Move over salad dressing – vinegar has other uses, too. A lot of other uses. For less than one dollar per bottle, this eco-friendly, non-toxic product has dozens of household applications, including cooking, beauty, pet protection and cleaning. Did you know vinegar can clean everything from paintbrushes to coffee makers just as well as brand-name cleaning agents? Here are a handful of clever ways to clean with vinegar:
Mineral deposits and hard water stains can leave streaks, residue and spots on your dishes. Adding white vinegar to a regular cycle can clear up your dishware plus deodorize and disinfect the machine. Simply place a dishwasher-safe cup of distilled white vinegar in the top rack and run through a cycle on the highest temperature. To learn more about caring for your dishwasher, check out our step by step to do.
For the best tasting cup of coffee every morning, your coffee machine needs the occasional purge. Every few months, pour a mixture of one part vinegar to two parts water into the coffee maker's reservoir and let it run through a full cycle. Follow up with two cycles of water only to get rid of the vinegar taste. Be sure to turn off the coffee maker and let it cool for 15 minutes between each step.
Mix equal parts vinegar and water, then saturate the wall with a sponge or spray bottle. Open a window (to combat the smell) and let the mixture soak in for several minutes. When you start scraping, the paper should come right off!
If your paintbrushes are caked with rock-hard paint from old projects, clean them and soften the bristles with vinegar. First, fill an old saucepan with enough vinegar to cover the bristles of the brush and pre-soak the brushes for 30 - 60 minutes. Then, heat the vinegar on the stove until it’s boiling, and remove from the heat. Let the brushes soak for up to 30 minutes before removing to hand-wash them in cool water. Let them dry fully before using again.
Price tags and unwanted decals can be hard to remove. Use a sponge to dab undiluted vinegar on glass or plastic. Let it soak for a few minutes, then scrape the surface clean. If there is any sticky residue, rub the area with more vinegar.
Soak old tools and corroded nuts and bolts in undiluted vinegar for a few days. Rinse them with water. If the rust is still there, repeat the process.
NOTE: There are dozens of types of vinegars, from balsamic to beer vinegar. Distilled white vinegar is the most common type in American households, and the best type of vinegar for cleaning (and pickling).