I want to tell you a secret: I love vinegar. I go through a gallon every two weeks or more, and that’s not during the canning season. When canning season takes over, I feel like I’m always telling my husband we need more vinegar. You might be shocked to realize there are so many uses for vinegar, especially on a homestead.
My family doesn’t understand why we use so much vinegar. My mother purchases one gallon, and that can easily last for six months to a year. For us, white vinegar is a staple, not just for cooking and canning, but for dozens of other things as well.
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These are some of my favorite uses for vinegar, although there are many more. Beware: When you’re done reading, you might feel the urge to run out and stockpile vinegar.
1. Rinse Your Fruits & Veggies
An easy way to clean all of the vegetables and fruit you harvest from your garden is to use a vinegar rinse. Fill up your sink with cold water and add a cup of vinegar. Put your fruits and veggies into the sink and let them sit for 10 minutes. Then, rinse them off.
Using a vinegar rinse is more effective and cleans your fresh veggies better than plain water will.
2. Extend The Life of Cut Flowers
If you have a vase of flowers, you can extend the life of the flowers. All you need to do is add two tablespoons of vinegar and one teaspoon of sugar per liter of water.
3. Clean the Rust from Garden Tools
Garden tools get rusty and dirty quickly throughout the growing season. Vinegar can be used to get rid of any rust that is on these surfaces. All you have to do is either soak or spray the tools with undiluted vinegar, and rinse to finish cleaning the tool.
4. Clean Your Coffee Pot
You might be surprised to know how dirty your coffee pot or Keurig can become. If you want to clean it out, use a mixture of 50/50 water and vinegar solution. Run it through the tank, and if you have hard water, it might take more than one tank. Continue to do this until it comes out without any particles or flakes.
Word of advice: This does work very well, but be sure you rinse it out thoroughly and don’t leave any solution at the bottom before using your Keurig. Trust me; your coffee won’t taste so well.
5. Clean Your Dishwasher
If you have a dishwasher, all you have to do is add vinegar to your empty dishwasher. Then, run a cycle. If you have tough stains, a vinegar salt mixture can be used, scrubbing it on the stains.
6. Pickle Anything!
As a homesteader, I bet you pickle everything that you can. We don’t let those vegetables we grow go to waste. Vinegar pickles anything—cucumbers, peppers, radishes, green beans, and even eggs.
7. Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce
Nothing beats homemade barbecue sauce. If you want to try some recipes, chances are you need some vinegar to make the most delicious sauce ever, like this kind.
8. Disinfect Your Home
Perhaps the most common use for vinegar is as a household disinfectant. More and more people are using vinegar to clean their homes, and I love it! All you need is a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar. You can add essential oils or even soak citrus peels in the vinegar for a scented cleaner.
9. Clean Clay Pots
Clay pots are a great choice because they keep the soil cooler during the hot summer months while also reducing water evaporation. The problem with clay pots is that they absorb calcium, salts, and minerals from the fertilizers and water added to the soil. Vinegar and water is the perfect solution to get them clean.
10. Clean The Floors
This same solution can be used as a floor cleaner. You can add this mixture to your WetJet or put it in your mop bucket.
11. Get of Bathroom Stains and Germs
There are many ways to use vinegar in the bathroom. You can use it at full strength to clean off the bathroom germs from your toilet or sink.
Another idea is to add white vinegar to your toilet bowl and let it soak. It makes it easy to scrub off stains.
12. Remove Lime Deposits
Do you have lime deposits on your faucets? White vinegar is your best friend! You have two options. First, you can mix vinegar and salt to create a paste. Rub it over the deposits and then spray it off.
The other option is to fill a plastic bag with white vinegar and use a rubber band to attach it to the end of the faucet. It needs to soak for several hours, but as it soaks, it breaks up lime deposits.
13. Takes Care of Bug Bites and Stings
Do you have a bug bite that is bothering you? Vinegar is a fantastic way to get rid of the bite or sting. Soak a cotton ball in either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Then, dab it on the bug to take away the discomfort and itchiness.
14. Reduces Litter Box Odor
Litter boxes have a reputation for being stinky. Even scrubbing with soap and water doesn’t seem to remove the odor. Instead, try soaking the box with vinegar. Then, rinse it clean to eliminate the nasty smell.
15. Clean Paint from Paint Brushes
Let’s admit it; we’ve all had good intentions to keep painting then got sidetracked. The next thing we know, our paintbrushes are hard and nasty.
Don’t toss out the brushes; you can salvage them! Put vinegar into a pot and bring it to a simmer. Let the brushes soak in the vinegar, then rinse them clean.
16. Make A Fabric Softener
There is no need to spend all of that money on expensive fabric softeners at the store. Replace store-bought fabric softeners with white vinegar. All you have to do is add the vinegar to the softener compartment in your washing machine. It’s that simple!
Not convinced that vinegar really will soften your clothes? It works because vinegar helps to break down the detergent better, leaving your clothes feeling softer. Plus, there aren’t any nasty chemicals contained in vinegar.
17. Give a Quick Acid Boost to Your Soil
Even though the effects are temporary, you can increase the acidity level of your soil by adding vinegar. Some acid-loving plants, such as azaleas or gardenias, can benefit from one cup of white vinegar mixed into a gallon of water. Pour that in the soil around your plants.
18. Kill Weeds
If you have pets or kids, chances are you don’t want to use a toxic weed killer. One of my favorite uses for vinegar is to make one-gallon white vinegar with one cup of table salt, and 2-3 tablespoons of dish soap. Spray it on the weeds that you want to kill on a sunny day. It’ll kill the weeds before you know it
19. Brighten Whites
If you have hard water or well water, you might struggle with this same problem that I do. My whites never look white – they end up looking dingy and not how I want them to look.
A natural way to brighten your whites is to add one cup of vinegar to a large pot of water. Bring it to a boil, add in your clothes, and let them soak. Make sure you remove the pot from the heat first!
20. Get Rid of Ants
Do you have an ant problem? Vinegar is an effective method for removing ants from your property. Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar. Then, spray this mixture on the ant hills throughout your garden.
You can then spray this mixture on the entry paths, countertops, sinks, and windows throughout your house. Ants hate the scent of vinegar, so they won’t cross the places with this scent.
21. Deter Snakes in the Garden
Snakes might have some benefits, but if you’re like me, you say no way to any snakes in the areas where you like to spend time. White vinegar is a strong odor that repels snakes. Try spraying vinegar on your garden perimeter, especially at any entrance to your garden or places they like to hide.
22. Make a Fruit Fly Trap
It’s also fruit fly season right in the middle of the harvest season, and not much drive me as insane as fruit flies. You have yummy fresh produce on the counters, and they won’t leave them alone.
23. Soothe Your Sunburn
If you spend too much time outside and get a sunburn, you can soothe it with a bit of white vinegar, especially if it’s cold. Just mix one tablespoon of vinegar with one cup of water and spray it on the burn.
These are just a few of the many uses for vinegar. Vinegar is a versatile item that all homesteaders and gardeners should keep with them. You’ll always find a way to use it, whether you need it in the garden or to keep your house clean. Vinegar is a must-have item.
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