I love distilled vinegar. While it’s part of my almost-daily life, I hadn’t thought to share my love of it until my friend, Cheryl Jensen (after reviewing my praise of baking soda) reminded me of distilled vinegar’s versatility. Made from a process of fermenting distilled alcohol, distilled vinegar is used in cooking, pickling, baking, cleaning, has medicinal uses and is the wonder substance behind many an elementary school scientific experiment.
Honestly, how many of your other cleaning agents are environmentally friendly, non-toxic and, oh, edible? To that end, how many other food ingredients do you use to descale a coffee pot? Bluntly, distilled vinegar is amazing.
Here’s a quick list of some of distilled vinegar’s uses.
Make better boiled eggs. Add a little vinegar to the water when boiling eggs. In case the egg should crack, the vinegar will keep the white from seeping through. And when poaching an egg, add about a tablespoon of vinegar to the water to keep the whites from separating from the yolk and spreading.
Wash your fruit and veg. Produce has all kinds of experiences before it arrives at the market, let alone on your kitchen table. Remove the residue of those adventures by washing your fruits and vegetables in a solution of 3 parts water to one part vinegar. Rinse thoroughly. According to research, a vinegar wash kills up to 98% of bacteria and removes pesticides.
Remove the sticky. Need to remove a sticker from a jar, or adhesive left from a bumper sticker? Vinegar to the rescue. Wet a rag with vinegar and wipe the sticker with it until soaked. The paper and the adhesive will come off in no time.
De-funkify the microwave. Microwave a bowl of water with a tablespoon of white vinegar for 5 minutes. Remove the bowl and wipe down the gunk. The steam from the water mixed with the mild acidity of the vinegar removes and sanitizes the microwave.
Disinfect wood cutting boards. After carving meats, wood cutting boards require a good scrubbing and disinfecting. After washing your board, wipe it down with undiluted white vinegar to make sure all the germs and other wee beasties are removed.
Soothe sunburns and scalds. This one was hard for me to believe until I experienced it first hand: Rubbing white vinegar on a sunburn or a scald not only removes the pain instantly, but depending on the severity of the burn, may relieve the pain entirely and helps keep the burn from blistering. (Reapply as needed.)
Stop scratching. Used topically, distilled vinegar is a simple anti-itching remedy for bites and stings. Stop or reduce the itching by applying the vinegar with a cotton ball directly to the bite. (Reapply as needed.)
Buff your windows. Vinegar is probably the most inexpensive glass cleaner you’ll find. In an empty spray bottle, mix equal parts white vinegar to water and clean as per usual. It will leaves your windows streak and residue free.
Mop your floors. For no-wax floors, using a vinegar and water solution is a great environmentally-friendly floor cleaner and disinfectant. The mix: 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar to a half-gallon of water.
Clean baby toys. Little ones are like puppies: They indiscriminately chew on just about everything. Using an equal-part solution of distilled white vinegar and water is a great, non-toxic way to disinfect plastic or rubber toys. Simply spray or wipe down the toy with the solution, let it sit, then wipe off any remaining wetness after 15 minutes.