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Thrifty Thursday: Vinegar - The Budget-Friendly Miracle Worker

In case you missed it, vinegar is making a whole new name for itself.  Pinterest-users, DIY bloggers, and even retailers are raving about the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar as well as the household uses for distilled white vinegar.

Uses for White Vinegar | Image source: / Photographer: Brooke Becker

We're all about budget-friendly household staples that get the job done just as well as the standard stuff, but the added benefit of replacing cleaning products made with harsh chemicals is that items and areas cleaned with natural vinegar are safe for kids and pets, and it's better for the environment.

On average, a gallon of white vinegar costs $2.39. Here are just a few ways you can use it.

In the Kitchen

Add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the pot while you're boiling eggs. Doing this helps the whites stay formed and also makes peeling the shell a little easier.

Spinach wilting? Soaking leafy greens in cold water mixed with a bit of vinegar will help to perk them up.

Smelly hands from chopping onions for dinner? Eliminate the stench by rubbing white vinegar on them.

Adding vinegar to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, or cooking beans while boiling them will enhance the taste and help to reduce the gassiness they can induce. (You're welcome.)

Cleaning the Home

If your garbage disposal starts to smell, mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar together, then pour it down the drain. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, rinse with hot (preferably boiling) water.

If your microwave has accumulated some major caked-on splatter, heat up a bowl of water mixed with vinegar for a couple of minutes. This steam will help make the mess easier to wipe away and it'll get rid of odors.

Fruit flies taken over? Fill a small bowl or mug with vinegar and mashed-up fruit. Cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few small holes in the wrap. The flies are attracted to the smell and will crawl in without being able to get back out.

If your kitchenware - especially glasses - are cloudy from hard water, wrap the items in paper towels soaked with vinegar and let them sit for awhile. Those pesky, cloudy deposits will rinse right off.

Cleaning tile? Skip the bleach and pour vinegar on the dirty areas instead. Let it soak, and scrub away with a tooth brush.

Slightly scuffed CDs and DVDs can be repaired by wiping with a soft cloth and a bit of vinegar.

Rings on the coffee table from icy drinks that've sat too long? Mix equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil, then use a rag to rub with the grain to remove them.

Washing Laundry

If your kiddos haven't quite mastered potty training, mattress accidents can be cleaned with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Once you've used this mixture, sprinkle some baking soda onto the dirtied area, let sit until it's dry, and brush or vacuum the residue away.

Deodorant, mustard, tomato sauce, and ketchup stains can be lifted by spraying some vinegar onto the stain and letting sit for several minutes pre-wash.

Freshen up bright colors and get your laundry even cleaner by adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. The acetic acid in the vinegar won’t harm fabrics, it simply dissolves the soap residue that can dull dark clothing. It also acts as a fabric softener, a static reducer, and a mildew-inhibitor, so you can skip buying those extras!

Get yourself out of sticky situations by loosening chewing gum stuck to upholstery, rugs, and carpeting with a bit of vinegar.

Outdoor Solutions

Need to remove a bumper sticker you're no longer fond of? Spray the decal with vinegar until completely saturated and let sit. The sticker should peel off in a few hours. If not, repeat the process.

Wipe car windows and windshields with a 3-to-1 vinegar-water mixture to keep them frost-free in the wintertime.

Kill weeds and crabgrass by pouring vinegar directly onto them.

Keep garden slugs at bay by spraying with equal parts vinegar and water.

Keep your bouquet fresh a little longer by adding a few tablespoons of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar to the vase water.

Pet Protection

Pets scratching at their ears? Wipe them down with a cloth dipped in vinegar.

Cats are not fans of vinegar, so if you want to keep them away from furniture or certain places in your home, spray a bit of vinegar in the area.

If your pet has had the unfortunate experience of getting sprayed on by a skunk, draw a bath of half water-half vinegar, wash, and rinse with fresh water to eliminate the odor.


Vinegar can also renew paint brushes, kill bathroom germs, brighten up coffee cups and teeth, loosen a rusted screw, leave your hair gleaming, and so much more. Check out this article for 45 additional uses for vinegar. Keeping a supply of this green and affordable product at-the-ready will save you time, mess, and money, and work wonders for your health and the environment, too!

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