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Did you guess it?

The Many Uses of Vinegar

With all of these uses below, there will be a faint scent of vinegar. Remember when I wrote about Redefining Normal? This is normal! The vinegar scent will go away quickly, pretty much as soon as the vinegar dries. And it is a lot better than the smell of artificial chemicals and fragrances that just aren’t good for you to be breathing. If you truly hate the smell (it’s not that bad!), try adding a few drops of lemon juice to your vinegar solutions.

1. Washing Windows and Mirrors. I have a small spray bottle, bought in a drug store, that I fill at about 1 part vinegar to three parts water. Just good old-fashioned white vinegar you can buy in any store, or make yourself. With that, I spray windows and mirrors with the vinegar solution, and wipe with a soft, clean towel. Others use newsprint and swear by it – that has just never worked for me, but give it a go if you have newspapers lying around.

2. Washing Kitchen and Bathroom Surfaces. When cleaning my bathroom or kitchen, I use Bon Ami and a rag to really wash the surfaces. Then I spray all surfaces with that same spray bottle of 1:3 (vinegar:water), and wipe with a rag. The vinegar gives a shine to the surfaces, gets rid of soap scum, and also kills most germs and molds.

According to a Heinz spokesperson in this article, repeated studies have shown that their vinegar kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of viruses. Quite frankly, we are as a society far too focused on antibacterial everything – we need a few of them around for our children’s immune systems to develop fully, for our immune systems to adapt, and to ensure that we’re not creating monster super-viruses.

If you cook with meat and want to be extra safe, you can always wash cutting board surfaces with hydrogen peroxide to kill the other 1% of bacteria (I do not clean with chlorine bleach as I think it is awful stuff – more on that later).

3. Toilet Bowl Cleaner. Pour 1/2 cup straight vinegar into the bowl, let stand for 20 minutes, and scrub clean. You can do this with hydrogen peroxide as well.

4. Mopping Unwaxed Floors. Add 1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon hot water. This makes them shine nicely, too. On some wood floors, the vinegar will actually strip the wax. Ours are so old and have so many layers of wax on them, that it works great.

5. Dusting. I don’t use this mixture on wood (I use a pure oil instead). But I do use it on other hard surfaces. The same way I use it in the kitchen: spray with the 1:3 solution, and wipe with a rag. Alternatively, spray on the rag and then wipe the surface clean.

6. Cleaning the coffee machine, coffee and tea pot, coffee filter, and tea strainer. If your coffee machine is not making as good of coffee as it used to, chances are that there is a buildup of minerals, coffee oils, and other residue. Fill your coffee pot or espresso reservoir up to the full level, with 1 part vinegar to two parts water, and run that through the machine. If you haven’t done this in a while, you may want to repeat the process. Then run just pure water through the machine to clear it out. And you can soak coffee and tea pots, coffee filters, and tea strainers in the same solution to remove residue and stains.

7. Cleaning the refrigerator. That same 1:3 solution works perfectly. I usually make a fresh batch with warm water, as that seems to work better inside the cold refrigerator.

8. Unclogging Drains. If water hasn’t yet backed up, pour 1 cup of baking soda down, followed by 3 cups boiling water. Repeat if the drain doesn’t clear. If the drain still doesn’t clear, follow with 1 cup of vinegar. This makes it bubble, fizz and usually that does the trick! If this does not work, we usually buy enzymes from the local health food store.

9. Cleaning the Iron. I have only done this once, because I so rarely use my iron (I spray clothing with a fine water mist to get wrinkles out), but this does work! When an iron needs to be cleaned, you’ll see white or murky residue inside the water reservoir. Fill the reservoir with 1 part vinegar to two parts water, and then run the iron on steam mode until it’s out of water (you can do this in the air or onto a rag). If the residue isn’t gone, you may need to repeat the process. Then run straight water through and do the same thing.

10. Fabric Softener. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse water. Note: Most natural fibers do not cling very much, so don’t worry about fabric softeners at all if your load is all cotton. And make sure you don’t over-dry. Or better yet, line dry your clothing and you don’t have to worry about it!

