9 Ways This Home Remedy Can Solve Your Household Problems

Don't relegate white vinegar to the kitchen


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White Vinegar: A True Utility Player

Cleaning supplies

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(This article appeared previously on Grandparents.com)

White vinegar has been known to brighten flavors to salads, fajitas, coleslaw and more. But did you also know it can help you out around the house as well? Check out these nine home remedies using white vinegar:

1. Clean Rusty Tools and Metals

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Remove even the most stubborn rust from tools with a solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent white vinegar. “Vinegar is a great metal cleaner,” says Melissa Maker, founder of Toronto-based cleaning service Clean My Space.

Soak tools in the vinegar bath for a few hours, or a few days for heavily rusted items. The acetic acid in vinegar reacts with rust, helping it dissolve. Watch it in action here. You can also use vinegar to clean metal items like scissors, kitchen shears and knives, Maker says.

2. Scour the Bathroom

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Vinegar works to clean many areas of the bathroom. For dingy glass shower doors, “mix equal parts dish soap and white vinegar and apply to glass surface to break down soap scum,” Maker says.

You can also use it on tiled floor, mixed with water, to remove dirt and leave a shine. If you have calcium or lime deposits, a stronger vinegar (6 to 10 percent, Maker says), will get rid of the stains.

3. Wipe Blinds

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Clean blinds easily with vinegar and an old sock or glove. Mix one part water and one part vinegar, dip your hand (covered by the sock or glove) into the solution, and wipe down each slat.

4. Unclog a Drain

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Instead of using harsh chemicals to unclog a drain, try this green DIY solution from LiquidPlumr.com. First, pour boiling water down the drain, then follow with a cup of baking soda. Then, pour a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar into the drain. After covering with a drain plug and waiting a few minutes, flush again with boiling water.

5. Clean Your Coffee Maker

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Drip coffee makers may not get the proper cleaning they need to prevent the growth of yeast, mold and other bacteria.

According to a 2011 NSF study, the coffee maker reservoir is the fifth germiest place in the home. A vinegar cleanse will sanitize and remove calcium buildup from water in your machine.

Fill it with an equal mix of water and vinegar, and brew with a filter until half empty. Turn off and let sit for 30 minutes, then finish brewing. End the process by brewing twice with regular water. Many popular coffee machine manufacturers recommend cleaning the machine once a month.

6. Renew Old Paintbrushes

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No need to toss paintbrushes because the bristles are clumped with dried paint. Place brushes in a pot with vinegar, bring to a boil, kill the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Once cool enough to handle, comb through the bristles to remove the paint easily. Rinse with water. Reshape and let dry for paint brushes that are good as new.

7. Soften Fabric and Remove Static

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Known as a great stain remover, vinegar does double duty by also softening your fabrics and reducing static. Maker uses it in every load of laundry.

After adding detergent, she fills the fabric softener compartment with vinegar, which helps remove soap residue in the washer and can break down hard water deposits.

“It’s good at softening fabrics because it loosens up the fibers, gets detergents out and is very gentle. It also gently whitens clothing and deodorizes,” she says. The deodorizing properties work well for smelly towels or gym clothes too, Maker says. Use a vinegar-only load for tough odors.

8. Remove Sticker Residue

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Tape and stickers can leave an annoying residue that can be tough to remove. Vinegar breaks down the glue for fast removal. Spritz the spot with vinegar and let sit for a few minutes, then easily wipe away. If your crafting scissors get sticky, Maker's water and vinegar bath for metals works well too.

9. Deodorize a Smelly Garbage Can

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In this cool tip from HouseholdHacker, freshen up a stinky garbage can by soaking a slice of bread with vinegar. Place the slice on a paper towel in the bottom of the empty can. Leave overnight and remove in the morning to eliminate the odor. Find other vinegar uses from HouseholdHacker here.


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