Welcome back to another installment of my “Back to basics” series that spotlights natural household cleaning and laundering products that have been around the block and then some for good reason. In the past, I’ve featured products that may air on the obscure side and require a bit of shopping around — Bon Ami Cleaning Powder, 20 Mule Team Borax, Dr. Bronner’s Classic Liquid Soaps, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda — but today’s product, one that needs little introduction, Heinz Distilled White Vinegar, is likely already perched in your pantry.
I realize that Heinz isn’t the only manufacturer of distilled white vinegar but given that the Pittsburgh-based condiment king has been producing the stuff from sun-ripened grains and water since 1869, it’s pretty much considered the gold standard of white vinegars. In fact, Heinz was the first American company to bottle vinegar for home use and used it as a key ingredient in its now-famous bottled ketchup that was first unrolled in 1876.
Alongside its many culinary uses, Heinz has long promoted distilled white vinegar as the ideal natural household cleaner. Extremely versatile, inexpensive, all-natural, and effective with a low acidity of 5 percent, white vinegar is a true miracle worker. Given that white vinegar’s natural cleaning properties are no big secret, you may already use it around the home for various tasks.
What's my personal favorite use of white vinegar? Forgoing Drano and using it in combination with baking soda and hot water as a natural drain cleaner. I also dilute it with water to wipe down the surfaces in my fridge.
Below you'll find a list of some of the many uses for Heinz Distilled White Vinegar around the home and garden. Is there a particularly good one that I left out? Share the love and add it to the comments section!
• An automatic coffee maker cleaner (check the machine's manual first to make sure that running vinegar through it is okay).
• A food-stained pot and pan cleaner.
• A paint brush softener.
• A shower curtain mildew/mold remover.
• A hair conditioner.
• A weed killer.
• A multipurpose scouring cleanser.
• A carpeting color booster.
• A garbage disposal cleaner ... make white vinegar ice cubes to do this!
• An unwanted odor — tobacco, fish, etc. — absorber.
• A varnished wood furniture reviver.
• A toilet bowl, tub, and tile cleaner.
• A window washer.
• A vinyl floor cleaner.
• A fireplace soot remover.
• An ant deterrant.
• A showerhead lime deposit buster.
• An all-around fabric stain fighter.
• A washing machine soap residue remover.
• A rusty bolt loosener.
• A birdbath cleaner.
• A fruit fly and moth catcher.
• A naughty cat discourager.
• A sponge and dishrag renewer.
• A wallpaper and decal remover.
• A urine-stained mattress freshener.
• An all-purpose dirt and grease cutter.
• A pet accident deodorizer/cleaner/stain remover.
• A chrome fixture and appliance shiner.
• A drain declogger and deodorizer.
Note: Many household remedies involving white vinegar require it to be diluted or combined with another ingredient or two. Before you go to town with a bottle of Heinz, make sure you're using it properly.
Photo: Heinz Vinegars