11. Alternative to color-safe bleach. Yes, you can have two-in-one power! Vinegar doubles as a color-safe bleach and fabric softener: let the washer fill up before putting clothing in, and adding 1/2 cup vinegar to the water. If you’re also looking for a fabric softener, you probably won’t have to add more vinegar during the rinse cycle (above), but try both ways and see what works.

12. Vinegar Hair Rinse. I have gone through phases where I’ve used a vinegar solution for a hair conditioning rinse – you’ll find several bloggers doing it. Use a 1:4 ratio of vinegar to warm water, and pour it into your hair. You can mix it in any water bottle you have around the house – it’s just vinegar, so no need to worry about damaging the bottle. It does soften your hair. I will admit I’ve gotten out of the habit, but I encourage you to try it and see what you think! You can also steep a bag of herbal tea in the warm water, to add a bit of fragrance.

13. Denture Cleaner. Obviously I haven’t had to try this yet, but I’ve read that you can soak them overnight in pure vinegar, and rinse in the morning.

14. Kill Weeds. Yes, it’s true! My mom taught me this. Pour vinegar full strength onto weeds in sidewalk cracks, and along the edges of the yard, and presto – they die! She’s been doing it for years. Gardening aficionados, do you know what it’s doing? It’s neutralizing the nitrogen, so it’s essentially starving the weeds.

15. Ant Deterrent. It’s not perfect, but it will help. Clean the surfaces with a 1:3 vinegar solution. Then make your own – or purchase – a natural cleaning solution that contains orange oil and spray it on the ant paths. Leave for at least a few days, until the ants find another place to go. Then clean it up with the vinegar solution. This has worked for me all over the country: north, south, east, and west.

16. Increase soil acidity. If you’ve tested your soil and found it to be not quite acidic enough, you can add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water when watering acid-loving plants, or when preparing the soil to be planted. (I’d wait a few days before planting seeds or fragile seedlings, but hardier plants will be fine.

17. Cat urine. Yes, this is where we really discovered the magic of vinegar. If a cat pees on something that you can throw in the washing machine: wash it in hot water with a cup of vinegar (if it’s really bad, it doesn’t hurt to put a more vinegar in). If a cat pees on furniture (eg, sofa, bed, plush chair): first blot up as much pee as you can with a towel. Then you want to really douse the area with vinegar, full strength, making sure that it gets deep into the cushions as far as the cat urine had. After several minutes, dab the area with a towel (or two), to get up as much vinegar as you can. And then cover the area with a doubled-up towel, and top with a couple of heavy books to help get up the rest of the liquid. Leave that for several hours.

This works because the main ingredient in urine is ammonia (like the nitrogen discussed above, when killing weeds). Ammonia is a base, so vinegar, an acid, neutralizes it.

Note: We have used this method on a couple of furniture items that we really cared about, and it did not stain them. But do use with caution. At the same time, generally the cat pee has a greater chance of staining than the vinegar (so at that point, what do you have to loose).

18. Cleaning Gold Jewelry and Tarnished Brass. Ok, I haven’t done it (because when I wear jewelry it’s generally silver), but I know many people that swear by it. Submerge jewelry in apple cider vinegar for 15 minutes. Then remove the jewelry and dry with a towel. For tarnished brass, simply pour a bit of vinegar on a rag and rub off the tarnish. For super sticky tarnish you may need to soak it a bit in the vinegar.

19. Pickling and Canning. This topic is for another post, but of course in addition to all of the above uses, vinegar is incredibly useful for preserving food!

20. There Are Many More. If you have another use for vinegar, please share it with us in the comments!!

Save Money, Time, and Anguish!

Ok so, with this list, you can now stop buying a whole lot of other products that you don’t need and save a ton of money! Also, there is no need to worry about trying to find natural products in the grocery store, because now you can make them with vinegar and water (and sometimes one other ingredient).

Update: Anyone wanting to make their own vinegar, check out Rhonda Jean’s great instructions (with more here) – it’s surprisingly easy.

