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11 Interesting Uses for Vinegar

From zesting up salads to sprucing up sauces, vinegar is a highly sought-after ingredient in the culinary world and there are limitless uses of vinegar in food. However, its acidic properties and chemical balance make it a flexible product for several uses outside of the kitchen, too. White vinegar and apple cider vinegar are particularly versatile, offering more acid and less flavor. Able to clean almost anything and do almost everything, vinegar is the cheap pantry staple that just keeps on giving. Check out our top 11 interesting uses for vinegar to learn how to put this powerful liquid to work.  

1. Clean your house. 

Say “buh-bye” to expensive cleaning products and opt for a tried-and-true cleaning solution: vinegar and water. Mix one part white vinegar and one part water in an empty spray bottle to create your own all-purpose cleaning spray. Covering your house from top to bottom, you can use vinegar for cleaning:

  • Windows
  • Mirrors
  • Blinds and shades
  • Countertops
  • Stove
  • Refrigerator
  • Appliances
  • Tile floors
  • Sinks
  • Doorknobs and handles
  • Shower curtain
  • Toilet bowl

Also clean the inside of your dishwasher with a vinegar solution. Check out our dishwasher cleaning dos and don’ts here.

2. Remove stains.

Whether they’re on the carpet or in clothing, stains are a part of life. While nobody likes dealing with stains, it’s helpful to know that your household vinegar is always to the rescue. Simply scrub and soak the offending mark with white vinegar and wash or launder it as usual. Hard-to-remove stains on the carpet can be treated with a paste of equal parts baking soda and vinegar. Persistent stains on clothes can be removed with vinegar and placed in the sun for a natural, stain-removing reaction.

3. Unclog a drain. 

Clogged drains are one of the most frequent problems with plumbing. Luckily, there’s an easy solution. After dislodging the clog with a plunger, plumbing snake, or other manual clog removal tool, try a combination of vinegar and baking soda.

Here's how to unclog a drain with vinegar:

  • Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by 1 cup of white vinegar.
  • Let foam and sit for 15 minutes.
  • Flush with hot tap water.

To keep drains from clogging, don’t pour fatty liquids down kitchen sinks, and use a mesh drain guard on bathroom drains to catch hair and other debris.

4. Sanitize containers. 

Vinegar can help clean and sanitize a jar, vase, or other container. Mix equal parts vinegar and warm soapy water in the container and let it sit for 15 minutes. After that, brush off any remaining sludge, food particles, and sliminess with a sponge or bottle brush. Lastly, rinse thoroughly for a completely like-new finish.

5. Repel insects. 

Thanks to the overpowering smell of vinegar, mosquitos, fruit flies, and other insects tend to avoid it. To get the maximum repelling benefits, spray apple cider vinegar directly onto surfaces. You can also mix one part white vinegar with three parts water to create a spray that insects can’t stand. 

Looking for more natural ways to repel bugs? Check out how to keep mosquitoes at bay without the spray

6. Deodorize the air. 

Sometimes, our homes are filled with odors we just don’t like. Burnt popcorn and other unpleasant food smells can make relaxing at home feel a lot less, well, relaxing. For an all-natural air deodorant, fill shallow bowls or dishes with distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and place them around the room. Let sit until the smell dissipates, and you can get back to living in odorless peace.

7. Keep berries fresh. 

Did you know that vinegar can work its magic on berries, too? Berries are a seasonal delight, but they can be quite delicate and prone to spoilage if not washed correctly. To ensure your berries stay fresh and delicious for as long as possible, follow these washing steps:

  • Mix three cups of water and one cup of white vinegar in a bowl.
  • Put your berries in the bowl and carefully rinse them without bruising or damaging them.
  • Let the berries soak for about ten minutes.
  • Drain berries and quickly rinse them under running water.
  • Pat them completely dry.

bowl of berries soaking in vinegar

8. Make metals shine. 

From silver to stainless steel and chrome, vinegar can make your metals shine. Give jewelry, surfaces, and car parts an excellent rub to bring it back to its original glory. Dip a microfiber cloth in undiluted vinegar and buff your silver, steel, and chrome items. Then, wait and watch your prized possessions get to their natural glow. 

9. Kill weeds. 

Your lawn deserves the same TLC you give to plants and flowers. Instead of covering it with harsh weed killer spray, try something more gentle to preserve the soil, roots, and green, healthy grass. Spray unsightly weeds and scary ant hills with a generous amount of distilled white vinegar. Consider dousing weeds when the forecast is dry and sunny to allow the vinegar to seep in, as rain can wash it out in a flash. 

Learn more about summer lawn care. Check out “7 To-Dos For a Fresh and Fabulous Summertime Lawn.”

10. Eliminate gooey gunk.

Did you get slime on your clothes? Is sticker goo stuck to a piece of furniture? Still have old bumper stickers on your car you’d like to see gone? Have no fear—vinegar is here. To eliminate gooey gunk from clothes, cars, windows, furniture, and more, first try to scrape off as much as you can. Then, saturate the remaining trouble spot with undiluted vinegar. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Finally, peel or brush off the excess with an old toothbrush.

11. Care for your hair.

Today’s hair product market is booming! The global hair care market totaled about $91.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2023 alone. That’s surprising, considering you can make your hair shiny and beautiful for much less money with a classic combination of vinegar and water. After shampooing, massage one tablespoon of vinegar and one cup of water into your hair. Thoroughly rinse and enjoy your luscious-looking locks.

aerial view of vinegar and baking soda and lemon for cleaning

The 8 Most Unique Uses of Baking Soda

Some of our 11 uses for vinegar include baking soda. When mixed, baking soda and vinegar create a strong solution that can unclog drains, remove stuck-on grease, and dislodge baked-in food bits. Read “The 8 Most Unique Uses of Baking Soda” to learn what else baking soda can do on its own.