We know. Your life was just not complete without yet another post on surprising household uses for vinegar. But stay with us — because we have other new ways to use nearly everything in your pantry. These tips, from our experts at HuffPost Home, are for those situations where you’d normally have to buy a specialty product.

Such as:

You have hard water build-up in your dishwasher.The solution: Vinegar. Just fill the “dishwasher cleaner” reservoir with vinegar, or simply fill a cup with it and run the cycle.

  • Do you have light traffic stains 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.

  • 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.


  • Did someone get a greasy stain on your wallpaper? Not a problem with cornstarch. Add two tablespoons of cornstarch to two tablespoons of water so it makes a pasty consistency. Rub this over the spot, and it will extract the grease from stain. Just try this on a hidden part of your wallpaper to make sure it doesn’t cause any problems.


  • When you have to get rid of the grinds from your coffee maker, don’t think of it as garbage. Instead, think of it as fertilizer. The coffee grounds are chock full of nutrients that will help your plants grow.

  • As much as ants love sweet things, they hate coffee. Its scent is too strong and repels them. If there is a place in your kitchen where you have an ant problem, try sprinkling some coffee grounds to deal with your pest problem.

  • Deodorizer: Whether that Craigslist find was owned by a smoker, or your gym bag left a lasting impression before it went to the washing machine, we all find ourselves with a stinky situation sooner or later. In those cases, reach for coffee grounds. Place the spent grounds in a bowl near the odor source. This has proven so effective, coffee grounds are even being used to take the stench out of sewage.

Baking Soda

  • You can add baking soda to your wash to not only serve as a fabric softener, but also as a deodorizer. Just pour one-quarter to half a cup of baking soda in the wash as you add your detergent.

  • You can polish brass door knobs or window latches with baking soda. Its slightly gritty consistency helps wipe away gunk, but is still safe enough to not scratch the metal.

  • Remember in elementary school when you would make a volcano-like explosion by pouring vinegar on baking soda? You can use this same science fair trick as an environmentally-friendly drain cleaner. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by cup of vinegar. This helps loosen any debris or clogs. After ten minutes, flush the drain with a pot of boiling water to finish breaking up the clog.

Olive (Or Vegetable) Oil

  • Gardeners take note: You can use olive or vegetable oil to prevent dirt from clumping on your tools. Just coat with a light slick of oil (in a pinch, use cooking spray). You can also use this trick on your lawnmower blades.

Cooking Oil

  • Does the lock on your front door never want to give up your house key? Try wiping your key down with some vegetable oil. It acts as a lubricant, helping the key to get into the lock more freely.


  • A classic tip for keeping a bouquet lasting as long as possible, but for a good reason: It works. Add three tablespoons of sugar along with two tablespoons of vinegar to the water in your flower vase. The sugar provides nutrients to keep the clippings alive, while the vinegar fights off bacterial infections

  • Got grass stains? You won’t for long, thanks to sugar. Make a thick mixture of sugar and a few drops of water, then work into the stain. Let sit for up to 30 minutes, then wash as usual.


  • Tired of your coffee grinder being covered with coffee dust and grease? Rice to the rescue! Just run some rice through the cofee grinder and it’ll remove the build up.
  • Ever get your cell phone wet? Or accidentally spill a large glass of soda on your television remote? Before you replace that gadget, try leaving it in a tub (or plastic bag) of rice for a couple of hours or overnight.
  • Pour a little bit into narrow-necked bottles to remove any lingering dirt.



  • This may technically go into the fridge, but we often store new (unopened) ketchup bottles in the pantry until BBQ time. Or, until we need this tip: Use ketchup to clean tarnished copper. Just dab it on a rag, wipe the surface, then rinse.

Peanut Butter

  • Use this sandwich staple to remove gum from the bottom of your shoes (or anywhere it shouldn’t be). Cover the gum with peanut butter, let it sit for 10 minutes, then scrape with a wire brush.


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