What can vinegar be used for?

8 Answers
I know it is very versatile as well as in food. WHat are its other uses and properties?

Vinegar is amazing. I love the stuff, and have grown accustomed to the smell. While it is great for cleaning, it has a wide array of other uses as well.

HOUSEHOLD CLEANER/DISINFECTANT: Best way to dispense is via spray bottle. You can use it in conjunction with lemon juice, baking soda, and/or water. Kills virtually all bacteria and germs along with certain mold spores.
Vinegar is also beneficial in cleaning mildew.
Vinegar may also help to eliminate pesky crayon doodles on your walls and such.
You would use it just like you would a multi-purpose cleaner.
For more abrasive jobs just add some baking soda.
Can also be used to clean the bitter taste out of your coffee machine.
Vinegar is also used as a cleaner to cut through grease and grease stains.

DEODORIZER: Can be used to help eliminate household odors such as smoke, fridge, and pet odors.
It can also be used to freshen breath and to eliminate body odor smells.
Vinegar may also help in removing that smelly skunk odor on yourself or your pet.

STICKER/WALLPAPER REMOVAL: A vinegar solution can also be used to remove stickers from surfaces, bumper stickers, and wallpaper.

GLASS CLEANER: When added to your dishwasher rinse it can help get rid of that cloudy look on your glassware.

STAIN REMOVER: When mixed with salt it can help to remove carpet stains.

DRAIN-O: Vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and near boiling water can all be used in conjunction to act as a sort of all natural Drain-O and deodorizer for clogged drains.

MEAT TENDERIZER: Due to the acidic properties of vinegar some people actually use it to soak their meats in as a way of tenderizing it. Doing this also kills a lot of the bacteria the meat may be carrying prior to cooking.

SOIL: Vinegar can be used to test whether or not your soil is more acidic or alkaline.

REPELLENT: Vinegar is also a great STINK BUG repellent along with garlic. If you crush some garlic into some vinegar (or just use the vinegar alone)and spray it around the outside frame of your doors and windows that is the best option. They HATE it.
Also, if you're having an issue with fruit flies just throw some apple cider vinegar in a jar and punch a few holes in the top. The little bugger will climb in and drown.
It is also thought that vinegar may help get rid of the more pesky insects and animals in your garden.
I thought this was cool when I learned this too: Vinegar can be used to UNMARK areas your pet deemed it necessary to mark.

SKIN: Vinegar is also a good ingredient for a lot of homeopathic and homemade skin treatments. When applied to the skin it can help ease bug bite irritation, can kill foot fungus, can help ease sunburn, can lessen the appearance of warts, can fade bruises, and can fade the appearance of skin discoloration such as age spots.

INTERNAL MEDICINE: When ingested vinegar can help aid in digestion and apple cider vinegar can help combat urinary tract infections.
It is thought that a couple spoonfuls of vinegar may also help cure a bad case of the hiccups.
Mixing some apple cider vinegar with honey and hot water is said to help ease headaches and aid in weight loss.
Vinegar may also help alleviate the discomfort associated with a sore throat.
Vinegar helps get rid of active cold sores.
Another use I know from extensive experience is that vinegar mixed with water can help cure ear infections when put in the ear and allowed to sit for a few minutes before draining.
Vinegar when diluted with water is used in a lot of female douches to help combat odor and certain types of vaginal infections.

HAIR: Mixing water and vinegar and using it as a rinse after your normal shampoo is thought to aid in the fight with dandruff.
Mixing vinegar with olive oil and egg whites is also a good homemade conditioner.
Rubbing vinegar in your hair and letting it set for about 10-15 mins prior to sun and chlorine exposure is thought to help protect blonde hair from greening.

POLISH: Vinegar can also be used to polish up stainless steel, ceramic, grout, silver, chrome,and woodwork.
It's also used to make brick look a bit more lively and less dull (as it can get with age).
Vinegar may also help to eliminate rust.

AILMENT RELIEF: A vinegar soak is said to help ease muscle aches.

LAUNDRY: Adding 1c of white vinegar to your laundry will help eliminate odors, bacteria, stains, and will help brighten whites and help colors not fade. Vinegar also works as a sort of fabric softener for your clothes.

FROST PREVENTION: 3/4c vinegar mixed with 1/3c water can help prevent frost buildup on the outside your windows when sprayed on them. Can last a few weeks.

PRODUCE CLEANER: Works in a way similar to that of the vinegar household cleaner, except you can use it on your produce as well.

REVERSE CATALYST: Vinegar is also thought to slow the hardening of plaster. So if you're trying to set your little one's hand to make a cast then vinegar may be of benefit.

FOOD: Vinegar is by far one of the best bases for dressings and marinades.
It's also a great condiment to add to fries, fish, and steamed greens.

BRUSH SOAK: Finally, you can use vinegar to soak your paint or makeup brushes. Kills bacteria and helps to remove the residue while softening up the bristles.

I know it's a long list, but it's truly amazing all the benefits that vinegar offers us.


