12 Extraordinarily Handy Uses for White Vinegar

It’s the clear choice for more than just cooking.

  1. Keep flowers alive.

Prolong the life of your bouquet by adding 2 Tbsp white vinegar and 2 Tbsp sugar to the water. Change this mixture every couple of days to help provide the nourishment that cut blooms need.

  1. Reinvigorate hair.

Wash away product buildup and improve shine with a simple rinse. Mix 1 cup distilled water and ¼ cup vinegar, then pour over freshly washed wet hair. Let sit for 15 to 30 seconds before rinsing with cool water.

  1. Buff leather furniture.

Rejuvenate worn sofas and chairs with a DIY hydrating conditioner. Shake together equal parts white vinegar and boiled linseed oil (available at hardware stores), then dab onto a soft cloth and apply to leather in a circular motion. After 10 minutes, rub away with a clean, dry cloth.

  1. Tackle weeds.

Spray unwanted plants or weeds with white vinegar. The acid acts as an eco-friendly herbicide, and will work to destroy the growth with just a few applications.

  1. Pull up candle wax.

To get rid of accidental drippings, saturate a cloth with vinegar, then place it over the wax spot and apply light pressure for a few minutes. The vinegar will break down the residue without damaging the surface.

  1. Clean paintbrushes.

Loosen dried, caked-on paint with this simple trick: Bring vinegar to a boil, remove from heat and soak the brushes in it until the paint starts to release, about 20 minutes. Rinse bristles in cool water and use your fingers to remove any flakes.

  1. Clean cloudy glassware.

Soak a paper towel or cloth in white vinegar and use it to cover both the interior and exterior surfaces of the glass; let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse clean. Acetic acid, the main ingredient in vinegar, will work to dissolve any lingering mineral deposits, grease and soap scum that’s dulling the glass.

  1. Make towels more absorbent.

Add a solution of 1 cup white vinegar to your regular rinse cycle once the machine is filled at least a quarter-way with clean water. The acid will break down minerals, salt and other chemicals that have accumulated on your towels, leaving the fabric more absorbent.

  1. Remove rust.

Acetic acid, found in vinegar, can easily dissolve rust. Revive old tools by soaking them in undiluted vinegar for several hours, then rub away any stubborn residue with an old rag.


  1. Clean salt off shoes.

Tarnished your leather shoes? Simply dip a cloth in white vinegar and wipe away the marks. The acid will restore shine. It will also dissolve rock salt residue, a common winter woe.

  1. Freshen your fridge.

Make a solution of one part vinegar, one part water, and wipe down the walls and shelves of your refrigerator.

  1. Stop static cling.

Add 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to your wash cycle and say goodbye to annoying static cling (the acid reduces static).

SOURCES: Steven W. Brown, AIFD, environmental horticulture/floristry department chair, City College of San Francisco. Sarah Buscho and Marina Storm, cofounders, Earth Tu Face. Linda Cobb, QueenofClean.com. Danny Lipford, home-improvement expert, TodaysHomeowner.com.