What Is The Green Your Insides Challenge?

To start greening your own home.

First, start paying attention to what you put on your body, in your body, and around your body. Right now.

And then over the next few months, put it all into practice: take solid steps to green your indoor environment.

If you don’t know where to start, follow my articles as I talk about what we’ve done over the next several weeks!

I'm Green Inside

To add the button to your blog, right-click on the image and save it to your desktop. Then upload it to your blog as you would any other image, with a link to:

Once you’ve uploaded the image, check to make sure the link works and the image loads correctly. Feel free to email me if you have any problems and I’ll see if I can help. And for those of you who don’t have blogs (which is about 80% of the readership here, no worries), I’m working on some alternatives for you, to remind you about the challenge!

What Are You Struggling To Learn?

I received emails and comments from some of you were anxious for me to begin writing tips I’ve learned. What areas would you like me to make sure I cover? What matters to you most? What are you finding the least amount of information about? Oh, and don’t forget to take the poll!

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49 comments to GREEN YOUR INSIDES: The #1 Cheapest & Most Versatile Product For Your Home

  • I am a true convert to the vinegar/ bi-carb combination now. I have known about the properties of vinegar for years but had been a bit of a backslider in that if something was ‘really’ dirty then I would have to jump to a “real” cleaner. Since dumping petrochemicals I have given vinegar more and more tests around my home. The conversion came when my revolting glass shower doors were overdue for a clean and I painted on a paste of bi-carb and water and then put vinegar in a spray bottle and sprayed it on. I then wiped over it all with a cloth and hot water and it REALLY worked ! Having the vinegar is a spray bottle made me feel like it was a “product” so there was a psychological advantage LOL !

  • I use vinegar for ALL my cleaning projects and have for years. It is wonderful!!! My grandmothers always used vinegar, so I learned all your tricks from them many years ago!

    It’s also great for cutting soap scum and hard water stains in the shower!

  • I love vinegar! I think it is an amazing liquid and use it in many of the uses listed above.

    I just started using it as a hair rinse and have found I need to wash my hair less often, in the summertime no less.

  • Meg

    We are vinegar nuts around here! We clean everything with it, throw some in the laundry, and I use it in my hair once a week or so (which it is AWESOME for). I like knowing that we aren’t spraying chemicals all over the place, and the fact that vinegar costs practically nothing doesn’t hurt, either ;)

  • I use it all the time too…. and just to say your ratios in 1 and 2 contradict each other!

  • We use vinegar for everything! We also use my sons old cloth diapers for cleaning.

  • My mother recently sent me a tip for using vinegar to clean up old paint brushes and rollers.

    Did you know that women used to be told they needed to douche with vinegar to be considered ‘clean’? I even have ads from the 20′s about women being shamed into thinking they should douche with Lysol. Makes me crazy!

  • Bon ami hasn’t scratched yet! I might point out too, if you are on a septic tank, using bleach or chlorine based cleaners might be very harmful to the bacteria and little critters in your tank that eat the solids. I know I have used Bon Ami for years. I will also use about 1/3 cup of automatic dishwasher soap in place of bleach to whiten clothes-but occasionally (I use Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness diahwasher soap- totally biodegradable- 7th Genration is good also). Bleach is a good disinfectant, as a cleanser I think not. I use Bon ami in the fibreglass tub and the porcelain toilet!

  • Thanks for all the ideas. We’ve been trying to use up our commercial cleaners and I’ll start making my own soon. This really helps!

  • I’ve been using only vinegar and baking soda to clean for a few years now. I dabbled with using it for a while, but then one day my son who was 18 months broke into the childproofed cabinet and took a mouthful of Comet, I converted completely. (Comet, by the way, is not the worse thing for a child to put in their mouth, said poison control – thank god!)

    I use vinegar and baking soda to scrub anything in the kitchen or bathroom. Pure vinegar for washing windows. And I also use is as a fabric softener when I was cloth diapers. It always makes them feel a bit more clean and soft.

