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Preparedness

20 Reasons to Keep Vinegar on Hand

user profile picture JW May 25, 2012
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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.