Other uses for Vinegar, Baking Soda, WD40, Coca Cola, Fabric Softener Sheets and Paper Towels

This is a guest post by John M


When it comes to grocery store products, vinegar is liquid gold. People have been using it for ages – and not just for cooking and preserving foods. Vinegar’s versatility is virtually unmatched; there are literally hundreds of potential applications. Aside from its primary applications, here is just a small sample of all the other things vinegar can be used for:

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. (Heh. Hopefully, it’s animal urine!)
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. Unclog shower heads; place in a pot with 50-50 solution of vinegar and water, bring it to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
26. Shine patent leather.
27. Make propane lantern wicks burn longer/brighter; soak them in vinegar for 3 hours, let dry.
28. Act as an an air freshener.
29. Soften paint brushes; soak in hot vinegar then rinse with soapy water.
30. Remove bumper stickers and decals; simply cover them with vinegar-soaked cloth for several minutes.
31. Prolong the life of fresh-cut flowers; use 2 tbsp of vinegar and 3 tbsp of sugar per quart of warm water.

All of these vinegar applications, and scores more, can be found at this informative site.

Baking Soda

Aside from its primary use as a baking agent, baking soda is another grocery item with an almost countless number of applications. For example, among other things, baking soda can be used to:

1. Deodorize your refrigerator; put an open box in the fridge.
2. Remove odors from shoes.
3. Keep drains clean and free-flowing; use 4 tbspns of soda and flush with hot water.
4. Keep your underarms smelling fresh.
5. Soften your skin.
6. Relieve diaper rash.
7. Relieve sunburn; apply a paste of soda and water.
8. Extinguish small grease and electrical fires.
9. Polish silverware.
10. Clean your refrigerator. (Or your neighbors, for that matter.)
11. Remove cat box odors; cover the bottom of the box with soda, then top with kitty litter.
12. Clean and remove stale odors from thermos bottles and coolers.
13. Make dried beans more digestible by soaking them in a solution of baking soda and water.
14. Make wild game taste less, well, “gamey.”
15. Remove oil and grease stains from laundry; add baking soda to the wash water.
16. Remove stains from marble, Formica or plastic surfaces; apply a paste of soda and water.
17. Remove grease from garage floors.
18. Clean vegetables and fruit; sprinkle some in water, then soak and rinse.
19. Wash garbage cans.
20. Clean and remove odors from your dishwasher; just run it with soda instead of soap.
21. Inhibit smoldering butts in ashtrays.
22. Clean shower curtains.
23. Keep teeth or dentures clean. (Preferably, yours.)
24. Relieve indigestion and heartburn; drink 0.5 tsp of soda in 4 oz of water
25. Use as a mouthwash and/or relieve canker sore pain; gargle with 0.5 tsp of soda in 4 oz of water
26. Remove baked-on food from pots and pans; soak in soda and water for 15 min.
27. Relieve bee sting pain.
28. Make homemade Play Dough; combine 1.25 cups water, 2 cups soda, 1 cup cornstarch.
29. Remove feathers more easily when scalding a chicken; just add to the water.
30. As a windshield water-repellent.
31. Clean canvas handbags.
32. Shine chrome and stainless steel.

For even more baking soda applications, check out this site.


You can’t get a gallon of milk at your local Home Depot, but you can often find WD-40 in a grocery store! WD-40 was originally developed as a water-repellent and corrosion preventer, but today the manufacturer claims the product has over 2000 uses. But, Len, if there are 2000 uses why isn’t this product listed at number 1? Well, the answer is two-fold: 1) because most of those 2000 uses are just variations of the same basic applications; and 2) this is my list and I’ll do as I want. (So there.)

Here are 20 of the more arcane ones which have actually been verified by the manufacturer according to Snopes:

1. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
2. Loosens stuck zippers.
3. Untangles jewelery chains.
4. Keeps pigeons off the balcony. (Apparently, they hate the smell.)
5. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
6. Protects silver from tarnishing.
7. Keeps ceramic/terracotta garden pots from oxidizing.
8. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
9. Lubricates squeaky home and vehicle door hinges.
10. Lubricates gear shifts and deck levers on riding mowers.
11. Eliminates squeaks from kids’ swings.
12. Makes home windows easier to open. (And it’s safer than a hammer!)
13. Helps stubborn umbrellas to open and close.
14. Restores and cleans vehicle roof racks.
15. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
16. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles.
17. Removes residual duct tape adhesive.
18. Cleans bugs off of grills and bumpers.
19. Displaces the moisture and allows a car to start when sprayed on the distributor cap.
20. Removes black scuff marks from floors.


