20+ Emergency Uses for White Vinegar

Go into most people’s pantries and you will find white vinegar. This is because vinegar is a multi-purpose product with uses from cooking to cleaning.

It’s one of those magical items that will come through when you are in a pinch, which makes it ideal for emergencies.

The problem is that many people only think of vinegar for its food uses, but there are so many other amazing things it can do!

Familiarize yourself with this list of emergency uses for white vinegar so you will be prepared should a need arise.

Difference between White Vinegar and Distilled White Vinegar

As you peruse this list, it’s important to understand that white vinegar is different from distilled white vinegar.

Distilled white vinegar is traditionally found in the condiments aisle of your grocery store (along with apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and rice vinegar).

Regular white vinegar is found in the cleaning products aisle.

This is because white vinegar has a higher level of acidity, which is not recommended for use with foods.

Distilled white vinegar contains 5% acetic acid and 95% water. In contrast, regular white vinegar contains 6% acetic acid.

While 5% and 6% don’t seem that different, the extra 1% makes regular white vinegar 20% stronger than distilled white vinegar.

For the most part, this is a list of ways to use both distilled white vinegar and regular white vinegar, with the exception of food uses. 

For the food uses section and other uses that require ingestion, please stick to distilled white vinegar. 

Medical Uses for Vinegar

extremely sunburned back

Vinegar is a great supplement to your first aid kit and medicine cabinet. If a disaster happens, you may not be able to access your local drugstore or go see your doctor. But if you have white vinegar in your pantry, you can find some relief for the following common ailments.

Here are some of the medical uses for vinegar. 

  1. Cleans wounds Vinegar works as an antiseptic and kills some bacteria.
  2. Soothes bug bites & stings – Apply vinegar to bug bites and stings to reduce swelling and soreness.
  3. Soothes sunburns – Soak a paper towel in vinegar and lay it on sunburns to soothe the pain.
  4. Soothes sore throats – Gargle a combination of honey and vinegar to ease a sore throat.
  5. Helps with heartburn – If you are experiencing heartburn, try swallowing a tablespoon of vinegar. The vinegar should cause your esophagus to close.
  6. Helps upset stomach – Drinking a mixture of vinegar and water can help with diarrhea.
  7. Supports digestive tract – Consuming vinegar supports digestion and works for everything from bloating to acid reflux. 
  8. Reduces inflammation and soreness – Wrap a sprained or sore body part with a vinegar-soaked cloth to reduce inflammation and swelling.

Cleaning Uses for Vinegar

woman using vinegar to clean a window

As more people embrace natural cleaning products, white vinegar is rising in popularity for this use. Let’s say you are in an emergency situation that forces you off the grid. You likely won’t be able to use traditional cleaning products, but if you have white vinegar, you can disinfect and clean most surfaces.

  1. Cleans most surfaces – Vinegar is useful for cleaning and disinfecting sinks, counters, showers, and more.
  2. Removes rust – If SHTF, your tools will be more important than ever before. Vinegar can help you maintain them. For example, soak tools in vinegar to remove rust.
  3. Launders clothesYou can remove stains from clothing by soaking clothes in vinegar prior to washing them. It also helps with removing odors from clothes. 

NOTE – Do not use both vinegar and bleach when cleaning because the combination makes a toxic gas.

Skincare Uses for Vinegar

Vinegar works wonders when it comes to common skin ailments. Here are some ways to use it for skincare.

  1. Dry skin & eczema – Vinegar restores the skin’s natural pH balance, so it can be used to bring relief to those who suffer from dry, itchy skin and eczema. 
  2. Nail fungus – Nail fungus can be painful and lead to other infections. In an emergency situation, you don’t want to let it go untreated. You can get rid of nail fungus by soaking your foot or hand in a vinegar bath. 
  3. Calluses – Soften achy calluses in a vinegar bath. The vinegar bath will soften the callouses so you can remove the rough spots with a pumice stone.

Outdoor Uses for Vinegar

Vinegar is so useful outdoors that many landscapers swear by industrial vinegar. The average homeowner does not need industrial vinegar – it will be too strong for many of the other vinegar uses (including indoor cleaning). However, there are outdoor uses for regular white vinegar.

  1. Deter animals – Vinegar is useful protection against animals in emergency situations because animals, such as deer, cats, dogs, and rabbits, dislike the scent of vinegar. It is also useful for protecting your food. If you have a problem with animals stealing from your vegetable garden, keep them away using white vinegar. Don’t spray it on the plants in your garden but add it nearby to keep animals out. 

Food Uses for Vinegar

woman in a kitchen canning food

Vinegar has many uses in the kitchen. Just make sure you are using distilled white vinegar.

  1. Preserves food – In an emergency, you want your food to last as long as possible. That’s where preserving food with white vinegar comes in handy. Vinegar has long been used to preserve and pickle foods, such as vegetables and eggs. 
  2. Cleans produce If you don’t have access to clean water, you can use vinegar to clean and remove pesticides from produce. 
  3. Freshens wilted vegetables – In an emergency, you may have limited food  options available, such as wilted vegetables. If you have white vinegar, you can make these vegetables more appealing. Mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 quart of water. Soak wilted vegetables in the mixture to revive them.

Additional Uses

Here are even more uses for white vinegar around the house.

  1. Removes odors – The strong scent of vinegar works as a neutralizer and odor remover. 
  2. Improve wicks – If the power grid goes down and you are forced to rely on lanterns and candles, it is helpful to apply vinegar to the wicks. Soak lantern wicks in vinegar to make them last longer.
  3. Prevents windows from frosting – Ahead of freezing temperatures, wipe windows with a vinegar-soaked cloth to prevent windows from frosting.
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