People say there is no such thing as a magic bullet or a panacea. Maybe not, but we've got the world's best kept secret to handle some of life's biggest little nuisances. Vinegar is the key to treating sore joints, animals that overstep their bounds, soap build-up on scalps, washers and sinks, and so many other everyday uses that we'd be here all day if we listed them all. And you need to finish the article and run out to stock up on vinegar before all the other readers empty the shelves. So we'll give you a few ideas and leave you to rejoice at life's little miracle in a bottle: plain ol' vinegar.

Health and beauty

Clearly the most important category, vinegar has a host of uses to make you look and feel your best. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. After you shampoo, pour a mix of one tablespoon vinegar and two cups warm water over your hair to get rid of soap buildup in the scalp. This leaves your hair shiny and clean, but smelling a bit odd until it dries. You can add a few drops of fragrant oil essences, or just tell yourself that beautiful doesn't always smell like a bed of roses.
  2. Vinegar can relieve sore muscles and arthritis pain. For that post-gym soreness, soak a rag in a mixture of water with a few drops apple cider vinegar and apply directly to muscles. For arthritis sufferers, the malic acid found in apple cider vinegar can help dissolve uric acid crystals that form around the joints. Unfiltered organic vinegar is the most beneficial, and it can be used as a tonic to treat arthritis by taking a teaspoon several times a day. Mix with water and honey to make it more palatable. If instant relief is needed, heat one-quarter cup vinegar and one-and-a-half cups of water in a pan until hot enough to help, but cool enough to handle, dip washcloth in and apply directly to sore limbs. 
  3. To ease sore throat pain, mix up a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a cup of hot water and a squirt of honey. Or gargle with a sip of undiluted cider for soothing relief.
  4. Been peeling too many carrots or handling cooked beets? Rub a bit of vinegar on your hands to remove stains.
  5. Throw back a shot of apple cider vinegar to scare away those hiccups. Really, they're very unattractive.
Pet care

Humans aren't the only ones who can benefit from vinegar. Try the following with your pet to find relief from some very common and irritating animal issues.

  1. If your best friend's been sprayed by an angry skunk, rub down his fur with undiluted vinegar, and rinse. He'll smell like a dog again in no time.
  2. Clean the goldfish bowl by scrubbing deposits with vinegar. Be sure to clean very well with soap and water to eliminate any traces of vinegar.
  3. Cats can act like they own the place. When you've got a spot that's off limits, sprinkle it with vinegar and she won't go anywhere near it to sleep or scratch.
  4. Use a rag dipped in diluted vinegar to clean Fido's ears; it'll help prevent him from scratching.
Cleaning and laundry

Keep a bottle of distilled white vinegar handy in the laundry room — these tips are easy and effective for keeping your clothing fresh and clean.

  1. A half cup of vinegar added to your washing cycle will help remove soap scum from clothing, keep away lint and prevent color bleeding. Washing machine technicians also recommend running a cycle with a cup of vinegar and no soap or clothing once a month to clean out the machine.
  2. Use undiluted vinegar to pre-treat sweat stains, particularly those caused by anti-perspirants containing aluminum.
  3. Close up tiny holes left by dropping a hem or opening a seam by ironing the fabric over a cloth dipped in distilled vinegar.
  4. To remove smoke odors from clothing, hang above a steaming tub full of hot water mixed with a cup of vinegar.
Kitchen help

Clearly the epicenter of the home, the kitchen is the most likely place to keep your vinegar, with an almost endless list of handy uses for it.

  1. To kill bacteria and make your meat more tender, marinate it overnight in vinegar. Do not rinse, simply add herbs and spices and cook as usual.
  2. Clean stains from china using vinegar. This is particularly helpful for coffee and tea stains.
  3. Use vinegar on a rag to get rid of scummy buildup on fridge shelves and get rid of any unpleasant old food aromas at the same time.
  4. Stainless steel sinks, chrome and glass are all safe surfaces to clean with vinegar. For brass, copper or pewter, mix a cup of vinegar and a teaspoon salt and use this combo to shine 'em up. Don't use vinegar on granite, marble or limestone surfaces.
  5. If you've overspiced your soup or stir-fry, add a teaspoon of apple cider or white vinegar to cut the spice factor. Depending on your zealousness, two or more teaspoons may be necessary.
  6. Clean cutting boards with vinegar to prevent bacteria build up. Same with the dishwasher — run a cycle with just one cup of vinegar to clean out soap and food buildup and rid the machine of stale odors.
If you've got other creative uses for vinegar, spill the beans in the comment section below. We shared, now it's your turn.

Related household uses stories on MNN:

Sarah F. Berkowitz Sarah F. Berkowitz was born in Jerusalem, raised in Detroit, and currently lives in Atlanta with her Manhattan born and bred husband. Her dream of becoming a psychologist was traded in for a laptop and chef’s hat when she decided to pursue her passion for writing and food. Sarah enjoys cooking, trying to get food to stay still for a good photo, and convincing her kids that they're lucky to have a chef as a mom. (They're still waiting for dinner.)

Uses for vinegar: Tips and ideas
Vinegar is the key to treating sore joints, animals that overstep their bounds, soap build-up on scalps, washers and sinks, and so many other everyday uses that