Ten Tips for Tuesday: Vinegar

So, I’ve decided to start my first regular blog posting. Welcome to 10 Tips for Tuesdays! This is my first edition and I already have about 10 weeks planned out.

10 Uses for Vinegar

1. Sanitize. Vinegar has natural sanitizing properties. I keep a large spray bottle or two around the house and use it for counters, toilets, door knobs, light switches- you name it! Yes, it does smell for a bit, but the smell dissipates quickly. You can also be happy knowing that using white vinegar for every day all-purpose cleaners prevents saturating your home with unhealthy chemicals, dyes, and fumes that can lead to a host of health problems including neurological damage and fertility problems.

2. I use that very same spray bottle on my windows and mirrors. Vinegar can remove even the toughest of streaks and it does the hard work for you. The best way I’ve ever found to clean windows and mirrors in both my home and in my car is to use an old cotton t-shirt to wipe down glass surfaces sprayed with white vinegar.

3. Remove Odor. It doesn’t matter if your new puppy left a puddle for you on your new carpet that smells to the high heavens or if you stored spaghetti sauce in a plastic storage container and you just can’t get the smell out, soak your container, carpet, and even your garlic hands in white vinegar and you can kiss that odor goodbye!

4. Got spider mites, aphids, and other pest noshing on the hard work that is your summer garden? Have no fear! I can’t even walk past the pest control and fertilizer section without wanting to run in the other direct. That stuff wreaks and I wouldn’t want to put it anywhere near the food I’ve spent days, weeks, and months growing. Instead, I mix 1 clove crushed garlic and a teaspoon of red chili flakes for every cup of white vinegar and a drop or two of dish soap. (The soap helps it stick to the plants but washes off when you wash your produce.) Steep this mixture for at least a few days and up to a week in the sun. Store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you see those pesky little bug nibbling leaves you know it’s time to break out the garlic vinegar chili spray and take those suckers down. Short of dumping an entire bottle of vinegar on one little plant this won’t hurt your plant but it will save it from being a caterpillar’s delight.

5. Deter you beloved pets from marking, scratching, etc. anywhere you don’t want them to. Cats and dogs could really live without the smell of vinegar and it acts as a cheap and inexpensive spray to keep them away from their favorite spots. The smell dissipates quickly for us humans but cats and dogs have a superior sense of smell and will smell it long after we don’t and will run away with their tails tucks between their furry little legs.

6. Tired of taking a baths even though you’re actually taking a shower? Clear a clog without the harmful chemicals and fumes of drain cleaning products. Place 1/2 cup baking soda down your clogged drain. (Be sure to let the pipe drain before you do this.) Slowly pour 1-2 cups vinegar down the drain and left it fizz for 10 minutes. While it’s fizzing use a kettle or a microwave safe liquid measuring cup to boil 4 cups of water. Flush fizz and clog down drain with hot water. For a stubborn clog, repeat when necessary.

7. Mold, bleach, mold. Ever wonder why that persistent mold keeps coming back even though you’ve scrubbed your little heart out and bleached it to death? Well that’s because bleach does just that. You may think you’ve cleared those spores right up but the dark truth is you’ve only made it temporarily invisible. That’s right, bleach just bleaches mold. However, the natural disinfecting qualities of vinegar kills the spores and prevents re-growth. Of course once you’ve cleaned walls, window sills, shower curtains, etc. with white vinegar you need to take proper precautions like ventilation to prevent re-growth. Your best bet- clean with vinegar, dry the area down, and give it one last protective (light) spray with the vinegar. Then let it air dry COMPLETELY. If that means you need to move fans in to get the job done, then do it. But if you treat mold properly you can prevent re-growth or at least lengthen times between treatments.

8. STEP AWAYYYYY FROM THAT ANTACID!!! Did you know you’re just making that heartburn worse? While antacids (over the counter, prescription, generic, name brand- doesn’t matter) may relieve your symptoms temporarily you’re just prolonging the agony. I come from a family full of heartburn and they are all taking antacids for it and let me tell you, some of them have been taking them for years and it’s not getting any better. The reason? Well, simply put, drug companies and heartburn have you fooled. The problem isn’t acid, it’s a lack thereof. If you’re brave or want to give this treatment a try before you make a small investment, try shooting back two tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar (the kind with brown stuff floating at the bottom) and chase it with at least eight ounces of water. You can also dilute it into the water and sip (or chug) it- this method, however, can lead to damage to the enamel of your teeth causing sensitivity, among other problems. However, if you want to go straight to the easier solution, run to the drug store or health food store and pick up some capsules of apple cider vinegar. One tip- if it get’s stuck in your throat, make sure you wash it all the way down with water. This is acid we’re talking about, people! The reason it works is the acid of the vinegar helps balance the pH of the over abundance of base you have in your stomach and brings the pH back to normal. (*Note: I would hope this goes without saying, but just in case- I’m not a doctor and I don’t have a degree. Use this advice accordingly.)

9. Clean your coffee maker or iron. Be sure to read the directions for your particular model and brand of appliance but this is safe for most coffee makers and irons. (No, I will not buy you a new one if you try it even though it wasn’t safe for your appliance.) Flushing your coffee maker or iron out with distilled white vinegar will sanitize them and remove mineral deposits that build up over time. Be sure to flush with water afterward so your coffee doesn’t taste like vinegar.

10. THIS IS MY FAVORITE!!! I was out at a lacrosse tournament a few years ago and well… I forgot my brain the sunscreen. It was bad. I went from glow in the dark white to Bing cherry red and I was hurting like a big dog! I Googled, as always, to find an answer to my problem. VINEGAR! My arms got the worst of it so I used a little creativity and cut the toes out of my old soccer socks. I placed them in a bowl and poured some vinegar over and slipped them up each arm. I also used a cotton ball to apply a light layer of vinegar to my face (be careful- of your nose and eyes). After I let it soak for about an hour I rinsed off my arms and face with cold water and mixed some aloe vera gel with the insides of a few vitamin E capsules and applied it to the burn. This was a bad burn. Like, we left the park because I feared heat stroke kind of bad. But when I woke up the next morning my arms were barely pink, there was no pain, and I experienced almost no peeling.

So there you have it! If you’ve liked these tips, and you’re just as big a fan of vinegar as I am, know that there will be at least a second installment on vinegar in the future. The best part about these tips… vinegar is cheap and you’ve just cut multiple dollars from your spending budget by replacing drain cleaner, window cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner, and much more with vinegar.

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