  • I left a vinegar related reply on yesterday’s post (didn’t see the day division line ’cause I hadn’t ingested sufficient caffeine at the time)…the long and short of it was to rinse your woolens in vinegar to help the cuticle lie flat therefore keeping potential itchies at bay, and with a side note that rosemary or lavender essential oil helps with the sour (unpleasant?) vinegar smell.

  • Between baking soda and vinegar, I can get almost anything clean. I have a few comments on your suggestions. (Sorry it got so long. Hope it’s helpful!)

    WINDOWS: When you first switch to window cleaning with vinegar, you may get streaks from the old cleaners. Try adding a few drops of dish soap to the vinegar-water mixture for this first cleaning. That will remove the old gunk. Then switch to just vinegar-water.

    Newsprint works well, without the ink. You can buy “end rolls” from newspapers for very little money (you pay by the inch out from the core). Added bonus: cheap packing material that doesn’t get ink all over your dishes.

    TOILETS: Vinegar does not work to clean toilets here. Well, yes it does clean them but it does nothing towards the ring left by our very hard scaly water. For that, pick up a pumice stone and attack it sooner than later!

    DUSTING: save money (on vinegar) and just use a damp microfiber cloth for non-wood surfaces. Wring out almost dry. Works like a charm, even if you only dust every month or so. (Oops, giving away my bad housekeeping…)

    COFFEE POT CLEANING: works fantastic. I used this when I purchased a single serving French press at a yard sale that looked like it had never been cleaned. When I was done, it looked new. I paid $1 but probably could have re-sold it for $5 once clean. But I gave it to my MIL instead. ;-)

    REFRIGERATOR: you’re supposed to clean those?

    DRAINS: I’ve found this works for slight slowdowns but not hair clogs. For that, I set my sweetie on it. If it’s the sink, he removes and cleans the trap. (Make sure you have some plumber’s putty on hand for reassembly to prevent new leaks.) For the tub, he uses a plumber’s snake. The snake has been a huge money-saver over the years!

    HAIR: This last go-round, I steeped a bunch of dried rosemary leftover from the CSA surplus in a half gallon of vinegar and strained it back into the vinegar jug. I keep a bottle in the shower that I just refill with diluted vinegar.

    WEEDS: Has never worked for me, but our desert weeds are tough suckers with deep taproots.

    CANNING/PICKLING: I go through a LOT of vinegar this way. I keep thinking about what I’d do if vinegar were no longer easy to buy. The exact acidity is important so it could be risky to rely on homemade. However, I’m thinking it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a little pH meter and try making my own vinegar anyway.

    OTHER USES: seasoning food! Curdling soymilk to make “buttermilk” (1 tbs vinegar to 1 cup soymilk. Let sit a few minutes.) Drinking it straight to freak out your high school science teacher and classmates.

  • I wrote a long comment and it doesn’t seem to be showing up. I hope it didn’t get lost…

  • You inspired me to write my own post on the virtues of Vinegar. Thanks!

  • viqui

    You can put a capful of vineger in your dog or cats water, they will choose not to go the restroom in your house. They do not like the odor.

  • Okay:

    This was a really, really helpful post, and thanks so much for it! I’m going back to dormitory life in a week and was thinking about doing a big cleaning of my room before really moving in, but haven’t figured out what exactly to use to clean it. I had planned on buying a bottle of vinegar to wash out the inside of my water boiler, but hadn’t yet thought to use the rest of the vinegar for the room. It’s a great idea though, and will make the room feel more like “mine” for the semester. So thanks for all the tips of the uses of vinegar!

    And a question about the “killing weeds” tip: would this work for getting rid of plants you don’t want? We “inherited” some really hardy plants that we don’t want from the old owners of the house. There’s one that’s in a great location for an herb garden, so I want to get rid of it to put that in instead. I figure I will have to change the pH of the soil after adding the vinegar and killing the plant (if it does kill it), but is this a feasible option for getting rid of unwanted plants that aren’t just growing in cracks on concrete?

