18 Ways to Get More Out of Vinegar

This kitchen staple is also a household hero. Read up on how you can start utilizing this natural and budget-friendly ingredient in your home.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
4-minute read

From eliminating windshield streaks to curing hiccups, you'll be sure to find a use for vinegar beyond just in your recipes. Here are all the ways you can start putting this natural and eco-friendly ingredient to work.

Simply Natural Cleaning

1. Vanquish Smells with Vinegar

Vinegar absorbs and neutralizes odors—from smelly pets and paint to smoke. Place a cup of vinegar in any room the odor reaches. In the kitchen, try boiling a cup of vinegar in 2 cups water. In 15 minutes, the smell should be gone. To remove odors from washable items, add 1 cup of white vinegar during the wash cycle.

2. Steam Away Microwave Mess

Microwave walls can take a beating from food and drink explosions. But cleanup and deodorizing are simple when you use vinegar. In a microwavable bowl, combine ½ cup vinegar and 1 cup water. (You can also add a few drops of lemon juice, if you like.) Microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, then let sit for a few minutes while the steam goes to work. You should be able to easily wipe away any formerly caked-on mess.

3. Whiten Grout—Without Bleach

You can dissolve nasty buildup without harsh bleach. Simply create a paste from baking soda and water and apply it to the grout. Spray the area with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water. Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a brush. Then rinse with warm water and admire the results!

4. Stop Windshield Wiper Streaks

Dampen a cloth with vinegar and run it down each blade. The acetic acid cleans away any dirt and residue but also coats the wipers to make them frost-free.

5. Get Fresh-Car Smell

A bowl of vinegar set in the car overnight will remove odors left by pets, kid athletes, takeout food, and more!

6. Make Sweat Stains Disappear

Is your laundry nemesis a perfectly good white tee yellowed by pit stains? Vinegar to the rescue! Just pour a small amount of white vinegar directly onto the stain and gently rub it into the fabric before washing.

7. Make your own fabric refresher!

In a spray bottle, add a 1:3 mixture of vinegar and water plus a few drops of an essential oil. Mist onto clothing and let dry.

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Your Secret Ingredient In The Kitchen

8. Stop Pasta from Sticking

Skip the oil that can chase away your pasta sauce; turn to vinegar instead. Adding a bit of white vinegar to the cooking water will lower the pH level and stop starch from getting pulled into the water, creating a sticky situation.

9. Out of Eggs? Vinegar to the Rescue!

Already started a baking recipe and realized you don’t have eggs? Just mix 1 teaspoon vinegar with 1 tablespoon baking soda for every egg needed. The combination will cause dough to leaven, much like eggs do.

10. DIY Fruit and Veggie Wash

Don’t bother with those expensive produce washes! You can make your own that’s just as effective by simply spraying a bit of vinegar on your fruits and vegetables and rinsing. Natural, easy, smart.

11. A Solution Your Hands Will Love

Working with berries, beets, or other stain-producing foods? Keep vinegar close by—it will remove any stains from your hands. Rub it on after washing your hands with soap to finish off stubborn stains.

At Home Cure-All

12. Make Your Own Dry Shampoo

Between washes, vinegar can help revive hair. Add 1 teaspoon vinegar to 2 cups water in a spray bottle, and spritz onto your roots.

13. Take the Sting Out of Jellyfish

The acid in vinegar can soothe the stinging and pain caused by jellyfish venom. Some research has found that it can actually prevent the release of more venom as well. Be prepared by keeping a small container in your beach bag.

14. Soften Cuticles

Prep for manicures and pedicures by soaking your fingers and toes in a bowl of white vinegar for just 5 minutes. Bonus: If you plan on applying nail polish, prepping with vinegar may help the polish last longer.

15. Cure Hiccups in Seconds

So many supposed “cures” get shared. But the only one many experts stand behind is downing a swig of vinegar. The dosage: Just a teaspoon of any kind of vinegar (though some say apple cider vinegar is more palatable). You can mix it in a bit of water, as needed. Exactly why it works hasn’t been discovered, but it’s suspected that it somehow calms the spasms that bring on hiccups.

16. Banish Bruises

Are you one of those people who seems to get bruises from every simple brush or bump? You can speed healing of simple bruises with vinegar! It helps dissolve the pooled blood that causes the bruise by enhancing blood flow. Simply soak a cotton ball in vinegar to create a compress and apply to your skin for up to 30 minutes. Gently massage the area as you apply, if it feels comfortable. Use twice a day and rinse after each application.

17. Soothe Insect Bites

Is the itch driving you crazy? Dab the area with a cotton ball soaked in vinegar. (Skip this remedy if you’ve already scratched the area raw. Remember, scratching will only make the itch worse and slow healing.)

18. Enlist to Help Fight Lice

While it won’t get rid of lice on its own, white vinegar can make it much easier to remove those sticky eggs, called nits. Vinegar works by dissolving the sticky solution that secures the lice eggs to your hair. Then you can use a special nit comb to remove nits from the hair. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, then dip the nit comb into the mixture. Repeat dipping the comb as needed, and be careful not to get vinegar near the eyes.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.