Are you looking for an eco-friendly, nontoxic all-rounder cleaning product that can be used from washing your windows and remove stains to get rid of pests and remove rust and candles wax? Chances are you already have it in your cupboard!
If not, it’s time to stock your pantry with distilled white vinegar and learn here below about its endless uses. Do you know of any other trick? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll include it in the list!
It's important to note that there are many different types of vinegar, the best ones for the hacks below being cleaning vinegar and distilled white vinegar and, eventually, apple cider vinegar.
If you’re worried about its strong smell, please note that it will disappear once vinegar evaporates but, if you’re really sensitive to it, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil (which can also add some disinfecting properties – click here to learn more).
VINEGAR IN THE GARDEN
Get Rid of Fruit Flies
Prepare a small bowl with apple-cider vinegar, optionally add some pieces of banana peel, cover it with cling wrap and punch the centre with a handful of small holes. The sweet smell will attract flies, they’ll fly in and get trapped. Replace whit a fresh one until needed.
No need to reach for the chemical weed killer to kill weeds in your garden. Combine one bottle of vinegar with a cup of salt and a tablespoon of grey water safe dish soap and spray on weeds. Repeat if necessary.
Drive Away Pests
Keep ants away by spraying the areas where they usually gather with a solution made of equal amounts of water and white vinegar. The smell of vinegar will cause them to stay away or permanently leave your house.
Test Your Soil
Check if your soil is too alkaline but placing a sample in a container and pouring half a cup of vinegar on it. If it fizzes or bubbles, it’s too alkaline and you’ll need to add some sulphur to bring its pH down. When soil is highly alkaline, it reduces the nutrients available to plants and it’s generally not good for your garden unless you have plants that thrives in highly acidic soil such as Lavender, Honeysuckle and lilacs.
Extend the Life of Flowers
Extend the life of fresh cut flowers by adding two tablespoons of sugar and two of apple cider vinegar to your vase. The sugar will feed the flowers and the vinegar will bring the water’s pH down and prevent bacteria proliferation.
VINEGAR IN THE KITCHEN
Disinfect cutting boards
Wooden cutting board cannot be washed in the dishwasher and it’s a good habit to disinfect them frequently to avoid mould and bacteria’s proliferation. After each use, you can give your cutting boards a quick spray of vinegar before wiping it clean. For a deeper but natural clean, sprinkle some cooking salt on your board and rub it with half a lemon. Wash with clean water and let it dry fully before storing.
Unclog and deodorise drains
This hack you’ll probably know already but it’s worth listing it here too: If you have a clogged and/or smelly drain, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar. When all the bubbles stop, run hot water for few seconds and let it rest. After about 5 minutes, rinse with cold water. This nontoxic approach is less damaging to your pipes than commercial drain cleaners.
Remove smells from your fridge
Remove all the food and wash all the shelves you can remove with dish soap. Mix equal parts vinegar and water and wipe down all the surfaces. Refill your fridge and add a bowl with baking soda to remove any lingering smells once and for all.
Steam clean the microwave
Run your microwave on the highest setting for 5 min with inside a glass bowl containing 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water. Don’t open the door for at least 5min to let the steam do its work, then remove the bowl and wipe out all the stains.
VINEGAR IN THE BATHROOM
Disinfect hairbrushes and combs
Let your brushes and combs sit overnight in a solution of half water and half vinegar to remove all the build-up and disinfect them. The same process can be used to clean bath toys.
Remove shower head’s limescale build up
If you can remove the shower head easily, place it in a bowl and soak in vinegar overnight. Otherwise, wrap it in a small towel soaked in vinegar or insert it in a plastic bag containing vinegar secured with rubber bands. For better results, let it sit overnight and then run hot water for a few minutes before taking your shower.
Make your own Hair Clarifying Treatment
Vinegar is quite effective in removing build up from your hair, left by silicones contained in the most common shampoos. You can create your own Apple Cider Vinegar rinse following one of these recipes or buy an organic one here.
VINEGAR IN THE LAUNDRY
Keep Colours Bright
Vinegar can help you preventing colours fading from your coloured clothes. Just mix 2/3 cup of distilled vinegar with 3 litres of water and pre-rinse your laundry for up to 15 minutes, then wash and dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Whiten Your Whites
You can add vinegar to your first rinse cycle to whiten your clothes, you’ll need between 1/8 and 1/2 cup based on the size of your laundry. Thanks to its acidity, vinegar will help removing yellowing and naturally whiten your laundry.
Remove deodorant and sweat stains
Spray pure distilled vinegar on the inside of the underarm areas and let is sit for at least 10 minutes before washing as per instructions. If there’s a lot of deodorant residues and the fabric feels stiff, use a soft-bristle brush to break up the residue. This method will also help remove sweat odour from your shirts.
Reduce Lint and Pet Hair
Add 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar in the rinse cycle to prevent pet hair from clinging to your clothes.
Naturally Soften Fabrics
Fluffy soft laundry is everyone’s dream but if you are avoiding commercial fabric softeners or prefer a fragrance-free option, add ½ cup of distilled vinegar to the final rinse. If you do like a light scent, add a couple of drops of an essential oil too.
Get Rid of Wrinkles
For worn garments that just need a quick refresh, spraying a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water on the wrinkled areas can help you avoiding tedious ironing. After wrinkles have been lightly misted, hang the garment to dry and you’re done!
VINEGAR AROUND THE HOUSE
Remove carpet stains
Vinegar is a good way to naturally lift odours and stains out your carpet. Soak the stain with white vinegar and then sprinkle on baking soda until the solution fizzes. Wait a few minutes and then vacuum up the powder. If the smell persists, apply a drop or two of essential oil over the vinegar. Click here to learn about other ways to naturally remove stains.
Remove Wax spills and chewing Gums
Tipping over a candle is one of those things that make you count to 100 before saying something. Next time it happens (hopefully never), try heating up the wax with a hair dryer, remove as much as you can with a paper towel and then pass a paper towel soaked in vinegar to remove any leftover.
Vinegar can also come to the rescue with chewing gums: just rub the area with pure white vinegar until the gum residue disappears.
Vinegar is excellent in removing rust: just let your shears, scissors, knives etc soak in vinegar for several hours until the rust is all lifted. Rinse and wipe dry. You can also try a different method: pour white vinegar, sprinkle some salt and rub it on with a cork.
Keep Windows and Mirrors streak-free
Forget the glass cleaner products: eliminate another toxic cleaner from your house and make your own by mixing one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. It will help you keeping all reflective surfaces streak-free, including stainless steel surfaces.
Revive a Dried-Up Paint Brush
Soaking up that dried-up brush in a cup of vinegar will help loosen up the bristles. If it’s not enough, you can boil the brush in vinegar for 10min. In both cases, follow with a warm soapy water wash.
Erase Pen marks from your Walls
Pen marks on walls (but also on other hard surfaces) can be scrubbed away using distilled white vinegar and a microfiber cloth until the signs fade away.
Clean Your Iron
Keep your clothes iron efficient by removing limescale deposits from steam vents and spray nozzles. Simply fill the water tank with a solution of equal parts distilled white vinegar and distilled water and let the iron steam for about five minutes in an upright position.
Let the iron cool down, rinse and refill the tank with distilled water and iron an old cloth for several minutes to expel any residue.
You can also remove scorch marks from the faceplate by rubbing it with a paste of equal parts distilled white vinegar and salt, but only if your iron has a steel plate to avoid ruining it.
How many hacks did you already know? Which one are you willing to try first? Let us know in the comments below!