We asked the team at MoneyAware HQ for their tips on making...
50 uses for distilled vinegar
Vinegar: enhancer of chips, flavour-er of crisps. That’s about it really, isn’t it? Or… is it? Stay with me on this one. In the past year something unusual was brought to my attention. Somehow, I was unaware that vinegar could be used for something other than chips.
I’ve never given vinegar much thought. It wasn’t until I searched for frugal cleaning products that it entered my life as the universal solver of problems great and small.
What is vinegar anyway? According to Wikipedia it’s “a liquid consisting mainly of acetic acid and water”. I don’t think it matters. All that matters now is that this list of 50 uses for distilled vinegar will change your life. Assuming your life tends to be the same on most days anyway.
Just to note, these uses are for distilled white vinegar, sometimes called ‘distilled malt vinegar’. It’s a clear liquid, rather than the usual brown colour, and can be found in most supermarkets. We found it for 30p in one shop, so it’s definitely a worthwhile investment.
There’s nothing else to say except here’s the list and you’re welcome.
50 uses for distilled vinegar
1. Cleaner of windows. Did you know that humble vinegar is all we need to keep our windows glistening without any streaks? Mix distilled vinegar with tap water (use a 1:1 ratio) and wash your troubles away.
2. Remover of microwave explosions. There’s nothing more repulsive than the smell of vinegar combined with stale baked bean juice.
However putting vinegar in a heatproof bowl, adding water and heating for 30 seconds will make all your microwave explosions become unstuck, so you can wipe them off with ease. It’s gross but worth it!
3. Declogger of drains. What a horrific job to have to endure. Make it simple by adding vinegar to baking soda to de-clog your drains. When it foams, run the hot water tap. It’ll also help to get rid of any drain smells.
4. Shiner of hair. Mix vinegar with water (use a 1:2 ratio) and rinse you hair with it after you’ve shampooed it. If vinegar scented locks aren’t your thing, add some drops of essential oil to disguise the smell.
5. Soother of itches. Got a mozzie bite? Don’t let the mozzies win. Beat the itching and soothe your sting by dabbing cotton wool in vinegar and putting it on your bite. It’ll clean it too.
6. Remover of ball point pen. Has someone doodled all over the walls? You can remove ball point pen marks by dabbing a little bit of vinegar over it until it disappears.
7. Whitener of teeth. Dip your toothbrush in vinegar once a week and give your teeth a good scrub. Supposedly this helps to whiten your teeth as well as getting rid of bad breath. Not sure if vinegar breath is ‘good’ breath though.
8. Prolong-er of manicures. Soak cotton wool in vinegar and give your nails a wipe. Apply your nail varnish and marvel at how much longer it lasts.
9. Eater of odours. Lunchbox refusing to shift the smell of lunches past? Clean with vinegar and water (3:1 ratio) to get rid of that stench or use the soaked paper towel method.
10. Cleaner of shower heads. Shower head seen better days? Don’t be ashamed, it happens to the best of us. Simply fill a sandwich bag with vinegar and tie it around the shower head. Secure with an elastic band and leave to soak. Leave it for an hour or so, give it a wipe and voila! Good as new.
11. Shiner of silver. Got some silverware? Lucky you! If it’s not meeting your expectations of shininess, soak it in a vinegar (half a cup or 120 ml) and baking powder (two tablespoons) mix for an hour or so and unleash its shining potential. Probably best to test this on some rubbish silver first!
12. Defeater of ants. Get rid of pesky ants by mixing water with vinegar (1:1 ratio), put it in a spray bottle and spray over areas where ants are giving you stick. Bye ants, no hard feelings.
13. Softener of fabric. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to your wash instead of fabric conditioner. You’ll get softer clothes using fewer chemicals. Hooray! Don’t worry, you won’t smell like a chippy.
14. Soother of sunburn. Sun caught you off guard? What’s it like, eh? Sooth your sunburn with a little vinegar. You may smell of vinegar for a while but that can act as a lesson to you for skipping the sun cream.
