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Naturally, with the change of the seasons comes the need to pamper your hair and skin to keep it at its best.
Here’s an informative and… um… PERKY video from the folks at E-How on the ten best natural beauty secrets everyone should know about.
Posted October 4th, 2011. Add a comment
by Danica Waters
Wait! Before you throw out those eggshells from your morning breakfast, check out this fun and informative video from Jeff Yeager… Whether you’re a city dweller or spend your days in the “wild blue yonder”, the self-proclaimed “Ultimate Cheapskate” has a few “Egg-cellent Alternatives To Tossing Them Out” .
Posted September 27th, 2011. Add a comment
Posted August 18th, 2011. Add a comment
Ten Good Reasons to “Think Globally and Act Locally”: Mother Earth Knows Best
With every passing day, escalating reports of our seemingly doomed economy, of the unending strife in our political system, and of the glaring void between “we the people” and “we the large corporations who don’t seem to care” make the need for personal assessment and decision-making increasingly inescapable. In just a few decades, our modern society as a whole has rendered itself nearly inept at true self-sufficiency. Technology and specialization have whittled away at our connection with the basic rhythms of nature, and while our grandparents might have been sure to purchase and actually read and utilize the information in their yearly Farmer’s Almanac, these days most of us don’t even know the basics of growing a tomato. It’s a lot like the feeling of being in a little boat in the middle of a big ocean and realizing you don’t know how to swim.
With the possibility of another Great Depression looming, accompanied by projections of skyrocketing inflation, it’s time we started looking at sustainable ways to take care of ourselves and our communities. While the prospect of making grassroots changes to our hectic lifestyles may seem overwhelming and next to impossible, most successful endeavors start with baby steps. One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to support change on both a personal and community-based level is to simply pay a visit to your local farm or farmer’s market. The selection of local seasonal produce will astound you, and it will make for a fun and relaxing weekend excursion. Beyond the fun, here’s some reasons why buying local makes sense:
Your dollar goes directly to support the farm you buy from.
Even if you can’t eliminate your visits to a large grocery store altogether, you can make small, healthy purchases from your local farm or farmers’ market. When you purchase from a local farm, be it organic or not, you know every dollar you spend is going to support that particular farm – not some middleman or large conglomerate with questionable corporate relationships and agendas. A thriving farm contributes to a vibrant local community, a healthy local economy, and helps to ensure that your community’s food supply is viable and plentiful in times of potential crisis.
By purchasing from your local farm or farmer’s market, you directly help to reduce pollution and waste.
Purchasing from your local farm or farmer’s market means that you are helping to reduce the amount of long-distance transportation, and the energy consumption, pollution, and waste that are direct results of having to ship food long distances.
Buying local puts you in touch with what grows in your area – how, and when.
Strike up a conversation with your local farmer and over time you’ll most certainly learn a few secrets about the local harvest. Over time, this serves to provide an enhanced connection to the community in which you live, along with greater insight into the community’s challenges and causes for celebration.
Don’t know where there’s a farm or market near you? Don’t fret – you’re not alone. That’s why the folks at www.localharvest.org have put together a national database of local, sustainable and/or organic farms and farmers’ markets in both rural and urban communities alike. Bookmark this site! It’s wonderful to refer to during road trips, as well.
Buying local and organic maximizes the nutritional value of the food you eat.
Organic, “free-fange”, hormone and pesticide-free foods show higher levels of nutrients, vitamins, trace minerals and anti-oxidants. Shorter storage and transportation times also contribute to the preservation of your food’s nutritional content.
Small-scale, local organic farms preserve habitats.
One of the most miraculous aspects of nature is that, when in balance, all beings within the environment or ecosystem work together to support that particular ecosystem. Optimally, small-scale farms will usually grow several different types of produce, and will support several different kinds of farm animals.. Additionally, the diversity of flora and fauna will provide functional habitats for other animals, as well. This species diversification promotes a balanced, healthy ecosystem, and allows a wide variety of birds, animals, and insects to work together to support the delicate balance of our planet.