    I also wanted to tell you that the part of the Green Your Insides challenge that I’m interested in seeing are things like good skin care products (especially for acne breakouts) and whatever else you can think of about greening your home. I’m really new to the whole green movement, and tend to soak up whatever information is out there, so whatever you come up with I’m sure to love! Even if it’s already out there. A new take on old information never hurts, either.

    EDIT: All right, it worked! =)

  • BUSYWOMAN, Hilarious – and so true: I think having the vinegar in the spray bottle helps me psychologically, too. Suddenly a cooking product becomes a cleaning solution when mixed with water and put in a spray bottle. Heh.

    I haven’t used much bicarb, but I’m constantly hearing and reading about it. Where do you buy it? I’ve looked in health food stores here, and it’s not easy to find.

    GREENE ONION, You’re lucky to have learned it from your grandmothers! Glad I got you thinking about it some more.

    KATIE & MEG, I feel so late in the game, as I’ve only in the last year or so started really using vinegar for all this stuff. Seems you all are ahead of me!

    DIANA, Thanks for pointing that out – fixed now.

    HIPPY GOODWIFE, Ah, good tip! I remember my mom using my old cloth diapers far into my teenage years – they last a long time.

    KATECONTINUED, Good one – I used to do that as an artist. I think it’s the same principle as putting it on your hair. And yes, I remember in the 80s, women talked about douching to be clean. So glad that’s out of fashion!! Shiver, shiver.

    ROB, Very good point. We used to be on a septic tank system, and it made me think even more about what I was putting down the drain.

    Back when I was a University of Washington reporter for the Daily, I wrote a research piece about the Seattle sewer systems. Turns out they overflow into the storm drains any time it rains really hard. And the storm drains go right into the slough, the lakes, and Puget Sound. So… even those of us with regular sewer systems should really watch what we put down the drain.

    Hydrogen peroxide is a much safer alternative to chlorine bleach as a disinfectant. If it’s good enough for your owies, it’s good enough for your counters!

    HEATHER, You go girl! Let me know if you need further help figuring out what to use. I have lots of info rolling around in this little brain of mine, but don’t always get it out into posts!

    KENDRA, Oh my. Wow, thank you for sharing that. I’m glad your son is ok!! And what great motivation. When I was a kid I climbed up the hall cabinets to the top shelf and drank a whole bottle of cough medicine with codeine. Child proof or not, kids find a way.

    TEACHER A, You’re welcome. : )

    TAMESON, Ooh, insufficient caffeine – understand that problem! ; ) Great tips!!

    CHILE, Wow, thanks for all that Chile – no problem being long here – you know that!!

    My only thoughts are that if you don’t have to buy newsprint, I wouldn’t. A soft, clean towel (like an old dish towel or cloth diaper) works well for me.

    I’ve never had a ring from scaly water, but will take your word on the pumice!

    I’m getting to the microfiber cloth in a future post (I hope) – we use them, too. (Bad housekeeping… pshaw. Dusting once a month is more than a lot of people do!)

    Yep, supposed to clean the fridge. Sorry.

    True about the snake – we have one, too, for the really bad stuff.

    Great tip about the rosemary steeped in vinegar.

    Weeds – it only works for fairly small weeds. And usually you have to do it more than once. But that’s better than buying toxic weed killer!

    Regarding cheap vinegar… I don’t know, vinegar is so cheap that even if it doubled or tripled, it’s still affordable. But making vinegar is fairly easy, if you have the time. So maybe there will be a local baker, a local blacksmith, and a local vinegar-maker. ; )

    Oh yeah, forgot about the buttermilk substitute! Good one!

    VIQUI, Interesting. I’ve heard that the same trick also works for fleas. But it seems so weird to feel your animals vinegar. Mine are so finicky, I wonder if they would drink it! Hm. Well, I’ll try it if the need arises – thanks!

    STEPHANIE, Sorry we lost your post there – looks like for whatever reason, WordPress decided it was spam the first time. Argh. But thank you for taking the time to write your comment again – I love questions!

