Friday, December 14, 2007

Saving Money: 12 practical uses for one inexpensive product!

Did you know that one of the most useful…and economical…items you can have in your cabinet is a half gallon bottle of white vinegar?

Seriously! Take a look at some of the things you can do with it…

1. Windows: A solution of white vinegar and water (about 50/50) and some old newspapers will get your windows and mirrors just as clean as those blue window cleaners and paper towels, and is much kinder to your pocket.

2. Glassware and crystal: Other glassware, like stemware, glass vases, even your spectacles, will benefit from a quick polish with some white vinegar and a bit of newsprint, and is non-toxic as well!

3. Sunburn: got a painful sunburn? Compresses of white vinegar…or just stand in the tub and pour the vinegar over your shoulders and back…takes the sting right out! You will smell like a salad, but you won’t hurt nearly so much!

4. Boiled eggs: do you have a problem with eggs cracking when you boil them? For every dozen eggs you are boiling, add half a cup of white vinegar to the water. If the eggs crack, the white stuff will not leak out.

5. Poached eggs: tired of all that filmy floaty stuff in the water in your poached egg pan? Add a tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of white vinegar to the water before you slip the eggs in. The eggs will not have a vinegar taste, but they will look lovely and compact.

6. Souring milk/cream: does a recipe call for sour cream, soured milk, or buttermilk and you don’t have any? Pour out the requisite amount of liquid and add vinegar in a ratio of one tablespoon of vinegar per cup of liquid. Stir quickly and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Voila!

7. Urine smell: puppy have an accident on the carpet or tiles, and now keeps coming back to that spot? Soak the area with white vinegar, straight from the bottle (do not soak wood or laminate floors). Remove excess moisture with folded towels. Repeat as necessary. Vinegar neutralizes the ammonia smell that sends a “Here’s the toilet!” message to dogs and cats.

8. Cat squirt: got one of those cheeky cats that simply will not stay off the couch or kitchen counter tops? Fill a trigger-spray bottle with a solution of water and white vinegar. You can start with a 50% solution, but if the animal is recalcitrant, you can increase it up to 75% vinegar. Set the spray on stream (as opposed to mist) and keep it with you. When the cat misbehaves, shout “NO!” very loudly and squirt the cat. The vinegar will not harm the cat, but cats hate the smell. Eventually the cat will associate the command “NO!” with the wet smelly stuff and then you won’t need the squirt bottle any more.

9. Coffee machines, steam irons: Coffee machines, steam irons, and other appliances that use water are prone to developing deposits that clog them up and produce icky tastes. Shower heads are also prone to clogging with scale. Run your coffee machine with a 50% solution of white vinegar, then rinse thoroughly and run again with pure water; fill your steam iron with a 50% solution of white vinegar and press the button to get the steaming action to go. Hold the iron over an old towel or some newspaper, as it will spit and sputter. For showerheads, soak the showerhead in pure white vinegar and clear out the holes with a toothpick or pin. Rinse thoroughly. Caution: vinegar is an acid and may corrode some shower head finishes, so test first on an unobtrusive spot.

10. Copper and brass: Assuming your old copper kettle or brass gewgaws aren't covered with a protective coating, vinegar can clean them like magic. Just add salt. Yep, a little vinegar to cut the oxidation and a little salt for grit, plus a little elbow-grease from you and your copper and brass goodies will shine good as new. This is especially good for copper-bottomed pots as it is non-toxic, user-friendly, and best of all, cheap!

11. Jewellery cleaner: Soak your fine jewellery (diamond rings, gold studs, etc.) in vinegar to dissolve the dulling film they pick up from soaps, conditioners, even oils from your skin. For costume jewellery, test first on an unobtrusive spot to make sure it will not discolour, and use with caution on costume pieces using glue.

12. Removing soap scum: Vinegar cuts soap scum. If you have a serious build-up, it may take several attempts to remove it all, but once it is gone, wipe down your tub, shower doors and bathroom windows with vinegar and newspaper to keep them sparkling. Vinegar will even keep your shower curtain free of soap scum and mildew: just spray it weekly!

As you can see, white vinegar is truly a versatile product, good for more than making salad dressing or pickles. So save yourself a little dosh the next time you cruise through the supermarket: skip the cleaning products aisle and head for the white vinegar!

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Really good tips - but one word of warning about using vinegar to clean jewellery: avoid vinegar when cleaning pearls - it can dissolve them! (At best, it will spoil their lustre.)