SOS Mom Saver: Uses for Vinegar

It seems like there's a chemical out there for anything.  Don't you ever wonder what our ancestors did, though?  Most of them didn't have access to the thousands (or more) chemicals that our out there today.  Those that did have access likely didn't have the money.

They still managed to function!  What did they do?

They used simple products that they already had on hand or could easily obtain.  These products often had multiple (as in many, many, many, many) uses.

One such product is vinegar.  Vinegar has been a staple at our house for many years.  At under $3 for 2 gallons, it's a fantastic price. Plus, it's a natural food product (not food-based, but ACTUAL food) that is harmless.  Many of the ingredients below require a spray bottle.  You can get them at Dollar Tree as well as several other places for as little as $1 each.

A quick internet search will reveal "1001 uses for vinegar".  I've highlighted some of our favorite uses below:
  • Mosquito Repellent:  I'm told this won't be of use to us here in Vegas, but it was a life-saver back in Michigan and Oklahoma.  It's as simple as it sounds.  Dump vinegar into a spray bottle (full-strength), and spray on your body.  You will have a lovely, fragrant vinegar smell...but only until the vinegar dries at which point it is completely odorless.
  • Dishwasher Rinse-Aid:  Pour 1/4 cup of full-strength vinegar into the rinse-aid container on your dishwasher.  It is just as (or more) effective as the expensive, chemical-laden rinse-aids.
  • Liquid Fabric Softener:  Pour full-strength vinegar into the washer when you would normally add fabric-softener.  This is also a great way to help get odors out of your clothes.  And no, they will NOT smell like vinegar once dry!  You can also add full-strength vinegar to some of the automatic fabric-softener balls.  It will release at the proper time just as with "regular" fabric softener.  A bonus here is that while chemical-laden, store-bought fabric-softeners will lessen absorption on your towels, vinegar will NOT.  It will give them a soft feel without making them less absorbent.
  • Dryer Fabric Softener:  To use vinegar as a fabric softener in your dryer instead, just dip a washcloth or dishcloth into full-strength vinegar, squeeze it out, and throw it in the dryer with your other wet clothes.  To make this easy, keep an old baby wipes box full of vinegar.  Open it, dip the wash cloth, squeeze it out & toss it in!  Your clothes will not smell like vinegar once dry.
  • Clean Your Windows:  Guess what one of the main ingredients is in most over-the-counter, chemical-laden window cleaners is...vinegar!  So why not do it yourself and skip all of the chemicals?  The mixture ratio varies here from as little as 2tbs of vinegar in 1 gallon of water to 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water.  I personally fill our spray bottles (which aren't even close to a full gallon) about 1/4 of the way with vinegar & fill the rest with water.  It's best to use old newspapers to wipe your windows down, but if (like me) you don't have them, cloth is fine...I just wipe with a dry cloth after cleaning the window to make sure there are no streaks!
  • Clean Your Counters and Walls:  Any non-wood surface including bathroom counters, sinks, bathtubs, outside of toilets, etc can be cleaned with vinegar.  You can even get stains off the walls with vinegar.  For most of these purposes, I use a solution labeled "General Cleaning" which consists of 1/2 vinegar & 1/2 water in a spray bottle
  • Clean Your Kitchen Counters:  I use a different mixture on my kitchen counters where we sometimes (though rarely) handle raw meat and eggs, I use a mixture of 3/4 spray bottle with vinegar then fill half of the rest with lemon juice & the other half with water.  It's a strong solution, but I want to make sure my kitchen counters are properly disinfected.  I clearly label this one "Kitchen" so everyone knows which mix to use in the kitchen.
  • Mop Your Floors:  I use my "General Cleaning" solution for this as well.  In fact, I use the same spray bottle that I use for everything else.  We spray it on the floor then mop!  Again, that's 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water in a spray bottle.
  • Clean Your Carpets:  You can get most stains out of the carpet with vinegar.  I use my "General Cleaning" solution (1/2 vinegar/1/2 water in a spray bottle) for this as well.  Spray on, blot with a damp cloth, repeat until stain is gone.
  • Wash Produce:  Many will use a solution similar to my "General Cleaning" solution for this, but I use full-strength vinegar in a spray bottle if I'm cleaning non-organic produce.  In fact, I soak my fruits & veggies (not berries) in a vinegar solution then scrub & rinse them.
  • Kill Weeds:  During the hottest part of the day, spray your weeds with vinegar.  The sun will react with the vinegar and will kill the weed.  Warning!!!!!  This will kill EVERYTHING that it comes into contact with so if you don't want it burned by the vinegar/sun reaction, make sure it doesn't get sprayed!
Do you use vinegar for any purpose other than cooking?  What do you use it for?  I'll add your suggestions to this post so people have more great ideas to choose from!


homesteadmommy said...

I didn't know about the weed killer! I am going to try it! You can also in a pinch use it as conditioner. It is also one of the main ingredients in homemade hair highlighter!
I use vinegar alot and am always looking for new uses for it!

Theresa said...

YES it is a wonderful weed killer! My hubby used it last year(actually mixed a little salt in w/it)and this year we have way less weeds than any of our neighbors. Even after all the rain we were blessed with!!

Shelley said...

Just like vinegar is a good softener for your clothes, it works as a good conditioner for your hair. 1 Tbsp. to a cup of water

Anonymous said...

You just reminded me to kill some weeds. Thanks!

Also, I'm 85% sure that you don't need a blanket disclosure page; what you want to do is disclose in a sponsored post or compensated post or if you are linking to affiliate links within a post: the point is to make clear the separation between your content and your advertising for specific instances so your readers know that the words being typed might be influenced. That doesn't happen with a blanket disclosure.

That's what I remember from the FTC Q&A from a few months ago, anyway.

Also also....I doubt you can really get in trouble with the FTC anyway...they claim to only really care about those "I tried the blah blah blah diet and look what it did for me!" fake blog sites and other notorious con games :}

Thoughts of THAT mom said...

Homesteadmommy: We're always learning something new, aren't we?
I have used regular and apple-cider vinegar as conditioner before. I'm always looking for new uses too!

It DOES work wonders, Theresa!

Thoughts of THAT mom said...

According to your percentage, Backpacking Dad, that means there's a 15% chance that I could end up in jail if I DON'T do the disclosure.

And I don't look good in stripes or orange. Especially orange stripes. It isn't pretty.

Therefore...the full disclosure will remain. Now should they change the jail attire, I might reconsider.