Vinegar has been made and used by people for thousands of years. Traces of it have been found in Egyptian urns dating from around 3000 BC. According to Shennong's Herb Classic, vinegar was invented in China during the Xia Dynasty, around 2000 BC.
In the Bible, it is mentioned as something not very pleasant (Ps. 69:21, Prov. 25:20), but Boaz allows Ruth to "dip her piece of bread in the vinegar" (Ruth 2:14). Jesus was offered vinegar or sour wine while on the cross (Matthew 27:48; Mark 15:36). In Islamic traditions, vinegar is one of the four favored condiments of the Prophet Muhammad, who called it a "blessed seasoning".

Vinegar is made from the oxidation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. The ethanol may be derived from many different sources including wine, cider, beer or fermented fruit juice, or it may be made synthetically from natural gas and petroleum derivatives.
Commercial vinegar is produced either by fast or slow fermentation processes. Slow methods generally are used with traditional vinegars and fermentation proceeds slowly over the course of weeks or months. The longer fermentation period allows for the accumulation of a nontoxic slime composed of acetic acid bacteria and soluble cellulose, known as the mother of vinegar.
Fast methods add mother of vinegar (i.e. bacterial culture) to the source liquid before adding air using a Venturi pump system or a turbine to promote oxygenation to obtain the fastest fermentation. In fast production processes, vinegar may be produced in a period ranging from 20 hours to three days.

The Many Uses Of Vinegar:

  • To Get Rid of Odour: Combine 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 2 cups water.  Mix well (until foaming stops), then store the solution in a clearly labeled spray bottle.  Spray it anywhere you want to elimante or control household odours.

  • To Get Rid of Smelly Sponges:  Soak well-worn, smelly sponge in a shallow dish of vinegar for several hours.  Rinse sponge well, then let dry.  In humid weather, store the sponge in a shallow dish of vinegar to keep it from souring.
  • Pour vingegar into shallow bowls; set them in all areas of your home where odours are a problem.  Make sure to keep them out of reach from children and pets.
  • Use newspaper and vinegar to clean
  • To clean windows:  Use newspaper and vinegar.  (If you don't have newspaper, I'm sure you'll have some old store-flyers around somewhere which can be uses instead.)  Just pour vinegar into a shallow container, crumple newspaper, and dip.  Wipe windows clean, then use dry newspaper for a final wipe.
  • Remove hard-water and mineral deposits around sink and tub faucets by covering the stained area with paper towels soaked in vinegar.  Remove towels after 1 hour and wipe with a damp sponge.
  • For molds and mildews:  Mix equal amounts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  Spray onto moldy or mildewed areas and let sit for 15 minutes.  Wipe clean.  Use solution occasionally as a preventative measure in any area of your home that is prone to being damp, such as spaces under sinks or in the cellar. 

  • Mineral deposits that cloggs showerheads can be removed with a solution of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 quart (1 L) water.  Remove showerhead and soak it in vinegar solution for 15 minutes.
  • Loosen soap scum on shower doors and walls by spraying them with vinegar.  Let dry, then respray to dampen.  Wipe clean.  Reapply and let sit for several hours.  then dampen and wipe clean again.
  • Shower curtains can become dulled by soap film or plagued with mildew.  Keep vinegar in a spray bottle near your shower and squirt shower curtains once or twice a week.  No need to rinse.

  • Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash to soften clothes.
  • Prevent colurs from bleeding by adding 1 cup vinegar to the wash along with laundry detergent.
  • Any coloured clothing item that has dulled can be brightened by soaking it in 1 gallon (3.78 L), and 1 cup vinegar.  Follow with a clear water rinse.
  • Reduce lint buildup, keep pet hair from clinging to clothing, and reduce static cling by adding vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  • Use equal parts water and vinegar to pretreat common stains on clothing.  Spray mixture on stains before wasihng to give an extra boost.
  • To pretreat virtually all tough clothing stains, combine 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup baking soda, 2 squirts of Liquid Hand cleanser, and 2 quarts (2 L) water.  Keep solution in a clearly labelled spray bottle.
  • Remove severe grass stains by soaking in undiluted vinegar for a half hour before washing.
  • If you've left a load of clothes too long in your washer and they've taken on a mildewy smell, rewash with a cup of vinegar added to the rinse cycle.
  • Yellow stains in the armpits and around the collar of white shirts and T-shirts are hard to remove.  Try soaking the area in undiluted vinegar.  Let it sit 15-20 mins before laundering.
  • Rub a paste of vinegar and baking soda into a collar grime using a toothbrush.  Saturate and let it sit before laundering.
  • Clean the salt residue common on winter boots with a cloth dipped in a solution of 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon vinegar.  This will work on leather and vinyl.

