Many look at vinegar as nothing more than just another ingredient that sits in the kitchen cabinet and comes out when needed for some flavor, but is that all it was made for? You’ve probably watched those popular DIY videos of the condiment being used as a cleaning agent. They do make one curious though. Is vinegar a good cleaning product? What else can it be used for? How long does it remain good for? If you’re wondering whether your leftover vinegar can be put to good use, you came to the right page.
Should Vinegar be Thrown Away?
Vinegar is one of the most widely used ingredients worldwide. It’s cheap and it can do wonders for you in not just the kitchen, but in your garden, garage, and for your rusty tools. Before we get to the numerous ways in how vinegar can be utilized, it’s important to clarify whether vinegar can go bad or not. If yes, then can it still be used for other purposes? To put it straight, vinegar does not go bad. Contrary to what most would assume, this highly useful condiment can look and stay fresh for a few years at least in your kitchen cabinet.
Vinegar contains self-sufficient preservatives that make it independent. In other words, it does not require refrigeration to stay good. However, changes in texture and color are quite natural when you tend to keep distilled vinegar for years. Although it’s not recommended to add that vinegar to your food, it can still be used if you’re willing to settle for a slightly bad taste. To summarize, vinegar can last for decades and it supposedly has an indefinite life. So, there’s no reason to throw it away when there are several uses of the substance.
Despite vinegar boasting the ability to stay fresh for a good while, if you want to get rid of it without using it in recipes, there are several ways to do so:
Use it as a Deodorizer
Instead of spending your hard-earned money on toxic substances being marketed as artificial deodorizers, consider opting for vinegar. This one ingredient is all you would need to eliminate rancid smells from your house. Simply pour two cups of white or apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it in areas where needed. For additional volume, consider adding some water into the mixture, no significant decrease in effectiveness would be an issue. To combat intense levels of bad smell, consider leaving an entire bowl filled with vinegar overnight in the place. You’ll find the smell to be surely gone by the morning.
You might be wondering how vinegar manages to get rid of the smell when the substance itself doesn’t smell so nice. Well, thanks to its antimicrobial properties, it can neutralize bad odor in no time. By neutralizing bad odor, we mean that you won’t find the area smelling good after treating it with vinegar. There simply won’t be any bad smell, regardless of the source of it. If you want the vinegar to replace the existing bad odor with a good one, consider using scented vinegar like lemon vinegar. Whether you’re looking to get rid of cigarette smell from your car or the stink of overworn socks, vinegar is the way to go.
Let us not forget the deodorizing benefits of vinegar in the washing machine. If you ever fall short on washing powder, you can use vinegar as an odor neutralizer. All you have to do is add one cup of vinegar to every washing cycle. Make sure to not keep your clothes soaked in this mixture for long periods of time, just one laundry cycle should be enough. Also, try doing the cycle with vinegar and water only mixture for clothes with extremely bad smell. Once the first cycle gets rid of the bad odor, you can change the water and add some detergent this time to make your clothes smell good.
Fertilizer and Pesticide
Are you into gardening? If yes, then you probably treat your plants no less than your beloved pets. Here’s the catch: vinegar not only boasts cleaning properties but can also be used as a fertilizer for your plants. Whether you’re growing veggies in your kitchen window or have a couple of colorful flowers in your backyard, vinegar can boost their growth. All you have to do is spray some vinegar on the soil and watch it do its magic. Vinegar can be of great help in giving your seedlings the push they need to grow tall. Just remember to not spray it directly on the plants’ bodies or roots as it can be harmful to them.
Other than acting as a fertilizer, vinegar is a natural disinfectant that can be utilized as an insect killer. Spraying some of it on the soil will definitely keep away the bugs and pests that are a threat to your plants. Not only that, but vinegar will also revive the soil and make it fresh.
Electronic Appliances Reviver
Your electric appliances help you in your daily life chores, but have you been maintaining these machines? If not, vinegar is here to save the day. Thanks to vinegar’s excellent cleaning properties, the condiment can be used to clean your home appliances from the inside out. It will make its way deep inside and get rid of dust and bacteria building up. Instead of spending loads of money on repairs and maintenance, vinegar is a relatively cheap and quick solution. Although numerous electronics can be cleaned with it, we’ll stick to the top three.
Washing machines are one of the most ignored appliances in terms of maintenance. They do all the cleaning of your clothes but probably don’t get cleaned as much as they should be. Vinegar comes to their rescue too, of course. Simply pour it into the detergent tray or directly in the drum. Run a cycle as you would normally with clothes except using hot water this time. Once the cycle finishes, dispose of the dirty water and run another cycle with clean hot water.
Depending on how good you are at licking your plates clean, the dishwasher might get some food remains stuck inside. If not taken care of, these remains can affect its performance negatively. That’s why cleaning the dishwasher is essential every once in a while. Place a bowl filled with vinegar in your empty dishwasher’s top rack. Set it to hot water and run a cycle or two. Once it is finished, run a normal cycle with the hot water setting again. You can sprinkle some baking soda around the washer for best results.
Garbage disposals generally require more maintenance than other home appliances. This is because their job is to get rid of kitchen waste that can get them dirty if not maintained. So, in order to clean the garbage disposal, vinegar shouldn’t be poured in its liquid form. Instead, you’ll have to freeze it in an ice cube tray. Consider adding some lemon for a fine scent to these cubes. Once they’re frozen, throw them into the sink drain and hear them get crunched in the disposal below. Repeat this at least once a month if you’re looking to maximize your garbage disposal’s life.
One of the most impressive qualities of vinegar is its ability to get rid of rust from metals. Though you have more effective chemical alternatives out there, they come at a price that is far more than the price of a bottle of vinegar. To get rid of rust from a material, soak it in a container of vinegar overnight. Rust gives in to vinegar easily. Once you wipe the material with a clean cloth or some scrubber, you’ll find the rust to slide off like it was never there. For objects too large enough to be dissolved in vinegar, cleaning them with a cloth soaked in white vinegar and leaving them overnight would do the trick.
Where NOT to Use Vinegar
As you can tell by now, utilizing vinegar is a way better option than pouring it down the drain. It might seem that the condiment can be used for cleaning almost everything. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Although we encourage using vinegar for cleaning purposes, here are some surfaces that can be harmed by vinegar:
- Egg stains
- Stone/Marble tiles
- Wooden objects
Vinegar is also considered to be a one-man army type kind of substance. This means it doesn’t need additional help in getting things cleaned. For instance, adding bleach to vinegar to create a cleaning agent is a bad idea as it can emit dangerous gases. It’s best to use vinegar as a whole cleaner but you can add something for a good odor like lemon.
Vinegar is by far one of the most versatile substances that can solve dozens of your cleaning problems while giving your recipes the flavor they need. Not to mention its best part, the price. Just make sure you’re using the right amount and on the right material then you’re good to go.