While many people look at vinegar as a nice addition to a homemade salad dressing, this common and inexpensive item can prove to be very useful throughout your home. From cleaning hardware to personal care, here are 10 ways to use and make vinegar your best friend.

Household Uses for Vinegar

1. Peel off wallpaper

Using a sponge or spray bottle, saturate wallpaper with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Let stand for several minutes, then start scraping. The paper should come off easily.

2. Revive old paintbrushes

Soak gunked-up nylon brushes in hot vinegar for up to 30 minutes to remove paint and soften the bristles. Afterward, wash them in hot, soapy water, brushing off paint as needed, then rinse and let dry—good as new.

3. Test your soils pH

To test your soil, place a handful of dirt into a small container and sprinkle vinegar on it. If it fizzes, the soil is alkaline; adjust the pH with an acid amendment.

4. Remove mineral deposits from showerheads

Pour ½ cup of warm vinegar into a resealable plastic bag. Drop in the showerhead, making sure the holes are submerged and seal the bag. Let it sit for 1 hour. Rinse and wipe clean. Reattach.

5. Keep paint from peeling

Before painting galvanized metal or concrete, wipe down the object or surface with vinegar, using a sponge or lint-free cloth. This little trick will help your paint job last longer.

6. Banish decals and stickers

Dab vinegar onto stubborn price tags and stickers affixed to glass, plastic, or wood. Scrape the surface clean, then rub the area with more vinegar to remove any sticky residue.

7. Wipe off wax or polish buildup

On wood surfaces or furniture, use a mix of equal parts vinegar and water to remove buildup, wiping with the grain of the wood. For leather furniture, make a weaker solution—2 parts water to 1 part vinegar—and rub the material using a circular motion.

8. Whiten grout

For stubborn stains on ceramic-tile surfaces, scrub the grout with a stiff-bristled toothbrush dipped in vinegar and watch it whiten before your eyes.

Note: Vinegar can harm marble and other natural stone surfaces, so avoid using on these materials. Test a small, unobtrusive area first if you want to be extra careful.

9. Dissolve rust

Soak old tools and corroded nuts and bolts in vinegar for a few days. Rinse them with water and watch rust and scale disappear.

10. Protect your hands

Caustic ingredients in concrete, drywall, and other building materials can cause painful skin irritation. If you handle them often, rinse your hands with a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water before washing up—the acid neutralizes their alkaline content.

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