Worth It: The Only Household Product You'll Ever Need


Much unlike many a magazine editor who recommends you buy all sorts of crap that they most likely got for free, your Jezebel staff doesn’t get jack shit (other than books, unsolicited). And that’s how it should be. But on our own time, in our personal lives, we still buy stuff. So this is Worth It, our daily recommendation of random things that we’ve actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we’d actually tell our friends about. And now we’re telling you.

I’m a little nervous writing about this latest “Worth It.” I have a feeling you guys are going to think I’ve gone totally hippie. I mean, yes, I use a skin care product that’s, like, morally-indefensibly expensive, but I also use fucking castor oil for moisturizer and Dr. Bronner’s for body wash. Everyone knows that’s hippie soap. But vinegar as a household cure-all? I know, I know. It’s so holier-than-thou obnoxious. Oh, you use a Swiffer? I hope your family doesn’t mind living in a dirty home full of endocrine disruptors! I clean my house with a delicious stone-ground paste of lentils, corn starch and my own fingernail clippings. And what I don’t use on my floors I extrude into upcycled all-weather shelters for the homeless! I promise I’m really not one of those people. It’s not that I’m immune to EcoFriendlySustainableFairTradeOrganicCrunchyGranola marketing — I’m not, and as much as I’m skeptical of marketing in general, I do worry about lame stuff like “the planet.” No, my main issue with ALL NATURAL stuff is simple; I generally can’t afford it. But this vinegar shit, friends: it’s cheap and it works.

I keep a big bottle of distilled vinegar on hand because it’s good for everything. Got an iron that’s spitting up chunky brown mineral deposits all over the blouse you need to wear for that interview? Pour some white vinegar and water into the iron, put that sucker on steam, and work it out. (Repeat with one full tank of water to rinse.) Have something that’s not colorfast? Before washing it for the first time, soak it in a sink full of water with 2-3 capsful of vinegar. Need to clean a cutting board or butcher block with something that’s not going to leech toxic chemicals into the wood? Sprinkle on some baking soda and salt, splash on your white vinegar, and scrub that baby while the mixture foams. (This is a version of the technique recommended by the lady from The Splendid Table. Trust her! Shit works.) Ever wonder what those overpriced bottles of “Salt Stain Remover” at the shoe repair store are made of? Vinegar and water. Out of Windex? Sprinkle vinegar on some newspaper and go. Vinegar and salt on a rag shines anything made of chrome, brass, pewter, stainless steel, or copper. Vinegar in a bowl, zapped on high for a few minutes, de-food-splatters a microwave. Vinegar cleans mineral deposits on cookware and unclouds cloudy glasses. Vinegar makes your hair look nice. Vinegar soothes a sunburn. Vinegar de-greases anything. It kills germs, it kills mold, it kills odors. Pretty much the only thing you shouldn’t do with vinegar is use it on marble, because marble is too soft to stand up to the muscular, awe-inspiring ancient power that is VINEGAR. Everything else, you might as well try it on. Did I mention it’s also cheap as fuck?

And even though I recommend using white wine vinegar, not distilled, for this particular task, while I’m at it here’s a recipe for the world’s best salad dressing:

2 anchovies
1 clove of garlic
1-2 T. of vinegar
1-2 T of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Put the anchovies and the garlic in a mortar and pestle; crush into a paste. (If you do not have a mortar and pestle, chop the garlic and anchovies finely and try to crush the pieces with the tines of a fork to mix the flavors.) Add a little vinegar to loosen the mixture and make it easier to work with. Then add the rest of the vinegar, the olive oil, and the salt and pepper. Mix. Serve.

Vinegar is the best thing ever, basically, the end. Tell me your favorite use for vinegar in the comments. You fucking hippies.

Heinz Distilled White Vinegar, $3.99 for 16 oz, Amazon

Worth It only features things we paid for ourselves and actually like. Don’t send us stuff.

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