    I hate to say it, but vinegar will probably only kill small weeds. If you kept pouring vinegar on it, eventually you might sicken and then kill a larger plant, but you would also hurt the soil and wouldn’t be able to plant there without doing some work to reverse the effects of the vinegar. For a larger plant, I’d just dig it out with a shovel. (What kind of plant is it & how big?)

    I’ll post next time about skin care products then! More info coming at you soon…!

  • We’ve used vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and Bon Ami, too over the years. One of my all time favorite cleaning tools to use is a microfiber cleaning cloth that’s been wet/rung out. Then I don’t need to use anything else and it gets the job done for just light cleaning maintenance or dusting. I’ve even used it on mirrors with nothing else and they come out clean, too. When done, I just toss it in the wash. For deeper cleaning days, I use the above products with the microfiber cloths. Those cloths are really incredible.

    I usually buy vinegar/baking soda/hydrogen peroxide in bulk from Costco where it’s so cheap to buy such a large quantity to have on hand. I also got my first set of the microfiber cloths from there, too many years ago.

  • Your site was recommended by Ian at Farm Blogs. We are on his list too and have been using vinegar for almost everything you mentioned. And there are many organic farmers around here using a more concentrated vinegar for weed control (garlic…blueberries etc.). Our main crop is garlic, but we are currently selling peppers, onions, leeks and eggplant off our farm wagon.
    We live in a small town that is very community minded, with lots of volunteerism and many areas.
    What you are doing here is great.
    Lori Skoog

  • Hello! Back again! Re vinegar in dogs’ water – best to use organic cider vinegar, but have to say it doesn’t help with fleas. It is good for general health – in the same way that a tablespoon of cider vinegar in warm water first thing in the morning for us adults helps cleanse the system and re-alkalise. Neem oil is the natural way to repel and control fleas in animals. Great insect repellent all round.

    Bicarb soda for cleaning is often found in hardware stores. Bicarb for cooking is more refined and therefore more expensive. The other thing is cleaning cloths…. microfibre is great, but if you’re trying to cut the loop and not purchase then cut up old towels etc. Also – home knitted pure cotton dishcloths (lots of patterns online, and check out Down to Earth blog) work a treat in the kitchen and bthroom and last for years. Toss in the wash every couple of days.

  • work a treat in the kitchen

    Great phrase, expression . . .

  • I have no clue what kind of plant it is actually. I’ve never been good at telling different kinds of things (i.e., I could never be a birdwatcher or randomly point at a tree and say what kind it is. I know what a tomato plant looks like by now though…) I should probably take a picture of it sometime and ask people what they think it is, since I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s about two and a half feet high with a half-foot diameter base.

    The problem with digging it out is that my mom’s convinced that it’s hardy enough that the roots re-grow if you don’t catch every single one of them. I’m sure my dad has tried before, with it growing back, so I don’t want to try that (plus I don’t have the arm strength), but I will at least try to dig out the surrounding weeds. I really should get going on this. I told my mom I’d try to get rid of this before leaving. I really want a tiny herb garden! Even if it won’t be “mine”. It’d be very pretty, as opposed to the weeds already there. My compromise with my mom was that, because we already have RoundUp for it, I may have to just use that on it, then cover it with black plastic for a for a few months, and do some sheet composting on top of the area with some cover crops and hope the herbicide didn’t do too much damage to the dirt. Then Mom promised not to buy any herbicide again.

    I know that’s kind of blasphemy around here, but I think it’s a good compromise for us. At least it gets both of us outside and playing with our own patch of dirt.

    And also, I normally don’t write comments this long, I promise. Really.

  • Kim

    Stephanie, I’ve also heard that if you pour boiling water over a plant, it kills it.

  • STEPHANIE, No worries about leaving long comments here – I love them and think they’ve very valuable. : )

    I strongly urge you to wrap up that Roundup in a plastic bag or tarp and throw it away, or even better, take it to a toxic waste drop-off point in town. First, Roundup is made for small weeds, and I really don’t think it’s going to kill a large plant like what you describe. Second, if you do use a bunch of Roundup on the place where you plan to plant anything, you’ll likely have a hard time getting your herb garden to grow. Seedlings are fragile, as are many herbs in general. And Roundup stays in the soil for years. Third, you risk killing pets and other wildlife. Please read this post for my own (horrifying) experiences with Roundup.

