All hail the mighty vinegar! It might not smell like a rose, but it is perhaps the most multi-purpose of all natural products, and you probably already have some in your kitchen cabinet. It cleans, it freshens (yes, it really does), it fights pests, it kills weeds, and it sets Easter egg colors. It's the superhero of all organic supplies! And that makes it indispensable! Buy the biggest bottle of plain white vinegar you can. Keep some in a spray bottle, and have the big bottle on hand for when you need to pour a bunch. For most jobs, I dilute 1:1, unless a job just needs that Super Vinegar full strength!

Inside the home, vinegar can be used to:

  • Clean kitchen counters and sinks
  • Clean mirrors
  • Clean bathroom counters, sinks, and bath tub – either use diluted spray or making a scouring cleanser with baking soda, liquid detergent, and vinegar
  • Get soap scum off of glasses
  • Break down bodily fluids, such as vomit or feces, in the carpet or on your floor (dilute 1:1 with water)
  • Clean and soothe irritated skin after working in the garden (or touching poison ivy)
  • Deoderize a garbage disposal
  • Clean the inside of a refrigerator
  • Keep ants out of the kitchen
  • Soak pot stains to get them clean
  • Soothe itches from bug bites and poison ivy
  • Clean toothbrushes (and dentures!)
  • Laundry – add to your wash cycle for stubborn smells in your clothes or in your machine. Use dilute vinegar to loosen stains on your clothes before washing
  • Clean windows
  • Absorb smells – just put a bowl out overnight!
  • Clean litter boxes
  • Clean toilets, inside the bowl and on the exterior
  • Remove stains and smells from counters, pots, dishes, and hands
  • Mop the floor (particular useful on ceramic tile with grout; however, don’t use on marble)
  • Clean stains from carpet
  • Break up the bubbles in your dishwasher when your son pours dishwashing liquid in there instead of detergent (sigh)

Outside the home, use vinegar to:

  • Clean your barbeque grill
  • Clean upholstery stains
  • Clean birdfeeders (always rinse well, regardless of how you clean)
  • Keep pests away from your garden bed, including rabbits and cats (be careful where you place, and don’t spill – it’s a natural plant killer)
  • Clean your trash bin
  • Clean stains off concrete
  • Clean clay pots
  • Remove ice or bugs from car windows
  • Kill weeds -- no need for Round-Up! Spray directly on weeds (careful of your other plants), on stubborn tap roots, and even on poison ivy! Some people use a combination of vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and salt on their poison ivy, too. Others heat the vinegar first to strength the acidity.
  • Clean windows
For more organic cleaning tips and other ways to use vinegar, visit The Clean Green Arsenal and other sites at Great Stems.