What Should I Do?

20 Reasons to Keep Vinegar on Hand

A must-have solution for everyday living
Thursday, May 24, 2012, 10:36 PM

Vinegar is a wondrous substance that every prepared person should keep on hand. Whether it is for cleaning, salads, or getting the smoke smell out of clothes, having a few bottles of this multipurpose liquid in the pantry is a must-have prep. Its uses and virtues are so numerous, it is hard to select just a subset for this article. 

To start off with, vinegar is incredibly inexpensive compared to the products it can replace around the home, and can be purchased in one-gallon bulk contains to save even more. And the bottles can be easily reused for emergency water storage or freezer jugs.

Vinegar is non-toxic as a cleaner and has an almost indefinite shelf life. So 'explore some of the top reasons to keep vinegar handy and available. 

For the Garden and Yard
  • Weed killer - Kill weeds and grass growing in unwanted places by pouring full-strength white distilled vinegar on them.  Great for sidewalks and gravel driveways. A 1-gallon sprayer makes the job super easy. 
  • Slug killer - Kill slugs by spraying them with a mixture of 1 part white distilled vinegar and 1 part water.
  • Soil acidity booster -  To increase soil acidity, mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of water. Water acid-loving plants such as azaleas, gardenias, rhododendrons, and blueberries. Vinegar also helps release iron into the soil, and helps to neutralize limey soil. 
  • Make a fruit fly trap for your fruit trees – Mix 1 cup of water, ½ cup cider vinegar, ¼ of sugar, and 1 Tablespoon of molasses. Put about 1 inch of the mixture into old tin cans, and hang 2-3 in each tree.
  • Keep chickens healthy – Add apple cider vinegar to your chickens’ drinking water, in a ratio of about 1 tablespoon per gallon.  Keeps chickens from pecking each other, can be used as a de-wormer, and works as a general tonic. Make sure to only put it into plastic water containers to prevent corrosion of your waterer.
In the Home
  • Fruit fly trap – Put apple cider vinegar into a small bowl (or cup), add a few drops of dish soap, and stir. Set next to any troublesome areas in your kitchen. Replenish and clean out as necessary.
  • Ant Repellant – Keep ants away by spraying vinegar along their trails. 
  • All-purpose cleaner and descaler - Use 2 parts vinegar, 1 part water for general cleaning and descaling of mineral and lime buildup.
  • Appliance cleaning – Reduce soap build-up by using white distilled vinegar to clean your coffee maker, washing machine, humidifier, and tea kettle by running vinegar through the appliance or soaking the mineral build up until it dissolves.
  • Dishwasher cleaner – Open up clogs and deodorize by adding ½ cup vinegar to an empty dishwasher and running the rinse cycle. 
  • Unclog your showerhead – Unscrew your showerhead, and throw it into a pot of equal parts vinegar and water. Soak for a while to loosen deposits that may be blocking your showerhead.
  • Clean away soap scum – Scrub with straight vinegar, and rinse with water. For particularly stubborn soap scum, scrub with baking soda after wiping with vinegar, then rinse with water.
  • Remove toilet stains – Remove as much water as possible from the toilet bowl, then pour in straight white distilled vinegar to cover the stains. Allow to sit 20 minutes or so, then scrub clean. 
  • Remove laundry stains - Saturate the stain in vinegar and let it sit for several minutes. Rinse with water, and repeat if necessary. Wash immediately afterwards.  
  • Frost-free windows – Wipe down your windows prior to an oncoming cold night with a mixture of 3 parts vinegar and 1 part water.
  • Clean rust off of tools – Soak tools in a strong solution of vinegar overnight. Wipe clean and rinse well the next morning.
  • Polish car chrome – Polish chrome with full-strength vinegar.
In the Medicine Cabinet
  • Hair rinse and dandruff treatment – Remove soap buildup on your hair by rinsing with a solution of 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar in 2 cups of water. For dandruff, use a higher concentration.
  • Athletes foot (and other fungus) – Use vinegar directly on the affected area twice a day until it clears up.
  • Mouth Rinse and Gargle – Ease a sore throat by gargling with a solution of 1 Tablespoon vinegar in 8 ounces of warm water. Continue treatment every hour until your throat feels better. This solution is fine to swallow after gargling.

As the above list shows, there are many wonderful ways to use vinegar around the house. There are many more uses for this incredible liquid and I welcome any and all experiences and tips on using vinegar in everyday life.

Related content

13 Comments

jumblies's picture
jumblies
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 13 2010
Posts: 244
Fantastic article, Jason.

Fantastic article, Jason. Prepper or not, this is just very useful and practical information. For some reason I thought vinegar was an alkali but a quick search showed it was acetic acid. Now you'd piqued my interest so I did a few more searches and found the following 2 pages (I have no affiliation with either):

http://www.wisebread.com/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting

http://www.vinegartips.com/

That second link is very slow for me although they have over 1000 uses.

