Survival Friday: 35 Reasons You Should Never Be Without Vinegar

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vinegarsI love vinegar.  It is non-toxic, inexpensive and with the addition of a few drops of essential oil, it even smells good.  Of course you can not use it in cooking that way but heck, cooking with vinegar is way down there on my list of uses.

My favorite use?  Easy. Vinegar is the key component in my all purpose DIY cleaner aptly named, Peppermint Juice.  More about that later.

But first, I am thrilled to share an article from Joe Marshall also known as ‘Above Average’ Joe at  This article is all about vinegar and the 35 reasons why any respectable prepper needs vinegar – and lots of it – in their survival pantry. Follow along and of course, if you see something missing from this list, leave a comment and share your tip with the rest of the Backdoor Survival readers.


Vinegar & Peppermint JuiceWhether you are storing up supplies for hard times or just want to save a little grocery money on cleaning supplies, one thing you should never be without is vinegar.

People have been using it for ages – and not just for cooking or preserving foods. Vinegar’s versatility is virtually unmatched when it comes to having multiple uses.

There are literally hundreds of uses for vinegar around the home.

Check out below to see just a sample of how vinegar can be of use to you, hard times or not:

1. Disinfect wood cutting boards.

2. Soothe a sore throat; use 1 tsp of vinegar per glass of water, then gargle.

3. Fight dandruff; after shampooing, rinse hair with vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.

4. Remove warts; apply daily a 50/50 solution of cider vinegar and glycerin until they’re gone.

5. Cure an upset stomach; drink 2 tsp apple cider vinegar in one cup of water.

6. Polish chrome.

7. Keep boiled eggs from cracking; add 2 tbsp to water before boiling.

8. Clean deposits from fish tanks.

9. Remove urine stains from carpet.

10. Keep fleas off dogs; add a little vinegar to the dog’s drinking water.

11. Keep car windows from frosting up; use a solution of 3 oz. vinegar to 1 oz. water.

12. Clean dentures; soak overnight in vinegar and then brush.

13. Get rid of lint in clothes; add 0.5 cup vinegar to rinse cycle.

14. Remove grease from suede.

15. Kill grass on sidewalks and driveways.

16. Make wool blankets softer; add 2 cups distilled vinegar to rinse cycle.

17. Remove skunk odor from a dog; rub fur with full strength vinegar and rinse.

18. Freshen wilted vegetables; soak them in 1 tbsp vinegar and a cup of water.

19. Dissolve mineral deposits in drip coffee makers.

20. Deodorize drains; pour a cup down the drain once a week, let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse.

21. Use as a replacement for a lemon; 0.25 tsp vinegar substitutes for 1 tsp of lemon juice.

22. Make rice fluffier; add 1 tsp of vinegar to water when it boils.

23. Prevent grease build-up in ovens; wipe oven with cleaning rag soaked in distilled vinegar and water.

24. Kill germs; mix a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

25. Clean a clogged shower head.; pour vinegar into a zip-lock bag and gang it around the shower head. let it soak overnight to remove any mineral deposits.

26. Shine patent leather.

27. Remove the smell from laundry that has been left in the washer too long; pour 1 cup of vinegar in with the load and rewash it.

28. Make propane lantern wicks burn longer/brighter; soak them in vinegar for 3 hours, let dry.

29. Act as an an air freshener.

30. Soften paint brushes; soak in hot vinegar then rinse with soapy water.

31. Remove bumper stickers and decals; simply cover them with vinegar-soaked cloth for several minutes.

32. Prolong the life of fresh-cut flowers; use 2 tbsp of vinegar and 3 tbsp of sugar per quart of warm water

33.  Prevent Mildew; Wipe down shower walls with a vinegar solution.

34. Soften calloused feet;  soak your feet in a mixture 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water for 30 minutes then scrub them with a pumice stone. The dead skin should slough off easily.

35. Treat Acne;  start with a solution of organic apple cider vinegar and water at a ration of 1:8, apply the toner to blemishes and  leave on a minimum of 2 minutes.


Glad you asked.  Joe claims that he is just an average guy with a passion for learning.  Although he has been writing for Survival Life since its inception, he recently became the managing editor.  Well deserved, I would say.  Furthermore, he told me:

Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals; all with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive no matter what this world throws at us.

If you like my articles like this please subscribe to my biweekly newsletter or feel free to follow me on Facebook.

I am excited to have Joe as a regular contributor to Backdoor Survival and will be featuring the best of the best of his articles on Survival Fridays.


