150+ Household Uses for Vinegar

With so many different uses around the house, this super item — in its white vinegar as well as its apple cider vinegar versions — deserves a special place in your pantry.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Control your dandruff

To give your dandruff the brush-off, follow up each shampoo with a rinse of 2 cups apple cider vinegar mixed with 2 cups cold water. You can also fight dandruff by applying 3 tablespoons vinegar onto your hair and massaging into your scalp before you shampoo. Wait a few minutes, then rinse it out and wash as usual.

Condition your hair

Want to put the life back into your limp or damaged hair? You can whip up a terrific hair conditioner by combining 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 egg whites. Rub the mixture into your hair, then keep it covered for 30 minutes using plastic wrap or a shower cap. When time’s up, shampoo and rinse as usual.

Protect blond hair from chlorine

Keep your golden locks from turning green in a chlorinated pool by rubbing 1/4 cup cider vinegar into your hair and letting it set for 15 minutes before diving in.

Soak away aching muscles

Got a sore back, a strained tendon in your shoulder or calf, or maybe you’re just feeling generally rundown? Adding 2 cups apple cider vinegar to your bathwater is a great way to soothe away your aches and pains, or to simply to take the edge off a stressful day. Adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your bath can lend an able assist as well.

Freshen your breath

After you consume a fair portion of garlic or onions, a quick and easy way to sweeten your breath is to rinse your mouth with a solution made by dissolving 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt in a glass of warm water.

Ease sunburn and itching

You can cool a bad sunburn by gently dabbing the area with a cotton ball or soft cloth saturated with white or cider vinegar. (This treatment is especially effective if it’s applied before the burn starts to sting.) The same technique works to instantly stop the itch of mosquito and other insect bites, as well as the rashes caused by exposure to poison ivy or poison oak.

Banish bruises

If you or someone you care about has a nasty fall, you can speed healing and prevent black-and-blue marks by soaking a piece of cotton gauze in white or apple cider vinegar and leaving it on the injured area for one hour.

Soothe a sore throat

Here are three ways that you can make a sore throat feel better:

  • If your throat is left raw by a bad cough, or even a speaking or singing engagement, you’ll find fast relief by gargling with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt dissolved in a glass of warm water; use several times a day if needed.
  • For sore throats associated with a cold or flu, combine 1/4 cup cider vinegar and 1/4 cup honey and take 1 tablespoon every four hours.
  • To soothe both a cough and a sore throat, mix 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 4 teaspoons honey, and 1 teaspoon hot sauce. Swallow 1 tablespoon four or five times daily, including one before bedtime. Warning: Children under one year old should never be given honey.

Breathe easier

Adding 1/4 cup white vinegar to the water in your hot-steam vaporizer can help ease congestion caused by a chest cold or sinus infection. It can also be good for your vaporizer: The vinegar will clear away any mineral deposits in the water tubes resulting from the use of hard water. Note: Check with the manufacturer before adding vinegar to a cool-mist vaporizer.

Treat an active cold sore

The only thing worse than a bad cold is a bad cold sore. Fortunately, you can usually dry up a cold sore in short order by dabbing it with a cotton ball saturated in white vinegar three times a day. The vinegar will quickly soothe the pain and swelling.

Make a poultice for corns and calluses

Here’s an old-fashioned, time-proven method to treat corns and calluses: Saturate a piece of white or stale bread with 1/4 cup white vinegar. Let the bread soak in the vinegar for 30 minutes, then break off a piece big enough to completely cover the corn. Keep the poultice in place with gauze or adhesive tape, and leave it on overnight. The next morning, the hard, callused skin will be dissolved, and the corn should be easy to remove. Older, thicker calluses may require several treatments.

Get the jump on athlete’s foot

A bad case of athlete’s foot can drive you hopping mad. But you can often quell the infection, and quickly ease the itching, by rinsing your feet three or four times a day for a few days with undiluted apple cider vinegar. As an added precaution, soak your socks or stockings in a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water for 30 minutes before laundering them.

Pamper your skin

Using vinegar as a skin toner dates back to the time of Helen of Troy. And it’s just as effective today. After you wash your face, mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 2 cups water as a finishing rinse to cleanse and tighten your skin. You can also make your own facial treatment by mixing 1/4 cup cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water. Gently apply the solution to your face and let it dry.

Say good-bye to age or sun spots

Before you take any drastic measures to remove or cover up those brown spots on your skin caused by overexposure to the sun or hormonal changes, give vinegar a try. Simply pour some full-strength apple cider vinegar onto a cotton ball and apply it to the spots for 10 minutes at least twice a day. The spots should fade or disappear within a few weeks.

Soften your cuticles

You can soften the cuticles on your fingers and toes before manicuring them by soaking your digits in a bowl of undiluted white vinegar for five minutes.

Make nail polish last longer

Your nail polish will have a longer life expectancy if you first dampen your nails with some vinegar on a cotton ball and let it dry before applying your favorite polish.

Clean your eyeglasses

When it’s more difficult to see with your glasses on than it is with them off, it’s a clear indication that they’re in need of a good cleaning. Applying a few drops of white vinegar to your glass lenses and wiping them with a soft cloth will easily remove dirt, sweat, and fingerprints, and leave them spotless. Don’t use vinegar on plastic lenses, however.

Treat a jellyfish or bee sting

A jellyfish can pack a nasty sting. If you have an encounter with one, pouring some undiluted vinegar on the sting will take away the pain in no time, and let you scrape out the stinger with a plastic credit card. The same treatment can also be used to treat bee stings. But using vinegar on stings inflicted by the jellyfish’s cousin the Portuguese man-of-war is now discouraged because vinegar may actually increase the amount of toxin released under the skin. Warning: If you have difficulty breathing or the sting area becomes inflamed and swollen, get medical attention at once; you could be having an allergic reaction.