Hello Clarak57

First, let me say, in response to Sandsc39 copper cleaner explanation, I do agree with the answer completely, but I've learned something new with respect to this a year or two back! The tarnished copper oxide on the exterior, really comes 100% off almost immediately when used on copper pennies or the likes, if you use an over-saturated solution of table salt and vinegar (to a paste-like consistency). Just wear gloves, because while I noticed a mild skin sensitivity to using it before, it potentially can cause some mild burns. Your sort of using the ion soup to make a quasi-hydrochloric acid solution/paste and the copper will quickly show it's natural almost pink color. It works probably 5-10 times faster and easier than plain vinegar does, try them side by side and you'll see the difference!

Vinegar can be distilled rather easily to remove impurities and dried at the same time using sulfuric acid, however anhydrous copper sulfate will work as well. To dry he lousy 5% acetic acid rom viniger to glacial acetic acid of greater than 99% strength. Basically, if you have the tools it's simple, but otherwise this may be a long-shot unless you can construct a nonreactive distillation apparatus that's non-reactive towards potent organic acids!

From glacial acetic acid, one can preform some rather sophisticated organic chemistry, to be used as both a catalyst or to add new functionality to a desired product. This may require the conversion of the dry ethanoic acid to the acid anhydride first, namely acetic anhydride. I've also successfully used it to produce the much more time-consuming Grignard reagent synthesis which gives a chemist pretty much full freedom to build most any organic compound piece by piece. Something like snapping Legos together (just a bit more "dangerous? Legos if you really want to split hairs I guess!).

Most metals form some type of interesting and useful compound or complex with acetic acid, and most are rather simple to create. The transition metals, for instance, can produce some simple reactions to achieve some of the more brilliant colored solutions, and they can grow some weird shaped crystals, often of he same color. I had some metallic acetate that dried in a baker before I got around to washing it, and it grew hundreds of hair-thin needle-shaped crystals (all upward!) that reached about an inch or two out of the top of the beaker. It was greenish, but It wasn?t copper or Iron acetate, but it would be worth doing again if I remembered the compound!

Of course, you could make sodium acetate from baking soda and vinegar (slowly,or you will instead be making an unintentional "volcano science project"!). Heat it on medium to low heat on a stove-top and stir. This will make the so called "Hot Ice" that is actually a solution when it's cooled in a clean container, and by just touching a tiny point with your finger or even better a piece of the solid form (pre-cooling), like a ant-sized crystal! The solution should very quickly (1-3 seconds) completely solidify/crystallize. It's a supersaturated solution that is just looking for a place to begin crystallization,and your providing that. It can be reused by refrigerating again.

Sodium acetate can be heated at higher temperatures and a light white to gray surface will begin o form on the surface, this is basically anhydrous sodium acetate ( Na[H3CCO2] ), it should be dried further after removing it, like in a toaster oven or something similar. Just avoid "burning it" no dark colors, just whitish-gray! This can be a useful chemical to anyone in the chemical related fields, It can be used in biotechnology to work on separating DNA from a cellular homogenate, and then used to do anything in the field of forensics, genetics or cellular research.

And then there's always a nice simple ester reaction you can easily preform - ethyl acetate (CH3CH2O(O=)CCH3), which is basically diethyl ester, which can be made from ethanol and acetic acid pretty easily (room temperature and pressure are completely compatible with the esterfication of ethanol and no catalyst need be used.). It makes a great unique solvent for some important reactions, most notably in analytic chemistry ( most common in some forms of column chromatography, used to separate and or analyze unknown samples usually.) Butt it can be used in many other unrelated procedures where water is problematic to use as a solvent.

There's a bit more chemistry-oriented concepts included here, since you did choose to post in the category with the same title, so hopefully you didn't just want DIY-related answers. If you expected more household-type ideas like various cleaning concoctions and insecticide mixtures, I do apologize. My crystal ball is in the shop this week.

Thank you for asking your question!

IMAGE: There's a reason that as close as possible to 100% anhydrous (and nicely purified) acetic acid, which is the only 'active' ingredient in white distilled vinegar, is referred to as ?glacial? acetic acid! While it might seem obvious from the images & titles, I'll still say that it's melting point phase transition between liquid and solid states is pretty much right around/above normal 'room temperature'. So depending on the weather and the thermostat settings, sometimes your liquid will decide to play the game of ?solidification? with you, unannounced! and other times you learn why spatulas and scoopulas are not designed to be used to aliquot liquids!


Vinegar is very versatile and does have antibacterial properties making it ideal for washing fruit and salad vegetables with. I keep a spray bottle in the kitchen full of white wine vinegar which I spray thoroughly over fruit and vegetables that I want to clean, I leave the vinegar on for around five minutes before rinsing off with cold water. You can use any type of vinegar, t really doesn't matter.

I also spray vinegar over my kitchen surfaces and wipe for a quick clean that will help to minimize bacteria, another good thing about wiping kitchen surfaces with vinegar is that flies don't seem to like it.

Vinegar is also good at eliminating bad smells from your home and can be used as an air freshener. Just spray into the air around your home, at first the smell of vinegar will be quite strong, but the smell soon disappears. I use neat white wine vinegar for this, but you could dilute it down. Again the type of vinegar you use is not important, but do bear in mind that a dark coloured vinegar may stain any fabric - like chair coverings - that it comes into contact with.

Vinegar will break down soap residue and limescale, so if you have soap residue or a limescale build up in your bath or sinks give it a spray with vinegar and leave for a few minutes before wiping down and rinsing. Sometimes the soap residue can be a little greasy especially from soaps containing a moisturizing ingredient, in which case I use a drop of washing up liquid on the cloth that I am using to wipe with as this breaks down the grease and helps to leave a sparkling surface. If the limescale buildup is bad around the taps then you can soak a piece of kitchen roll in vinegar before wrapping it around the affected taps, leave for a good ten to fifteen minutes before removing and rinsing. If it is bad you may have to apply vinegar a couple of times before the limescale breaks down.

I hope that my ideas are of some use to you.

The spray bottle that I keep in my kitchen filled with vinegar.


I just learned today vinegar can be used to clean old pennies. My granddaughter has what she believes to be a very old penny she found outside. Because of the dirt and other accumulated gunk she can't make out the entire date.

I had no idea how to clean pennies so I looked it up online. Pennies can be cleaned by soaking them in a mixture of either vinegar or lemon juice and salt. After cleaning, the pennies can be buffed back to their original shine using a paste of baking soda.

Vinegar can also be used to remove shampoo residue and clarify your hair. Before beginning your shampoo, mix a half cup of vinegar with a cup of water and set it aside. Shampoo and rinse your hair as usual. Massage the vinegar mixture throughout your hair then rinse with cool water. Since the vinegar removes every trace of shampoo it leaves your hair super shiny.

The same vinegar mixture will rejuvenate limp curls when you're just about due for a new permanent wave. My hairdresser gave me that tip years ago when I wore my hair curly. You can get another month out of a perm if you rinse with apple cider vinegar. It's surprising how much the curls tighten and spring back.

I've heard an apple cider vinegar rinse is good for naturally curly hair too. It reduces frizz and provides soft, uniform curls.


Vinegar has antibacterial properties so it is great for all kinds of cleaning purposes from kitchens and descaling in the bathroom. It takes lime scale out of coffee pots yet is gentle on hair as a rinse to take soap and product build up out. It takes urine smells out of carpet and perspiration odor and stain out of clothes. Use 1/2 cup in final rinse cycle to soften clothes.

Vinegar is high in potassium and many other minerals. Drinking vinegar daily prevents urine from becoming too alkaline. It oxidizes the blood so it does not become too thick which means the heart does not have to work as hard and that helps blood pressure lower. If you drink some before meals it will neutralize harmful substances in food and aid in digestion. I also mist fruits before I eat them to kill any bacteria on the skins. The best vinegar to take daily is raw organic apple cider vinegar. Two tablespoons a day is all you need and can be mixed in a drink if need be. The raw retains the highest amount of vitamins and minerals. Bragg raw organic apple cider vinegar is a good brand and can be found in any grocery store.


I have hard water, that tends to build up easily on my faucets, sinks, bathtub and toilet. The only way that I'd known to remove it was by using harsh cleaners, which I dislike.
One afternoon I cleaned my coffee pot with vinegar, and realized what a great job it did of removing the mineral build up from inside of the coffee pot. I decided to give it a try on my fixtures, and was delighted with how well it works!
I've used vinegar to clean my windows, blinds and mirrors for years. It also works well to remove many stains and odors. I often add it to the rinse cycle of my washing machine, to help soften the fabrics, and it cleans the washing machine at the same time.
If I burn myself when cooking, I soak a soft cloth with cider vinegar, and hold it on the burn. I've found that I rarely get blisters, if I do this quickly. It helps relieve sunburns, as well.
I use vinegar to polish my silverware, and stainless steel cookware, and it works great.
I hope that you'll find some of these uses for vinegar helpful.
Thanks for your question.


Along with lemon juice, it's great for removing rust stains from toilets, baths or showers. Rust stains can develop from dripping taps or metal objects left in the bath, e.g. an umbrella left to drain.
Vinegar contains about 5% acetic acid and this is what makes it good at dissolving rust, grease and limescale.
You can use vinegar as a natural under arm deodorant if you put it into one of those small pump action spray bottles available from Boots or other pharmacies. The acetic acid kills the germs responsible for BO. You only smell like fish and chips for the few minutes it takes to dry, after that it is much more effective and probably safer than any of the commercially available products!


Vinegar is not just a delicious ingredient in salad dressings, condiment on fries, or key ingredient to pickling. It is also a powerful disinfectant.

Vinegar can be used to unclog drains or even get rid of the smell that is coming out of your garbage disposal. It is also quite handy in getting the smokey smell from your house if you have just quit smoking.

Forget about buying metal polish. Just spray some straight vinegar onto just about any metal and buff with a soft cloth. It'll bring the shine back to just about anything. It can even take the water rings off of wooden tables!