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5 Unexpected Items to Clean with Vinegar

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For fans of affordable, non-toxic cleaning agents, white vinegar has always been a back-pocket hero of the cleaning closet. (To be fair, it's also great in the kitchen as a cooking ingredient.) You may already be well aware that vinegar is the secret to getting a streak-free clean on windows and mirrors, and that setting a bowl of it out in a smelly room can get rid of persistent odors.

Well, it turns out vinegar is much more versatile than that. All you need to do is pull out your jug of the distilled stuff and you've got an enormous supply of a cleaning ingredient you can use in every room of the house, and even take outside. (Just remember not to mix vinegar with chlorine bleach—you'll end up with toxic chlorine gas.)

Here are some surprising things you might not have known you can clean with vinegar:

child jumping on bed

Mattress

Bet you didn't think about mattress-cleaning til you had a kid. Since you're not about to throw one away after someone has an accident or a bad cold, you can deodorize and disinfect it by spraying it with white vinegar, then sprinkle baking soda lightly. Let sit overnight; vacuum up the next day.

photo of baby clothes

Baby Clothes

Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash to help rid baby clothes of uric acid. The vinegar will help soften the clothes and keep them fresh, too. (Bonus: this trick gets the smell out of your workout clothes, too!)

Deodorant Stains

Those yellow discolorations can ruin a favorite shirt. Luckily, vinegar is here for your stain removal needs. Lightly rub the fabric with white vinegar before throwing it in the wash to get rid of those deodorant and antiperspirant stains.

child an lunchbox

Your Kids’ Lunch Boxes

Those containers can really hang onto the smells of food, which isn't fun when you open them up. To get rid of lingering odors, soak a slice of white bread in white vinegar and leave it in the closed lunch box container overnight, then rinse.

photo of mug on wood

Water Stains on Wood

Hard as you try to put out coasters, it happens sometimes that someone leaves their iced tea on the coffee table or their water bottle on the floor. How do you get rid of the condensation stains? Use a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and olive oil and rub it into the stain to remove it.

Get more great health and wellness stories at parents.com/strive.