15. Cleaner of keyboards. Use a computer? It’s likely your keyboard is crawling with germs. Banish them by dabbing a cotton bud in some vinegar and giving it a clean. Do it carefully, electronics don’t mix too well with liquids.
16. Healer of heartburn. Heartburn giving you gyp? Swallow a tablespoon or two of vinegar and get on with your day heartburn free.
17. Curer of hiccups. Apparently one teaspoon of vinegar will cure you of the dreaded hiccups. Who knew? Hic.
18. Replacer of deodorant. Yes you heard! Mix equal parts vinegar and water, put in a spray bottle and use as deodorant. You may have a slight vinegar scent at first but it’ll soon fade, apparently.
19. Remover of bath stains. Grimy bathtub? How did it come to this? You deserve better. Fear not, clean it with vinegar and spend your days soaking in a spotless tub.
20. Cleaner of…everything. Replace your household cleaners with vinegar and wipe your surfaces clean. If you’d like to cover up the scent, try adding some lemon juice or essential oils. Mix it with water using an even 1:1 ratio (oh, and test a little bit first).
21. Destroyer of rust. It’s a sad day when you go to use your beloved pliers or screwdriver only to find they’re trapped in a cage of rusty doom. It doesn’t have to be this way. Soak them in some vinegar to make them rust free. You have many years together yet.
22. Soaker of feet. Treat your toes to the pampering they deserve by mixing equal parts of vinegar and mouthwash to create a zingy foot wash. It’ll make your feet softer and they’ll smell minty fresh.
23. Reviver of paintbrushes. If you struggle to remember to wash your brushes after painting and find them clogged up with old paint when you next need them, don’t worry. This common problem can be solved by soaking them in vinegar until the paint goes away, and then washing in hot, soapy water. Paint on.
24. Remover of wallpaper. Decorating isn’t an easy task but dreams of a new room are often too tempting to ignore. Do yourself a favour and mix water with vinegar (an equal 1:1 ratio) in a spray bottle and spray it on wallpaper before you remove it.
25. Cleaner of fridges. Fridge seen better days? Give it a new lease of life by cleaning it with vinegar. Simply mix it with water (1:1 ratio) and wash. The vinegar will help to get rid of any terrible fridge smells too. If the vinegar smells too strong, add drops of lemon juice.
26. Preventer of window frost. In the dark depths of winter, de-icing car windows early in the morning before work is not ideal. Mix vinegar with water (3:1 ratio) and wipe over your car windows (or spray). Enjoy frost free windows for a few weeks before repeating.
27. Remover of mildew. Mold and mildew do not a nice bathroom make. Don’t live like this for a second longer. Spray the offending area with vinegar and leave for half an hour. Wipe away your moldy life and look forward to a mildew free future.
28. Shiner of taps. Vinegar can be used all over the bathroom. If you envy those with shiny taps, envy them no more. Create the bathroom of your dreams by cleaning taps and other bathroom fixtures with vinegar and a soft cloth.
29. Brightener of clothes. Don’t let dull clothes get you down. Revert back to your colourful self by adding about 120 ml of vinegar to your wash and marvel at your brightened clothes.
30. Killer of fruit flies. Fruit flies are the bane of my life in summer. Healthy eating shouldn’t come at such a cost. Get rid of them by putting a little vinegar and a piece of fruit in a cup. Cover with cling film and pierce a small hole in the top. Sit back and cackle as the flies enter their new prison.
31. Prolonger of flowers. Want to keep your flowers alive for as long as possible? Of course you do! Keep your flowers fresh by adding a little vinegar and 2 tbsp of sugar to the water in the vase.
32. Poacher of eggs. Adding a few tablespoons of vinegar to the water when you poach eggs will help the egg whites stay together – hooray!
33. Soother of sore throats. Suffering from a sore throat? Oh dear. Try gargling water with a teaspoon of vinegar to help relieve some of the pain.