    If all that doesn’t deter you, just please do one more thing before you use Roundup: call the local Master Gardener office. Here is a link to find one in your area. Describe your situation and ask them what to do to get rid of the plant. Make sure they understand the type of plant you have – you may need to email them a photo. Master Gardeners don’t always use organic methods, but they can give you a few ideas of what they would do. Most likely they will confirm that Roundup is not going to kill a plant that big, but ask them what they think.

    And if, after all that, you still decide to use it, be careful. Wear gloves and a mask (farmers do this too – they were whole suits – check out my post I linked to and look at the photo), make sure the area fenced off or barricaded so that pets and animals don’t go near, and deposit the empty bottle in a wrapped, sealed plastic bag.

  • NATURE DEVA, I love my microfiber cloths, too. Never tried them on windows, though… will try it.

    LORI, Welcome! Glad you found your way here. Your farm sounds lovely. It’s great to hear that the farmers are using vinegar, too! Where do farmers buy more concentrated vinegar?

    DIANA, Thanks for coming back and for the loads of great info!!

    KIM, My mom does that too – she says she uses hot water first, and if that doesn’t work, then vinegar.

  • I always worry that when I answer comments, everyone thinks the comments are closed, but that isn’t true at all… Please feel free to continue commenting and adding your own tips!

  • Gloves and a mask for RoundUp… I told my mom I didn’t want to use this stuff.

    Actually, I completely agree with you. I didn’t want to use it. I don’t want to use it. Especially finding all the different animals in our backyard. There were beetles, I think, around the plant, and we get hummingbirds and dragonflies and Mom and I found a gecko next the the pond on Monday!! That was SO COOL. Anyway, the point is, I actually hadn’t planned on doing anything. I thought this would be just a fantasy. But I think I’ve been reading too many gardening blogs like yours. All of a sudden on Monday I found myself out back, digging.

    Then on Tuesday I kept going. At 11am, after an hour of digging, my mom was still trying to convince me to use RoundUp. (I had even talked to my dad the family gardener who ALSO said it probably wouldn’t work!) An hour and a half later I yelled at her to get the camera and come to the backyard, and she couldn’t figure out why I’d said that. hahahahahaha. Even when I pulled the plant out, she couldn’t believe I’d dug it out. I am not an active person, really. I am still shocked I went outside and dug. But it felt really GOOD. So silly that I waited until the last week I am going to be home to get active. My dad said if he’d known I was going to do that he’d have bought more compost. If I’d known I was going to do that I would’ve laughed and said you don’t know me very well, do you.

    Hopefully it won’t grow back! I’ve got black tarp on top of the area right now so that things won’t grow until I’ve got something else there.

  • You go girl! Or should I say grow girl! Awesome, Stephanie! Gardening is addicting, you know… not just for the nurturing part, but also for the getting your aggressions out on the weeds part. : ) Seriously, I’m so glad you found a non-toxic solution!!

  • [...] and increase mileage. blogowner12 says, “Another car to make the Earth cleaner.” Melinda presents GREEN YOUR INSIDES: The #1 Cheapest & Most Versatile Product For Your Home posted at One Green Generation. Melinda’s article presents 19 uses for vinegar. Steve Faber [...]

  • [...] presents GREEN YOUR INSIDES: The #1 Cheapest & Most Versatile Product For Your Home posted at One Green [...]

  • I’ve got a couple of towels that smell mildewy no matter how often I wash them — I’m trying to avoid bleach to get the smell out; do you think vinegar would work instead?

    If I ever washed my windows, I’d be all over the vinegar-and-water mixture.

