Cut Costs and Chemicals: 5 Uses for White Vinegar

Martha Stewart

A gallon of white vinegar can be purchased for just a few dollars, and a little goes a long way. Here are five ways to use this household workhorse.

1. Keep the Ants From Marching In

Pour equal amounts of water and white vinegar into a spray bottle, and shake to mix. Then spritz the solution in water-resistant areas where ants are common, such as kitchen floors or the crevices in painted baseboards through which the pests often enter. You can also use the repellent outside, spraying patios, porches, and picnic tables before family and friends gather.

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2. Brighter Whites

Cut through greasy stains and brighten whites by adding vinegar to your final laundry rinse cycle. Dont forget: You should never mix vinegar and chlorine bleach.

3. Streak-Free Shine

Leave windows and mirrors super shiny by using this easy-to-remember recipe: one part vinegar to one part hot water.

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4. Go With the Flow

Cut through crusty buildup on showerheads or faucets with this trick. Place paper towels or sponges soaked in full-strength vinegar over the buildup. Leave for about an hour, then scrub deposits away.

5. A Fresh(er) Cup of Coffee

We subject coffeemakers to daily use, which can lead to the buildup of mineral deposits. Once a month, use white vinegar to get things squeaky clean. Pour equal parts white vinegar and water (two cups of each) into the tank. With the carafe in position, run the machine for half a cycle, then switch it off. After an hour, turn it back on, and let the rest of the solution filter through. Run two or three cycles with fresh water before brewing coffee.

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