Paul Michael wrote an article for Wisebread that highlighted 51 potential uses for Coke (or any other cola product, for that matter). Here are some of the more interesting ones:

1. Remove grease and blood stains from clothing and fabric.
2. Clean oil stains from a garage floor.
3. Remove rust. (My mom said she used to do this as a kid do get corrosion off her bike – I guess she didn’t have any WD-40!)
4. Loosen a rusty bolt. (Another WD-40 trick. Am I the only one here beginning to think Coke is a main ingredient in that stuff?)
5. Tenderize and add extra flavor to a pot roast. (Okay. Let’s see WD-40 do this!)
6. Kill slugs and snails.
7. Help a lawn become lush and green.
8. Prevent an asthma attack.
9. Defrost a frozen windshield. (I prefer using hot coffee – black – but that’s just me.)
10. Clean burnt pans.
11. Neutralize a jellyfish sting.
12. Clean car battery terminals. (I’ve done this before. It works!)
13. Entertain the kids by creating an exploding fountain. (With the help of a pack of Mentos.)
14. Make your hair curly.
15. Age documents and photos.
16. Clean tile grout.
17. Make better compost. (The the acidity and sugar feeds microorganisms.)
18. Remove gum from hair.
19. Remove stains from vitreous china.
20. Clear up swimming pool water.
21. Deodorize laundry.
22. Remove dye from hair by pouring Diet Coke over it.
23. Remove marker stains from carpet.

Fabric Softener Sheets

Who hasn’t used fabric softener sheet at least once in their life? Most of us though use them to make our clothes soft and remove static cling as they come out of the dryer. But did you know that these versatile sheets can also:

1. Repel mice and ants.
2. Act as a mosquito, bee and yellow jacket repellent; tie one through a belt loop.
3. Prevent dust from settling on computer monitors.
4. Dissolve soap scum from shower doors.
5. Eliminate wastebasket odors; just place them in the bottom.
6. Prevent dust from settling on Venetian blinds; wipe them down and no more dust.
7. Deodorize stinky shoes.
8. Keep stored tents and sleeping bags smelling fresh.
9. Prevent musty suitcases.
10. Collect cat hair. (No word on whether it works on dog hair too.)
11. Act as a car or room air freshener.
12. Prevent thread from tangling; run a threaded needle through a sheet before sewing.
13. Collect sawdust resulting from drilling or sandpapering.
14. Eliminate odors from dirty laundry; place a sheet at the bottom of a hamper.
15. Remove splattered bugs from cars; scrub with a wet sheet.
16. Clean baked-on food from pans; put a sheet in pan, fill with water and let sit overnight. Sponge clean.

Paper Towels

What the heck can you do with a paper towel besides sop up spills? Plenty! Paper towels can also:

1. Act as a quick-and-dirty lumbar pillow. (You’ll need to use the whole roll, of course.)
2. Remove silk from fresh corn; just run a damp paper towel across the ear.
3. Act as a coffee filter. (I’ve done this before in a pinch and it works well.)
4. Keep lettuce fresh longer; wrap around lettuce head to soak up excess moisture. (I’ve done this for years.)
5. Prevent frozen bread from getting soggy as it thaws; simply place a paper towel in the bag before freezing.
6. Provide temporary sunburn relief; lay a damp towel across affected skin.
7. Clean your can opener; close the opener over a paper towel edge and turn the crank.
8. Keep cast iron pots rust-free; placed in clean pots, they’ll absorb moisture.
9. Remove crayon from chalk boards; place a paper towel over wax, then press a warm iron over towel.
10. Remove candle wax from carpet and upholstery. (Use the same method as above.)
11. Sprout seeds; place a few seeds between damp towels, then keep damp for two weeks.
12. Act as a cheap place mat.
13. Strain fat from broth; place a paper towel in colander and pour the broth through it.
14. Protect Christmas tree ornaments during storage.
15. Prevent bacon splatter in a microwave oven.
16. Remove residual grease from sewing machines; run the first few stitches through the towel.