  • Kate, my apologies for taking so long to get back to you. I don’t know. Certainly it wouldn’t hurt to try washing the towels with a cup of vinegar. You can even soak it overnight first. I’ve never had a mildew smell stay in my laundry after washing it, so maybe it’s the vinegar! ; ) Let me know how it goes.

  • Rosalie O'Leary

    There is another way to use vinegar: as a healthful, nutritious food!

    The herbalist and Wise Woman, Susun Weed, has a website and monthly e-newsletter available for more information on healthy, herbal living. As a sample, here is a link to a recent article from her monthly ezine on making and using herbal vinegars:

    To our good health!
    Rosalie O’Leary
    Neosho, MO

  • Thanks for the link, Rosalie – I will check it out.

  • This is great – I love using vinegar too – saves my cash, conscience and cupboard space! I’ve got a few more ideas…

    I find it works on the tiny ants which try to march through our stone walls into my kitchen. Its really effective (and more interesting smelling) with a few drops of teatree oil added to the squirty bottle.

    Boiling a kettle or saucepan containg a 1/3 mix of vinegar/water removes limescale really rapidly without the expense of all those nasty chemicals.

    It’s useful used (in tiny amounts) added to water in the henhouse to prevent your poultry getting parasites. I wonder if it helps similarly when given to dogs?

    Regarding toilets – a big up to the humble pumice – since changed to this manual method of loo cleaning my toilet is much more sparkly and the biodigestor is much happier too! We have a spray bottle with vinegar plus a few drops of essential oil for scent (lemon/mint/teatree) next to the loo. Its great to neutralise any urine smells so long as the seats put down afterwards, as we only flush on the ‘big’ jobs.

    Great site – glad I’ve found you – I’ll be back…

  • I have started using vinegar and baking soda to clean the kitchen, but haven’t used it in the bathroom yet. Time to get a new spray bottle and try it out!! I like the ideas, since I also have a toddler in the house.


  • Hi Melissa, welcome! And enjoy! It will likely give you peace of mind to know that you’ve cleaned with vinegar, and can get rid of any products that could harm your little one!

  • I didn’t know vinegar can be useful for floors and unclogging drains. Thank you for this useful information:)

  • [...] while back I wrote about the many ways I use vinegar in our home.  And I’ve been saying over and over again that you only need vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen [...]

  • [...] in a trio of amazingly simple household cleaners.  Check out all the things you can do with vinegar and baking soda, if you haven’t [...]

  • k8

    As for cat urine (I have two, and one who is getting old and prone to accidents.) I highly recommend a three step approach. Pour on the vingear and brush in some baking soda. This does form a foam, but the action of it helps get to the root of the soiled area. Once that’s dry, you vaccuum it up and pour hydrogen peroxide over it and let it dry once again. The peroxide neutralizes the enzymes which cause the smell that keeps cats going back to the same spot to urinate. It has saved me so many times. And until I found it, I thought I was going to have to get rid of the cat.

  • I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I wish i had time and patience to make a informative post like yours. A ton of info on all the states. Bookmarked your blog.

  • [...] Vinegar – it’s the most versatile cleaning agent you can ever have. It has an answer for all your cleaning needs – floor, window panes, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, toilet bowl, refrigerator – you just name it! [...]

  • [...] Vinegar – it’s the most versatile cleaning agent you can ever have. It has an answer for all your cleaning needs – floor, window panes, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, toilet bowl, refrigerator – you just name it! [...]

  • [...] GREEN YOUR INSIDES: The #1 Cheapest & Most… : One Green Generation. Green, frugal, sustainable, simple, healthy, and happy… We are living the lives we want to live. Please Join Us! [...]

  • Mary Kezer

    Pumice scratches the toilet thus causing scale to build up faster. Instead I use very fine water proof sand paper. It cleans the hard stains without scratching the surface. You need only a small piece and it lasts a long time. – Mary

  • Wow, is vinegar really that good at helping to clean all of those things? I have used it to help clean the windows many times and used it to remove limescale but didn’t know it could be used in so many other circumstances. Fantastic advice and I will be trying some of these out for sure. One question, does the vinegar not cause surfaces to smell funny?

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