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Household Repurposing Ideas: 5 Clever Uses For Vinegar

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Vinegar may stink, but not when it comes to repurposing around the home. It's cheap, incredibly versatile and non-damaging to most surfaces. And you probably don't need to even buy a new bottle, as we all have an ancient bottle gathering dust in a cabinet, only to be brought out for the occasional recipe. (Or in my case, bought once for dyeing Easter eggs, then left to gather dust.)

I thought about clever uses for vinegar when my dishwasher was acting up. The problem partially was that I hadn't physically cleaned the appliance in months, mostly because it's hard to do. And to be honest, most of us never think of this chore. But, the dishwasher was backed up at the inconvenient hour of 10 pm. Knowing that the acetic acid in vinegar makes the stuff great for cleaning, I decided to pour it into the dishwasher cleaner reservoir. And, I'm happy to say, it worked.

repurposing ideas

Read on for my other favorite uses for vinegar -- and for previous installments of "5 Uses For..." in the slideshow below.

Salt Remover
Salt is a very important tool in the war against snow and ice during the winter. Unfortunately it leaves a residue on your footwear as you trudge along through the muck. So how do you get rid of the salt stains on your shoes? Mix vinegar with equal parts water to make a cleaning solution. Lightly dampen a washcloth with the solution and gently wipe away the salt stains. Your shoes will be left nice and clean. (Always do a patch test before applying a cleaning product --even homemade -- to any material.)

Rug Cleaner
Do you have some light traffic stain-age on your carpet? Before you go to the store and invest in some heavy duty spot cleaners, try mixing one part vinegar to one part water. Liberally douse the area with the solution and blot with a wash rag. This will help take care of some of the milder stains.

Clean Your Wiper Blades
If your windshield wipers leave streaks on the glass, it's time to clean the blades. Just take a cleaning rag soaked in vinegar and wipe the blades down. You don't have to be worried about using too much vinegar. Then turn the wipers on to distribute any excess vinegar. The good part about this is that the dispersed vinegar leaves a coating that makes it harder for frost to accumulate.

Dishwasher Cleaner
If the inside of your dishwasher is getting a little greasy (or, if you have hard water that's leaving deposits), a cleaning is in order. Yes, you can use a storebought cleaner, but you probably already have vinegar on hand. Just fill the "dishwasher cleaner" reservoir with vinegar or, simply fill a cup with vinegar and let it run through the cycle. Another tip is that vinegar does a great job of breaking down bubbles. So if your dishwasher has became overrun with suds, just douse some vinegar around the inside. It'll burst their bubbles!

Disinfect Cutting Boards
A wooden cutting board can be hard to clean, as you don't want to warp the surface or fear that a conventional spray cleaner left chemicals lurking. Instead, fill a spray bottle with one part water and one part vinegar. Spray down the cutting board and wipe it off with a paper towel. No warping, no weird chemicals, no germs.

To check out our previous installments of Chris Barnes' "5 Uses For...", click through the slideshow below.

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