Life is complicated enough. Why waste time trying to make it more complex with all the extra products, shopping trips, and packaging? This series is designed to save you time, money, and help the environment with a set of simple posts on how to make the most of the little things.

The second in our series of simple is vinegar- an ingredient known for it’s acidic kitchen qualities, but also a grandparent go-to for cleaning. This post will give you twenty ways to use your vinegar to the max saving you time, money and helping keep our homes and planet free from nasty chemicals. Eco tip? There is word that some bulk buy supermarkets will sell vinegar in refillable format so be on the lookout in your local area.

Please note! Vinegar comes in a variety of forms so and nearly all provided here are referring to Distilled White Vinegar (one of the cheapest and most accessible) unless specified. Always check on an inconspicuous area before doing a major clean in case your material or surface reacts with the vinegar.

Around the house

  • Face it, we all like to look at perfectly posed Insta-photos of offices. One thing that will fast-ruin a pic is a dirty laptop or PC. Clean you keyboards and mouse pre-pic with equal parts mix of water and white vinegar sprayed onto a soft clean cloth.
  • An office Insta-shot is usually spruced up nicely by a bunch of flowers. Keep your flowers looking beautiful for longer (and get extra insta photos from them) by feeding them two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and by adding two tablespoons of sugar to your vase of water. Change your sugar/vinegar/water mix every couple of days to keep the flowers fresh.
  • Can’t be bothered cluttering your cupboard with ugly and expensive bottles of chemical cleaners? Make an easy cleaner for shiny surfaces (glass, stainless, and plastic) by filing a reusable spray bottle with one part vinegar to every two parts water, and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
  • Got gorgeous wooden furniture with annoying water rings from messy non-coaster-compliant guests? Vinegar can solve your problems! Create a 50/50 mix of vinegar and olive oil and rub it on the marks on the wood with a cloth (going with the grain) then polish with another soft clean cloth.
  • Clean your floors by adding half a cup of vinegar a mop bucket of water. This is great for wooden floors, tiles and some laminates (don’t use for porous tiles like marble and check with your laminate manufacturer beforehand).
  • Had some smokers in your house? Get rid of the stink by leaving bowls of vinegar around your home until the smell   disappears. You might have a bit of a vinegar smell while you treat it but it’s a lot less persistent than smoke!

Kitchen clean

  • Do you worry about chemicals, sprays or waxes on your produce? If so give them a wash in some cool water with apple cider vinegar. Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to every litre of water.
  • If you happen to live somewhere that’s prone to fruit fly (like I do) you will know how annoying these pesky things can be. Make your own fruit fly trap by filling a jar with no lid a quarter full with apple cider vinegar, make a funnel from a piece of paper and insert it in the top of the jar (make sure that the funnel tip doesn’t touch the apple cider vinegar or it will get soggy). Tape the funnel to the jar with masking tape and watch the fruit flies fly in and get trapped keeping your fruit remain bug free!
  • Got some kombucha on the brew or planning to ferment your own kim chi? You can make sure your recycled jars and bottles are clean by soaking them with a mix of 50/50 mix of vinegar and hot soapy water, shake them up and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Give them a wash afterwards, wipe with some vinegar or alcohol before use.
  •  We all love aluminium reusable water bottles for their durability and clean taste but sometimes annoying mineral deposits form inside. Clean them by filling with white vinegar and allow them to soak for a day. Rinse bottle out with water and a spoon full of bicarb and hopefully your mineral scale will be gone!
  • Want sparkling drinking glasses? Rinse them in a sinkful of water with a half a cup of vinegar.
  • Here’s a riddle for you. If your dish washer washes your dishes who washes the dish washer? Apparently that’s your job! Clean your dishwasher the easy way by adding a cup of vinegar into the bottom of your washer and run a full wash cycle. This will keep your machine running top-notch and soap scum free.

The Laundry Saviour

  • Like your veggies, you can keep your clothes fresh and free from chemical residue by adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your load. It’s also a saviour for those who have sensitivities to washing powders as it can remove residue powder. You can even make your own fabric softener by following this recipe here!
  • Vinegar added to the wash helps to brighten the load.
  • Scorched something while ironing? I know I did once when ironing backstage at a fashion show many years ago (big apologies to the designer that we would ALL know if I named them) and the item was sent down the runway scorch marks and all (oops). Vinegar can save the day! Rub vinegar on the scorch mark with a cloth, then wipe down with a towel, keep trying this until the scorch mark fades (if it doesn’t it might be too scorched).
  • Have your whites yellowed in the closet? Fill your washer or sink with warm water, add a cup of vinegar for every four litres of water and leave to soak overnight. Wash as per usual and line dry in the sun.
  • Vinegar has some pretty impressive stain removing power. You can tackle old stains that haven’t been set in place by rubbing and blotting them with a mix of a tablespoon of dish washing liquid, 500mL of warm water, and two tablespoons of vinegar. Wash as usual and repeat if the stain doesn’t come out the first time (you might not ever get it out but it’s worth trying a few times). Fresh stain? Remove the item and blot it with straight white vinegar and wash. Big fresh stain? Soak in a bucket half/half of vinegar and water.
  • Rust stains on vintage cotton clothing is pretty common.  You can try to tackle them head on by immersing the stain (not the garment) in undiluted vinegar and rubbing with a bit of bicarbonate of soda. Wash the item and then dry on the line in the sun (be careful that this part of the treatment to fade a stain and it may fade the colour of the garment, skip the full sun if you are worried about colour loss).
  •  Fix dyed clothing that has a tendency to run in the wash by soaking them in vinegar for half an hour pre wash. This should fix the pesky cross dye problem.
  • Iron happy by spraying your creased clothes with a 50/50 water-vinegar solution and iron away! Wrinkles should dissapear with ease.

How’s that? Find one you want to try? Let us know if you do (or any other awesome vinegar tips you have up your sleeve) below.