When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to consult a thin booklet for solutions to all sorts of household problems. It’s called “The Vinegar Book,” and I now have her copy. It has great tips for anything you can think of, and I’m making notes in the margin as I discover new things that weren’t relevant back then.

1. Vinegar can clean dirt from your computer, printer, and mouse.

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, soak a clean cloth in the solution, and take care to squeeze out as much excess liquid as you can so it won’t drip into the circuits. (For this same reason, you shouldn’t use a squeeze bottle!) Make sure all of the equipment is turned off, and wipe it down with the damp cloth. Use Q-tips to get between the keyboard keys. If your mouse has a tracking ball, remove the ball and clean that separately. Use the cloth on the mouse and the ball, but use a Q-tip to get inside the ball chamber. Make sure to let everything dry completely before turning it back on!

2. Vinegar cleans sticky scissors.

It seems like my scissors are always sticky from cutting tape or using them for food packaging in the kitchen. I used to wash them in soapy water and let them dry in the draining board, but that has caused them to rust much quicker than they should! Thanks to this booklet, I learned that I can wipe the blades off with a cloth soaked in white vinegar (NOT the vinegar-water solution!), dry them off with a rag, and keep them clean and shiny much easier.

3. Vinegar revitalizes wood furniture.

– Picture some of the wood surfaces in your house. When I do that, I see the coffee table covered in water rings from drinks not set on coasters. To remove these rings, mix equal amounts of vinegar and olive oil and rub it into the table with a soft cloth, following the wood grain.

– To remove furniture polish buildup on wood tables, use a mix of vinegar and water and rub with the grain to cut through the residue.

– Mix vinegar and iodine to paint over scratches in wood surfaces. It doesn’t magically heal the scratch, but it makes it less noticeable. Use more iodine for darker woods, and more vinegar for lighter wood.

– I have wood paneling in a room that looks so dark and dreary compared to other brightly painted walls. Using a cloth to apply a mix of 1 pint warm water, 4 tablespoons vinegar, and 2 tablespoons olive oil and letting it soak into the wood for a few minutes makes it so much shinier and lighter!

– If you have candle wax left on a tabletop or dresser that won’t peel up easily, warm the wax with a blow dryer and blot it with a paper towel. Then use a cloth soaked with vinegar and water to wipe away the residue.

4. Vinegar “erases” pen ink.

I did it as a child, and I’m sure my child will do it to me – what is it about writing on the walls that is so appealing? When you find ballpoint pen ink on your painted walls, desk, floor, or wherever your kid needed to make a note, dab it with a sponge soaked in white vinegar. Again, this is NOT the vinegar-water mixture, but full-strength vinegar. Keep dabbing until the vinegar “erases” the ink, without damaging the paint!

5. Vinegar cleans drains.

If you read my previous article, you’ll remember I’m a huge fan of using baking soda around the house. I love that this way to clean drains uses both vinegar AND my beloved baking soda. Pour a half cup of baking soda down any clogged or smelly drains in the tub, kitchen, or bathroom sink. Follow that up with a cup of vinegar, wait until it stops foaming, and then flush it out with hot tap water. Then flush with cold water. This releases any blocks, and the baking soda deodorizes the pipes. An added bonus is that it’s not harsh on your pipes like commercial chemical-laden cleaners are.

6. Vinegar cleans up your kitchen.

Just like using a vinegar and water mixture to cut through furniture polish residue, this mix also cleans up a lot of problem areas in the kitchen. It cuts through grease left from food splatters on your stove or counter, and also eliminates grease odors. Pure vinegar in a spray bottle cleans kitchen surfaces and leaves them shinier than ever.

7. Vinegar makes pans non-stick.

No seriously, it does! Why buy expensive pots and pans that claim to be nonstick, when you can save your money and update your own cookware. Boil 2 cups vinegar in a pan for ten minutes to make it nonstick for several months. I’d much rather do this several times in a year than fork over too much cash for a supposedly non-stick pan that scratches and becomes obsolete in no time.

If you read my baking soda article, you might remember that I mentioned washing my hair with baking soda, instead of shampoo, to really deep clean it. Well, rinsing with vinegar works like conditioner, without adding back a lot of chemical gunk. Rinse several times with warm water to get the vinegar smell out of your hair, and you’ll still have silky smooth locks! These are just seven secret tips on how to use vinegar, but once you start using them, you’ll find many more!