Useful Tips for Using Vinegar Around the House

Vinegar is a must-have for a home keeper. It’s not only great in the kitchen for cooking and for culinary purposes – it’s also very useful all-around the house. It’s the one item in your kitchen pantry that can help household chores easy. It can do wonders in terms of making your home spic and span. Here are some useful tips for using vinegar around the house:

Clean out tiles

Most people reach out for bleach when they have grimy, grungy, and discolored tiles, caulk, and grout. But white vinegar is a safer option than chlorine bleach, especially for households on a septic tank. Simply spray full-strength vinegar on caulk and grout in the kitchen or shower, let it soak for at least an hour, and scrub it off with a brush. If you’re having difficulty removing soap scum from your tiles , check out other effective cleansing options besides vinegar.

Deodorize the room 

Unpleasant odors lurk in rugs, carpets, and upholstery. To remove these smells, fill a dish with half an inch of white vinegar. Leave it out in the room until the smell dissipates. 

Dissolve rust

Do you have a pair of scissors or knives that are rusting? Clean it out by pouring white vinegar over the blades. Then, sprinkle with rock salt or any coarse salt and rub it with a cork. Rinse with water and wipe it dry before storing to prevent rusting. 

Wash out windows and mirrors

Reflective surfaces like windows and mirrors must have a streak-free shine. Mix one part vinegar and one part water to clean these surfaces out. It would be best to use microfiber cloth to keep it streak-free. It also works with car windows – plus, vinegar can keep them frost-free during the winter. 

Keep colored clothes bright

If the colors in your clothing runs in the wash, try this treatment. Pre-rinse your laundry in a solution of distilled white vinegar and cold water. Use 2/3 cups vinegar for every gallon of water. Soak the clothes for up to 15 minutes, then wash and dry as usual. 

Whiten white clothes

On the flip side, if your white clothes are getting yellowish, vinegar can help bring it back to its former glory. Since vinegar is naturally acidic, it can whiten fabric when added to the rinse water. Add it to the first rinse so it can be washed out by the second rinse. Add anywhere from 1/8 cup to ½ cup of vinegar, depending on the size of the load. 

Sanitize your garbage bin

Whether it’s made of plastic or metal – it’s no surprise that a trash bin can harbor the worst odors in a home. A rinse-down isn’t enough. After rinsing the garbage bin to remove any residues, scrub the insides with a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. Rinse it again with water and let it dry.

Clean the faucet 

Cut through the buildup of mineral deposits on your formerly-shiny faucet with this trick: soak a paper towel in white vinegar, and drape it all over the faucet. Leave it for about an hour, then scrub the scum away.

Unclog shower heads 

If your showerhead is clogged, it is due to the mineral deposits in the water. To dissolve them, fill a plastic bag with white vinegar then submerge the shower head in it. Secure it with a rubber band to seal the bag and let it soak overnight. In the morning, scrub the face with a toothbrush.  

Drive away ants

Keep the ants from marching in your home with vinegar. Pour equal amounts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and mix them well. Spritz the solution in areas where ants tend to gather, like kitchen floors, baseboard crevices, outside porch, patio, or your picnic table. 

Remove stains from rugs

Don’t let a spill of wine or juice ruin your favorite rug or carpet. Immediately after spotting a stain, mix equal parts of vinegar and water, then pour the solution over the area. 

Remove the stains in the toilet 

Tidy up your toilet by pouring white vinegar. If there are hard water rings from the inside and in the toilet seat, pour vinegar and let it set for an hour. Scrub it clean and flush. 

Clean dishwasher and washing machine

The dishwasher and washing machine are your trusty appliances to help you deal with dirty dishes and dirty laundry, respectively. But you have to clean them themselves as hard water stains, detergent and dish soap residues can stay inside, reducing their efficiency in cleaning. Once a year or so (you have to do this often if you have hard water), pour a cup of vinegar to an empty dishwasher and run if for a short cycle. Do the same with the washer – one cup of vinegar would be plenty, but use less when you have a front-loading washing machine. 

Clean your coffeemaker

Coffee may taste stale if you do not clean out your coffee maker. The most natural way to clean it out is to use vinegar. Fill the water reservoir with equal parts water and white vinegar, and make sure there are no coffee grounds on the filter basket. Turn the machine on. When several cups of the solution have filled the carafe, turn it off and let the mixture sit for an hour. After that, remove the vinegar water and rinse it out with a few cycles of fresh water before brewing a cup of coffee.

Clean bath toys

Even if bath toys are always in the bath doesn’t mean it’s clean all the time. You still need to wash bacteria and mildew off these bath toys by giving them a bath of their own. Fill a large bowl or bucket with warm water, add half a cup of white vinegar per gallon of water. Soak the toys for 10 minutes and rub it gently with sponge and allow it to dry. The acetic acid in vinegar cuts through dirt buildup in the toys and works as a natural disinfectant. 

Dissolves hard-to-remove stains in shoes

 Suede and leather are some of the hardest shoe materials to maintain. It can be easily stained when it comes in contact with rain or salt. To get rid of those unsightly salt spots, dampen a paper towel with white vinegar and rub them down the shoes to dissolve the salt. 

Make silver shiny again

Silver jewelry can be easily tarnished and scratched. Restore its former sparkle by gently buffing your pieces with vinegar and cotton cloth. Rinse and dry your silver with clean cloth and keep it shiny again. 

Kill weeds

Vinegar also provides an eco-friendly way to take care of your plants. You don’t have to reach for a chemical weed killer to destroy weeds – you just need vinegar. It’s strong enough to kill weeds, so douse the offending foliage with vinegar. Be careful though, it can also kill plants if it receives a lot of vinegar. The weeds will likely shrivel in a day or so, and resilient ones rarely withstand a second treatment. For the best results, use it on dry and sunny weather to work its magic. 

Pet care

Itchy and scaly ears can be bothering for dogs and cats. If your pet experiences this, mix one part vinegar with four parts water, and soak a clean rag in this mixture. Use the rag to wipe out the insides of your pet’s ears. If they get sprayed by a skunk, vinegar can be used to clean them up and remove the unwanted smell. 

Removes bumper sticker from cars  

Got a hard-to-remove bumper sticker that you’d rather not display any longer? Squirt it with undiluted white vinegar and set. You may need to do this a few times to completely loosen the bumper sticker.

Extend the life of cut flowers

Fresh flowers make a pretty home decoration. But if you don’t want to change them a lot, you can extend its life by adding a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the vase water, plus a dash of sugar. It will keep your blooms fresher for longer.