August 19, 2008

Greening My Insides

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my next baby step toward sustainability, so when my sister issued another challenge over at One Green Generation, I decided that switching over to greener household and personal hygiene products would be just the ticket.

The first product she writes about is everyday white vinegar. If you didn't already know, this stuff can be used for just about anything. I found a ton of uses on Melinda's first post for the challenge, supplementing with even more uses found on Bobbi's post here and The Vinegar Institute's website here. The ones I think I'll start using for this challenge are:

  • No-wax floors: To wash no-wax floors, add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water.

  • Clean the refrigerator: Wash with a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar.

  • Cleaner Dishes and Glasses: Pour 1 ½ cup to 2 cups white distilled vinegar in the bottom of dishwasher, along with regular dishwasher soap. Wash full cycle.

  • Bathtub film (a.k.a. soap scum): Bathtub film can be removed by wiping with white distilled vinegar and then with soda. Rinse clean with water.

  • Toilet bowl cleaner: Stubborn stains can be removed from the toilet by spraying them with white distilled vinegar and brushing vigorously. The bowl may be deodorized by adding 3 cups of white distilled vinegar. Allow it to remain for a half hour, then flush.

  • Kill weeds: Spray white distilled vinegar full strength on tops of weeds. Reapply on any new growth until plants have starved.

  • Clothes washing magic: Clothes will rinse better if 1 cup of white distilled vinegar is added to the last rinse water. The acid in vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, but strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents.

  • Deodorant stains: Deodorant and antiperspirant stains may be removed from clothing by lightly rubbing with white distilled vinegar and laundering as usual. I'll be trying alternatives to antiperspirants as a part of this challenge, but I'm waiting until my current container is empty...

  • Shower curtains: Add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse water when you launder your shower curtain. Do not spin dry or wash out. Just hang immediately to dry.

  • Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting: Douse with vinegar. It will soothe irritation and relieve itching. I don't anticipate a run-in with a jellyfish in the Midwest, and I hope I won't have this kind of encounter with a bee, but I'll try this method if I do...

  • Stop Itching: Apply a paste made from vinegar and cornstarch. Keep on until itch disappears. This may help after a particularly bad run-in with the backyard mosquitos.

  • Soften and Condition Hair: Use a 1 to 4 ratio of vinegar to water, applying after shampooing. Consider adding essential oil or use warm water and steep a tea bag to impart a bit of fragrance.

  • Denture Cleaner: Soak them overnight in pure vinegar, and rinse in the morning. No, I don't have dentures yet! But I do have a night guard to help me from clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth. Should work the same way, I'd guess...

I have it on good authority from several bloggers I trust that, although the vinegar smell will be apparent for the first few minutes after cleaning, the scent will dissipate with just a little bit of time.

I know there are loads of other ways to use vinegar, but this should be a good start. I'll keep you posted on how well it seems to work...

Note: I've updated this post to give Bobbi at The Greene Onion a shout out for her great post, "All hail, the power of vinegar," which lists even more uses for this magic elixir.


Bobbi said...

Great post! I was inspired to do a vinegar post last week as well. It's awesome stuff!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Thanks for this post Lori! I knew vinegar had a lot of uses, but wasn't aware that it had THAT many uses, we'll have to incorporate some of these tips into our cleaning regimen. We always have plenty of white vinegar around, especially now that we are canning.

Lori said...

I read your post a couple of days ago and completely forgot to refer folks to your blog as well. I'll add that link so people can have still more info on this versatile stuff.

Impressive, isn't it? Believe it or not, I had to go out and buy a jug of white vinegar a couple of days ago - we apparently had absolutely none in the house. I'm thinking we'll start using a LOT of it soon, so I'd better stock up.

Crafty Green Poet said...

excellent, I'll need to file that somewhere, very useful

Frugal Green Girl said...

Awesome post! Its nice to see other blogs with cool green challenges for the blogger, I'm going to check out some of your links. (I'm excited to see vinegar gets out pit stains too, I am a horrible sweater! lol)

Lori said...

I'm glad you found new and/or useful information in my post. I was amaazed by all the uses and wanted to share the news with everyone...