnight and your sponge will be disinfected and deodorized.
12. Eliminate your lint problem by adding ½ cup of vinegar to your wash cycle.
13. Need to whiten those whites? No need to use harsh bleach. Instead, bring a large pot of water with 1 cup of vinegar to a rolling boil and then add your dingy items. After soaking overnight, they should look bright and white.
14. Was your child stung by a bee? Dab the bite with a cotton ball soaked in vinegar to help ease the itch.
15. For a cooling facial toner, combine equal parts of vinegar and water and swipe on with a cotton ball.
There are countless other ways to use distilled white vinegar in your home as a safe and inexpensive alternative to other harmful products. How have you used distilled white vinegar?
Alicia is a “Jill of all trades.” She writes about travel, fitness, and communication on her blogMarCom Land and just started a new blog about DIY with her husband. Follow her on Twitter @DIYfolks