TOXICS INFORMATION PROJECT (TIP)
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(Sharing Information on Toxics in Everyday Life
& Providing Healthier Alternatives)
Have you overlooked the many practical uses of vinegar? Clean, disinfect and shine for pennies! Heinz company spokesperson Michael Mullen has cited numerous studies to show that a straight 5 percent solution of vinegar such as you can buy in the supermarket kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs (viruses). He noted that Heinz can't claim on their packaging that vinegar is a disinfectant since the company has not registered it as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, it seems to be common knowledge in the industry that vinegar is powerfully antibacterial.
Here are twenty-seven uses for vinegar:
* Deodorize your sink drains: Pour a cup down your drain, let stand about thirty minutes, then run cold water.
* Unclog a drain: Dump 1 cup of baking soda down your drain and follow it with 1 cup of vinegar. When they mix, they foam and expand, cleaning your drain. Allow a few minutes for the mixture to do it's job, then flush with hot water for several minutes.
* Disinfect and clean wood cutting boards: Rub with vinegar to disinfect and clean. If your cutting board has deep grooves, you can also soak the board in vinegar for 5-10 minutes.
* Cut grease: When washing greasy pans or dishes, add a few tablespoons of vinegar to your soapy dishwater.
* Clean the dishwasher: Vinegar reduces soap build up, so throw a cup of vinegar in your dishwasher and let it run a full (empty) cycle once a month or so.
* Clean the coffeepot: Hard water can clog a coffeepot and cause yucky buildup inside it. To remedy this, pour 1 cup vinegar in your coffeepot, fill the rest of the way with water, then run it through a cycle as usual (without coffee grounds in the filter). Rinse the coffeepot out. Fill it with fresh water and run another cycle without coffee to rinse the inside of the coffee maker.
* Loosen food grime and clean the microwave: Place a microwave-safe bowl with 2 cups water, 1/2 cup vinegar inside the microwave and microwave on full power for 3-4 minutes (it needs to boil). Keep your microwave closed for a few minutes to allow the steam to loosen the grime, then open your microwave, carefully remove the bowl, and wipe clean!
* Clean windows: Mix 1 cup vinegar with 5 cups water, and you've got a great window cleaner. If you must have blue window cleaner, just a few drops of blue food coloring!
* Remove grease from kitchen walls: Put straight vinegar on a dishcloth to wipe grease off kitchen walls, or the stovetop.
* Remove pet urine stains (and smells) from carpet: Mix about 1/4 cup of vinegar to a quart of water. Soak a washcloth in the mixture and blot the area several times.
* Clean kitchen and bathroom faucets: Soak a paper towel in vinegar then wrap it around your faucet to remove mineral deposits.
* Clean and shine no-wax vinyl or linoleum floors: Mix 1 gallon of water with 1/2 cup vinegar in a bucket, then mop or scrub your floor with the solution.
* Inexpensive scouring powder: Combine two tablespoons each of vinegar and baking soda for an effective scouring powder.
* Clean the toilet rim: Put straight 5% vinegar in a squirt bottle and use it to clean the rim of the toilet. It disinfects, too!
* Prevent mold and mildew in the shower: Wipe down tile or Formica shower walls with a sponge or cloth dampened with water and vinegar. The vinegar will clean the walls and inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.
* Unclog the showerhead: Mineral deposits from hard water can cause a sputtering, clogged shower head. Place the showerhead in a pot, add enough vinegar to completely cover it.
Heat the vinegar to just below boiling, then remove from heat. Allow to sit for at least 6 hours. The acid in the vinegar will eat away the deposits. Rinse the showerhead well, and it's ready
to go again.
* Get rid of the funky smell in that lunchbox: Soak a piece of plain bread in vinegar, then place it in the lunchbox overnight and the smell will disappear!
* Remove rust: To get rid of rust, soak items in vinegar (do not dilute). This will work on
* Remove residue and styling product build up from hair: After shampooing, rinse your
hair with a mixture of 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 warm water to remove all the build up and get rid of that dullness.
* Eliminate smells: Run a hot tub of water and pour in one or two cups of vinegar. Hang smelly clothes on hangers along your shower curtain rod. This will remove smoke and other tough smells.
* Get rid of stickers, decals and sticky residues: Rub a few coats of vinegar on the area and allow to soak. Then wash off with a wet washcloth and the sticky will rub right off.
* Polish patent leather purses and shoes: Place vinegar on a clean cloth, then rub over patent leather. Wipe dry with another clean cloth.
* Remove stains: Rub a small amount of vinegar gently on fruit, jelly, mustard or coffee type stains and wash as usual. No more stain!
* Clean your glasses: Place a drop of vinegar on the lens, then rub with a cotton cloth.
* Get the smell out of your cloth diapers! Next time those cloth diapers start to smell, add a 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar in your last rinse.
* Polish your car: Rub vinegar on chrome to clean and shine it.
* Remove bumper stickers: Soak a cloth in vinegar and lay it over the bumper sticker. Allow to soak a few minutes. The bumper sticker should peel right off. Rub vinegar over the area to remove the sticky residue, if necessary.
* Next time you have a sore throat, try gargling with cider vinegar!
is the author of the monthly “Frugal Mommy” column. She lives in