13 Amazing Uses for Vinegar in your Kitchen !

If you could invent a green-cleaning “wonder” product, it would probably end up being a lot like white vinegar. Safe, readily available, and really cheap, there are perhaps hundreds of uses for vinegar, an acidic liquid originally created from wine gone bad.

For some vinegar uses listed here, you’ll need to decide how much you want to dilute white vinegar. On wood floors, for example, cleaning with vinegar requires one cup diluted with about one gallon of warm water. But for cleaning mildewed tile and grout, use full-strength vinegar.

1/ LIMESCALE ON TAPS

No need to spend your hard-earned cash on specialist products – much better to use bog-standard distilled malt vinegar (the clear, colourless stuff) instead. For ordinary chrome taps (don’t use this on special finishes, it might be too strong and ruin your bespoke surface), soak a few sheets of kitchen paper with the vinegar, wrap these around the taps and cover with a plastic bag. Secure the lot with an elastic band so that the vinegar stays in contact with the taps and does its work. Leave on overnight, then the next morning, the scale should lift off fairly easily – just wipe it with a cloth. If it’s really thick and annoyingly stubborn, repeat the process. You can take off any remaining bits of scale with a plastic scourer.

2/DESCALE YOUR KETTLE

If you live in a hard-water area you’ll definitely have limescale, and the build-up of this is one of the main reasons why electric kettles meet their death. When the metal element gets coated with scale, this stops the heat getting into the water as efficiently, which can cause overheating (which will shorten the kettle’s life). Stop this happening by descaling the kettle about once a month: fill it with half water and half clear vinegar – make sure it comes up over the scale line – and bring it to the boil. Switch off and leave overnight. Please note – it is really important to use clear vinegar for this; if you use the brown malt variety, the liquid inside the kettle will massively expand and erupt and you’ll have a vinegary water mess all over the floor (this happened to me). Empty the kettle, rinse, refill and reboil a couple more times with plain water until every last trace of vinegariness has gone. If the scale is really bad and it’s not all gone, repeat the process. If there are bits of scale around the rim, where the vinegar doesn’t quite reach, gently rub around here with an emery board and it’ll come off easily.

Next time you buy a kettle, get one with a built-in water filter. It’ll improve the taste of your tea, get rid of scum and help reduce the amount of limescale build-up. Other things you can do are empty and rinse before refilling with fresh water each time you boil (this helps to get rid of loose scale), boil only as much water as you need, pour away any surplus water before it cools down, and empty the kettle before you go to bed.

3/ ANYONE FOR SCALE-FREE COFFEE?

If your electric coffee maker has become a bit grotty and scalebound, add a 50:50 ratio of clear vinegar and tap water to the water chamber and run the machine through a cycle, sans coffee. Repeat this a couple more times, just with plain water. Some coffee-machine makers want you to use their own descalers, so check the instructions first to see if that’s the case (it could affect the warranty if anything went wrong).

4/ DEODORISE YOUR DISHWASHER

If your machine has suddenly developed a nasty whiff, first remove and wash the filter in hot soapy water, then check the spray arms for any bits of food and clean them, too. If you’ve never done this (which is perhaps the reason why you may have one or two problems), check the machine’s manual to find out how to do it – it’s really easy, and it’s a good idea to do this weekly. Also, take a wodge of kitchen paper along the gap where the bottom of the door meets the base of the machine – you might get a shock at the amount of rotting dreck lurking there. Once you’ve done those bits, throw a cup of clear vinegar into the machine and run an empty cycle – this is great for keeping the pipes clear of grease and limescale.

5/ BRING A SHINE TO YOUR FLOOR TILES

A soap-based cleaner can leave a tiled floor cloudy and dull, so to get that shiny finish, use a solution of mainly warm water with a good slug of clear vinegar. Make sure your mophead is made of microfibre (it cleans way more effectively, and most can be washed in the machine. There is no point in ‘cleaning’ a floor with a filthy mop).

6/BLOCKED SINK?

Before you call out an emergency plumber or spend a small fortune on environmentally unfriendly products, try this. Mix together 200g coarse salt and 100g bicarbonate of soda and pour it down the drain. Follow this with a cup of any type of vinegar plus a kettle full of boiling water. You’ll witness a mini-explosion in your sink, but this is good – it’ll help clear the blockage. Often (if the pipes are blocked with some solidified fat, for instance) this’ll do the trick.

But don’t wait until the kitchen sink gets blocked – treat your waste pipe to a monthly clear-out with a handful of bicarbonate of soda plus a cup of vinegar. Leave it to fizz for a minute or two, then follow through with a kettle of boiling water.

7/ HARD-TO-GET-TO STAINS

To shift stubborn marks from a narrow-mouthed glass container (such as a decanter), mix 200–300ml warm water with the same of vinegar (any type) and pour it in. Add a handful of sand or uncooked rice, give it a good few swirls for around 30 seconds, then leave to stand for about an hour before pouring the mix away (but not down your sink or loo). Rinse well and the glass will sparkle like new.

8/ SOMETHING SMELL FISHY?

pipe to a monthly clear-out with a handful of bicarbonate of soda plus a cup of vinegar. Leave it to fizz for a minute or two, then follow through with a kettle of boiling water.

9/ HARD-TO-GET-TO STAINS

To shift stubborn marks from a narrow-mouthed glass container (such as a decanter), mix 200–300ml warm water with the same of vinegar (any type) and pour it in. Add a handful of sand or uncooked rice, give it a good few swirls for around 30 seconds, then leave to stand for about an hour before pouring the mix away (but not down your sink or loo). Rinse well and the glass will sparkle like new.

10/ SOMETHING SMELL FISHY?

If you’ve cooked fish and it’s left a bad smell in the pan, half fill it with hot water plus a couple of tablespoons of clear vinegar, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. You might want to open a window to avoid being overpowered by the smell of vinegar!

11 /REFRESH YOUR MICROWAVE

Put a good slug of clear vinegar into a bowl of very hot water and heat in the microwave on High for around five minutes. The acidic steam will pass through the vents and loosen any food particles clinging to the sides. It’ll now be easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth.

12/ A GRILLE’S BEST FRIEND

The metal grilles in a cooker hood get greasy very quickly, particularly if you’re a fan of the frying pan. Most grilles nowadays are designed to go into the dishwasher, but if yours isn’t one of those, give it a good soak overnight in a sink full of hot water with a cup each of clear vinegar and washing soda crystals. If your grilles won’t easily fit into the sink, the bath is a good alternative (but first line the bottom with a large towel to avoid scratches to the surface). Afterwards, rinse the grille well and towel dry before putting it back into the hood.

13/ STEEL THE SHOW

If your stainless-steel sink has lost its shine or is covered with rusty stains, squirt a bit of washing-up liquid over the surface then scrub with a dampened pot scourer. Rinse and wipe down with a cloth dipped in clear vinegar then buff dry with either scrunched-up kitchen paper or newspaper. You’ll need sunglasses to admire the shine.

 

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