When it comes to creating an emergency preparedness toolkit, you want to include items that will allow you to be self-sufficient and be able to survive a variety of disaster scenarios. That’s why those who excel in survivalist methods always include multipurpose items in their preparedness toolkits. Items, such as duct tape and rope, have a wide variety of uses.
But, a multipurpose item you may not have considered before is vinegar. Yes, vinegar. The acidic solution that makes you pucker can also help you do everything from clean your produce to provide relief for sunburns.
The idea of using vinegar for multiple purposes has been around for centuries. History shows that vinegar made an appearance as early as 8000 BC, and there are even reports of the Ancient Romans and the early inhabitants of China using vinegar for a variety of uses.
Here are just a few examples of vinegar’s uses throughout history:
- The Romans dunked bread into bowls of vinegar.
- The Greeks used it to pickle vegetables.
- Hippocrates prescribed a drink made with vinegar for soothing coughs and colds.
- It was used for washing during the Middle Ages.
Vinegar was considered such a potent solution that people even believed it could protect them from the Bubonic plague. Foodal claims, “During the time of the Bubonic plague, a similar concoction called four thieves’ vinegar was reputed to protect bandits as they robbed the sick and the dead.”
Vinegar may be cheap, but it is powerful. Its wide range of uses makes it essential for your emergency preparedness toolkit. Once you are knowledgeable about the variety of uses for vinegar, you can save money and, chances are, eliminate many other items from your toolkit.
Uses for Food
Vinegar is a popular culinary staple. Beyond adding flavor to foods, it has a variety of uses in the kitchen.
- Preserves food – Vinegar is used to preserve and pickle foods, such as vegetables and eggs.
- Cleans produce – Vinegar is used to clean and remove pesticides from produce.
- Freshens wilted vegetables – You can revive vegetables by soaking them in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 quart of water.
- Replaces lemon juice – Can’t find lemons? Not a problem...just substitute it with vinegar.
- Helps with scaling fish – Rubbing fish with vinegar a few minutes before scaling makes the process much easier.
- Makes marinades – Vinegar is used to make marinades and dressings.
For centuries, vinegar has been used medicinally. Healthline explains, “Most modern research on its health benefits focuses on the acetic acid component of the vinegar. Because many types of vinegar contain acetic acid, the potential health benefits are not necessarily exclusive to white vinegar.”
- Cleans wounds – Since vinegar can kill bacterial pathogens and contains acetic acid, it works as an antiseptic.
- Lowers blood sugar levels – As a result, vinegar can help manage diabetes.
- Soothes bug bites & stings – With stings, vinegar can help reduce swelling and soreness.
- Soothes sunburns
- Soothes sore throats – Mix honey and vinegar. Gargle and feel relief.
- Cures heartburn – Swallow a tablespoon of vinegar, and your heartburn will cease because it will cause your esophagus to close.
- Helps upset stomach – Drinking a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water can settle your stomach.
- Reduces inflammation and soreness – Wrapping a sprained or sore body part with a vinegar-soaked cloth can reduce inflammation.
- Supports digestive tract – Vinegar supports digestion and works for everything from bloating to acid reflux.
Vinegar for Cleaning
NOTE – You should never mix vinegar with bleach because it will make a toxic gas.Vinegar has become a regular cleaning product as more people turn to natural cleaning solutions for their homes. According to Healthline, “When used for home cleaning projects, a 50/50 ratio of vinegar to water is best.”
- Cleans most surfaces – It will clean sinks, counters, showers, and more.
- Cleans toilets – When used with baking soda, vinegar can get toilets clean.
- Cleans floors – Vinegar can be used to mop hardwood and tile floors.
- Disinfects cutting boards – When used directly, vinegar both disinfects and deodorizes wooden cutting boards.
- Removes rust – Soaking tools in vinegar will remove rust.
- Removes grease – Use a vinegar-soaked sponge to remove grease from stovetops.
- Launders stains – Soaking clothes with vinegar before laundering can help remove stains.
- Prevents mildew – Wiping your shower down with vinegar can prevent mildew.
