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If you could invent a green-cleaning “wonder” product, it would probably end up being a lot like white vinegar. Safe, readily available and really cheap, there are perhaps hundreds of uses for vinegar, an acidic liquid originally created from wine gone bad. (Who knew bad wine could be so good?)
For some vinegar uses you’ll need to decide how much you want to dilute white vinegar. On wood floors, for example, cleaning with vinegar requires 250ml diluted with about 4lt of warm water. But for cleaning mildewed tile and grout, use full-strength vinegar.
Vinegar as a natural weed killer
Vinegar is strong enough to kill weeds, as well as plants you actually like, so instead of spraying it recklessly around your yard or garden, try painting it directly on the leaves of whatever plant you’re trying to get rid of.
Vinegar and Pet Care
Dogs and cats can often be bothered by itchy, scaly ears — especially if you have a dog with floppy ears like a retriever. Dilute white vinegar in a 1:4 ratio (1 tablespoon vinegar to 4 tablespoons water, for example), and let it soak into a clean rag. Then use the rag to wipe out the inside of your pet’s ears. And if your pet gets sprayed by a skunk, vinegar is an easier acid to use than ketchup for getting rid of the smell, since ketchup itself doesn’t rinse off all that easily.
Vinegar in the Dishwasher
There are at least two great uses for vinegar in your automatic dishwasher. First, it can be used as a cheap, effective rinsing agent to get your glasses, plates and other dishes sparkling clean. Second, it can help to clean the dishwasher itself: Once a year or so (more if you have hard water), pour a cup of white vinegar into an empty dishwasher, then run it for a short cycle to get rid of the lime and soap build-up that can prevent your dishwasher from working at peak efficiency.
Vinegar and Cleaning Tiles
Most people reach for the bleach when confronted with grungy or discolored tile, grout and caulk. But white vinegar is not only effective at cleaning and whitening tiles and grout, it’s also safer than chlorine bleach.
Just spray full-strength vinegar on grout and caulk in the shower or kitchen, let it soak in for at least an hour, then scrub it off with a brush.
Vinegar and Cut Flowers
There’s all kinds of voodoo about ways to extend the life of cut flowers. Some folks swear by a copper penny, others add Sprite or Seven-Up, some drop in an aspirin, while still others advocate adding a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the water, plus a dash of sugar will do the trick!
Bet you didn’t know about them all, did you?
Stay tooned. More to come…