Years ago, I was turned on to vinegar as a non-toxic alternative to harsh cleaners. I had to stay away from products with heavy fragrance or else I would suffer allergic reactions. I was also concerned about environmental pollution and inhaling toxic fumes or touching products with too many chemicals.
The following tips are just some of the most valuable ways I’ve learned to use vinegar in my kitchen. I hope it will turn you on to the easy and economical ways you can do the same.
Unless stated otherwise, use white vinegar for the applications mentioned.
- Soak messy pots and pans in a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, water and dish soap (optional). Let soak for a few minutes or overnight. You should then be able to remove stubborn food stains without a problem. Also works to remove stubborn stains on the stove and inside the oven.
- Spraying vinegar in floor creases or doorways where ants like to come from should stop them from passing by again. This also helps when sprayed on countertops.
- Pour hot vinegar down slow or clogged kitchen drains to get things running more smoothly.
- To get the most out of soup stocks, add about 1 Tb. of white vinegar to help extract the calcium from chicken, lamb, and beef bones, making your homemade soups more calcium-rich.
- Clean and sanitize wooden cutting boards by spraying full-strength white vinegar onto the surface and using a sponge to wipe after a few minutes. Just be sure to wipe in the direction of the wood grain, otherwise the dirt and debris may get stuck, causing bacteria build-up. Also works to sanitize plastic and glass cutting boards.
- Add vinegar to nearly-empty bottles of tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, or chutney and shake. The liquid will not only pour out easily, but can also turn into quick marinade for meats and fish.
- To reduce the gas-producing effect of beans. Add about ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar to a pot of bean soaking in water overnight. Rinse thoroughly before boiling and add about 1 Tb. of apple cider vinegar to the cooking water.
- Adding white vinegar to the rinse bin of the dishwasher helps keep spots off glassware, as well as keeps the dishwasher running smoothly.
- If you’re out of eggs when baking, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar per egg called for in the recipe. This is especially useful for vegans and those with food allergies who can’t eat eggs.
- To prevent mold from building up on melons like cantaloupe, rub the skin with white vinegar.
- To prevent rice grains from sticking together, add 1 tsp. of vinegar for every cup of rice being cooked. Add the vinegar at the beginning of the cooking process.
- To disinfect kitchen counters and appliance surfaces from things like mold, mildew, salmonella and e-coli, spray with undiluted white vinegar.
- For an all-purpose cleaner, fill a spray bottle with half water, half vinegar and use to clean just about any surface.
- To keep kitchen linens bright and colorful, add ½ cup of white vinegar to the washing machine when laundering.
- To keep sour cream from spoiling, add 1 teaspoon white vinegar for every 8 oz. container.
- Spray fruits and vegetables with white vinegar and let sit for about 15 minutes to remove any bacteria that may be on the skin or surface. Rinse with cold water and process as normal.
- Saturate your dish sponge with vinegar and pop in the microwave for 30 seconds to one minute to kill any bacteria that may be lingering. Do this every day or every other day.
- Mop ceramic tile floors with white vinegar and water. You won’t have to rinse and the grout color should stay bright and clean. If it’s dull, scrub with a toothbrush while still wet with the vinegar.
- Clean copper pans of any stains by spraying a thin layer of pure vinegar then covering with salt. The stain should rub right off.
- To remove coffee and tea stains on mugs and coffee pots, soak in vinegar for about a few minutes then wash as usual.
- After frying fish, boil vinegar in the same frying pan to remove the fish odor.
- If you do dishes by hand, glasses sometimes have a funny smell. A little vinegar to your rinse water and it should get rid of it.
- Hard water deposits on sink faucets are stubborn and seem hard to get rid of. Just soak a paper towel or cotton towel with vinegar and cover the faucet area that needs to be cleaned. Leave overnight and in the morning, rinse it off. The deposits should be gone.
- Splash some apple cider vinegar on your next batch of homemade French fries or oven-baked potato wedges. It reduces the starchiness of the potatoes.
- Freshly cut flowers are so lovely on a window sill, but not so much when they wilt. Add 2 Tb. of vinegar and 1 Tb. sugar to each quart of water to keep your flowers fresher longer or perk up the ones who are on their way out.
- Add a few drops of vinegar to pasta as it boils. It reduces the starch and makes the pasta less sticky.
- If you have a recipe that calls for buttermilk but you don’t have it, add a little vinegar to regular milk as a substitute.
- Are your cooking aprons full of hard-to-remove stains? Soak overnight in full-strength vinegar for a non-toxic stain remover. Launder as usual.
- Does washing dishes leave your hands dry and cracked? Spray your hands with a mist of vinegar after heavy dishwashing to keep them feeling soft.
- Poaching eggs can be a challenge because it’s sometimes difficult to help them keep their shape. Add a little vinegar to the eggs while cooking to firm them up. You won’t end up tasting the vinegar in your eggs, either.
- Set a shallow container of vinegar throughout the house to absorb unpleasant odors, especially if you’ve burned something.
- For a very economical and simple salad dressing, add vinegar to olive oil with the ratio of ½ cup vinegar for every 1 cup of oil.
- Add ½ cup vinegar to a gallon of water to keep your vinyl no wax floors clean and shining when you mop.
- When cooking meat for stews, add 1 Tb. of vinegar to the pot to tenderize the meat.
- Clean your kitchen windows with a 50-50 solution of white vinegar and water.
Some of these tips were adapted from About.com