Well, that’s it. Remember, these are only partial lists for each of these products.

If you have any favorite special applications for any of these items, don’t be shy! Share them with the rest of us. Keep Smiling


  1. Very interesting! Will definitely be trying some of these out!

  2. My favorite use for WD40 is to kill wasps. Down here in sunny Florida, wasps flourish year around. They are everywhere and often build nests right on the front porch, in the mailbox, or in any of a hundred other frequently trafficed areas where direct contact between them and my family is inevitable.

    Enter the WD40! When the wasp spray runs out (or has been left somewhere and isn’t handy) and the wasps come flying there has to be something! That something is WD40. Yep! believe it or not, WD40 will litterally knock wasps right out of the air! It’s actually kinda fun. Now don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t KILL the wasps, it just sticks to their wings and makes them too heavy to fly. Then you are just one satisfying crunch away from having one less wasp to deal with. Note, wearing shoes while doing this is a very good idea!


    • If you really want to kill them, you need to use a lighter with the WD-40!

    • Another wasp-killer is aerosol brake cleaner. Expensive, but effective.

      Coming from my engineering background here – WD-40 is actually a lousy lubricant, and also lousy at long-term rust preventi0n. There are much better things on the market for those tasks, (but I admit they aren’t found in grocery stores…..)

  3. Tomthetinker says:

    Owwwww… My D a*%#@!?* printer ran out of ink on page 3 of 11. good one MD. I wonder what the shelf life of vinegar is? the other three…. no problem.

    • templar knight says:

      Tom, I’ve heard or read somewhere that vinegar has an unlimited shelf life. Does anyone know for sure?

      • Luddite Jean says:

        No, it doesn’t, especially the weaker ones. It can develop ‘ropes’ which are actually bacteria growth.

        Once you get to 10% strength, it’s strong enough to inhibit the growth of bacteria.

        • templar knight says:

          Thank you, Jean. I knew someone here would know.

        • Tomthetinker says:

          Luddite Jean: I’ll be looking on our week end shopping today, is it marked like booze or is there a brand that has the 10%+?….. thank you for responding earlier..

          • Luddite Jean says:

            In the UK, sometimes it’s marked, sometimes it isn’t. All table vinegars will be too weak, you need either commercial acetic acid (which may be even stronger) or pickling vinegar (which should be at least 7%).

      • SrvivlSally says:

        Tom, the general rule for acv is between 3 and 5 years but if you want to know all that you can you can visit the following site by a manufacturer at http://www.bragg.com/products/acvFAQ.html
        Hope this helps you.

        • Tomthetinker says:

          Symbiotic! thank you SS This site is an endless list of ‘leads’ as long as the lot of us visit. Are ya listenen MD?

  4. I am one of those people who can improvise anything so posts like this are goooood stuff! Great post!

  5. CocaCola (the real thing) is also used in pulp and paper mills to clean the equipment as it will dissolve sap (and just about anything else)…

    Great list – appreciate the alternative to using tomato juice on the dog…

  6. Squirrel marinaded in Coca-Cola and slow cooked over a low flame is a real hunting camp treat. Tender and juicy, and the Coca-Cola adds a flavor all its own.

  7. Listerine also has other uses. If you come up with ringworm put some on a cloth or piece of cotton and dab it on the area 2x or 3x a day. The problem will be gone in short order.

    Have dandruff? Rinse your hair with Listerine before washing with your regular shampoo.

    And one more, if you fish from a boat getting gas or oil on your hands makes it a problem to handle bait because of the smell. Wash with Listerine then followup with soap and water.

    • Listerine is also one of the ingredients used in several of the gardening recipes in the books written by Master Gardener Jerry Baker. It helps to keep away bugs and disease. One of my favorite tonics that he recommends is listerine, baby shampoo, and tobacco tea. You put it in your hose sprayer and spray it all over everything green in your yard. I avoid tomato plants, however, because there is a chance that tobacco mosaic virus could be spread to your tomatoes and kill them. Check out his website if you are interested in some of the other recipes. I have two of his books and love them.