Small-scale, local organic farms protect biodiversity.
In commercial farming, the focus is on growing only those species that will travel well and last a long time in transport and on produce shelves. This generally involves the use of Genetically Modified Organisms, and does not consider the protection and preservation of wild or heirloom species.
Local farms generally grow what is best for their specific microclimate and environment, which results in a wide range of plant varieties. Furthermore, organic farms are actually prohibited from using any Genetically Modified Organisms, which are actually killing off critical pollinator species and threatening the genetic integrity of many different plant species through cross-pollination.
Given the medicinal and chemical wonders that are being discovered on a daily basis from the flora on this planet, it is vital that we preserve and support the genetic library for future generations.
Organic farms do not use pesticides, hormones, or anything genetically modified.
Organic farms use natural, ecological solutions to solve pest and other farming-related problems. This not only keeps you away from potentially cancer-causing toxins in your food, but prevents the contamination of groundwater, as well. Additionally, organic farming prevents the vast annihilation of various bird, animal, fish, and insect species, including the beautiful Monarch Butterfly.
Organic/Free-range is better for you, and for the environment.
Organic, free-range animal products, including eggs, milk, and meat, have been proven to have a much higher nutritional value than their commercially-produced counterparts. Additionally, a free-range lifestyle allows for the natural disbursement of animal waste over a large area, in amounts that serve to enhance rather than poison the land.
Organic farming eliminates the threat of Mad Cow Disease.
Mad Cow Disease, or Bovine Spongiform encephalopathy, is caused by feeding cattle ground-up remains of their own kind. This forced cannibalism has disastrous results; Mad Cow Disease destroys the central nervous system and brain. It can be transmitted to humans in the form of Creutzfeld-Jakob disease. (www.wikipedia.org)
Organic farms support long-term sustainability.
By rotating crops, planting “cover crops”(secondary crops planted in-between rows of the primary crop for natural weed-control and soil amendment), and enhancing the soil with animal manure and other minerals, organic farmers work tirelessly to leave the topsoil even better than they found it. This, in turn, creates “sustainability”, which allows the farm to produce bountiful harvests year after year after year. (www.wikipedia.com)
Throughout the month of August, the Allspice Chronicles will focus on the almost-lost art of canning and preserving the bounty of the harvest. With how-to’s and tasty, tantalizing, economical recipes, our goal is to join thousands of others nationwide as we prepare for the National Can-It-Forward day, August 13, 2011.
Need canning supplies? Check out our favorites featured in the links in the right-hand column of our site. Each product is personally chosen and highly recommended. And better yet, a portion of every purchase made via Amazon.com through the links on our website goes to support the Allspice Chronicles.
Posted August 1st, 2011. Add a comment
Frolicking in the Great Outdoors is a wonderful thing – until you have to endure the mosquitoes. Besides delivering an almost-maddening itch with their bite, mosquitoes are also carriers of the West Nile Virus. Although the virus is not usually deadly, it is a sure-fire way toput a damper on summer fun. (You can read more about West Nile Virus symptoms here.)
Although the use of insect repellents containing DEET is usually recommended, the effects of DEET on human health are questionable, at best. “Citing human health reasons, Health Canada barred the sale of insect repellents for human use that contained more than 30% DEET in a 2002 re-evaluation. The agency recommended that DEET based products be used on children between the ages of 2 and 12 only if the concentration of DEET is 10% or less and that repellents be applied no more than 3 times a day, children under 2 should not receive more than 1 application of repellent in a day and DEET based products of any concentration not be used on infants under 6 months.“ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEET)
So what about natural alternatives? According to a 2002 study by the New England Journal of Medicine, DEET-free, natural insect repellents are a completely effective alternative – without the health risks. Here’s the recap of the best natural repellents, courtesy of about.com:
“The most effective natural mosquito repellent at the time of writing is Repel Lemon Eucalyptus.
