It's a far cry since the days vinegar was used by soldiers and mariners to stop food rotting on long journeys and to kill maggots and add flavour to meat that had already decomposed.
Since then this common food additive has developed hundreds of alternative uses, many every bit as good as proprietary health, beauty and household products, meaning you also get to save money by keeping a few spare bottles of vinegar handy.
* Beauty Care: Add a cupful of apple cider vinegar to the bathwater to soothe tired muscles and relieve dry itchy skin and sunburn.
* Condiments: Make your own mint by gathering and stripping leaves from the stalks when dry. Tear into tiny pieces and spread evenly in a shallow dish. Cover with vinegar and leave for two or three hours before straining and pressing leaves lightly in a screw-top jar. Store in a cool, dry place.
* Children: Make your own playdough by mixing 2 cupfuls of flour with one cupful of salt, one-half cupful of water and 1 teaspoonful of vinegar. Mix the flour and salt first then slowly add water and vinegar, stirring all the time until the mixture is stiff. Use your hands to kneed the dough. The dough is ready to use or can be brightened with the addition of a little food colouring.
* Cleaning and Polishing: Remove heavy dirt stains from children's toys and baby hardware, tiles and other heavy duty surfaces, by using a cloth wrung out of lukewarm water to which a little vinegar has been added. Leave to dry before buffing with a clean fluff-free cloth.
* Clothing: Make your own fabric softener by mixing bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and water (parts: 2/2/4). Add a quarter cupful of the mixture to the final rinse for hand or machine washing.
* Cooking and Food: Make your own red food colouring by mixing one cupful of beetroot juice (tinned or fresh), two tablespoonfuls vinegar and water to your desired colour. Bottle and leave in a cool place.
* Health Care: In folk medicine vinegar is considered an elixir for a long healthy life and is recommended for internal and external use. Make a daily drink from one tablespoonful of apple cider vinegar to a cupful of warm or cold water, according to preference. The practice is believed to benefit the memory and to help the body fight many diseases of advancing years.
* Ironing Disasters: If linen is badly scorched take a cupful of vinegar to which is added half an ounce of soap, two ounces of fuller's earth and the juice of one lemon. Boil well and spread over the damaged parts. Leave to dry and wash the linen. You'll find the stain has completely disappeared.
* Smells: Make your own air spray by mixing two cupfuls of white vinegar with one cupful of crushed herbs, choosing from rosemary, lavender, cloves, thyme or pine needles. Place the ingredients in a saucepan and boil gently for ten minutes then leave to cool. Pour into a large jar with close-fitting lid. Leave to stand for three or four weeks. Strain and add the mixture to a spray container or atomiser. Use in the same way as commercial air sprays.
* Stain Removal: Ink stains can be removed by soaking the fabric in vinegar for an hour or two before washing in the usual way.