Beauty and Hygiene
  • Apple Cider vinegar is a great aftershave that will help keep men's skin soft and looking young.  Splash on face after shaving.
  • Control oily skin with a mixture of equal parts apple cider vinegar and cool water.  The mixture works as an astringent.  You can also freeze this solution into ice cubes and use it as a cooling facial treatment on a hot summer day.
  • Vinegar is a great hair conditioner and can improve cleanliness and shine.  For simple conditioning, just add 1 tablespoon vinegar to your hair as you rinse it.
  • To contorl dandruff, massage undiluted vinegar into your scalp several times a week before shampooing.
  • Before shampooing, briefly soak hair in a small basin of water with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar added.  This helps control dandruff and remove buildup from sprays, shampoos and conditioners.
  • Another dandruff-control method is to rinse hair with a solution of 2 cups water and 1/2 cup vinegar after shampooing.  If you need a stronger treatment for dandruff control, use this same method, but keep rinse on your hair for 1 hour, covered with a shower cap.  Rinse.  This mixture will also help control frizziness in dry or damaged hair.
  • For an after-shampoo rinse that will minimize gray in your hair, use 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in 1 gallon (1 L) water.
  • To brighten dentures, soak them overnight in pure vinegar.
  • Make a refreshing mouthwash using equal parts water and vinegar.  Gargle to freshen your mouth and control bad breath.

  • Make your manicure last longer by soaking fingertips for 1 minute in 2 teaspoons vinegar and 1/2 cup warm water before applying nail polish.

Home Remedies
  • To treat head or chest congestion, add 1/4 cup vinegar to a vaporizer and run it for an hour or more.  To lessen the pain of a sinus infection, deeply breathe in the steam.
  • Gargle with a solution of 1 teaspoon vinegar and 1 cup water to soothe a sore throat.
  • To ease a sore throat and also thin mucus, gargle with apple cider vinegar that has a little salt and pure ground black pepper added to it.
  • Make your own cough syrup:  Mix 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar; pour into a jar or bottle that can be tightly sealed.  Shake well before each use.  Take 1 tablespoon every 4 hours.  If cough persists for more than a week, see a physician.
  • To ease the pain of minor burns, cover with a piece of cloth or gauze soaked in chilled vinegar.  DO NOT use this on any burn where skin is broken.
  • Soaking in a bathtub of hot water and 2 cups vinegar for 30 minutes will relieve a minor backache and soothe sore muscles.
  • Ease the pain of a leg cramp or muscle strain by using a soft cloth soaked in vinegar as a compress.  Apply for only 20 minutes at a time.
  • As a temporary remedy for a toothache before you can get to the dentist, rinse your mouth with a mixture of 4 ounces (1/2 cup) warm water, 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 tablespoon salt.
Vinegar can help control an infestation of head lice.  First use a medicated head lice shampoo, or follow your doctor's instructions for lice control.  After shampooing hair, rinse with vinegar and run a comb dipped in vinegar through damp hair.  The vinegar will help loosen any remaining nits, or eggs, from the hair.  continue with treatment prescribed on shampoo bottle.

