6 Cleaning Uses for Vinegar


White vinegar is a tidy man's best friend. This stuff competes with those all-purpose cleaners and basically blows them all out of the water (gasp!). And let's admit it, there are few things more exciting than products that can be used to cook and clean. Keep in mind that we're talking white vinegar. Plain distilled white vinegar. Here are just a handful of useful ways to clean with our favorite liquid. Get excited.

1) Eliminate smoke odor. If you forgot your sweet potatoes in the oven and left your house for five hours (Guilty! But lesson learned: if sweet potatoes are left in the oven for five hours, you won't necessarily burn down your entire building.), you can remove the lingering smoke smell by placing a shallow bowl of white vinegar in the room (in this case, near the oven). The stank will be gone in less than a day. If you want the smell to disappear faster (cigarette smoke, anyone?) and you're feeling extra rhythmic, moisten up a cloth with vinegar and wave it around. Just like a fairy dancer.

2) Disinfect cutting boards. I refuse to believe that cutting boards are the dirtiest places on the planet - but there is definitely lots of bacteria and buildup on these kitchen staples. Use full-strength vinegar to wipe down your wooden cutting board after use. Wooden cutting boards shouldn't be washed with dishwashing detergent since the surface fibers can be weakened. Vinegar is the go-to when looking to clean that cutting board and remove all of that alleged bacteria.

3) Clean a teakettle. Avoid lime and mineral deposit buildups in your teakettle by cleaning it every few weeks. Bring 3 cups of full-strength white vinegar to a full boil for five minutes and leave it in the kettle overnight. Then rinse with cold water the next day.

4) Clean sinks and bathtubs. Give these pals a good scrub using full-strength vinegar followed by a cold water rinse. This'll bring back that tub shine that we all know and love. Now get out those bubbles, light a few candles and pretend to relax in that bath (admit it: taking a bath is overrated and we're all too tall for it.).

5) Disinfect toilet bowls. Pour 2 cups of white vinegar into the bowl and let the solution soak overnight before giving a flush in the morning (But what if you pee in the middle of the night?? No worries. A couple of hours of soaking will do the trick.). This will disinfect your toilet and also ward off those water ring marks that can creep up if you neglect your bowl.

6) Brighten up your loads. Shine, baby, shine! Add 1/2 cup vinegar to your next laundry load. It will brighten those colors right on up.