Vinegar is great for all kinds of things. It’s a fantastic natural cleaner, a disinfectant for wounds, a natural fabric softener, the list goes on.
A few things I use it for around the house:
Kitchen cleaner: I fill a spray bottle with vinegar, put a few drops of essential oil of choice and a few drops of dish soap, shake, and that’s it. I use it to wipe down counters, clean the stove top (with the help of baking soda), and if you’ve cooked something in a pan that you know is going to be difficult to clean, spray it while it’s still hot. It’ll be easier to clean later.
I’ve been told that you only need to add some to water for it to be an effective cleaning solution. As inexpensive as vinegar is (I get it for about $3.59 for 2 gallons at a national warehouse store), I suppose it would be even more economical to dilute it with water.
You can also make a citrus vinegar cleaner (very effective, I’ve tried this) by steeping orange peels in vinegar for two weeks, straining, and using the way you’d use regular vinegar. I’ve found that regular navel oranges work better than clementines (clementines tend to make a very syrupy solution). Grapefruit, lemon, and lime all work as well.
Bathroom cleaner: I make this the same way I do with the kitchen cleaner, though sometimes I’ll steep lavender flowers in a jar of vinegar for a couple weeks and add some of that to the bottle. It makes it smell better, and somehow makes it clean better. It’s good for cleaning anything that needs to be cleaned in the bathroom, and even does a decent job on the mirror if you skip the addition of the soap (I’ve found that the soap makes it streak the mirror).
A side note about using vinegar as a spray cleaner… it won’t cause any permanent damage if your kids get hold of it and spray it in someone’s eyes. I learned this first-hand when I got a face-full of the stuff last week. It stung my eyes for a few minutes, but it didn’t cause blurred vision. Of course I made it out to be worse than it actually was so that he wouldn’t do it again, but my eyes were fine within a few minutes.
Fabric softener: I usually try to have a bottle of vinegar with lavender vinegar added handy in the laundry room, but plain white distilled vinegar works just as well (though you don’t get the nice smell you do with the lavender vinegar). Just add half a cup or so to the fabric softener cup of your washing machine (I reused one of the blue oxyclean scoops to measure and pour, then add another scoop of plain water to the dispenser).
Wrinkle remover: Not for your face, but for fabrics… I like to keep a spray bottle handy, with either lavender vinegar or plain, to spritz wrinkled clothing and other fabrics that need smoothing. Just spray the clothing item with some vinegar and put in the dryer on whatever setting is appropriate for that item (air fluff for delicate items). I hate to pull out the iron and ironing board, so I use this trick often.
This also makes for a fantastic “Boo! Be Gone!” or “Monster-away!” spray for the boys’ bedroom. It serves the dual purpose of aromatherapy (lavender to calm) and room freshener. Just set the nozzle to as fine a mist as you can get. They will make you spray every nook and cranny of their room when they can’t fall asleep at 10PM because they’re convinced there’s a monster under their bed, but once you’ve done it, they should be fairly convinced that there aren’t any monsters left anywhere in their room.
It will also get rid of the stinky sweaty-boy smell on the sofa cushions, their bed pillows, helps with stinky sneakers, and makes a great air freshener for whatever room you keep your cat’s litter box in.
Fruit and vegetable wash: I sometimes use it with a tablespoon or so of baking soda, but vinegar alone works great for getting rid of dirt, wax, and other residues on your fruits and veggies.
Vinegar can revive less than happy lettuce leaves. Add a couple tablespoons to a bowl of cold water and soak your lettuce in it for a while, rinse, and it will be crisper. I’ve found this to work very well. You can also add a tablespoon of vinegar to a container with an inch or two of water in the bottom, shave off the end of the stem on your head of lettuce, and let it sit in the bowl in the fridge. I’ve tried this only this week, and it definitely keeps longer this way.
Add a tablespoon to the vase of water, along with a tablespoon or two of sugar, to help cut flowers last longer.
If you bring a cut tree in as part of your holiday celebrations, add vinegar and sugar to a gallon of water to help keep your tree hydrated and keep the needles from dropping as quickly. This worked pretty well for us last year.
These are all things I use vinegar for on a regular basis (except the tree… we only do that once a year) and have found that it works well. I’d love to hear what has worked for others!
~ Just a Mom