Vinegar is not just for salads, pickling and aunty’s famous pork adobo. There are perhaps hundreds of uses for vinegar. Think cleaning, gardening, pet care, laundry, and health…vinegar makes taking care of things around the house a lot more cost effective and manageable.
It’s important to note that there are many variations of vinegar which serve their own purpose. Balsamic and red wine vinegar are used for cooking and dressing. White vinegar, while edible, is best used for cleaning purposes. Apple cider vinegar is the most versatile with as many culinary uses as well as cleaning purposes. This article will focus on white vinegar, and City Mill Team member’s favorite uses of this amazing product.
In the House:
Make vinegar your go-to cleaning product for the home! It has the same cleaning power as commercial cleaning products with none of the unwanted harsh chemicals and questionable ingredients that you’re trying to avoid.
1. Window Cleaner
One very clever use for white vinegar is cleaning windows. Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar with water. Apply to windows with a sponge or clean cloth towel. Wipe clean using a wet squeegee or tutu’s favorite-newspaper which leaves windows with a streak free shine and no clinging fibers
2. Carpet Stain Remover
Vinegar is a magician when it comes to lifting odors and removing stains from carpet. First, blot up as much of the evidence as possible. Before treating, test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous place. If colors don’t run, soak the stain with white vinegar, and then sprinkle on some baking soda until the solution fizzes. Lightly blot/rub the baking soda into the stain. Blot any access liquid and allow to dry overnight. Once all the liquid has evaporated you can vacuum up the remaining baking soda-voilà!
A quick and simple fix to get the lingering funk out of your dishwasher. Fill a dishwasher safe bowl with 1 cup of white vinegar and place on the top shelf of an empty dishwasher. Set the dishwasher to run on a hot water cycle. The vinegar will break down any remaining bits of food, grease, soap sum, residue and left over grime.
Vinegar in the yard:
It’s true, vinegar works outside in the garden as well. From killing unwanted pests to keeping flowers happy, there are lots of ways to use this inexpensive household ingredient for a cheaper, more eco-friendly solution to garden problems.
1. Natural weed killer
A safe and eco-friendly weed killer for any yard! Spray fully concentrated vinegar directly on weeds- especially the pesky ones that live in cracks on your driveway. Spray on a dry, sunny day and effectively kill unwanted greens without the use of harmful chemicals. Remember that vinegar is extremely potent and will kill plants you want to keep as well, so be careful where you spray.
2. Extend the life of cut flowers
Dissolve 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar per quart of warm water. When filling the vase, be sure the cut stems are covered by 3-4 inches of the mixture water. Sugar aids in plant nourishment while vinegar inhibits bacterial growth, keeping your blooms fresh.
3. Feed your acid loving plants
Azaleas, rhododendrons and gardenias thrive in highly acidic conditions. You can spray and water them with a quick refresher: one cup vinegar to a gallon of water. They’ll perk up and have happy, healthy blooms.
The acidic nature of white vinegar can be used as a fabulous clothes whitener and brightener for dingy white and colored clothes. This cheap additive helps reduce odor and softens fabrics without harsh chemicals. It is safe to use in both high-efficiency and standard washers.
1. Soaking whites
For whites that need a bit more attention, we recommend soaking them for a few hours in a basin of warm water and a cup of vinegar. After a good soak, wash as usual. For stubborn spots like underarm stains and odor, fill a spray bottle with undiluted distilled white vinegar and spray directly on the fabric-inside of the underarm area works best, allow to work for at least ten minutes before washing.
2. Vinegar on new denim
A great trick to keep new jeans from fading! Soak new jeans for an hour in a cold water bath with one cup of vinegar. Vinegar’s acetic acid helps lock in dye and prevent fabric bleeding on dark jeans. Lay flat and air dry. No worries, the vinegar scent evaporates away as the denim dries.
3. Cleaning the washing machine
Run your washing machine on its highest and hottest setting. Add 4 cups of white vinegar and turn it on. When the hot water has filled up to the top, stop the machine and let the water and vinegar mixture sit for an hour or so. This method works best for top load washers. Because of vinegar’s super strength, it isn’t an ideal choice for front load washers. Vinegar may corrode the rubber seal over time.
The Hawai’i special
Man-o-war can put a painful end to any beach day. The best remedy (nevamine da shi-shi) is a spray bottle full of vinegar. The go-to aid is to rinse with vinegar and remove any residual stingers or remaining tentacles. Vinegar acts as a sting neutralizer and inactivates the release of more toxin from the nasty bubbles. Pack the bottle in your beach bag along with your sunscreen and stay all day ‘till sunset.