When it comes to certain kinds of cleaning jobs, distilled white vinegar really is the liquid miracle it’s touted to be.
THIS STUFF WORKS | What is it about ordinary distilled white vinegar that encourages list making? Google “vinegar” and you’ll see what I mean. Here are a few of the crazy numbers vinegar lovers throw around in their effort to woo you to their website: “74 Little Known Uses For Vinegar,” “1001 Things To Do With Vinegar” and, I kid you not, “A Billion Bitchen Things To Do With Vinegar.”
These kinds of hysterical pronouncements give vinegar a bad name. There’s no way I feel encouraged to try a product that can serve a billion purposes, particularly when almost all of these claims are little more than a few sentences that are part of a list.
As the numbers climb higher, every claim about vinegar starts to feel like a joke. Give me one “researched and proven” reason to use this product, and I will turn right back around (thanks, Tracy Chapman). Turns out I didn’t have to look very far to find three.
3 Shockingly Awesome Things Vinegar Can Do For You
Make The Interior Of Your Microwave Look New
I’d been using chemical-laden Vim (my all purpose cleaning agent of choice) to clean the inside of my microwave,and was not feeling good about it even though it did a decent job. I’d read that distilled white vinegar was more effective for this task, and now that I’ve tried it, I know it’s true.
Here’s what I do: Mix half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl and bring this mixture to a rolling boil inside the microwave (about four minutes—when you open the door, liquid should be dripping down from the top). Then use a sponge (with both rough and smooth sides) to wipe out the gunk without a huge amount of effort.
Remove Stains From Grout Around Shower Tiles
When my tile setter installed large, gleaming white tiles with white grout in the shower surround in our new bathroom, I asked him to recommend an effective grout cleaner that wasn’t laced with scary chemicals like I believed Tilex to be, and he brought me a grout eraser. It works pretty well if you use it consistently, but I don’t like the way its edges go round and require sharpening against a rough surface like cement. I wanted something that was even more effective and easier to use. When I tried distilled white vinegar, I was gobsmacked by how well it worked and how effortless it was to apply.
Here’s what I do: Use distilled white vinegar at full strength, applying it repeatedly to the grout using an old toothbrush with relatively hard bristles. I don’t even rub very hard. If I hadn’t seen the results with my own eyes, I would not have believed that common vinegar could be this effective at removing stains from grout.
Eliminate Clothing Odours In The Wash
The first time I dumped vinegar into my washing machine along with laundry detergent, I was worried that my clothes would come out of the wash smelling like vinaigrette. That didn’t happen, and the odour (baby pooh residue on tiny jeans left in a plastic bag “to bake”) did not dissipate immediately, though it absolutely did after another two times—and two more cups of vinegar—through the wash.
Without question, distilled white vinegar in the wash can eliminate certain odours in clothing (stale smoke is a good one), though I haven’t found it to be super effective on body odour in workout gear. Maybe that’s because I don’t put vinegar in my wash routinely but wait until I have a particular odour I want to eliminate. Maybe a preemptive vinegar strike is what I need to resolve that.
Now that I’ve found three irrefutably worthwhile ways to put vinegar to work around my house, I’m beginning to wonder about the legitimacy of a lot of those other claims. If you’ve found an awesome and bona fide way to put distilled white vinegar to work, please tell us about it so we can start adding more legitimate numbers to our list. —C. Rule
WARNING, WARNING: Never, under any circumstance, mix vinegar with chlorine bleach. The dangers are too great. When acids are mixed with bleach, chlorine gas is given off. This is quite toxic and can be a considerable health risk. If you are thinking about mixing vinegar with another cleaning agent, please read the label on that product to make sure it does not contain bleach.
Photo: C. Phaisalakani