One of my favorite uses of vinegar is as an all-purpose cleaner.  And while 1/4 cup added to water in a spray bottle while do the job just fine, it is a lot more fun to make Peppermint Juice.  You will find the original recipe in the article Prepper Checklist: DIY Cleaning Supplies but I repeat it here for you as well.

Window, Floor, General Surface Cleaner aka Peppermint Juice

1/2 cup white vinegar
32 oz. (1 quart) cups water
1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. peppermint essential oil

Make up a batch of Peppermint Magic in a repurposed juice jug.  Fill your spray bottles from this master supply.  Using different essential oils, you can make Tea Tree Juice, Lemon Juice or some other scent.  I prefer peppermint oil or tea tree oil for their antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.


Vinegar is just one of the many inexpensive super-items that are useful in the survival cupboard.  Some of the others include baking soda, salt, duct tape, aluminum foil, coffee filters and honey.  With limited storage space and a limited budget, it is good to know that there a multi-use items out there that can do the job performing a number of functions around the home, the garden in the great outdoors.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin: The Backdoor Survival article on DIY cleaning turned out to be hugely popular all around the web. In cased you missed it, here is a link to the article Prepper Checklist: DIY Cleaning Supplies and to some of the products that I use to make my own cleaners.

Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Liquid Cleanser: I know that Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile soaps have a cult-like following but I prefer the Sal Suds. I call my DIY cleaner “Sudsy Sal”.

Soft ‘n Style 8 oz. Spray Bottles: I happen to like these smaller bottles and you can not beat the price for a set of 3. Likewise for these Pump Dispensers.

NOW Solutions Glycerin Vegetable, 16-Fluid Ounces: You will need this for your Dirt Cheap Soft Soap. I paid almost as much for only 4 ounces locally. This is a great price and 16 ounces will last forever.

NOW Foods Peppermint Oil: I favor peppermint essential oil (okay, I like lavender too) so this is what I get. But there are many types of essential oils to choose from. Take your pick. One thing you will find is that a little goes a long way.

Microfiber “Magic” Rags: No list of cleaning supplies would be complete without these wonderful microfiber cloths. They will last you for years and will allow you to replace paper towels forever. Truly. I color code using green for glass and windows and the other colors for everything else. I love these.

Mobile Washer

Mobile Washer: This is hand operated washing machine. Like a plunger, it uses a technique of pushing and pulling the water through clothes to clean them well without wearing them out. It uses a minimum of water and less soap due to the agitation motion. Use in a bucket (5-gallon suggested), sink or tub. The best part is that it is only $14.95.

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials

For over 25 years Emergency Essentials has been providing the highest quality preparedness products at great prices.  Plus, each month they feature sales that quite honestly are fantastic.

One of my favorite picks this month is the Mountain House Chili Mac which is on sale for $17.99 for a #10 tin.  There are also some fantastic sales on MREs, fruit combos, and other Mountain House products.

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials

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Survival Friday: 35 Reasons You Should Never Be Without Vinegar — 7 Comments

  1. I’m surprised he didn’t talk of mixing apple cider vinegar with honey (Honeygar I think they call it) and drink. I have a bottle in the refridge and take a slug every whipstitch.
    Hey don’t all you prepper women out there in survivor land forget, I need someone to live here in Ky with me to get ready for Obuma hitting the fan…..

  2. I am preparing for several things. One being a government meltdown, two a huge explosion at our local ammunition plant (has happened before) three: Bad storms and tornadoes. It could all happen at any moment. I love to use vinegar as a disinfectant and have used it on my white countertops along with baking soda to remove stains. It also removes Pam buildup on my baking sheets.

  3. Apple cider vinegar – drink 4 times daily to keep blood sugar under control. Use plain white vinegar to wash face 3 to 4 times a week keeps psoriasis in check.

  4. Okay Here in the Pacific Northwest we seem to use vinegar a little differently. It is a cheap moss killer just spray it on your roof and the moss dies. Second: There isn’t a better rust loosener. I had a little 4 cyl that ran good when I parked it and it seized up from moisture. Pulled the spark plugs and filled the cylinders with Vinegar, left it set overnight turned the crank back and forth and got rusty liquid out of one cyl so I filled it back up and the next day I was able to turn it all the way around and clean the vinegar out with the compression. It must have worked okay cause that was about 2 years ago and it is still driving to this day and it is dependable.

  5. I loved your top 35 reasons of using vinegar in your daily life.
    I just want to add a 36 to the list :)
    I suffer from extreme nose allergies (sinusitis) and it is a MUST for me to keep my room as clean as possible, specially my bed sheets.
    What I do is to wash my bed sheets with vinegar. After all the detergent is out, in the last cycle of your washing machine, you can add one cub of vinegar and this will do the job.

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