18 Uses for White Vinegar, Your Favorite Pantry Staple

published Dec 15, 2019
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Ah, white vinegar, beloved of both the all-natural cleaning scene and elementary school science fair volcanoes. Just one gallon of this cleaning juggernaut should cost you less than $5 and see you through a slew of cleaning projects—not to mention other household chores. (Bonus: The vinegar and baking soda chemical reaction is still just as fun as when you were 8.) We’ve compiled a list of everything around your house that this magical substance can help you do.

1. Clean your windows

Get a new outlook on your kitchen by scrubbing the food spatter and residual grease buildup off your windows a few times a year. Just use a solution of one part vinegar to one part hot water to wipe down your windows and get everything sunshiney again.

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2. De-grime your oven

Coat the inside of your oven in a baking soda and water paste and let it sit for 12 hours, then wipe it off and spritz the stubborn bits down with vinegar to watch residual grime bubble away.

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3. Un-funk your dishwasher

Once you’ve dismantled and cleaned the individual interior components in your dishwasher, run a wash cycle with just some vinegar in either the bottom of the washer or in a bowl on the top rack. Bonus: the top-rack bowl trick will also work as a rinse aid when you have dishes in.

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4. Revive scorched pans

The reaction between baking soda and vinegar in this process should help loosen the damage to your burnt pans so you can scrub off any residue.

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5. De-scale your coffee maker

If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you’re bound to eventually get some buildup in your machine, especially if you live in an area with hard water. Luckily, a mix of equal parts water and vinegar is here to help. Run the machine with the mix, then run a few times with just water to remove any trace of vinegar smell.

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6. De-grime your microwave

Microwave a mixture of water and vinegar—a ratio of 2 cups water to 2 tablespoons white vinegar—in a bowl for five minutes, then let the steam sit for two to three minutes before you remove the bowl and turntable for a thorough interior wipe-down.

7. Clean and polish stainless steel appliances

Get the outside of your appliances just as clean as the inside with the help of your trusty vinegar spray bottle. First, give the outside a good spray and wipe with vinegar, then polish it up with a bit of olive oil.

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8. Shine up silver

Drop tarnished silver in a baking dish to soak with baking soda, sea salt, vinegar, and boiling water. Dry thoroughly then buff with a clean cloth.

9. Clean hardwood floors

Vinegar can be used to clean most types of hardwood flooring. Vacuum first, then mix a gallon of water with 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar and use a lightly dampened mop to clean.

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11. Remove carpet stains

For carpet stains, spray a solution of 50/50 water and white vinegar on the stain before blotting with a clean rag.

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12. Deodorize your washing machine

Washing machines can smell funky over time. Keep yours from affecting your laundry by running an occasional vinegar cycle.

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13. Remove ink stains on clothes

Exploding pen? Vinegar is once again here to help, this time in an unusual duet featuring milk.

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14. Un-stink a room

A bowl of white vinegar left out helps neutralize gross smells.

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15. Keep jeans from fading

To lock in the dye, soak dark jeans in a mix of cold water and half a cup of vinegar, then line dry.

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16. Unclog a slow faucet

If your spray faucet isn’t as strong as it once was, fill a plastic bag with equal parts water and vinegar and submerge the faucet in it. Tie or tape in place, then leave there for up to a day to let the vinegar dissolve any lingering mineral deposits. This works on shower heads, too.

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17. Make a glass pendant light glisten

A bit of vinegar helps remove grime and deposits on glass pendant lights.

18. Un-fog cloudy vases

To make glass vases clear again, mix a half tablespoon of salt with a little white vinegar, then use that paste to clean the inside of the vase. Wash with warm water.