Friday, February 3, 2012

The magickal properties of plain white vinegar

I know I've been missing in action lately.  I have a really good excuse!  Really!  

B had knee surgery recently, so I've been trying to take care of him as much as possible lately.  I've learned something about myself during this period of convalescence.  If he is home, I don't get nearly as much done as I usually do (or ought to).  I have a tendency to want to entertain him while he's around.  I know I should get off my butt and do something constructive, but it's just so much more fun to watch TV or movies, or play cards, or aggravate him... I mean, umm... mollycoddle him.  Yeah... 

Anyways, back to the point.  

Vinegar!  It's awesome stuff.  My Gramma used to use it to clean with all the time, but I really didn't know it had quite as many uses as it does.  I use it to clean in the kitchen, especially, because I don't trust the harsher chemical cleaners on counters and tables where I make food.  I also use it on the floors, because apparently waxed hard wood does not really like chemicals all that well.  They make the finish cloudy looking.  Vinegar brightens it right up.  

I recently bought a couple gallons of vinegar from Sam's club.  It came in a cardboard box that had some interesting tips on it.  I was already aware of some of these, but others were new to me.  So, since the whole idea of this blogging gig is to share info and ideas, here they are:

1.  Glassware:  1/2 c vinegar per gallon of rinse water will leave your glasses spotless.  This also works in the rinse aid thingy in your dishwasher.  

2.  Toilet Cleaning:  Pour some vinegar in your toilet bowl, let it stand for about five minutes, then flush. It even gets rid of most stains (though really tough ones or those above the water line might need scrubbing).

3.  Bathtub:  Wipe down the tub with vinegar and baking soda.  The soda acts like a scrubbing agent.  This works on sinks, counters, stoves, and all kinds of other surfaces.  

4.  Ants:  You can deter ants by wiping down floors and counter tops with vinegar. 

5.  Grease:  Plain old vinegar cuts grease, too.  

6.  Grass and weeds:  Pour vinegar on unwanted grass and weeds to kill them.  My friend Beth told me about this one just the other day.  :) 

7.  Chrome:  Vinegar polishes chrome, too.  Careful, to wipe it off well, though.  Vinegar is acidic enough to pit metal.  

8.  Shower Curtain:  Vinegar removes soap scum and mildew, too. 

9.  Coffee Maker:  The box says to fill the reservoir of your coffee pot with vinegar, then run a brew cycle, then run two cycles of plain water through to rinse.  My Gramma just used diluted vinegar.  She also would let it sit all day in the reservoir to loosen up limescale left by hard water.  It works fabulously.  

10.  Irons:  Mix one part salt to one part vinegar, heat and mix well.  This will polish off any birn stains from the bottom of your iron.  I imagine it would work well for cooked on stains on the stove, too.  

11.  Vegetables:  Liven up slightly wilted veggies by soaking them in cold water and vinegar.  Careful not to soak them too long, though.  Again, vinegar is an acid and will deteriorate them if given enough time.  

12.  Flowers:  Put 2 tsp vinegar and 3 Tbsp sugar in a quart of warm water.  It keeps the flowers fresh longer.  

13.  Cabbage:  Put some vinegar in the water while you're cooking cabbage to keep the cabbage smell from lingering in the house.  

14.  Fish:  That same principle applies to fish.  Rub the fish with vinegar before cleaning it to keep the dead fish smell down.  

15:  Meat:  Since I've said a few times now that vinegar is an acid, now's a good time to mention it's great for a marinade to tenderize and flavor meat.  Mix 1/2 c of whatever vinegar you like with a cup of something else (like broth, bouillon, seasoned water) and soak the meat in it like you would any other marinade.  Make a vinaigrette, or use your favorite vinaigrette for the same purpose.  

16.  Rice:  1 tsp of vinegar added to the water helps make rice fluffy.  This is a trick I hadn't heard of but can't wait to try.  Rice doesn't cook the same down there in Texas as it did higher up and farther north.  It seems to take longer and require more water.  

17.  Cheese:  Keep block cheese (or deli slices) fresher longer, and keep the edges from drying and curling by wrapping the cheese in a cloth that has been dampened with vinegar, then sealing it in a baggie.  

18.  Eggs:  To have better formed egg whites, put a tsp of vinegar to the water.  This is another one I hadn't heard of before, and I honestly am not entirely sure what they mean here.  I assume poaching eggs... ?

19:  Onion:  Again with the smell help.  Wash your hands with a bit of vinegar to get onion smell off of them.  (As an aside, vinegar is great to spray in shoes, around the laundry area, in laundry hampers, pet areas, or anywhere else that might have a bit of an odor.  You can mix in a bit of lemon juice to leave a hint of lemon freshness behind after the vinegar smell goes away.  Vinegar's smell dissipates really quickly, and it doesn't just mask odors.  It actually kills the germs and bacteria that cause them, so it get's rid of odors.)

Really, now, don't you feel silly for spending so much money on all those fancy chemical cleaners?   spend a couple of dollars on a couple of gallons of vinegar, after you've used up all those other things with ingredients you can't pronounce.  

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