- A 2002 study in the New England Journal of Medicine compared different synthetic chemical and herbal repellents: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Repellent provided 120.1 minutes of mosquito protection, more than a repellent with a low concentration of the chemical DEET (Off Skintastic for Kids with 4.75% DEET provided 88.4 minutes of protection) and less than Off Deep Woods with 23.8% DEET, which provided 301.5 minutes of protection.
- A study by the US Department of Agriculture compared four synthetic mosquito repellents and eight natural mosquito repellents and found that Repel Lemon Eucalyptus was the most effective repellent, more so than a 7% DEET repellent.
- Lemon eucalyptus oil repellents, in addition to the chemicals DEET and picaridin, have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (which means that the materials have been reviewed and approved for effectiveness and human safety) and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus.
- A June 2006 Consumer Reports article stated that after conducting their own tests, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus was the best non-DEET mosquito repellent. However, volunteers criticized its odor.”
Don’t like the smell of “Repel”? There’s another effective option:
“The New England Journal of Medicine study found that Bite Blocker provided 94.6 minutes of protection against mosquitos. This is slightly more effective than Off Skintastic for Kids (containing 4.75% DEET), which provided 88.4 minutes of protection.
The study by the United States Department of Agriculture ranked Bite Blocker number two in effectiveness after Repel. Bite Blocker was rated more effective than a synthetic 7% DEET mosquito repellent.
While we’re all familiar with the wonders of citronella, evidence points to it being an excellent second-defense, but comparatively ineffective as a stand-alone repellent. Citronella candles and incense should be used in combination with other, stronger repellents for maximum benefit.
So what if we all end up smelling like lemon-eucalyptus while frolicking in the Great Outdoors? We will be able to sound out “Shoo-Fly, Don’t Bother Me” ’round the campfire with DEET-free (and mosquito-free) confidence.
(photo courtesy of Wal-Mart.com)
Posted June 28th, 2011. Add a comment
I can’t believe there’s a part five to The Great Vinegar Experiment. Really. But since I’ve replaced my cleaning arsenal with distilled white vinegar, some baking soda, a bit of all-natural laundry detergent and some dish soap, the last thing on my list to replace was my commercial wood polish. Why replace the wood polish? Because since I’ve been using all-natural cleaning agents, I have become acutely aware of how things that aren’t completely natural make me feel. Things I used to brush off under the assumption “that’s just the way it is” are now subject to much more scrutiny. No, it’s not okay for your eyes to burn even a little bit, or for your lungs to feel like they’ll explode if you don’t clear out of the room. And quite frankly, my skin didn’t like my old wood cleaner. Oddly enough, in retrospect, neither did my wood furniture.
My home is furnished with a lot of antique, unsealed wood furniture pieces that require a fair amount of maintenance to keep the moisture levels up. While I grew up using products like Scott’s Liquid Gold (deadly solvent- based stuff) and Pledge (waxy aerosol) , I moved away from all that years ago. Even though the (non-solvent based) commercial wood cleaner I used was touted as being all-natural, my skin used to sting like the devil anytime it came into contact with the product, or even with a rag that contained its residue. On top of that, the product I used previously never really seemed to sink into the wood. No matter how much I polished and buffed, I always felt like there was a sort of film left on top, and my furniture wasn’t getting the deep moisture it really needed.
I was really worried that an alternative homemade wood polish would end up having an adverse effect, so I tested it on a smaller piece of furniture first. After using it for a couple of weeks with no weird reactions, no leftover gummy residue or discolorations (and much happier hands!), I started using the polish on my larger, more conspicuous pieces. After a month, I’m enthusiastically sold. (And I’m mad as hell that I’ve spent as much money as I have over the years on stuff that made my skin sting and didn’t really do anything that terribly great for my furniture. But now I know…)
Simply combining 1 part distilled white vinegar to 4 parts olive oil created a polish that my wood actually LOVES. The solution is instantly absorbed by wood surfaces, almost like they’re drinking it in. Finger prints come right off, and there is a lovely warm glow to the wood, rather than an oily sheen. And the cherry on top? My hands are SUPER-HAPPY. Let’s face it: they’re getting a makeover every time I decide to dust! “A makeover?” you might ask. “How on earth could a furniture polish give your hands a makeover?”
I cannot tell you right now, because I’m saving that information for Part 6 of the Great Vinegar Experiment. Oh yes, there will be a Part 6.
But in the meantime, I should mention a few more things about my new natural wood cleaner. There are other recipes out there for what I’m sure are great natural wood cleaners. Some of them called for the use of lemon juice in combination with olive or linseed oils, which I’m sure would be wonderful. I chose to stay with vinegar, primarily because I figured it would have a longer shelf life than lemon juice. I also opted to use olive oil instead of purchasing linseed oil, because it is something I can just pick up from the grocery store without having to make any special trips anywhere else.
This mixture can be easily distributed by means of a clean spray bottle. Please note that you should vigorously shake the spray bottle in order to emulsify the ingredients prior to spraying it on your furniture, as oil and vinegar will separate.
Even though I have used this recipe for over a month now with great success on a variety of unsealed types of wood (walnut, mahogany, cherry, etc.), I do need to urge you to test it out on a small, inconspicuous area first to be sure you are as happy as I am with the results.
Posted June 13th, 2011. Add a comment
I have to admit it feels a little weird to have enough material to write yet another blog entry on a single subject like vinegar. But yes, folks, we’re on to The Great Vinegar Experiment: Part 4 (In The Garden)! Now that I’ve tackled everything in the house and reduced my cleaning arsenal down to a gallon of vinegar, some baking soda, a small bottle of all-natural laundry detergent, and some wood cleaner, I figure it’s time to take the Great Vinegar Experiment outside.
Along with the myriad little birds and the frisky pair of squirrels who love to scamper back and forth across my rooftop, I have four wonderful fat little brown doves who live right outside my home. At precisely 5:45 every morning, they start cooing their little dove-coo’s. I suppose having birds right outside your window making noise that early could be considered annoying by some, but the way I see it is they’re so darn nice about it, there’s no way I can be mad at them. So I feed them. And I have a birdbath for them. Yep, I’m a complete sucker when it comes to animals. I do like to spoil them. But all these critter conveniences get a bit on the “Yick” side – quickly. Here’s some tried – and – true vinegar tips for maintaining all your wild-animal amenities, and more:
Hummingbird feeders must NEVER be cleaned with any type of dishsoap or detergent, as these will leave a film that is toxic to hummingbirds. A simple solution of equal parts white vinegar and water will naturally clean your feeder and keep your little critters healthy. (Be sure to rinse thoroughly after cleaning the feeder!)
No More Funky Green Patina! You know that funky green slime that develops on your birdbaths and fountains? Heaven knows I wouldn’t want to take a bath in one when it looks like that. But a full-strength solution of vinegar and a nice stiff scrub brush will safely and thoroughly clean and de-scale even your slimiest outdoor water features. Rinse thoroughly and re-fill it with nice clean water. Your bathing birdies will love you for it.
Reroute the Summer Ant Parade!
I personally prefer to keep all my summer parade action on the standard 4th of July parade route, which happens to be downtown, away from my house. Want to forego the ant parade through your house this summer? Take your nifty full-strength white vinegar spray bottle and spray generously around windowsills, foundation cracks, door jambs, etc. Ants hate vinegar. (Which makes me like it even more.) And in the event they decide to move into your yard, simply pour a whole gallon of vinegar on top of the hill, concentrating especially on their front door. I know it sounds mean, but after having seen ants attack fledgling baby birds – some who had fallen from their nest (many of whom we saved, and some we didn’t get to in time) and others who were still in their nest (that was the worst), I don’t care if I’m mean or not. It’s my yard, and birds are welcome; ants are not.
Resolve to Get Rid of Pesky Weeds NATURALLY.
I know. There’s nothing more unsightly than grass and weeds poking through your sidewalk / driveway / patio. But you don’t have to resort to toxic sprays to eliminate them. Pour full-strength white vinegar on to the affected areas, and treat them regularly throughout the summer. I should note that this should be limited to weeds poking through concrete surfaces. If you spray this on weeds growing in your lawn, it will kill the weeds – and your lawn, too. Just sayin’.
Bless Your Acid-Loving Bloomers!
Rhododendrons, Hydrangeas, Gardenias and Azaleas are among several plant varieties that prefer higher acidity. Give them a little boost by occasionally watering them with a solution made with 1 C white distilled vinegar and 1 gallon water.
Preserve Your Cut Flowers (and wake up droopy ones!)
There’s nothing better than coming in with armfuls of blooms cut from your own garden. Or blooms from anywhere, for that matter. Don’t panic if you’re out of those little packets of flower preservative. Make your own! Just mix together:
2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar + 1 tsp sugar + 1 quart water
If you’re trying to refresh droopy stems, be sure to re-trim the stalks for maximum absorption.
Make Your Own Fruit and Veggie Wash
Heaven only knows how many times I’ve told my kids to wash their fruit before eating it. I say the same thing every time: “Kids, you don’t have a foggy clue about how many people have touched that before you got to it, and I can tell you right now you don’t EVEN want to know where their hands have been.” So what do they do? Rinse it off with water. Like that’s going to do a lot.
But kids are kids. They like things easy and glamorous. Look for a small, pretty colored spray bottle and keep it at the sink, filled with a simple mild solution of 1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar in 1-1/2 quarts of water. Chances are your kids will use it just like mine do. And it’s the perfect way to sanitize your fruits and vegetables. (Just remind them to rinse after they spray. They’re kids. They forget these things.)
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
During my research, I came across several tips that I think might work really well, but alas! I am unable to try them personally because I’m now an urbanite. If you try them out, please share your experience by leaving a comment below.
Keep the Cats Out of the Kids’ Sandbox
It’s suggested that regularly spraying the sandbox with distilled white vinegar will discourage kitties from using it as a litter box. A very useful tip, indeed.
Discourage Bunnies and Other Nibblers from Eating Your Plants:
This tip suggests putting a cotton ball soaked in distilled white vinegar in film containers (or other small containers), punching holes in the lids, and placing them around the garden. If it works, this is another very useful tip!
Kill Slugs Naturally
Spray them with a mixture of 1 part distilled white vinegar and 1 part water. Eeeewwww.
Posted June 6th, 2011. Add a comment
As I was using vinegar to clean my carpets over the weekend, a really wild memory from way, way back hit me like a ton of bricks, and I simply had to share. I grew up in a house with hardwood floors that had been covered with lots of Oriental carpets. They were beautiful; I learned early on that they weren’t something you could just use the ol’ Rug Doctor on – they had to be treated with special care. One year when I was about twelve, we’d had a particularly wet and muddy spring. My mother called a man who specialized in cleaning Oriental rugs out to the house to get an estimate. There was no way we could afford to have him clean the rugs, but the man was very kind, and he told my mother that the best thing to use to freshen and clean Orientals safely was- you guessed it – VINEGAR. Mom and I, being independent, eternal optimists with a strong “Wonder Woman” complex pulsing through our veins, got it into our heads that we were perfectly capable of tackling the job ourselves. How hard could it be? And we had vinegar – lots of it! Charged with adrenaline, we decided to devote the day to carpet cleaning.
It was all very exciting; my two little sisters enthusiastically carried couch cushions and bric-a-brac as Mom and I moved the heavy furniture off the carpets. I remember my sisters gleefully twirling and romping around the broad, newly-cleared spaces as we gave ourselves a minute to breathe. All together, we rolled those bad boys up and, on a determined count of three, managed to lift the first one with relative ease. It wasn’t until we tried to negotiate corners with our twelve-foot-long friend that we realized Oriental rugs can quickly develop a personality and will of their own. Ours was not just feeling frisky, it was being downright rebellious. Indeed, carrying the rear end of that carpet felt more like carrying the business end of an angry crocodile, and by the time we reached the long, narrow flight of stairs leading down to our back porch, the beast liberated itself from our grasp, shooting like an unstoppable missile to explode in a cloud of dust at the base of the stairs. Stunned, bruised, and smarting from the rug burns we’d been dealt, we realized we’d gotten in over our heads. The very thought of trying to negotiate that twelve-foot monster onto a clothesline was out of the question. But there was no turning back now. We’d gotten ourselves into this mess, and we were going to get ourselves out of it – with clean carpets, to boot. We devised a plan.
The next day we marched down to the small brown barn at the edge of our lot and retrieved several old sawhorses my dad had made years earlier. We hauled them all up to our back porch and set them side by side. We wrestled our wily carpet onto the sawhorses and, armed with every broom we could find, took great delight in beating it into submission. (It had it coming, after all.) When the dust died down, my mom doused the carpet – and us – with the garden hose, and then she poured a solution of vinegar and water all over the surface. We scrubbed and scrubbed, and she rinsed and rinsed, and lo’ and behold, that carpet came back to its original brilliance. We left it to dry for several days, and, wise to the Ways of Wily Carpets, succeeded in getting it back in its rightful place inside the house.
While I will always wrestle with my Wonder Woman complex, I am relieved to not have to wrestle monsters of the carpet variety. As I spent my weekend engrossed in the rites of Spring Cleaning, it was indeed very nice to pull out my trusty Hoover carpet shampooer, add a cupful of vinegar to the rinse water, and leave my shag carpets clean and fresh. But the experience somehow lacked something. In retrospect, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should have finished off the day by dousing my own kids with the garden hose. Gotta’ keep those memories comin’, right?
Posted May 31st, 2011. Add a comment
Ok, folks. I wouldn’t pass any of this along unless it was tried and true, and I was a serious believer in the results. When it comes to the cleaning and disinfecting power of distilled white vinegar, consider me a bona-fide believer. So far I’ve replaced everything in my arsenal of cleaning chemicals with a gallon of vinegar, a big box of baking soda, a bottle of dishwashing detergent, and some wood cleaner. That’s it.
In today’s Great Vinegar Experiment: Part 3 (In the Kitchen) we tackle the KITCHEN. It goes without saying that any of the cleaning techniques I used in the bathroom will work just fine for the kitchen, so I won’t spend the time repeating them. I’d much prefer to get right into sharing all these exciting new KITCHEN-RELATED cleaning techniques!
Descale (Remove Mineral Deposits from) Your Coffeemaker
This is a pretty well-known trick but for those who don’t know, simply add a cupful of undiluted white vinegar to the water chamber of your coffeemaker and allow to run its full brew cycle. Then re-run with plain water. NOTE: NEVER NEVER NEVER RUN THIS SOLUTION IN AN ESPRESSO MAKER. These machines will absorb the flavor of the vinegar (just like they’ll absorb the essence of flavored coffees), which will ruin your machine and your coffee experience.
Disinfect and Deodorize Drains and Garbage Disposals:
I’ve always used lemon rind to deodorize my garbage disposals, but never really felt like it did that much to really clean them. Vinegar to the rescue! I poured 1/2 C of baking soda into the disposal, followed by 1/2 C HOT white vinegar. After letting this sit for about 5 minutes, I flushed it out with a full kettle of boiling water. Voila! And for daily maintenance, I froze a bunch of full-strength white vinegar into cubes and stuck them in a gallon freezer bag. I just pop one in after the nightly dishes are done, and grind it up in the disposal. Done! (Though I still love the smell of lemons down the drain – now they just smell even better!)
Clean and Deodorize Your Microwave
I know this is everyone’s least favorite job ever. How do I know this? Because it’s my least favorite job. I’d rather clean out a refrigerator than a microwave any day of the week. Go figure. And while I’m dropping hints and offering bribes and waiting patiently to see if anyone will take me up on tackling the smelly food-nuker, I’m noticing a complete flatline on the action counter. Not a sign of life anywhere. Furthermore, I can guarantee you that in employee lounges across America and beyond, the microwave looks like a medical experiment gone awry. But there’s hope. Simply put 1/2 C distilled white vinegar and 1/2 C water in a microwave safe bowl, bring it to a rolling boil, and let the resulting steam do all the work. Splattered nastiness will simply wipe away, and the offending odors will disappear. Pardon me while I giggle with delight.
Disinfect Cutting Boards and Work Surfaces
After washing your cutting boards and work surfaces thoroughly with hot, soapy water, dry and then spray generously with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Leave overnight. In the morning, rinse off the cutting boards and allow to dry.
The Cure to the Funky Lunch Box
(Oh, how I wish I’d known about this when my kids were little. ) When the lunchbox stays at school over the weekend, and comes home filled with unfinished sandwich leavings and moldy apple cores (eeewwwww….), do not despair. After you don your industrial- strength rubber gloves and remove the hazardous waste from the lunchbox, wash it thoroughly with hot soapy water and spray with full-strength white vinegar; allow to dry. Then soak a piece of bread in white vinegar, place it in an open container inside the lunchbox, and leave it overnight. The lunchbox will smell as good as new. NOTE: Vinegar also works to remove odors from plastic food containers – spray vinegar on the inside surfaces and replace the cover; allow to sit for a few minutes before rinsing.
Clean Glassware and Fine Stemware
There’s nothing worse than setting out wine glasses (or any other type of glass, for that matter) with water spots on them. Just kills a beautiful table. To get rid of those pesky water spots and make your glassware sparkle and shine, add 1/3 C distilled white vinegar to hot soapy dishwater. Rinse and dry immediately. Be careful, though! Vinegar will remove any hand-painting or color-coating applied to your specialty glassware. Before using, be SURE that your colored stemware is dyed and not coated with a colored film!
Disinfect and Deodorize Your Dishwasher
Once a month, add 1 C undiluted distilled white vinegar to your empty dishwasher, and allow it to run its full cycle. This will not only clean and disinfect, but it will also get rid of that musty smell that develops.
Renew Sponges & Dishcloths
My kids were famous for washing the car and leaving the sponge to get slimy in the bottom of the wash bucket. But even dishcloths and such can get a little funky after time. Round ‘em up, fill up your sink so that it just covers the sponges and such, and add 1/2 C distilled white vinegar. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, set them out in the sun to dry. (This is also a great way to refresh your bath scrubbies and loofahs, as well!)
Quick-Drying Floor Cleaner
This is awesome for quick spruce-ups when you need to have the floor dry – quickly. In an empty spray bottle, simply add 3 drops dishsoap + 1 C white vinegar + 1 C water + 1 C alcohol. Spray on your floor and wipe up – it’s super-convenient, and the alcohol will help the floor to dry a bit faster than normal!
The list of successes in the Kitchen was so long, I decided to do a separate post about how I’ve used vinegar in the rest of the house. Watch for it next week!
And as a sidenote to my earlier entry concerning the use of vinegar in the laundry, there’s been a surprising added benefit:
All of my laundry actually looks newer and brighter after having used vinegar for over a month now. I didn’t post this potential benefit, because I hadn’t actually seen it with my own two eyes. But during my initial research, I learned that the “recommended quantities” for detergents far exceed what’s necessary to get your clothes clean. On top of that, the detergents build up in your clothes and make them look dull, and the buildup from the detergents actually attracts dirt and oils. (Liquid fabric softeners seriously compound this buildup, and can even reduce the absorbency of your bath towels!) Vinegar gently dissolves the detergent buildup on clothes, the same way it dissolves soap scum in the bathroom. Now, after a month and a half, I can personally vouch for the fact that my wardrobe looks newer and fresher than it did when I was only using detergent! I am a super-happy camper!