Not Just for Salads: Vinegar Works Wonders Around the Apartment


In a pickle: A little vinegar and a pinch of salt are great for cleaning copper. (Elfboy via Flickr)

Being called vinegary has just gotten an upgrade.

This Old House has a great article on this old favorite: 10 Uses for Vinegar. Here are 10 ways you can use this ancient potion in your present-day Adams Morgan apartment. Oh, and we mean the distilled, white kind of vinegar.

1. Peeling Off Wallpaper – All you need is a sponge and spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. Saturate the wallpaper, wait a few minutes and start scraping.

2. Give Life to Old Paintbrushes – Soak those grody nylon brushes in hot vinegar for 30 minutes or so; this will remove paint and soften the bristles. Then wash them in hot, soapy water and brush off any excess paint. Rinse well, let dry, and would you look at that: They look new.

3. Find Your Soil’s pH Level – Place a little of your dirt into a small container and then sprinkle it with vinegar. If the dirt fizzes, you have alkaline soil. Here are ways to adjust your soil’s pH.

4. Clean Mineral Deposits From Your Showerhead – Pour half a cup of warm vinegar into a large resealable plastic bag. Place the showerhead in the bag, making sure the water holes are fully submerged, then seal it. Let it sit for an hour, then rinse, wipe it clean and reattach.

5. Keep the Paint on Your Metal or Concrete Surface – Before you paint galvanized metal or concrete, use a sponge or lint-free cloth soaked with vinegar and wipe down the surface. It is said this will help stop the paint from peeling.

6. Get Rid of Decals and Unsightly Stickers – Sure, you loved the Cure and Jane’s Addiction (or Franz Ferdinand or The Strokes) – when you were 19. Now in your late-20s, you may still hold an aural candle or two, but those window stickers on your well-preserved Volvo have got to go … because, among other things, you’re thinking about selling it. Just rub some vinegar on the sticker, scrape it and then rub on some more vinegar to get the rest of that sticky stuff off. You can also use this method on plastic or wood.

7. Remove Wax and Polish Buildup – To remove buildup on furniture or wood surfaces, use an equal-parts mix of water and vinegar, making sure to wipe with the wood grain. For leather, use two-parts water, one-part vinegar, and rub in a circular motion.

8. Whiten That Grout – I had a former landlord who was quite a grouch, so much so that he actually cared about the grout! Actually, that was the least of his peccadillos. But I’m not exactly the cleanest bard you’ll meet (and that’s putting it mildly, quite), so here’s a way to make that grout shine like Erik Estrada’s smile.

Well, this is rather simple … dip a fairly new toothbrush into some vinegar and get to scrubbing that grout.

Oh, but there’s always more than meets the eye with something this easy, and here we have a caveat: Vinegar can harm natural stone surfaces like marble – so don’t use it on them.

9. Dissolve That Rust – Grab yourself a bucket and fill it with vinegar, then dump in some rusty old metal tools, nuts and bolts, and let them soak for a few days. Then, rinse them with water. They say rust doesn’t stand a chance. But, from reading a bit more about this method, I’d suggest checking the tools after the first day, because they also say vinegar can even eat away at the good metal if items are immersed too long.

10. Protect Those Hands – If you work in the construction trades or otherwise handle a lot of concrete or drywall, you may notice that the caustic materials in these items can cause skin irritation. As a palliative, rinse with a mixture of one-part vinegar and two-parts water before washing your hands. The acid in the vinegar will neutralize the alkaline content from the building materials.

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Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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