Outdoor Uses for Vinegar
Kills grass on sidewalk Vinegar is also environmentally friendly and has many outdoor uses. Fill a spray bottle with full-strength vinegar and aim directly. Since it is powerful enough to kill other plants in your garden, you want to make sure you only target the intrusions.
- Kills moss
- Kills weeds
Vinegar for Skin Conditions
In addition to all the other medical uses for vinegar, there are skin conditions that can be helped with vinegar.
- Dry skin & eczema – While some soaps and cleansers make these symptoms worse, vinegar helps restore the skin’s natural pH balance.
- Nail fungus – Soaking your feet in a vinegar bath can help kill nail fungus.
- Warts – A 50/50 solution of cider vinegar and glycerin will help warts disappear.
- Acne – By making a toner of water and vinegar, you can treat acne.
- Calluses – Soaking feet in a vinegar bath will soften calluses making it easier to scrub them off with a pumice stone.
Other Uses for Vinegar
Removes odors – Vinegar can be used to remove a variety of odors, including smoke and skunk smells. Here are a few more reasons why vinegar is essential for emergency preparedness...
- Dissolves glue – Vinegar can dissolve glue and other adhesive materials.
- Cures hiccups – Swallowing a teaspoon of vinegar can bring your hiccups to a halt.
- Improves wicks – You can make lantern wicks last longer and burn brighter by soaking them in vinegar.
- Prevents windows from frosting – Ahead of freezing temperatures, you can prevent your windows from frosting by wiping them down with a vinegar-soaked cloth.
- Unclogs drains – Combine baking soda and vinegar to clear clogged drains.
- Removes bumper stickers and decals – Cover with a vinegar-soaked cloth for a few minutes, and they will come off easily.
- Traps fruit flies – Pour apple cider vinegar into a bowl with a few drops of liquid soap to attract and trap fruit flies.
Vinegar as Protection from Bacteria
- Protects from bacteria - The reason vinegar is used for food preservation and medical purposes is because it can help kill pathogens. Healthline explains, “Studies show that it inhibits bacteria like E. coli from growing in and spoiling food.”
How to Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar
Here are the supplies you’ll need:While you can purchase vinegar from any grocery store, some people choose to make their own. It’s a simple process that just takes a bit of patience. When making your own apple cider vinegar, it is important to use pesticide-free apples without evidence of mold, fungi, or rot.
Quart canning jar
Canning lid and ring, and muslin cloth (or substitute with a clean coffee filter)
Apple cores and peels, spring water, and sugar
Instructions from Farmers’ Almanac
- Fill the quart canning jar with apple peels, cores, and scraps.
- Add enough filtered water to cover the apple scraps.
- (Optional) Speed up the fermentation process by stirring in ¼ cup of sugar.
- Cover the filled jar with a muslin cloth and secure with the canning lid or a rubber band.
- Place the jar away from direct sunlight but near a heat source, such as a hot water heater.
- After a few days, you should notice the substance thickening and bubbling.
- After two weeks, remove the apple scraps and pour the liquid into a new clean jar. Cover the jar as before.
- Store in the pantry.
- After a few weeks, the “mother” should appear. This is the film on the surface of the cloudy liquid.
- By six weeks, the fermentation process should be complete. You can use the “mother” to make future batches.
Vinegar’s Shelf Life
Vinegar does not have an expiration date, but it may have a “best before” date. Ultimately, the shelf life will depend on the type of vinegar. For example, white distilled vinegar will remain unchanged after years. In contrast, apple cider vinegar may not expire, but its appearance may change, and it may form sediment over time. According to Foodal, “This is known as ‘mother of vinegar,’ and it’s formed by the natural bacteria in the fermentation process. […] Completely harmless, though not particularly appealing to look at, it doesn’t affect the flavor or effectiveness; simply strain and enjoy as usual.” Therefore, vinegar is shelf-stable.
Now that you know, stock up vinegar, friends.
And if you have other uses for vinegar to add to the 40 we list here, please comment below.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply