For centuries vinegar has been used for cleaning, disinfecting, and other household uses. Vinegar is one of the most versatile and inexpensive cleaners available in your home. You can substitute a whole host of chemicals and cleaners for the natural cleaning power of vinegar. Here are 11 examples of how you can use vinegar every day in your home.

Clean the Dishwasher

DishwasherIf you can barely stand to put the dishes into the dishwasher because of the horrible smell contained within, use vinegar to fix the problem. Wipe out any large pieces of debris, then place a dishwasher-safe cup of distilled white vinegar on the bottom rack and run the dishwasher through a full cycle.

For stubborn smells, pour several cups of white vinegar directly into the dishwasher tub. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes, then run the dishwasher through a full cycle.

Repeat once a month to keep the dishwasher smelling clean.

Clear Clogged Showerheads

Fill a plastic bag with about one cup of white vinegar, and tie it around the shower head. Allow to sit for at least one hour before turning on the shower. For heavier deposits, remove the shower head and allow it to soak submerged in vinegar overnight.

Have Spotless Glassware

When hand washing delicate glassware, add one cup of distilled vinegar to the rinse water for spotless glassware that sparkles and shines.

Make Better-Tasting Coffee

CoffeeMany coffee makers begin to perform poorly when they become filled with mineral deposits. Fill the water reservoir of your coffee machine with one cup or more of distilled vinegar, and run the machine through a brewing cycle. When finished, run another brewing cycle with clean water to rinse the machine. Check the owners manual of your specific machine first.

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Remove Smudges from Stainless Steel & Chrome

Remove unsightly smudges and marks from your chrome or stainless steel fixtures and appliances by applying vinegar to a soft cloth and gently wiping away the marks. Be sure to test in an inconspicuous area first to make sure there is no discoloration.

De-stink the Kitchen Sink

SinkThe kitchen drain or garbage disposal is a harbor for smelly bacteria. For a clean and disinfected garbage disposal, mix one cup of vinegar with enough water to fill an ice-cube tray. Freeze the mixture, then drop the frozen cubes into the garbage disposal while it's running. The cubes will dislodge any deposits and the vinegar will clean and disinfect the surfaces.

For a normal kitchen drain, pour one cup of white vinegar down the drain and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes. Rinse with hot or boiling water to clear foul smells from the drain.

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Remove Odors from the Fridge

Everyone knows that baking soda is great for absorbing smells in the refrigerator, but vinegar can also be a powerful odor remover for that smelly fridge. Place an open bowl filled with apple cider vinegar on a shelf in the fridge, and allow it to sit for a couple of days to remove any foul odors. Discard the liquid when finished.

Disinfect Cutting Boards

Many cutting boards get used for a wide variety of foods, including raw meats. Use natural vinegar to kill germs lurking on that old cutting board. Clean the cutting board normally, then wipe the board with a sponge soaked in distilled vinegar. Allow the cutting board to air dry.

Keep Flowers Fresh

FlowersFlowers always seem to die too quickly, so use vinegar to help them last longer. Mix two tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of vinegar into one quart of water. Pour the mixture into a flower vase to help flowers stay vibrant longer. Every five days, change the water and trim the flower stems.

Remove Soap Scum

To remove unsightly deposits from bathroom surfaces, fill a spray bottle with full-strength distilled vinegar and spray affected surfaces. Allow to soak in for several minutes before wiping with a cloth or sponge.

Kill Weeds

Vinegar's versatility isn't confined to the indoors. To naturally kill pesky weeds, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray weeds. Repeat spraying on any new growth until the weeds have starved.