8 Ways to Use Vinegar

Vinegar may keep people from accumulating too much belly fat—it can also defend you from jellyfish and slugs, and keep your hair from turning green.

June 24, 2009
vinegar with lemon and baking soda

The uses for vinegar just keep growing. A study out of Japan has found that rats given vinegar, whether made from rice, grapes, barley, or even bananas, were less prone to accumulate body fat. The jury’s still out on whether or not scientists will see similar effects in humans. In the meantime, pour some vinegar-based dressing on your salads and check out some other uses for vinegar that can make your live easier!

Aside from the standard uses in household cleaning—a mix of 1 part vinegar and 9 parts water will kill germs and clean just about any surface—here are eight other ways to use that bottle you’ve got stashed in your cabinet


1. Deodorant replacement.
Dabbing apple cider vinegar under your arms after you shower may inhibit odor-causing bacteria on your skin, according to the book Natural Healing with Cider Vinegar (Sterling Publishing, 1998).

orange jelly fish on blue background

2. Cure for jellyfish stings.
Several studies have found that the acetic acid in vinegar counteracts the stinging and pain caused by jellyfish venom, and a study published in The Medical Journal of Australia found that vinegar applied to tentacles left in your skin will not only cut the pain, but also prevent the release of more venom. Toss a bottle in your beach bag before you hit the ocean this summer.

pitbull in back of car


3. Car deodorizer.
Going on a long car trip? Store a bottle of white distilled vinegar and a bowl in the trunk of your car. Leaving a bowl of the pungent stuff in a car overnight will remove any odors left behind by a carsick passenger, according to vinegartips.com, a pro-vinegar website created by liquid-condiment makers Mikan Americas Inc.

woman with green hair

4. Swimmer’s hair antidote.
If you get in a lot of pool time this summer and notice that the chlorine is giving your hair a greenish tint, you can fix the problem by rinsing your hair in a mixture of ¼ cup cider vinegar and 1 pint water.

red stinky sneaker

5. Fighter of foot odor and athlete’s foot.
Both conditions can be improved by soaking your feet in undiluted apple cider vinegar. For foot odor, give them a 10-minute vinegar bath once a day, and for athlete’s foot, dab at the affected area with a cotton ball soaked in vinegar a few times per day. At the end of the day, soak your socks in vinegar for a half hour, as well, to kill the fungus.


stained hands holding berries over bucket

6. Hand stain remover.
Sure, white vinegar is a tried-and-true stain remover for clothing. But the next time your hands are stained by berries, try rubbing them with white vinegar, too.

strawberry close up

7. Antioxidant adder.
Speaking of berries, soak your summer strawberries in a little red wine vinegar, which has just as many healthy antioxidants as red wine and grape juice.

rabbit in garden next to purple flowers

8. Repellant of cats, rabbits, weeds, and slugs.
Plagued by rabbits devouring your garden, or a cat that makes a litter box out of your sandbox or flowerbeds? Keep rabbits away by soaking cotton balls in vinegar and sprinkling them around flower beds in locations where rabbits are likely to enter (some remedies even recommend soaking corn cobs and burying them near Thumper’s entry points). For cats, spray undiluted vinegar along the perimeter of flowerbeds or sandboxes to keep them out. In both cases, remember to reapply the vinegar solution every few weeks or after it rains.

You can also spray undiluted white vinegar on dandelions to kill them without adding unhealthy chemicals to your lawn. And if you have slugs or snails munching on your foliage, patrol the garden at night with a spray bottle full of a 50:50 mix of white vinegar and water. Zap any slimers you see.