I have to admit, I love vinegar. I love vinegar dressings, I love pickled foods, and I even love the idea of vinegar. Fermentation fascinate me. I find our symbiotic relationship with beneficial bacteria intriguing. I've read (several) entire books on vinegar. I make my own homemade vinegar by the gallon and always have a jar of red wine and apple cider fermenting.
In addition to it's appeal to the palette, vinegar has many other uses around the home. I find using simple, non-toxic solutions very appealing to the minimalist in me. Vinegar is definitely more environmentally friendly than the 17,000 or more petro-based chemicals available for personal use and I feel that I'm one step removed from the television-driven, consumerist society which suggests a commercial chemical solution to all of our needs. I would never use my beloved homemade vinegars for the chores listed below. Cheap white vinegar works fine. Listed below are some of the more beneficial, household uses:
- As a window cleaner. Do you really want toxic ammonia based window cleaner around the house? Use 1/4 cup vinegar, a drop or two of liquid dish detergent, and two cups of water in a spray bottle.
- To clean tarnished metals, pots, and pans. Experiment with the strength. Different strengths are required based upon the metal and the amount of tarnish.
- As a disinfectant. Acetic acid is effective against Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and E. coli. Vinegar is great for treating wooden cutting boards and you don't have to worry about harmful health effects as you would for bleach.
- To clean and deodorize drains. Combined with baking soda, vinegar will unclog minor blockages and kill odors in your plumbing. It is much less scary than commercial drain cleaners.
- To clean and kill mildew. Most mildew cleaners have health warnings and require ample ventilation. Vinegar can be used without any additional ventilation.
- As a spot remover on carpets and fabrics. For tough stains try adding 1 tablespoon of borax to 1/4 cup of vinegar. Treat the stain, let it dry, and then vacuum up the residue.
- As a degreaser, Use a solution of equal parts water and vinegar to wipe kitchen counters and the stove.
- To remove sticky residue. Anywhere a sticker has left a residue, saturate the residue with pure vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes. Use a plastic scraper or old credit card to scrape off the loosened residue.
- To clean your coffeemaker. Run a solution of 2 parts vinegar to one part water through a full brew cycle. You'll want to run pure water through for a couple of cycles to remove any lingering vinegar from the device. As much as I like vinegar, it doesn't sound appealing in coffee.
- To trap fruit flies. Did you bring home fruit flies from the market? If so, fill an empty jelly jar about half full of vinegar, punch holes in the lid and leave it out on the counter. After a few days you'll see that the fruit flies have collected in the vinegar.
- As a vegetable and fruit rinse. Before eating raw fruits or vegetables, give them a quick rinse in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts cold water.
- As an anti fungal medication. I'm not real fond of spraying chemicals that I can't pronounce onto my skin. Soaking your feet (or other affected areas) in a solution of 1 part vinegar to one part water for 10-15 minutes, several times a week, has proven an effective treatment for me. I've read it is even effective for dreaded toenail fungus.
Using vinegar is just one step you can take to live a less toxic and greener lifestyle. Read the labels of everything that you bring into your home, particularly your food. If you can't pronounce it or explain what it is, do you really feel safe using it?
Dan Garner writes about simple living, minimalism, and mindful living at ZenPresence.com.
And at his new blog about Healthy Eating: http://healthyfoodmatters.org
Weekly Menu Plan:
Sunday: Potato and Onion Frittata with Rustic Bread and Tomato Salad
Meatless Monday: Escarole and Beans over Pasta
Tuesday: Chicken Vegetable Stew
Wednesday: Mahi Mahi Burgers from Trader Joes
Thursday: Corn Tortilla Enchiladas
Friday: Shrimp and Cellophane Noodles
Saturday: Simple Lentils with Roasted Potatoes & Green Beans
This post is shared on: