Gearing up to tackle the grimy grill, the smelly fridge and other cleaning chores? Buying this one product for your domestic to-do list could save you big at the supermarket.

Time to tackle those cleaning chores on your domestic to-do list? You've probably noticed that a trip down the cleaning supplies aisle can add big bucks to your grocery bill. So before you reach for the pricy all-purpose cleaners, toss a few bottles of distilled white vinegar in your cart instead.

The simple, unpretentious bottle of vinegar actually has an illustrious past. According to legend, Helen of Troy bathed in it, Cleopatra dissolved pearls in it (to prove she could consume a fortune in a single meal) and Caesar's armies enjoyed it as a beverage.

Because of its mildly acidic nature, vinegar is also a natural sanitizer and an effective remedy for removing stubborn stains, food smells and hard-water residue from most appliances and home furnishings, experts say. Here are a few tips from Consumer Reports:

Think vinegar for household cleaning

The culprit: A grimy grill

The solution: Use a non-scouring nylon brush and a solution of water and distilled vinegar (in equal parts) to remove stubborn stains, discoloration and corrosion on painted or porcelain surfaces. (For stainless steel, use a mild dishwashing soap instead.)

The culprit : A dirty dishwasher

The solution: To get rid of residue inside your dishwasher, place a container with 2 cups of distilled white vinegar in the bottom rack. Run a normal cycle (but without drying).

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Cynthia Ross Cravit