8 Tips for Using Vinegar

Hello Somewhat Simple readers!  I’m so excited to be back here with you this lovely month of April!  Last month on Ask Anna I did a series called Vinegar Tips & Tricks: 40 ways in 10 days.  I learned so much from the series that I wanted to share 8 of my favorite tricks with you!  I was surprised about how versatile vinegar is and I think you’ll be surprised to learn some of these tricks too!

#1 Prevent Color Fading

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We all hate it when our dark clothes get lighter and lighter with each wash but by adding a little vinegar to each load you won’t have to worry about it anymore!  To brighten the color of your clothes, and prevent them from fading, forget purchasing expensive anti-fade products, simply “add [1 cup] white vinegar to your wash cycle to brighten up the colors in each load”!!!

#2 Removing odors

 Vinegar is great for getting odors out of clothes!  Recently my daughter got food poisoning and threw up all over everything {yes, I mean everything}.  Unfortunately the smell of vomit will stick to anything it touches, and linger, even after being washed.  Fortunately adding 1 cup of white vinegar to a load of laundry will get rid of a number of offensive smells, including vomit!

#3 Insect Repellent

Do you have a problem with ants in your home?  In my opinion there aren’t a whole lot of things that are worse then being invaded by ants!  To prevent future invasions you need to arm your door crossings, your window sills and the baseboards!  “Pour full-strength white vinegar around [those] areas [to] prevent the [ants] from invading.”  They don’t like white vinegar, which means I love white vinegar!

#4 Cloths and Sponges

I’ve had lots of readers email me and ask me how to keep their kitchen sponges smelling fresh.  If you use a sponge to wash your dishes you’ve probably noticed that after a few days it starts smelling pretty awful.

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Well here’s the solution: vinegar.  To “keep and sponges smelling fresh [soak them] overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar and water.”  In the morning pull them out of the vinegar/water solution, rinse and they are ready for use!  Not only will your sponge smell fresh again but it will be disinfected.

#5 Hard water spots

“To remove hard water spots from sinks, showers and baths, wipe using a cloth soaked in full-strength vinegar.  Allow to stand for about 5 minutes and then rinse with water.”

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Another great way to stay on top of water spots is to keep a spray bottle of white vinegar in the bathroom and just before brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom, etc. spray the bathroom fixtures down with vinegar and then when you are finished brushing your teeth, etc. rinse the fixtures with cold water and dry them off with the hand towel.

#6 Removing Paint from glass

 This past summer I restored a couple of old windows and used paint stripper to get the paint off the glass.  I sure wish I had known this trick because it would have been nice to use a product that isn’t so toxic!  To remove paint from glass all you need is hot vinegar.  “Heat up the white vinegar [in the microwave] and use a cloth to wipe away [the] paint.”  Way less headache {literally} than using paint stripper!

#7 Getting rid of rust

To get rid of rust on your outdoor tools, bolts, or other metal items, simply “soak them in full strength white vinegar.”  Depending on how rusty they are, will determine the length of time they need to be soaked.

If they are super rusty let them soak for a couple of days.  After removing them from the white vinegar rinse them with water and dry them off with an old rag {to prevent any left over rust from getting on your nice towels}.

#8 Animal deterrent

I wish I had known this trick when we built our first house, out in the country, because I couldn’t keep the pesky deer from eating our plants!

Deer, as well as other animals, “including cats, dogs, rabbits, foxes and raccoons, [don’t like] the scent of vinegar even after it has dried.  [To keep these pesky] visitors out of your garden [soak] several rags in full-strength white vinegar and place them on stakes around [the] garden, particularly around areas such as vegetables and flower beds.  Re-soak the rags every 7-10 days.”

If you would like to see the rest of the tips from the series you can view them all here.  Do you have any tricks that you use vinegar for?  I would love to hear them, I always enjoy learning new things about such a versatile product!

These tips are based on a book I received from my mom at Christmas.  All items in quotations are referenced from Vinegar: 1001 Practical Household Uses.

Over at Ask Anna we are Spring Cleaning this week.  Stop by and join us, and learn some new cleaning tricks!

Anna

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Comments

  1. This post has me wanting to jump up and start cleaning- which is a huge feat Anna! :) Thanks so much for this great info!!!

  2. Sharon Whittington says:

    Cool and interesting things to know!

  3. I used vinegar in my laundry and as a rinse aid in my dishwasher. I love all of the tips here. We need to use the one for the sponges.

    lexmallabooks.com

  4. Fascinating!

  5. Anna,

    We read above that one should “add 1/2 pint white vinegar to your wash cycle to brighten up the colors in each load”…

    WOW! really? Why not say…

    “add 1 cup …” which is easier to understand and accomplish for the average reader!!!

    Quoting from the book might seem like the thing to do but 100’s or maybe even 1000’s of readers will have to figure out what the equivalent number of cups “1/2 pint” is equal to as they are not using pints on a day-by-day measurement standard.

    If you provided the more common measurement, “cups”, from the beginning, you are saving a lot of readers time.

    I will be bold enough to say, almost no-one uses pints as there measurement standard.

    i.e. if one were to say “add 1 1/2 cups …” which is equivalent to “add 3/4 of a pint ….” one is viewed as being more practical and helpful when they use the “cups” as a measurement standard instead.

    Pete (for Diana)

    PS: most people no longer have the measurement equivalents stored in the fore-front of their minds which is sad, in a way, but it is the reality of our busier lifestyles.

    PPS: Thanks for the tips and pointers regarding vinegar… Diana uses them all the time.

    note: lest I start a flaming session, I want to use another example from my carpentry experience…how many of you, without having to figure it out, would think I was crazy to say to a less experienced carpenter… “… cut that piece of wood 1/2 a yard long…”
    Without thinking about it I know its 1.5 feet or 18 inches but almost no one would understand that without having to figure it out.
    using the lowest common measurement denominator is almost always more practical.