  8. Great list!!! I’ll definitely try out a few.

    Got a few to add:
    1. Use Vinegar & warm water to clean wood floors
    2. Baking soda & water thick paste does a great job cleaning spills on smooth ceramic stove tops and it doesn’t scratch
    3. Mix a couple of cups of hot water with some baking soda and run it through your hair a few times a month to get rid of product (hair spray, gel) build up.
    4. Cooking oil removes gum from hair

    • for use on the floor, only use a cap full to 1 gal or so, otherwise the acid will eat into the finish, poly or tile & grout. The resulting pitting will allow more dirt and germs to flourish. Vinigar is also and acit so if you use it on stone, tile, bricks you need to rinse it off as these need to be left in a slightly Alkeline state

      • oopss hit send before spell check, please put this one in and not the other..
        For use on the floor, only use a cap full to 1 gal or so, otherwise the acid will eat into the finish, poly or tile & grout. The resulting pitting will allow more dirt and germs to flourish. Vinegar is also and acid so if you use it on stone, tile, bricks you need to rinse it off as these need to be left in a slightly Alkaline state or it will cause the grout to crack, separate etc.

  9. Thanks for all the really interesting info.
    I see several ideas I will be trying right away.

  10. Luddite Jean says:

    Paper towels – when you want to save tomato seeds, spread the wet seeds evenly onto a paper towel. Dry out and store. When you want to start the seeds off, unfold the seed-encrusted paper towel, place the whole thing onto seed compost, then cover with a thin layer of more compost and water. The paper towel breaks down as you water and the seeds grow.

  11. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Great post, thanks for the useful ideas John M. It’s very helpful to have several uses for common items. Simplicity is key to survival, IMHO.

    Under uses for Vinegar, #13 especially caught my attention. I’d really like to find a way to eliminate lint in my laundry do I don’t have so much of it to pick off. Dryer sheets do a pretty good job, but not totally. I’ll give vinegar a try.

    Let’s see, I have a few extra ideas to add to your lists:

    Cider Vinegar, when applied immediately, will turn a potential sunburn into a suntan and will eliminate peeling and itching.

    1/2 cup Baking Soda & 2 cups Vinegar can be poured down a clogged drain and allowed to bubble for 15 minutes or so – clog gone

    Put some toothpaste on your toothbrush, then sprinkle on some Baking Powder – makes a mild abrasive for whitening teeth. Also helps fight bad breath.

    Spill some battery acid? Quickly sprinkle Baking Soda on the acid to neutralize it.

    Have gunky funky posts on your car or tractor battery? Make a paste of 1 part water and 3 parts Baking Soda, then clean the posts with the paste and a scrub brush.

    Baking Soda will suppress and smother a grease fire in the kitchen, or anywhere else a small grease fire may spring up.

    Many soft drinks, including Coke & Pepsi, will eat through an aluminum can if left in the can for 12 months or more. I know. I had a full unopened can of soda sitting on the bookcase shelf because it was a “collector can” and after about a year, the soda ate a hole in the can and then it ran down my bookcase and ruined several books. So if you try to preserve soda pop, I suggest using a glass bottle rather than a can or plastic bottle.

  12. Did you know you can use old motor oil to fertilize your lawn?

    (Fight Club reference — Still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in a movie)

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

    Rinse “cycle” sounds like an automatic washer. If that’s what’s intended, it won’t matter how soft it is…the wool blanket will be shrunken and misshapen when you’re done!

    I think it’s _possible_ to use an automatic washer and cold water for woolen fabrics, but personally…I wouldn’t! Hand wash only, or dry clean.

    Soaked on material in pans: If the 15 minute soak doesn’t lift off burned on stuff, add water to the pan, add a tablespoon or so of soda, bring to a boil, cover tightly and let stand until cool. It may not take _all_ of the burned on stuff off, but it will greatly reduce what needs to be scraped off.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      I have two old “wool blankets” that I wash all the time in the washer and then I throw them in the dryer – no problems whatsoever. However, I don’t know if they’re 100% wool or a blend and that’s why I put “wool blankets” in quotes. One of them is a US Army blanket from the WWII era and the other is
      a State of California-issued blanket. Both came from thrift shops.

