Growing up I thought of vinegar as oil’s best bud and the tangy liquid that made cucumbers spicy and delicious. But over time I’ve learned just how versatile vinegar can be–and not just as a salad dressing.
For starters, I’ve discussed how vinegar can deodorize wet laundry that’s sat for too long in the dryer, and how “brewing” a pot of vinegar can work the gunk out of an overused coffee pot. I remember my mother teaching me that a combination of vinegar and baking soda poured down a drain can clear out a clog as well as chemicals, without the same caustic effect on pipes (though I have to wonder if the exploding Diet Coke-and-Mentos concoction that the guys on “Mythbusters” favor would clear out drains as well).
I just got finished writing a story for All You Magazine on how going green can save you green (gee, why does that concept sound so familiar?!). In researching how to make your own cleaning supplies, a suggestion in my story, I came across tons of innovative uses for vinegar. Here are some of the uses that didn’t make it into my story:
* Vinegar can act like pest control.
Pour it in a place where ants are congregating to “encourage” them to get out of dodge, or put out a small bowl of vinegar to suck in fruit flies that might be buzzing about your fruit. (You can visit this vinegar tips website for more ideas like these.)
* Vinegar works well to “fix” a pet’s accident.
If your dog gets skunked or your cat pees on the rug, vinegar can help get the odors out. With the peeing-on-the-carpet instance, the lingering smell of vinegar will likely dissuade the animal for peeing there again. Hopefully she chooses her litter box the next time and not a patch of carpet six inches away.
* Vinegar makes your hair shiny again.
If you’re a styling-product junkie, you’re probably spending money on and using clarifying shampoos on a regular basis to wash away that build up (or at last you should be). Turns out that a vinegar-and-water combo hair rinse does a great job getting rid of styling-product build up, too. I find this idea kind of icky but folks tell me that if you shampoo after the rinse, the smell disappears. (I guess this can’t be any more icky than when my daughter brought home lice and we soaked our heads with olive oil to get rid of the little buggers–and it worked.)
For more ideas on what you can do with vinegar, check out The Vinegar Institute, a trade association of vinegar manufacturers. (Who knew such an association existed?)
In the meantime what are some ways that you use vinegar around the house–and I don’t mean in salads?