March 01, 2010

Tips, Tidbits & Tricks: Vinegar

As you can tell, I love featuring columns on the blog and titling those columns with alliterative names. So new feature on Mondays: Tips, Tidbits & Tricks. This column will consist of helpful tips for you to use around the house. Week one: vinegar.

Fun facts about vinegar:
• Vinegar has been used for 10,000 years
• The International Vinegar Festival is held every June in Roslyn, South Dakota
• Pearls melt in white distilled vinegar
• Germany, Austria and the Netherlands make vinegar from beer
• During the American Civil War, vinegar was used to treat scurvy

Note: In the tips below, vinegar refers to undiluted, distilled white vinegar available at any grocery store

• Garbage disposal cleaner
Pour 1 cup vinegar into an ice cube tray. Add as much water as you need to fill the tray. Freeze, put the cubes into the disposal and flip the switch to clean and deodorize. Flush with clean running water for about a minute.

• Clean that microwave
Boil a solution of 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave. Wipe down with a sponge for a low-effort cleaning solution to the dried on tomato sauce and coffee stains.

• Unclog the showerhead
Over time, hard water and soap scum can build up on showerheads and clog the holes (resulting in that annoying stream of water that hits you right in the eye). Soak the showerhead in distilled white vinegar overnight. Two options: soak a towel in vinegar and wrap around the showerhead or attach a shopping bag with a good amount of vinegar to the showerhead using rubber bands.

Kill weeds
Grass and weeds coming up through driveway and patio cracks? Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and start spraying. Weeds will disappear (might take a reapplication or two).

Stain remover
Deodorant and antiperspirant stains may be removed from clothing by lightly rubbing with white distilled vinegar. Wash as usual.

Clean vases
Remove film in narrow-necked glass jars, flower vases, and bottles by letting vinegar sit in them for a few hours. Add a little rice or sand and shake to loosen grime. Rinse and you’re ready to go!

Fruit fly trap
Get rid of fruit flies by setting out a small dish of vinegar.

Shower door cleanser
Spray shower doors with vinegar before you before hop in the shower. The vinegar and steam will help release the hard water deposits so they don’t remain on the glass.

Craft time
Clean scissors that have become sticky (see Valentine’s Day post) with a cloth dipped in vinegar.

There you have it! Who knew something as ordinary as vinegar could have so many helpful uses (and so much interesting history!)? What’s your favorite household use for vinegar?

References: Vinegar Tips and The Vinegar Institute.

Tip from my friend Dan Dalic
Best vinegar trick - take a spray bottle, fill 1/4 full of white vinegar, 1/4th full of ammonia, fill rest with water (so 1/2 bottle)... best solution ever for cleaning windows


  1. Great tips! I had no idea vinegar had so many uses. Might need to hit up the International Vinegar festival...

  2. What a useful post Meg! And I would concur with Dan Dalic about the window cleaning solution. Jon did that last spring and the windows looked amazing!

  3. Jules, tell Jon to take a drive up here and wash my windows so I can really make sure it was a good tip!

  4. i love using viengar as a toner on my face. half apple cider vinegar, half witch hazel. also, vinegar is a great clarifying wash for a your hair every once in a while insead of conditioner.