34. Reliever of itchy pet ears. Is your dog suffering from itchy ears? Put them out of their misery by giving them a gentle wash in some vinegar. Cats don’t like vinegar, so perhaps don’t try this with them.
35. Cleaner of scissors blades. Sometimes scissor blades get all sticky and weird. It’s a fact of life. Clean them by wiping with a cloth with some vinegar on it and wave goodbye to unwanted scissor goo.
36. De-wrinkle-r of clothing. No one likes ironing. No one. Never iron again (maybe) by spritzing your glad rags with a vinegar and water mix (1:3 ratio). Spray after you take them out of the washing machine and hang them up to dry, wrinkle free.
37. Tester of soil alkalinity. Need to know if your soil is more alkaline than acid? Of course you do! Test it by putting some soil in a bowl and adding vinegar. If the soil fizzles away it’s more alkaline – hooray! Not sure if this is actually a good or bad thing.
38. Minimizer of scratches. Scratched some woodwork and now it’s bothering you? Don’t let that scratch ruin your day. Make it less noticeable by mixing vinegar with olive oil (1:1 ratio) and paint over the scratch with a small brush.
39. Reducer of spiciness. Overdone it on the spices while cooking again? Nightmare. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, add a teaspoon of vinegar to reduce the spiciness. Perform a little taste test and add more if necessary. No one will ever know.
40. Cleanser of onion hands. Ever been happily chopping onions for tea when later you suddenly notice you’ve got horrible onion scented hands? Give them a rinse in vinegar to get rid of the smell. Disaster averted.
41. Killer of weeds. Don’t let evil weeds take over your garden. Get rid of them by pouring vinegar all over them. It works particularly well when they’re growing in pavement cracks.
42. Healer of scorched clothes. Has your iron let you down and scorched your clothes? Try lightly rubbing distilled vinegar on the fabric and then wipe with a clean cloth. This won’t work on heavily scorched clothing, you’re on your own with that one.
43. Dryer out of cold sores. If you suffer from cold sores, it’s probably not a welcome sight when a new one appears on your lip. Apply some vinegar and it’ll help to dry it up.
44. Clearer of air. If you’ve cooked up a storm but are less than pleased about the scent left behind in your kitchen try mixing 120 ml of vinegar with 240 ml of water and some drops of essential oils. Boil it on the hob for a while until the scent starts to disappear.
45. Cleaner of oven windows. Is that pesky oven door window looking dirty again? Give it a clean by soaking it in vinegar and then wipe it down. Good as new. Pretty much.
46. Cleaner of the entire oven. No your eyes did not deceive you. You can clean the whole oven with vinegar, baking soda and water. Make a paste by using a few tablespoons of water and about 75 g of baking soda, you may need more depending on oven size. Wipe it over the oven and leave overnight. Clean out the paste and spray with vinegar, keep repeating until the paste is all gone. Get more in depth instructions here.
47. Washer of fruit and veg. Don’t simply rely on useless water to kill the bacteria on your fruit. Add two tablespoons of vinegar to water and wash away the germs properly.
48. Reliever of dry skin. If you’ve got dry or itchy skin, get some relief by adding a few tablespoons of vinegar to bath water.
49. Remover of grease. There’s nothing worse than trying to wash a greasy plate or oven tray. Make the job easier by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to hot soapy water and cut through the grease with ease.
50. Tenderiser of meat. Cooking some tough meat? Add a little vinegar to your marinade to help tenderise it. Tasty.
There we have it, 50 uses for distilled vinegar. We can’t guarantee the success of all these tips so it might be worth doing a bit of research first if you’re unsure about one.
If you’re cleaning with vinegar and don’t like the scent you can add drops of lemon juice or essential oils to create a nicer smell.
If you’ve got any tips to add, or have a vinegar success (or fail) story about one of the tips, let us know in the comments below.
Money-saving tips in your inbox
Get helpful money-saving and money-making articles in your inbox every month to help your budget.