Few products out there have as many household uses as vinegar. From soothing feet to cleaning a computer mouse to removing streaks from your dishes, vinegar is definitely a product to have on hand in large quantities. I’ve compiled a list of just a few of the many household uses for vinegar below.
Vinegar foot soak to remove dry skin. This was a new one for me, but one I learned while visiting my mom in the hospital recently. Nurses came in and asked if she wanted a vinegar foot soak. They poured up a 50/50 solution of vinegar and warm water, and dipped two bath towels in the vinegar solution. After wringing out the towels, they wrapped them around my mom’s feet and let them “soak” for about twenty minutes.
When they removed the towels and wiped her feet down with a fresh towel the dry skin practically fell off, leaving her skin smooth. I think she still deserves a nice pedicure when she leaves the hospital, but I was impressed by this frugal solution to dry skin.
Substitute for expensive rinse aids in dishwashers. I learned about this vinegar tip from Amy over at MomAdvice.com. Skip the Jet Dry and simply put some vinegar in the rinse aid compartment of your dishwasher. Dishes will come out “squeaky clean” and without streaks. If you are skeptical of this one, note the primary ingredient in commercial rinse aids is, what else, vinegar!
Clean trackball computer mouse. I use a Logitech TrackMan Wheel mouse at home and my lone complaint about the device is that over time dust and lint accumulates under the trackball and impedes its movement. Disconnect the mouse, remove the trackball and use a soft cloth dampened in a 50/50 vinegar-water solution to wipe off fingerprints, dust and accumulate grime from the trackball itself. Then use a cotton swab or Q-tip moistened in the same solution to clean out the little chamber the trackball is housed. Let parts dry about two hours before replacing the trackball and plugging the mouse back in.
Removing mildew. We recently had some mildew build up in a hard-to-reach corner of our shower, and instead of using a costly commercial bleach cleaner, I had success with white vinegar. Simply apply a solution of equal parts vinegar and water to the mildew (for heavy build up you may need to try full strength vinegar). The nice thing about using vinegar is you don’t have the ventilation or skin irritant concerns you have when using commercial cleaners.
Remove stickers and window decals. Vinegar is great for removing stickers and decals. Apply full strength vinegar to the sticker and let it sit for a few minutes. Then scrape the sticker off using a credit card (preferably one you paid off!).
Make your car windows frost-free. In the winter I spend a few minutes each morning scraping frost from my windshield. Inevitably, the later I am for work, the heavier the frost! I am implementing this tip to save myself some time, and from potential frostbite on my right hand. Spray windshields with a solution of three parts white vinegar to one part water. Each application can last up to several weeks.
Remove bad odors. Have you ever had this experience? We recently found a three-month old container of tuna fish in the very back of the refrigerator. The smell was almost bad enough to peel paint from our kitchen walls. Even after running it through the dishwasher it still smelled like seaweed rotting on a beach in July. We soaked a slice of white bread in vinegar and left it in the container overnight. Voila, no more bad smell!
Disinfect cutting boards and counter tops. After chopping up chicken for tonight’s dinner, it is a good idea to disinfect your cutting board and surrounding counter tops to remove bacteria and bugs such as Salmonella. Wipe them clean with full-strength white vinegar. The acetic acid in vinegar is an excellent disinfectant.
Freshen up your garbage disposal. After a few weeks, garbage disposals start to smell a little like that old container of tuna fish as foods rot and bacteria grows. Instead of buying those expensive disposal deodorizing tablets, make your own at home. Mix equal parts vinegar and water and freeze in an old ice tray. Drop a few cubes in the disposal once a week and flush with cold water.
Remove cigarette odors from suits and coats. Ever been trapped in the same room with a smoker for a couple hours? Chances are your coat or suit jacket now smells like cigarettes. To eliminate the odor, fill a bathtub with the hottest water your water heater will produce and pour in one cup of vinegar. Hang your suit or coat on the shower curtain bar and close the bathroom door overnight. The smell should be gone by morning. Warning, lock the bathroom door, or avoid this tip altogether if you have small children as a filled tub presents a potential drowning hazard. I keep this tip handy on trips, and have used it to remove wrinkles from clothing after unpacking my suitcase.
As I stated in the opening, this is only a partial list of the many household uses for vinegar. Please share with us your frugal vinegar tips in the comments below.