However, I met vinegar’s match, att least when it comes to my dishes. The villain….generic dishwasher soap from the megamart that seems to love smiley faces.
I turned to their generic products all the time. But their dishwasher soap always disappointed me because I didn’t want to HAVE to use a rinse aid to get my dishes clean..and hated having a soap film on everything. So I switched to a name brand soap, and was happy. Then..during a budget crunch I thought, “Maybe it was just our old dishwasher that was the culprit, and not really the soap. I’ll give it another try, and save a few $$ along the way.” What could possibly go wrong?
Boy, was I ever wrong. Brand new dishwasher…same old problem, but seemingly worse now. Everything plastic had a white film on it. I thought I had ruined my plastic cooking utensils and beloved Oxo Measuring Cup. It had a stain of film on it that would not come off with repeated washings. A favorite stainless steel colander was ‘stained’ from this stuff. It frustrated me that even after washing my dishwasher (but throwing in a cup of vinegar and running a cycle with no soap), my plastic ware was coming out filmy.
Then, as I was washing my counters with my trusty vinegar spray, it dawned on me…spray it with vinegar! So, I grabbed my measuring cup and sprayed it with my vinegar spray (which is basically 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water). After only a brief moment, I grabbed a cloth and wiped down the cup…and behold….angels were rejoicing and all was right with the world..my spiffy measuring cup was CLEAN!!! So I got out our drinking cups and my plastic cooking utensils and sprayed them all down with vinegar, then rinsed them off. CLEAN, I tells ya, Clean!
But boy howdy, I thought the W——– stuff was gonna be the death of my dishes. Thank goodness vinegar came to my rescue!
Here’s a brief history of vinegar from Howard Garrett’s DirtDoctor.com site:
“Vinegar is a wonderful organic tool that was discovered by accident [many years] ago when wine was accidentally allowed to ferment too long and turned sour. It can be made from many products, including beer, apples, berries, beets, corn, fruits, grains, honey, malt, maple syrup, melons, molasses, potatoes, rice, sorghum, and other foods containing sugar. Natural sugars from these food products are fermented into alcohol, which is them fermented into vinegar.” ***
***A word about organic vinegar. Much of the white distilled vinegar sold in the US is made from grains (mostly corn), and thus, unless labelled organic, may be made from genetically modified crops (GMO’s). Be sure to purchase organic vinegar if this is an issue for you.
Here are some great uses for Vinegar!
All Purpose Cleaner – I use an old spray bottle, filling it 1/3 with vinegar and 2/3 with water. Vinegar is a natural anti-bacterial and cleans mold/mildew from surfaces. This also works as my window cleaner with some newspaper.
Rinse Aid – I fill my rinse aid cup in the dishwasher with undiluted vinegar. It works the same, is more friendly to the environment, and works well!
Fabric Softener – I use a Downy ball in my laundry filled with vinegar. Like in the dishwasher, vinegar helps remove the soap build up in your laundry – one of the biggest culprits of clothes that come out not so soft. Again, it’s a more natural version of a chemically laden process…and it doesn’t make your clothes smell!
Pest control – in the summer, we have problems with those little gnats that come in and make nuisances of themselves. Mostly if we have fruit stored on the cabinets. Mix an equal portion of water and vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar and a squirt of dish soap into a bowl. Mix until the sugar is dissolved, and leave out on your cabinet. Others tout it’s power at keeping ants away – by spraying it on window sills and openings where ants tend to come in.
Weed control - using 10% acidic vinegar, also known as pickling vinegar, can be a great weed control! Spray it on your weeds on a really hot sunny day. It may take a few applications, but it really works! You can find this is a lot of megamarts as well as gardening centers that carry organic supplies.
Pet stains/odors – we have a prissy little cat (well, big whopper of a cat) who occasionally has an ‘accident’ (well, accidentally on purpose if we don’t keep her kitty box all nice and fresh every hour of the day). I use a clean cloth to absorb as much of the liquid as possible, then spray with my trusty vinegar mix to soak for a moment, blot, then spray again and blot.
Hard water/mineral buildup: Our water is on the hard side with some mineral deposits, so I use a straight vinegar spray to soak the effected area, then a toothbrush to give a quick scrub. This works on shower heads and showers, too.
Cleaning/deodorizing disposals & drains - this actually is the job of my 10yo. 1/2 C of baking soda in the drain followed by 3/4 C of undiluted vinegar. Fun little science experiment that helps keep our sinks and drains smelling fresh.
Natural Hair Rinse: 1 TB of apple cider vinegar to 1C of warm water. Rinse through hair after shampooing. Helps correct the pH, closes the hair follicles and remove build up from hair products.
Here are other uses for vinegar:
Of course, vinegar for the domestic front is a lot like Chuck Norris – all sorts of wonderful, magical powers have been attributed to it, some folk, some tried and true, some a little ‘odd’. Besides cleaning with vinegar, all the vinegar derivatives (balsamic, white wine, rice wine, apple cider) are lovely to cook with. Do you have a favorite use for vinegar? Mine just might be the lovely balsamic vinaigrette that will be coating my chicken thighs for dinner tomorrow!!