Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vinegar--More Than Just for Pickles!

I've got vinegar on my mind lately, because it's canning season and pickles use up a lot of vinegar.

But did you know that vinegar has many other uses as well? Plus, it's absolutely nontoxic and a natural disinfectant, so you never have to worry about using it in areas where food or little fingers will be. The following ideas are taken from my book What the Amish Can Teach Us About the Simple Life, available in stores and online.

  • Mop floors: Use a good glug of vinegar in a bucket of warm water, or your kitchen sink, and get mopping. There is no need to rinse, and when your floors dry clean and streak free, there is no lingering vinegar smell. You can use this on wood laminate floors, by the way.
  • Disinfect counters: Spray full-strength vinegar on kitchen and bathroom counters and leave it to air dry. It kills most bacteria, molds, and viruses. Keep a spray bottle filled with vinegar handy in both the kitchen and bathroom and you can spritz and go.
  • Clean windows and glass: A quarter cup of vinegar mixed in a quart of water makes a great window and glass cleaner. Keep it in a spray bottle and wipe dry with newspaper, paper towels, or a clean, lint-free cloth.
  • In your laundry: Use a cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle of your washing machine. It will make your clothes soft and remove soap residue.
  • An old-fashioned drain cleaner: This is my personal favorite. When my kids were younger they loved "helping," and now that I have young grandchildren I expect the help will continue in the coming years! Once a month or so, pour half a cup of baking soda into your drain and then follow that with half a cup of vinegar. You can eyeball the quantities because amounts aren't critical. The resulting volcano is great entertainment and the reason you'll have enthusiastic helpers! Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes and then pour boiling water down the drain. If you have an actual clogged drain, use this method instead of buying commercial drain cleaner, and when the time comes to add the boiling water, use a clean toilet plunger and plunge until the clog shifts and the water disappears effortlessly down the drain. A few times over the years, I've had to plunge twice, but this method hasn't failed me yet.
Here's a picture of the volcano. It definitely loses something in the translation. :)

There are many more great ideas for using vinegar in my book. But these will get you started. Best of all, vinegar is inexpensive. And if you buy by the gallon, you've got lots of cleaning power for just pennies. Frugal. Simple. Practical. Can't beat that!

I hope today finds you and your loved ones happy and healthy and enjoying plain and simple living at its homemade best!


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