It's cheap. It's available in every supermarket and home center in the universe. And it's so useful around your home you may have a difficult time believing it. That's the power of white vinegar — the same vinegar you cook with and pour on your salad!
Add 1/4 cup white vinegar to a quart of very warm water to make a good window cleaner. Wipe with a microfiber cloth and your windows will sparkle.
If your mouse has a removable tracking ball, clean it with a 50-50 vinegar-water solution. First, remove the ball from underneath the mouse by twisting off the cover. Dip a clean cloth into the solution; wring it out; and then wipe the ball clean. Next, remove fingerprints and dirt from the mouse itself. Then use a vinegar-moistened cotton swab to clean out the gunk and debris from inside the ball chamber. Allow all parts to dry a couple of hours before reinserting the ball.
Instead of fabric softener or dryer sheets, add 1/2 to 1 cup vinegar to the last rinse in your washing machine (as you would liquid softener). Your clothes will come out soft because the vinegar helps to remove every trace of laundry detergent, which causes fabrics to stiffen.
Vinegar will dissolve hard-water marks like those on shower doors, faucets and vases. If the vinegar is hot (heat in the microwave), it works even faster.
BALLPOINT PEN INK
Got ink marks from a ballpoint pen adorning a wall, desktop or other inappropriate space? No worries. Dab full-strength white vinegar on the ink using a cloth or a sponge. Repeat until the marks are gone. Then buy your child a nice big sketchpad.
Instead of pricey commercial rinse agents, fill that little reservoir in your dishwasher with white vinegar. Your dishes will sparkle. Refill often. If your dishwasher does not have this feature, simply add 1/2 to 1 cup (depending on the hardness of your water) to the last rinse.
Wash your windshield with full-strength vinegar — avoiding painted areas — to help keep ice and frost at bay.
Vinegar makes a great wallpaper remover. First, remove all the wallpaper you can by simply pulling it off. You'll probably get only the top layer, but that's OK. Spray full-strength vinegar on what remains. This will begin to dissolve the glue. Once softened you'll be able to remove the rest without harsh chemicals.
Remove the torture of cleaning mini blinds with this white-glove treatment: Just put on a white cotton glove and moisten the fingers in a solution made of equal parts white vinegar and hot tap water. Then slide your fingers across both sides of each slat, and prepare to be amazed. Use a container of clean water to periodically wash the glove, and then keep going.
Use the acidity of vinegar to tenderize meat. I add several tablespoons to pot roast, soups and stews. Balsamic vinegar will add a wonderful flavor, but white vinegar tenderizes just as well. Your guests will think you are serving them filet mignon.
REMOVE WAXY BUILDUP
To get built-up polish off a piece of wood furniture, dip a cloth in equal parts vinegar and water, and squeeze it out well. Carefully clean away the polish, moving with the grain. Wipe dry with a soft towel or cloth. Most leather tabletops will come clean simply by wiping them down with a soft cloth dipped in 1/4 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water. Use a clean towel to dry off any remaining liquid.
To make scratches on wood furniture less noticeable, mix some distilled or cider vinegar and iodine in a small jar, and paint over the scratch with a small artist's brush. Use more iodine for darker woods and more vinegar for lighter shades.
Did a candle go nuts and drip wax on your fine wood furniture? Do this: First, soften the wax using a hair dryer on its hottest setting. Blot as much of that softened wax as you can with paper towels. Then remove what's left by rubbing with a cloth soaked in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Wipe clean with a soft absorbent cloth.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, "Ask Mary a Question." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a personal finance member website and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living, Revell 2014. To find out more about Mary visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: stevepb at Pixabay