A Gajillion Uses for Vinegar

The uses of vinegar are amazing, varied, and practically never-ending! We've been collecting household hacks for more than two decades, so other the years we have compiled about a gajillion household uses for vinegar! Here they are, organized by uses for your Car, Cooking, Skincare, Health, Cleaning Around the House, Laundry, Cleaning the Bathroom, Cleaning the Kitchen, Doing the Dishes, Garden and Yard, and Other Uses. Grab that gallon jug of vinegar from the dollar store and enjoy!

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
25-minute read


Polish Chrome

Need a chrome polish? It’s as simple as vinegar. Apply directly on chrome with a rag for a quick, simple shine.

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Get Rid of Window Decals

Transparent decals may be easily removed using a solution of equal parts lukewarm water and white vinegar. Place the solution on a sponge and dampen the area thoroughly for a few minutes. If this doesn’t work, saturate the decal with straight vinegar and let stand for 15 minutes.

Easily Remove Bird Droppings

If you come out to your car in the morning and it’s covered in bird poop, head back inside for some vinegar. Pour or spray the vinegar directly on the spot and wait 5–10 minutes, then it should wipe away easily with your windshield fluid and wipers.

Get Rid of Windshield Streaks

Streaks on your windshield are often causes by dirty wipers. If you don’t have any alcohol on hand to clean your windshield wipers, use white vinegar instead.

Keep Ice from Forming on Windshields

If you have to leave your car outside overnight in the winter, you can still keep your windshields ice- and frost-free. Mix three parts vinegar to one part water and coat the windows with this solution. (Never pour hot water on your windshield. The glass may expand from the heat and then contract as it cools, causing the windshield to crack.)

Get Rid of Salt Residue

Are white salt stains covering the carpet of your car in the winter? Remove them by spraying or dabbing white vinegar on, then wiping with a wet cloth.


Remove Smells from Hands

Even though we debunked removing smells from hands with stainless steel in our Lifehacks that Don’t Work podcast, one thing we found that did work was simply washing your hands with vinegar after dealing with stinky foods like garlic.

Get Smells Out of Food Storage Containers and Ice Cube Trays

If your plastic food storage container is starting to smell funky, just let some white vinegar sit in it for 30 minutes, then wash as usual. The smell will be gone! This also works for ice cube trays.

Use as a Buttermilk Substitute

Next time you need buttermilk in a recipe, don’t go buy a whole carton that you’ll later throw away half-full. Instead, make an easy buttermilk substitute by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk and letting it stand for five minutes to thicken.

Test Baking Soda for Effectiveness

If you’re not sure how old your baking soda is, test its activity level. Stir 1/4 teaspoon baking soda into about 2 teaspoons of white vinegar. If it doesn’t bubble vigorously, throw it out.

Keep Icing Creamy

To keep icing from hardening, just add a very small amount of white vinegar after it is whipped.

Make Flaky Pie Crust

Want to know the secret to a flaky pie crust? Vinegar, of course! Add a teaspoon of vinegar to the water while you’re making the pie, and the crusts will be flaky and airy.

Make Meringue Fluffier

When making a meringue, add 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar for every three egg whites and watch it really fluff up.

Use for Firmer Gelatin

If you’ve ever had a Jell-O salad melt at a picnic, you’ll love this tip. When you add the water to any gelatin recipe in hot summer months, mix in a teaspoon of white vinegar to keep salads and desserts firm.

**Clean Pesticides off Produce

Bathe your fruit and veggies in a bowl of cold water with several spoonfuls of vinegar added. It will wash off dirt as well as any dangerous pesticides that were sprayed on the produce in the field.

Keep Hard-Boiled Eggs from Cracking

Humpty Dumpty probably wish he knew this trick! To keep eggs from cracking while you’re boiling them, add a teaspoon of salt to the water. It will keep them from cracking while they’re in the pot.

Make Poaching Eggs Easier

Vinegar is also great for keeping poached eggs from getting too runny.

Keep Cheese Fresher

To keep cheese fresh and moist, wrap it in a cloth dampened in white vinegar and put it in an airtight container.

Make Sour Cream Last Longer

To help sour cream last longer, add white vinegar right after you open it (1 teaspoon for a small container and 2 tablespoons for a large container). You won’t notice the taste, and the sour cream won’t go bad as quickly.

Refill Jars of Pickled Foods

If you eat pickled foods like pimientos or jalapenos, make sure to cover them in vinegar before storing them in the fridge. They’ll last much longer!

Remove Stickers from Fruit

Have a pesky label on a piece of fruit that won’t come off? Just rub some vinegar on it and it will peel right off.

Make an Easy Marinade

Vinegar helps tenderize the tough protein fibers in meats, so using it in marinades and braising liquids makes your dishes even more succulent. Simply add some garlic and your favorite spices to balsamic or wine vinegar and you’ve got a marvelous marinade! Or, add some vinegar and a bit of cooking oil to empty jars of tomato sauce, ketchup, salsa, or chutney. Shake and the bits of yumminess left on the side of the bottle will combine with the oil and vinegar to make a quick marinade (add more spices as desired).

Make Pasta and Rice Less Starchy

Preparing pasta? If you put a few drops of vinegar into the water as it boils, the starch will be reduced, making the pasta less sticky. This also works with rice: for every cup of uncooked rice, add a splash of vinegar.

Get Rid of a Fishy Smell

After frying fish, put a little white vinegar into the frying pan to help get rid of the odor on the surface.

Solve Stinky Tuna Salad

Canned tuna or salmon can be great for a healthy lunch. However, if the strong fishy smell bothers you, try sprinkling it with a little white vinegar before emptying it out of the can. After five minutes or so, it should smell (and taste) better!

Help for Removing Fish Scales

If you’re gutsy enough to scale your own fish, make it easier by rubbing the flesh with vinegar five minutes before scaling.

Get Whiter Cauliflower

When boiling cauliflower, add a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to the water to preserve the white color.

Get Rid of that “Burned Dinner” Smell

If you’ve burned dinner, welcome to the club. To get rid of the smoky scent (or any other strong kitchen odor), simply boil a cup of vinegar in 2 cups water. In 15 minutes, the smell should be gone. Or just dampen a cloth with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Drape it over the cooking pot, taking care that the edges are far from the flame or intense heat.


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.