15 Reasons Why Vinegar Is My BFF

When I first started to make my own stuff, I was surprised at how often my ingredient list called for vinegar. From cooking to cleaning to beauty products, vinegar is used in nearly every item that I make myself. Here are my 15 favorite uses of vinegar:

  1. Floor cleaner – Since I have a crawler, I’m constantly worried about what her little hands are touching before they make it to her mouth. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer and works great on both my hardwoods and my ceramic tile. I mix 1 cup of vinegar with every gallon of hot water and about 5 drops of Tea Tree essential oil (for scent).
  2. Diaper Pail Deodorizer – Anyone who cleans cloth diapers knows how horrible it can be, especially at the end of the day when the pail has to be transferred to the washer.  In the case of particularly poop-y days, I use the same combination as I do on my floors in the diaper pail, except I use Lavender oil instead of Tea Tree.  Not only does this save me the trouble of having to disinfect my diaper pail nightly, but I don’t risk ruining more diapers by putting too much bleach.
  3. Cleaning Spray – I keep 1/4 c. of vinegar mixed with 1 c. of water and some essential oils in a spray bottle and use it to do all of my household cleaning.  This works perfectly on mirrors, bathrooms & kitchens.  One of my next projects is cleaning my windows with vinegar and newspaper…I hear it’s the best.
  4. Disinfect wood cutting boards – Most cookbooks I read suggest only using wood for veggies and prepared food, but I have a giant wood cutting board that I love.  To disinfect it, I simply rub a little vinegar over it and let it dry.
  5. Fabric softener – I started to use vinegar in my rinse cycle as a fabric softener when I began line-drying my clothes.  I find that my clothes often dry board stiff and I found this solution online.  Another little trick I like is to spray my vinegar/essential oil combo on my clothes just before they dry.  It softens them up, takes out the wrinkles and leaves a nice smell.
  6. De-stink the dog – I only tried this once (today) but it & I’m excited about anything that means I have to bathe my bulldog less often.  I sprayed her down with my spray bottle of vinegar cleaner and she smelled much better.  I’ve read that vinegar also is a natural flea and mosquito alleviator, but I’ve yet to test that out.
  7. Keep flowers fresh – Here’s something I learned from the Barefoot Contessa’s cookbook: add 2 tbsp. of vinegar for each quart of water you put in a vase and keep your flowers fresh.  She recommends changing the water out every other day and it’s managed to keep my flowers fresher for at least a week longer…which is a great thing since I so rarely get flowers (ahem, honey, I know you’re reading this).
  8. Freshen wilting veggies – This works exactly the same on wilted veggies as it does on flowers.
  9. Boil an egg – Is it a shame that of all the things I can cook, I have a hard time boiling an egg and frying an egg?  I’ve tried every method of boiling an egg that I can find and this is the only trick that actually works, courtesy of Rachel Ray.  Add a couple tbsp. of vinegar to the water before it boils.  It also works to make rice fluffier if you add it to the boiling water, before the rice.
  10. Make buttermilk – I recently made the Barefoot Contessa’s Potato Salad recipe for a party.  Her recipe only called for 1/4 c. of buttermilk and the smallest carton my local store had was a 1/2 gallon.  I decided to try and make it myself and was astonished at how easy it was and how I couldn’t tell the difference!  Add 1 tbsp. vinegar to 1 c. milk and wait about 5 minutes — it’s buttermilk!
  11. Making stock – I’m not sure where I learned this trick, but it works.  When making a homemade stock, or any time you need to get meat off a bone, add a splash of vinegar while the meat is cooking.  Since vinegar tenderizes meat, it does half the work for you.
  12. Eliminate odor from hands – I’ve been doing this to free myself from lingering onion/garlic scent for a while but recently uncovered an even better time to use it.  After a crawfish boil, my friend’s dad saw me scrubbing my hands repeatedly.  I explained my fear of transferring seasoning to my new baby’s delicate skin when he suggested soaking my fingers in vinegar and then spritzing them with lemon.  Worked like a charm.
  13. Hair conditioner – I’ve tried the ‘poo-free thing a few times and although I haven’t been able to make a long-term commitment, I do love the wonders vinegar can work on your hair.  I like to mix 1/4 c. vinegar with 1 c. warm water and 5 drops of tea tree oil to condition my hair.  Not only does the vinegar (and tea tree) fight dandruff, it also reduces product build up and naturally brings highlights out.
  14. Preserve nail color – I hate the smell of nail polish remover on my hands.  And while I am trying to be a natural woman, there are a few girly things I still like to do.  I first tried vinegar on my fingers to get rid of the odor but found that it makes my color go on smoother and last longer.
  15. Sting neutralizer – If you don’t like to pee on your foot after being stung by a jellyfish, try vinegar.  It also works to relieve the pain of bee stings and stops the itchiness of mosquito bites.

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