      I’ve also got two new(er) wool blankets that claimed to be safe in automatic washers and dryers. That’s why I bought them (new) when I saw them. So I tossed them into the washer and then the dryer and VOILA! No Problems! They are specially treated with something that makes them washer and dryer safe. I could look at the label if anybody is seriously interested in knowing who made them.

  14. Coca Cola, originally came out as a medicine; it actually works for stomach problems. When you start to get sick drink 1 ltr / qrt to 4 ltrs / 1 gal , if you drive commercial trucks you can not take most meds, cold meds etc, it will cause random drug testing to off the charts with these meds. I power drink this stuff, to get better. Worked 90% of the time

  15. Coke or other soda pop as car window cleaner !? Eesh Keep the stuff away from car hoods and other painted surfaces.. I’v e seen a number of nice paint jobs ruined due to spilled coke or other soft drinks. I saw one friend’s 9mm Beretta finish destroyed by it too.

  16. The brainwashing wore off... says:

    Apple Cider vinegar is a folk remedy for UTI’s. I was skeptical till I developed a bladder infection and refused to go to the emergency room, instead opting to wait till I could see my regular dr the next day. Anyone who has ever had a bladder infection knows how uncomfortable it can be. Anyway, I drank a glass of water with about 1/4 c of apple cider vinegar and within 20 minutes, was able to empty my bladder. Keep in mind, I am in no way advocating using ACV instead of seeking professional medical help and getting antibiotics but it will at least keep you going till you can see a real doctor.

    Also, my great aunt was in great shape, lived to be in her 90’s. She looked years younger than her true age, was spunky (wore 2 1/2 heels up until her mid ’80s) and swore by a concoction of ACV, orange juice and honey she drank every morning. She said she had partaken of this concoction every day since age 16. Like Jogglin in a Jug (a commercial version of the same thing).

    • Jim Murphy says:

      I had someone tell me years ago that if you take a teaspoon
      of ACV a day, you’ll never catch a cold. I never tried it but it’s not the first time I’ve heard of the health benefits of ACV. There must be something to it.

  17. tjbbpgobIII says:

    WD40; I found that spraying into the breather on a diesel powered automobile will allow it to start if starting is a problem, better than starter fluid.

  18. SrvivlSally says:

    Thanks for all the great tips. Used to have a friend that would soak his Athlete’s Foot-ridden feet in Apple Cider Vinegar for about 20 minutes a day and he said that it not only got rid of his fungus but it also softened up his corns and feet as well. Good ol’ ACV, love the stuff. I use WD-40 to loosen up padlocks and car door locks when they are getting sticky and a little in the house’s locks to keep lock pickers from so easily getting inside. I am trying to recall if it is soda or salt that puts out grease fires at the stove but I think it is soda that does the trick. I never have had a grease fire, thankfully, but it is because I try to be as careful as I can while cooking so as not to splash or spill grease onto the hot burner nor myself.

  19. It doesn’t surprise me that vinegar has so many health benefits- at least, in my mind. Quite a few years ago, some mad scientist(s) injected all the nutrient information regarding the human body, fed it into a computer and asked to come up with the prefect diet for health.
    The result: 50 gallons of vinegar a day.
    Well, as I recall it was 50 gallons. I think I could handle that kind of diet- I must drink 50 gallons of coffee a day. :\ LOL.
    Seriously, it’s amazing the number of uses we can discover- or rediscover- for normal everyday items we thought were only good for salads.
    Shy III

  20. Mr. Skeptic says:

    Not too surprising a lot of things show up on multiple lists. There is a history of marketing products (especially relatively inexpensive ones) to be used in ways they never designed for. Maybe coca-cola would be beneficial to pour onto my compost pile, but I’m not going to find out. If I sold vinegar, I’d say it should be poured down the drain to prevent hard water deposits and bacterial growth. Maybe its true, but as long as I’m getting you to pour my product down the drain its good for me.

  21. As for wasps rubbing alcohol in a squirt bottle is good as well. No having to stomp on them they die due to suffocation. Have used it for years and is cheaper than aerosol sprays. We have a crap load of them in this piss-hole town.

Commenting Policy:

We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Our community is built on the sharing of information via the comments section below, but before you post your first comment please read our "comments policy" carefully. Also some comments are moderated depending on the content and while we try to get your comment published as quickly as possible, sometimes it may take several hours before your comment appears live.