Here are even more uses...
  • Kill weeds. Spray full-strength on growth until weeds have starved.
  • Kill unwanted grass on walks and driveways.
  • Increase soil acidity. Use 1/2 cup of vinegar in 1 gallon of tap water for watering plants such as rhododendrons, gardenias, or azaleas.
  • Deter ants. Spray vinegar around doors, appliances, and along other areas where ants are.
  • Polish car chrome. Apply full-strength.
  • Freshen wilted vegetables. Soak them in 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of vinegar.
  • Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting. Dot the irritation with vinegar to relieve itching.
  • Relieve sunburn. Lightly rub on white vinegar. You may have to reapply.
  • Relieve dry and itchy skin. Add 2 tablespoons to bath water.
  • Soothe a sore throat. Pour a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. Gargle, then swallow.
  • Treat sinus infections and chest colds. Add 1/4 cup or more of vinegar to a vaporizer.
  • Eliminate onion odours. Rub on your fingers before and after slicing.
  • Clean and disinfect wood cutting boards. Wipe with full-strength vinegar.
  • Remove fruit stains from hands. Rub with vinegar.
  • Cut grease and odour on dishes. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to hot soapy water.
  • Clean a teapot. Boil a mixture of water and vinegar in the teapot. Wipe away the grime.
  • Freshen a lunchbox. Soak a piece of bread in vinegar and let it sit in the lunchbox overnight.
  • Clean the refrigerator. Wash with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar.
  • Unclog a drain. Pour a handful of baking soda down the drain, add 1/2 cup of vinegar, and close with plug for 20 seconds. Rinse with hot water.
  • Clean and deodorize jars. Rinse mayonnaise, peanut butter, and mustard jars       with vinegar when empty.
  • Clean the dishwasher. Run a cup of vinegar through the whole cycle once a month to reduce soap buildup on the inner mechanisms and on glassware.
  • Clean stainless steel. Wipe with a vinegar-dampened cloth.
  • Remove stains from pots. Fill the pot with a solution of 3 tablespoons of vinegar to   a pint of water. Boil until stain loosens and can be washed away.
  • Clean the microwave. Boil a solution of 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave. Will loosen food particles from microwave walls and deodorize.
  • Dissolve rust from bolts and other metals. Soak in full-strength vinegar.
  • Eliminate cooking smells. Let simmer a small pot of vinegar and water solution.
  • Unclog steam iron. Pour equal amounts of vinegar and water into the iron's water       chamber. Turn to steam and leave the iron on for 5 minutes in an upright position.      Then unplug and allow to cool. Any loose particles should come out when you empty the water.
  • Clean a scorched iron plate. Heat equal parts vinegar and salt in a small pan. Rub    solution on the cooled iron surface to remove dark or burned stains.
  • Remove lint from clothes. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of the washing     machine. This also helps to brighten fabric colours.
  • Freshen the washing machine. Pour 1 cup of vinegar in the machine and let it run
    through a regular cycle (no clothes added). Will dissolve soap residue.
  • Remove tough stains. Gently rub vinegar on the stains before placing in the washing machine.
  • Eliminate smoke odours from clothes. Add 1 cup of vinegar to a bathtub of hot water.   Hang clothes above the steam.
  • Remove decals. Brush with a couple of coats of vinegar and allow to soak in before washing off.
  • Clean eyeglasses. Wipe each lens with a drop of vinegar.
  • Freshen cut flowers. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar for each litre of water.
  • Extinguish fires. Throw on grease fires to arrest flames.
  • Feel good. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, with a bit of sweetener added for flavour, will give you an overall healthy feeling.
  • Before painting a metal item, wipe the surface with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water.  This cleans the surface and makes peeling less likely.
  • When trying to remove dried paint on glass windows, first spray the paint with warm vinegar, then carefully scrape or peel off paint.
  • To strip glued-on wallpaper, first pull off everything you can.  Next, spray undiluted vinegar onto stripped areas until they are very damp but not running.  Let sit for 5 minutes, then find an edge and pull away.  Wipe remaining residue off wall using vinegar on a cloth or a sponge.  Heating the vinegar first may speed up this process and hep remove the most stubborn strips!
  • Remove a self-adhesive hook or other sticky accessory from a plaster wall by dripping vinegar behind the base of the piece.  Let vinegar soak in a few minutes, then peel away.
  • Tighten up the sagging seat of a cane chair by sponging it with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water.  Set chair out in the sun to dry.
Before sharpening a knife with a whetstone, first dampen whetstone with vinegar.  The knife will sharpen more quickly.
  • Controll general scratching of your pets' ears by regularly wiping your pet's ear areas with a cloth dipped in vinegar.
  • If you're trying to keep your cats from walking on, sleeping on, or scratching certain items in your home, lightly sprinkle items with vinegar.  The smell will keep cats away.
  • Does your cat nibble plants?  Dab the leaves with a bit of vinegar.
  • Using vinegar as an after-shampoo treatment can make a dog's itchy skin feel better and its coat look shinier.  Mix 1/2 cup vinegar into 1 gallon (1 L) water and coat dog's hair with solution.  Let soak 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.  Be sure to keep vinegar out of dog's eyes during this treatment.
  • Remove skunk odour from a dog. Rub fur with full-strength vinegar and rinse.

Resource(s):  canadianliving.com,  wikipedia, newspaper articles
Main-Photo credit: elycefeliz

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