Vinegar is Very Versatile

October 23, 2007
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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?

7 Responses to Vinegar is Very Versatile

  1. Alorna on October 29, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    I use vinegar instead of fabric softener, have for years now. Works great and leaves no scent. I do have some dress clothes that are still static-y and I use sheets for them until I find a way around it.

    Also, when the tub is nasty, I scrub with baking soda and rinse with vinegar. The chemical reaction cleans really well – it gets *everything* off.

  2. SnapHappyInkyMomma on October 25, 2007 at 1:18 am

    I’ve used vinegar and baking soda in my drains, not to clear clogs but when they get that yucky smell . . . nice to know that it’s a good remedy for a clog, too! Thanks for the tip!

  3. Daisy on October 24, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Diet coke and Mentos in the drain…I like it. :)

  4. the Mom on October 24, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    I use vinegar to clean my bathrooms. It dissolves hard water stains and is MUCH cheaper than bathroom cleanser.

  5. Jen A. Miller on October 23, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    I use vinegar and baking soda on my tub drain — it’s a must when you have long hair! Works like a charm.

  6. Lindsay on October 23, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    I have heard, but haven’t tired, that vinegar when added to the the rinse cycle can act as a fabric softener. You could do a whole post too on baking soda.

  7. Kacie on October 23, 2007 at 2:35 am

    I subscribe to All You! I know the relationships editor, and she hooked me up with a great deal. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for your article.

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