It sits in the kitchen cabinet and is often ignored, but white vinegar is a powerful tool for cleaning. If you haven’t discovered this secret yet, it’s time to think about that bottle of vinegar in a new way. I use it constantly, and it saves me a bundle on cleaning supplies!

Vinegar is a mighty wonder. It can be used for seemingly endless functions in addition to all the traditional uses (three bean salad, anyone?). Read this KCL article to learn about more ways to use vinegar.

Inspired? Here are more ideas on how to put vinegar to use around the house:

PCs and peripherals

Before you start cleaning, make sure everything is turned off. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bucket. Dampen a cloth in the mixture. Tip: Never use a spray bottle; you don't want to get liquid on the circuits inside! Squeeze out the cloth as hard as you can and start wiping. Keep a few cotton swabs and Qtips on hand for getting in around the keyboard keys.

Computer mouse

If you have a mouse with a removable tracking ball, use a vinegar-water mixture to clean it. Remove the ball from underneath the mouse by twisting off the cover. Use a cloth, dampened with the mixture, to wipe the ball and to remove fingerprints and dirt from the mouse itself. Use a moistened cotton swab or Qtip to clean out the dirt and dust from inside the ball chamber. Make sure to let it dry a couple of hours before reinserting the ball.

Window blinds

Make the job of cleaning mini-blinds considerably less torturous by giving them "the white glove treatment." Just put on a white cotton glove (the kind sold for gardening is perfect) and moisten the glove’s fingers in a solution made of equal parts white vinegar and hot tap water. Slide your fingers across both sides of each slat and prepare to be amazed! Use a container of clean water to periodically wash off the glove.

Drains

A mixture of baking soda and vinegar is one of the most effective ways to unclog and deodorize drains. It's also easier on pipes (and your wallet) than commercial drain cleaners.To clear clogs in sink and tub drains, use a funnel to pour in 1/2 cup baking soda, then 1 cup vinegar. When the foaming subsides, flush through with hot tap water. Wait about five minutes, then flush again with cold water. Besides clearing clogs, this also washes away odor-causing bacteria. To speed up a slow drain, pour in 1/2 cup salt, then 2 cups boiling vinegar. Flush with hot and cold tap water.

Mildew

To eliminate heavy mildew accumulations (usually in bathrooms around the tub) use full strength vinegar, not watered down. For light stains, dilute it with an equal amount of water. You can also prevent mildew from forming on the bottoms of rugs and carpeting by misting the backs with full-strength white vinegar from a spray bottle.

Rugs

If your rugs or carpets are looking worn and dingy, bring them back to life by brushing them with a clean push broom dipped in a solution of 1 cup white vinegar and 1 gallon water. Your faded threads will perk up, and you don't even need to rinse off the solution. The vinegar smell will subside when the rug dries.

Carpet stains

Rub light carpet stains with a mixture of 2 tablespoons salt dissolved in 1/2 cup white vinegar. Let the solution dry, then vacuum. For larger or darker stains, add 2 tablespoons borax to the mixture and use in the same way. For tough, ground-in dirt and other stains, make a paste of 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and rub it into the stain using a dry cloth. Let it set for two days, then vacuum. To make spray-on spot and stain remover, fill a spray bottle with 5 parts water and 1 part vinegar. Fill a second spray bottle with 1 part ammonia and 5 parts water. Saturate a stain with the vinegar solution. Let it settle for a few minutes, then blot thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth. Then spray and blot using the ammonia solution. Repeat until the stain is gone.

Ballpoint pen marks

Has the little artist been at it again on your walls? Don't freak out. Just dab some full-strength white vinegar on the mural using a cloth or a sponge. Repeat until the marks are gone. Easy-peasy!

Salt-stained shoes

The worst thing, by far, about winter is all the rock salt thats melt the snow is now all over my shoes. In addition to leaving unsightly white stains, salt can actually cause footwear to crack and even disintegrate if it's left on. To remove salt and prevent long-term damage, wipe fresh stains with a cloth dipped in undiluted white vinegar. Takes it off in seconds!

Lunch boxes, footlockers, and car trunks

Children’s lunch boxes can take on the smell of nasty old socks. Quit holding your breath every time you open it! Instead, soak a slice of white bread in white vinegar and leave it in the lunch box overnight. The smell should be gone by morning.

 This is a guest post by Candi from Pittsburgh, PA
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Clean Machine: More Ideas on How to Clean with Vinegar