I'd only used it in marinades to tenderise meat and generously in salad dressings (fresh garlic, black pepper, dijon mustard). Can't get enough of it.

Pretty amazing stuff. Will try it as an air freshener to get rid of our dog smells. I hate using those chemical ones as I'm sure it's doing bad things to our little boys lungs (it makes me gag).

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 1572
jumblies wrote: Fantastic

jumblies wrote:

Fantastic article, Jason. Prepper or not, this is just very useful and practical information. For some reason I thought vinegar was an alkali but a quick search showed it was acetic acid. 

+1!   Great article, Jason!  Thanks for sharing such useful, practical info!  (I thought vinegar was alkaline too!!  Who knew?)

z's picture
z
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 1 2010
Posts: 7
We use it instead of fabric softener

When operating the washing machine, instead of putting in liquid fabric softener, we put 90% vinegar and 10% softener (just for the nice smell). Works like a charm.

Tycer's picture
Tycer
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 26 2009
Posts: 556
The acid that makes you alkaline

When adjusting your body's PH to more alkaline, drinking vinegar is a strong alkalizing agent. My wife can drink it, but it makes me gag. I use lemon juice for the same purpose.

LG's picture
LG
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 6 2009
Posts: 59
Cider Vinegar???

Jason,

Will Apple Cider Vinegar would the same? Good article.

plato1965's picture
plato1965
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2009
Posts: 615
Apple trees..

Want a sustainable supply of vinegar, cider and apples...

Plant an apple tree.

I've heard good things about apple cider vinegar, used it myself.. apparently good for stomach upsets and dandruff / scalp infections.

Oh, to make the vinegar, first you make cider - squish apples, collect juice, add yeast (or let natural yeasts on fruit do the work).

Then you need to oxygenate the cider, and hope a "vinegar fly" lands on the exposed cider.. - impregnating it with acetobacter..  (save a small amount of previous batch to seed next one..)

after that reaction has finished.. organic apple cider vinegar..

You can do the same thing with most forms of alcohol.. beer, wine..

Basic idea: sugars fermented by yeast produce alcohol.

Then alcohol + oxygen consumed by bacteria to produce acetic acid. ie "vinegar".

see:  http://scrimpalicious.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/home-remedies-homemade-raw-apple-cider.html

Grover's picture
Grover
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 507
Home made bug killer

Jason,

Great article! I haven't tried putting vinegar in my chicken waterers yet. That will happen tomorrow. I tried vinegar on weeds with varying degrees of success. The weeds are back pretty quick.

We get bag worms on our trees. My wife sprays a mixture of half cider vinegar and half water on the web. They're dead within a day and it doesn't seem to hurt the foliage or apples.

We make dozens of gallons of cider each year. There is enough vinegar-producing yeast on the apples that they will naturally ferment into vinegar if left at normal room (barn, garage, basement) temperatures. Don't leave the cap on too tight, or the bottle may explode.

If you want to make table wine, heat the cider to at least 160 degrees F for 20 minutes, put in a carboy, cool to room temperature and add yeast. (A sterilized gallon glass jug with a rubber balloon usually works just as well.) Champagne yeast will eat up most of the available sugars and leave you with a very dry apple wine that can be turned sparkly with a bit of fermenting sugar and bottling. If you add too much sugar, your bottles may explode ... so read about it and be careful! Other yeasts will limit the amount of fermentation and leave you with lower alcohol content and more sweetness.

Try it this fall. If you are successful, you've made a cheap bottle of tasty wine. If you're not successful, you'll end up with a bottle of vinegar. How can you lose?

Grover

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1025
Buttermilk substitute

You can add a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk, if you have a recipe like pancakes that calls for buttermilk.

ociana's picture
ociana
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: May 28 2012
Posts: 1
Vinegar and sunburn

My mother would apply vinegar to our sunburns when we were children.  It takes the fire out of it.  And only smells for a little while.

Poecat's picture
Poecat
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: May 28 2012
Posts: 1
Cleaning jewely with vinegar

You can clean your jewely using a little baking soda in vinegar. It cleans off any tarnish and makes it look like new again. Just soak it for about 1/2 hour then use a soft toothbrush and gently brush off the tarnish. It is also good for silver ware.

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
lining the tummy with vinegar

Personally, my favorite use of vinegar is in German potato salad and coleslaw.;-)

joemanc's picture
joemanc
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2008
Posts: 834
Awesome!

I knew vinegar had some uses, but didn't realize it had all of the ones listed above! I'm definitely going to try it out on weeds and ants!

Just an FYI...when I tried to print this article, it opened in another window and all of the links to previous What Should I do articles appeared at the bottom. I didn't realize it and ended up printing 5 pages instead of only 2.

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2485
Don't forget......Carolina

Don't forget......Carolina pulled pork BBQ sauce is vinegar and tomato based.

Add a couple of teaspoons of pureed ghost peppers and you have magic......

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments