Ten Uses for Vinegar

Vinegar has been used for centuries to clean house, preserve food and fight infections. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is said to have used it for curing persistent coughs and infections.

My daughter used to think that vinegar was good in everything, even cookies.

Well, not quite, but it has many uses. Plus, it’s cheap and natural and unlike many household cleaners, your toddler won’t end up the hospital if he accidentally tastes some. The acid in vinegar helps break down stains and it is a strong anti-bacterial (though not as strong as chemical household cleaners.)

I keep vinegar in a spray bottle under the kitchen sink and generally pull it out at least once daily. Here are ten of my favorite ways to use vinegar.

  1. Use it in place of commercial conditioners. If your hair is oily and you can’t use regular conditioner, you can still use vinegar. It nourishes the hair, but leaves it clean and silky. Or you could make your own shampoo.
  2. Clean fresh fruits and vegetables with vinegar. Simply spray, let sit a few minutes and rinse (or soak in a diluted solution.)
  3. Make your own glass and mirror cleaner.
  4. Add 1/2 cup to your load of laundry. It helps clean and deodorize, but isn’t strong enough to break down the fibers (in most clothes. I wouldn’t recommend it on your great-grandma’s heirloom lace!) The acid in the vinegar also helps soften the clothes and remove hard water residue.
  5. Deter bugs with vinegar. Having an ant problem? Sprinkle vinegar around the base of doors and the back of your counters.
  6. Use vinegar as an all-purpose house cleaner. Wipe down counters and showers. It works well to help fight mold and is full of anti-bacterial goodness.
  7. Make your own healthy salad dressings. Basic formula is 1 part vinegar to 4 parts oil plus desired herbs/spices.
  8. Soak your grains and beans in water and vinegar to help break down difficult to digest phytic acid.
  9. Make a rich broth. After deboning your chicken, through the bones back in a pot. Add cold water and a tablespoon or two of vinegar. The vinegar helps draw the calcium out of the bones and into the broth.
  10. (I haven’t actually used vinegar for this one, but it was too interesting not to include!) Vinegar has been shown to curb appetite and reduce obesity, though long term use of large doses may carry adverse side effects. As with all remedies, natural or not, it is important to remember the words of Paracelsus (the annoying father of toxicology)  “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison.” i.e. Please don’t overdo it!
Vinegar has been used for thousands of years, and I’m sure it has at least a thousand uses. These are some ways that vinegar works for me. What are your favorite uses for vinegar?
More depth: An interesting and in depth look at vinegar and its health claims


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