The Miracle of Vinegar


It’s kind of a miracle.  Around our house, it is tied with coconut oil as the “MVP” of Household Staples.

Vinegar has amazing healing, and nutritional benefits and is exceptional when used for cleaning.  It has been used for centuries.  2,500 years to be exact; making it the oldest known product in use by humans.  It’s magic ingredient is acetic acid, which makes up about 5% of the finished vinegar.

It can soothe insect bites and stings and sunburns. When ingested, vinegar can help the body absorb calcium, (that’s why it’s so great paired with greens), and it can help the body with insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar for those with diabetes. It can be a remedy for bowel and digestive troubles, ease hiccups and cure skin conditions. That is hardly a complete list of it’s capabilities, and perhaps just one spectrum in vinegar’s rainbow of possibilities.  Widely respected as the most beneficial type of vinegar to ingest is apple cider vinegar (ACV), but, of course, that is a whole other article for your enjoyment…

Vinegar is a workhorse for an abundance of tasks in daily life.  The cleaning abilities of vinegar are second to none, along with it’s purifying and degreasing abilities.  It is a great substitute for things that you might use bleach for, and also a key ingredient in many homemade cleaners.  In my tiny little humble opinion, there’s nothing vinegar can’t do.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite household applications with you, and perhaps inspire you to quit your Lysol, Clorox, and Windex bad habits 🙂  Not only are you going to save a ton of money on cleaners, but you will be making great strides toward living a non-toxic life.  With so many toxins I can’t avoid, it feels good to consciously be able to control what I clean with.  It is about getting clean after all.


I like to save my citrus peels, particularly orange, and pour white vinegar over the top of them and let them steep for a few days. (Remember to shake every now and then). I then pour the infused vinegar off into a spray bottle and use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water.  With this yummy smelling vinegar spray I manage to do a lot.  I keep the bottle in my kitchen and thoroughly clean my produce, counter tops and all other kitchen surfaces.  I dust with this, wipe up the sink in the bathroom with it, and clean my mirrors.

For tougher jobs, I add white vinegar to other simple ingredients and make super-frugal homemade cleaners that make me feel awesome, old-fashioned, and resourceful.


Vinegar is also great for cleaning your coffee pot, running through your dishwasher as a rinse-aid, and is used as a degreaser on dishes and other random stickies and stinkies.

Vinegar is also a friend to the laundry.  It is an ingredient in homemade laundry soap, but also performs amazing as a fabric softener.  I add about a half-cup or less to the softener section of my washer, and my clothes come out soft, but with no lingering aroma; of vinegar or those nasty dryer sheets.  They are too strongly scented for me, and have stuff in them I can’t pronounce.  A total turn off.  Acetic acid won’t harm fabrics, repells mold and mildew, dissolves soap residues, and prevents static.

I don’t use white vinegar much in the culinary area, just because there are so many better choices, but I do like to infuse white vinegar with herbs for cooking.  Last summer, I grew a fantastic, and new to me, variety of basil called lemon basil.  It was the most fragrant, delicious, and versatile basil I have experimented with, and it is definitely getting a second showing in the garden this year.  All of my basil had a prolific year, and when I tired of pesto making, I crammed a handful of the lemon basil into a mason jar, and poured white vinegar over the top of it.  I shook it daily for a few weeks and strained.  It came out beautifully, and is a powerfully scented and flavored vinegar that I am loving for cooking.  I’ve been throwing it in sauces, vinaigrettes, soups, and stir frys.  I have the better part of a quart of it, so I’ve had to get creative.

I have compiled a list of old wisdom of the various applications of white vinegar.


“Old Wisdoms” of Vinegar:

  • Spray onto deodorant stained shirts to remove the discoloration
  • Loosen chewing gum stuck to upholsteries and fabrics
  • Cleans mirrors and windows
  • Kills weeds
  • Kills slugs
  • Kills mold and mildew
  • Rids animals of skunk odor
  • When added to the water for poaching eggs, helps the whites stay formed
  • Cleans and disinfects sink drains (pair with baking soda)
  • Perks up wilted veggies when added to the water bath for soaking and refreshing
  • Can reduce the gassiness from cole crops (think cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) when added to the cooking water
  • Removes paint fumes by filling shallow dishes with vinegar and placing in the painted area
  • Removes concrete from your hands
  • Added to water when boiling eggs, it prevents cracked eggs from seeping out of the shell
  • Gets rid of rust
  • Peels off wallpaper
  • Whitens grout
  • Mist clothes with vinegar and water to prevent wrinkles
  • Sets dyes from running
  • Reshapes woolen clothes
  • Speeds germination of seed through scarifying
  • Keeps cut flowers fresh
  • Tests soil for alkalinity or acidity

This list goes on and on.  This list is in no way exhaustive, but Reader’s Digest attempted an exhaustive one that is sure to impress, and you can find that here.  Click here for yet another helpful resource.

If you have any tips or tricks to share about vinegar, I’d love to hear them!  (Especially the ones your grandmother’s have passed down).


**This post was shared with: Wildcrafting Wednesdays, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, LHITS DIY Linky, Friday Favorites, Simple Lives Thursdays, Healthy Vegan Friday, Sunny Simple Sundays, Your Green Resource










  1. I use vinegar for everything too! I would add that you can use it to wash fruits and veggies as well!

    • I love vinegar, Melissa! Thanks for the produce tip, I talked about that early on in the article, so I didn’t include it in the list. Maybe I should revise that 🙂

      • Brilliant – I especially like the citrus peel idea. If you would like to guest post at Mumtopia any time, please let me know.

  2. My husband and I have a list of “magic” things in our house. Vinegar, coconut oil, and breast milk are the three major ones!

  3. Vinegar kills 99.9% of virus and bacteria….that’s what Lysol claims to do! Go Vinegar!

  4. So interesting. So far I’ve only really used vinegar for cleaning sprays but great to find out more uses for it.
    I would love it if you shared this with Healthy Vegan Fridays, a blog hop co-hosted by 3 bloggers. I’m sure our readers would really enjoy this. You can submit a post from Friday to end of Tuesday:

  5. I too have discovered the joys of vinegar for cleaning and laundry. I can no longer tolerate the stinky, toxic bathroom cleaners–they make me cough.

    • Rene, I completely agree. That’s what started my love affair with vinegar. Commercial cleaners are so horrible, and horribly expensive!

  6. I am about to make my first vinegar based weed killer. Got any suggestions of other things to add for killing weeds? I have been reading about mixing in salt and/or dishsoap, any thoughts?

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