Vinegar, Not so ordinary.

Filed in Food & Drink, Miscellaneous

vinegar Vinegar . Everyone has vinegar in their kitchen. It's a common ingredient in many foods and I for one like it. Many Chinese people like it too, especially the red kind when it's added to 蝦餃 or . Yum!

But vinegar has other uses that many people are not aware of.

As a cleaner, it's very useful. If you have an old kettle or a water heater, you've probably noticed the blackening inside. You can clean this quite simply by pouring diluted vinegar into the kettle and letting it soak for half an hour or so. The black will disappear and the kettle will look new again.

We use thermostatic controlled taps (衡溫水龍頭) on our shower. With this tap, you set the relative temperature with the right knob and set the water volume with the left knob. The water here in Hong Kong is quite dirty, and even though we have central filtering on our incoming water, the thermostatic parts still gather rust and minerals from the water over a period of time, rust and minerals which gradually affect the tap's ability to control the water temperature properly. The solution is to take the thermostatic parts out of the tap every three months or so, and soak them in full strength vinegar for an hour. All of the rust and minerals are eaten away from the brass/copper thermostatic parts and it's as good as new; no scrubbing necessary.

On occasion, our dogs misbehave or bark too much. If they're especially naughty or they're intent on ignoring us, we can spray diluted vinegar in their direction. Dogs' noses are very sensitive to the vinegar so they'll quickly take notice. For those of you with dogs, the correct way to do this is to use 1:1 diluted vinegar in a spray bottle. When you need to correct the dog, say "no" and spray the vinegar near the dog's nose. By doing both of these things at the same time, the dog will associate the word 'no' with something unpleasant and will quickly learn the meaning of the word. Be sure to use a stern certain voice when you say the word "no". Try not to spray the vinegar at the dog or into its face. The vinegar might hurt the dog's eyes.


We recently began using the vinegar for another purpose here at home. My wife has developed a serious alergic reaction to mites and has been covered with extremely itchy hives for days on end. The itching really irritates her so we had to find a solution. In Australia, vinegar has been used for years to relieve itching caused by jelly fish stings so I thought I'd try it here. We diluted the vinegar 1:1 and placed it into a spray bottle. We then sprayed it on the hives. At first, my wife feels a stinging sensation and tenses up with the stinging pain, but then the pain goes away and with it the itching. She feels better again, at least for an hour or so, enough perhaps to get to sleep.

So the next time you see vinegar in the supermarket, remember that it's far more useful than just a food ingredient.


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9 Responses to “Vinegar, Not so ordinary.”
  1. Pegasus@Taipei says:


  2. Arthur Heng says:

    Cool, vinegar can also be used to stop hiccups, just drink a shot of diluted vinegar, and it should work almost immediately. Also, it can be used as dandruff controlling shampoo, spray diluted shampoo on your scald, massage for like 30 ses, then rinse off, but you'll smell of vinegar...

    I myself like the traditional black vinegar better, it tastes better and is very appetizing, good for your health too!

  3. Arthur Heng says:

    "spray diluted shampoo on your scald"

    Err, sorry, I mean "spray diluted VINEGAR on your scald"

  4. jayce says:

    I also find Baking Soda really useful for cleaning up stuff!!

  5. sapphire says:

    Where do you learn so many useful household tips? It looks like we have another 曾 Sir here (actually I should call you 河 Sir). 曾 Sir’s a renowned handy-man on TV show in HK before but I forgot his name in full.
    I’m used to applying calcium and lime remover, which is a chemical solvent for cleaning kettle and vacuum air pot. The idea of using vinegar sounds inexpensive and nature-friendly. Our tap water is “hard water” (higher in dissolved minerals), so the problem of mineral buildup on fixtures is more serious than HK. That’s why water softener machines are so popular here. I’ll try your method for cleaning.
    Vinegar is also good for horticultural use. It is an organic weed killer. We use vinegar (full strength) to kill dandelions in the lawn. We have to kill them because our City Bylaw strictly prohibits dandelions.
    You’re right; vinegar is something more than a condiment.

  6. Alison says:

    Wow, we really got many experts here. I agree, both vinegar and baking soda are good for cleaning.

    Arthur Heng, have you tried those tips yourself? I'll give vinegar a try next time when I have hiccups. I might get heartburn in return though!?

  7. Sonya says:

    That's a fairly good trick to tame a dog, but i was wondering am i able to teach a old dog tricks ? coz my dog was not really tame and even till now at 2 - 3 yrs of age, he is oftenly mischeivious in behaviour, but we still love him more than ever.

    I dun really watch hk tv, hence i am not really familiar with ur acting nor performance.

  8. jasmine says:

    hello mr rivers, your page has been sooo interesting. i've always seen you on tv and it's so nice to be able to know more about you on your personal side. to me, my bottle of vinegar at home is always waiting for me to make some vinegrette for salad. i've just moved out to live on my own but never found the time to cook! hope i'll get to use your tips one day, thanks for sharing with me! best wishes, jasmine

  9. Lisa says:

    I was looking for alternative to remove greening elements caused by metal to vinyl products. I wonder if this can be effective... Anyhow, thanks for sharing this natural method.