Although a gallon of distilled white vinegar only costs around two or three dollars, the uses are virtually endless, making it a must-have commodity in any home.
Here are a few of my favorite:
- Keep berries fresh longer — Rinse berries in a bowl with a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water. Drain and refrigerate. This will help prevent molding and mushiness, prolonging the freshness of the sweet treats.
- Clean fruits and veggies — Instead of rinsing with just water before consuming, clean with a mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water. Spray and wipe, or soak in a bowl, depending on whether the item is smooth and solid, or leafy with lots of crevices. After giving the vinegar/water treatment, rinse in clear, clean water and you’re ready to go.
- Clean tea and coffee pots — Vinegar is great for removing mineral deposits from just about anything. Add a cup of vinegar, swish it around, and let it sit for a few hours. Afterwards, give it a light scrub with a rag, a mesh pad or a brush, to loosen up any residue still in place, and rinse. I do this with bare hands — it doesn’t bother me — but a lot of people prefer to use cleaning gloves.
- Make bathroom fixtures work like new — The same mineral deposit removing action that vinegar does on pots, also works on bathroom fixtures. My mom’s favorite trick is to fill a sturdy sandwich bag with white vinegar and then slide over her shower head. She secures it with a rubber band and leaves it overnight. The next morning, her showerhead is clean, like new! The same principle can be applied to faucets and kitchen sprayers. The trick is, to use the vinegar to remove any mineral deposits.
- Get mineral deposits off of countertops and sinks — Make a solution of vinegar and water. The more mineral deposits, the higher the vinegar:water ratio should be. For really stubborn areas around bathroom fixtures, you can soak paper towels (or wash rags) in full-strength vinegar and cover the affected areas with it and leave overnight. In the morning, remove the soaked paper towels and scour away any remaining residue with a mixture of white vinegar and salt.
- Clean the microwave — Fill a bowl with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of water and put it in the microwave for five to seven minutes. Any dried-on, caked-on food residue should now wipe away easily, and the microwave will smell fresh.
- Clean up puppy stains — After blotting up moisture from puppy stains, use vinegar to kill the smell that remains. On color-safe carpets, saturate the spot really well by spraying vinegar from a spray bottle. Leave it to dry and the vinegar will destroy the enzymes in the puppy pee. On hard floors, after wiping up the wet mess, spray the area well with vinegar, wait a few seconds and then wipe dry.
- Remove pet stains (or baby stains!) odors from clothing and linens — Add a cup of white vinegar to the washing machine to remove the enzyme odors from your laundry.
- Forget to move your clean laundry from the washer to the dryer? Get rid of that smell with vinegar! — Do NOT put clothes in the dryer first. Simply re-run the load in the washer and add a cup of vinegar along with your detergent to get rid of that mildew smell.
- Grubby can-opener? — Vinegar will clean that right up!