5 More Things To Do with Vinegar

Everybody has vinegar. Why not put it to use with these creative and practical ideas?

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Vinegar. Good for cooking, good for cleaning and good for just about everything in between. From trapping fruit flies to removing water rings on furniture, here are some cool new ideas to keep vinegar on heavy rotation in your pantry.

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1. Get Rid of Water Rings on Furniture

To remove white rings left by wet glass on wood furniture, mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil and apply it with a soft cloth while moving with the wood grain. Use another clean, soft cloth to shine it up. To get white water rings off leather furniture, dab them with a sponge soaked in full-strength white vinegar.

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2. Disinfect Cutting Board

To disinfect and clean your wood cutting boards or butcher block countertop, wipe them with full-strength white vinegar after each use. The acetic acid in the vinegar is a good disinfectant, effective against such harmful bugs as E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. Never use water and dishwashing detergent, because it can weaken surface wood fibers. When your wooden cutting surface needs deodorizing as well as disinfecting, spread some baking soda over it and then spray on undiluted white vinegar. Let it foam and bubble for five to 10 minutes, then rinse with a cloth dipped in clean cold water.

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3. Unclog and Deodourize Drains

The combination of vinegar and baking soda is one of the most effective ways to unclog and deodourize drains. It's also far gentler on your pipes (and your wallet) than commercial drain cleaners.

- to clear clogs in sink and tub drains, use a funnel to pour in ½ cup baking soda followed by 1 cup vinegar. When the foaming subsides, flush with hot tap water. Wait five minutes, and then flush again with cold water. Besides clearing blockages, this technique also washes away odour-causing bacteria.

- to speed up a slow drain, pour ½ cup salt followed by 2 cups boiling vinegar, then flush with hot and cold tap water.

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4. Refresh Your Refrigerator

Did you know that vinegar might be an even more effective safe cleanser for your refrigerator than baking soda? Use equal parts white vinegar and water to wash both the interior and exterior of your fridge, including the door gasket and the fronts of the vegetable and fruit bins. To prevent mildew growth, wash the inside walls and bin interiors with some full-strength vinegar on a cloth. Also use undiluted vinegar to wipe off accumulated dust and grime on top of your refrigerator. Of course, you'll still want to put that box of baking soda inside your refrigerator to keep it smelling clean when you're done.

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5. Trap Fruit Flies

Did you bring home fruit flies from the market? You can make traps for them that can be used anywhere around your house by filling an old jar about halfway with apple cider. Punch a few holes in the lid, screw it back on, and you're good to go.