Friday, 14 March 2008

20 Uses for Vinegar

Photo: Frankfarm

I’ve been using vinegar for a good few years now and I don’t just mean on my fish n’ chips.

It all started about 20 years ago when my ex mother-in-law told me how to get a real good shine to windows and mirrors using the stuff. Then came the eggs, followed by the fruit stains and… well, take a look at the list of uses that I’ve put together and you’ll see what I mean.

  1. Cleaning Windows & Mirrors – I use a 30/70 mix of vinegar and warm water to wash windows, followed by a dry and buff with old newspaper. It brings them up a treat. If they’re really dirty, then up the vinegar proportion, using undiluted vinegar on the really tough bits. Brown or white vinegar – makes no difference.
  2. Boiling Eggs – By adding a teaspoon of brown vinegar (I just shake mine in and guestimate) to the pan when you’re boiling eggs, it’ll help stop them cracking. AND, if they do still crack (you could be boiling ‘em too hard) it’ll keep the white from running out into the water.
  3. Fruit Stains – My kids were always picking wild fruit in the nearby wood and would invariably come home with their hands covered in fruit stains. I’d just rub them in with vinegar – white or brown – the stains were easily washed off.
  4. Ease Stings Norway may be beautiful but it’s a country absolutely swarming with nasty little mosquitoes. Anybody who’s deal with the buggers will know that they itch to high heaven. However, if you dab some vinegar on the bites with cotton wool, the pain eases considerably. This also works on bee and wasp stings AND stings from jellyfish (yes, we had our share of those too!)
  5. Sunburn – Again, apply vinegar to the painful area to ease it. Or preferably, don’t get burnt in the first place – it’s very bad for you (yes, I know I’m sounding like your mother but I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone).
  6. Itchy Skin – Ahhh… you thought I was going to say “apply to…” didn’t you? No, this time you add a couple of tablespoons to your bathwater. It won’t cure eczema, psoriasis or other skin complaints, but it will ease the pain.
  7. Fabric Conditioner – Using white vinegar instead of fabric conditioner works just as well. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t leave a smell on your clothes; they just come out soft and smelling clean. It’s far better for those with skin complaints, too. Vinegar also works as a rinse aid in the dishwasher.
  8. Clean The Machine – Dishwashers and washing machines eventually get their pipes all gooed up with soap scum and once that happens, they don’t work as efficiently as they should. If you run an empty cycle once a month using one cup of white vinegar instead of whatever soap you use, it’ll keep it from clogging. However , if you use vinegar instead of fabric condition or rinse aid, as it the above point, you won't need to do this.
  9. Clean The Fridge – Equal parts white vinegar and water makes a great solution for cleaning the fridge, especially as the vinegar deodorises too leaving it smelling lovely and clean.
  10. Air Freshener – While we’re on the subject of deodorising, white vinegar makes a useful air freshener. Use neat in a spray bottle to eliminate all those nasty pongs.
  11. Clean Mugs Etc – Don’t you just hate it when mugs, cups and teapots get stained inside? They just don’t look clean, do they? If you pour a mixture of hot water and vinegar mixed at about 50/50 into them and leave them to cool down a bit, they’ll clean up a treat.
  12. Clean Your Glasses – You’re actually getting two tips in this one. The first is that rinsing your best drinking glasses in a solution of 50/50 vinegar will have them sparkling dead pretty. The second is that you can clean the lenses of your specs by wiping them with a drop of undiluted vinegar.
  13. Disinfect Wooden Cutting Boards – I love my wood cutting board but washing it in the sink with Fairy Liquid doesn’t really clean it, not in the sense of getting rid of all those nasty germs. Wiping it with full strength white vinegar soon kills ‘em, though! Well, I’m told it does and nobody’s got ill from using the cutting board here yet.
  14. Make Fluffier Rice – My rice always used to come out stodgy rather than fluffy like it does at the local Indian restaurant that we occasionally frequent. Why? Well I don’t know but what I’ve since learned is that adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the water just as it starts to boil will bring it out fluffier. No more stodge here :)
  15. Grease On Suede – I’ve only ever tried this once (we’ve never been a suede family and what we have had hasn’t generally got greasy) but it worked that time at least. I just dipped a soft toothbrush – the kind babies use – into white vinegar and brushed it over the grease spot. It got it off.
  16. Car Windows - Having lived in a country where winters were cold, keeping your car windows frost free was imperative. A tip I was given was to coat the windows with a 75/25 mix of vinegar and warm water the night before and they’d still be clear in the morning. Obviously, this was used when the car was in the garage during extremes of low temperature, but the average British winter shouldn’t cause any problems with cars left outside.
  17. Pet Fleas – I’ve only just recently been told this one but so far it seems to be working. Poppy, our little mutt, picked up some fleas so I started adding a teaspoon or so of vinegar to her drinking water. She’s not scratching anymore and I haven’t seen any so I guess it works. It’s said to keep them away, too.
  18. Cats – Fed up with moggy scratching at the furniture? Wish next-door’s cat would stop wandering into your kitchen? Apparently if you sprinkle vinegar on the area it’ll stop cats from wanting to go there. Not having a cat problem myself, I haven’t actually tried this one yet but I did get it from a reliable source. She has 6 cats so ought to know.
  19. Ants – If there’s one thing I don’t like it’s ants in the house. Until last year I’d used chemical stuff to kill them but then I was told about… yes, you guess it… vinegar! Just spray some undiluted stuff along the bottom of the door and across the threshold – or wherever they’re coming in – under appliances and on work surfaces and along their trails. Mine disappeared within a couple of days. Maybe it was a coincidence that it worked last year but I’m definitely going to give it a go again this year.
  20. Fish n’ Chips – There’s nothing like a good dousing of vinegar ;-)

There are loads more uses for vinegar but I wanted to stick to a list using vinegar without having to mix it with anything other than water. Maybe I’ll come back to a list of further uses when it’s mixed with bicarb and other stuff at some later date.

Sharon J

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Emily said...

I just bought a new big bottle of vinegar. Going to put it to use tomorrow! great tips!

Anonymous said...

shoot forgot to change my username!

Sharon J said...

Only too please to have been of help, Emily. There's money to be saved and it's far better for the environment. What could be better? :)

happyhippychick said...

I've been using white vinegar for cleaning ever since I first watched Houses Behaving Badly on the old goggle box - it is especially great for cleaning light switches and banisters that get all greased up from grubby hands and no more nasty chemical smellls... and the chip shop aroma soon vanishes

Must try vinegar next time I get round to cleaning my (shamefully grubby) windows - they are so murky that windolene isn't really effective and smear easily anyway

Sharon J said...

Good tip about the light switches and banisters, Rae. And good luck with the windows :)

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