Eco-Wednesday: Vinegar

Now, I’m sure some folks might be tempted to snark on the association of vinegar with moi. And while “ha ha ha” is my first response, I do admit the shoe might fit. BookVinegar

But recently I’ve grown interested in the use of vinegar as a healthier alternative for everyday home and personal needs. I met blogger Hana Haatainen Caye aka blogger Green Grandma through the Allegheny County Green Works Festival in 2011 – she was collecting plastic bottle caps to recycle with Aveda Salon. I began reading her Green Grandma blog and saw repeated instances of vinegar to the rescue. So I purchased her very affordable book “Vinegar Fridays” and began to educate myself.

I skimmed the book and was a little overwhelmed with the amout of information. So I took a step back and identified a few key priorities I’d like to tackle. We put in a supply of distilled white vinegar and some organic apple cider vinegar. I am spending this first week using a 50/50 DWV and water mix to do some light cleaning and pet stuff – cleaning up messes, freshening bedding and spraying spots to keep the cats at bay. Here are my first experiments:

  • Drinking a cup of the recipe for insomnia – a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of chamomile tea with a bit of honey. It tastes like apple herbal tea so not too bad. Apple cider vinegar was about $3.50 on sale at Whole Foods so even if that’s all I use it for, its much more cost effective. I felt nice and relaxed when I got into bed about 30 minutes later. I read for a bit and then drifted off to a nice night’s sleep. I tried this for three consecutive nights and slept really well each night.  

    Deus was a little woeful about his vinegar spritz.
    Deus was a little woeful about his vinegar spritz.

 

  • Another experiment was spritzing the dog. Amadeus has some bowel incontinence issues so he can get a little smelly even with regular baby wipe rub downs. He also has some serious arthritis in his rear hips and weighs 100 lbs so bathing him is very traumatic unless we are in the backyard with a hose. When I read that vinegar was perfectly safe for dogs, I decided to give it a try. I use a 50/50 mix and a few rags. It was easy to spray him down, sort of because his coat is very heavy. But I did get the important parts in spite of his protests. Vinegar and rags is definitely less expensive than baby wipes and less wasteful. 

 

  • I decided to grab the bull by the horns and try vinegar when I had to mop the living room floors. That floor is pine and very old – lots of crevices and scuffs. It is the room where the dogs basically live during the day so we have no plans to refinish the floor for the foreseeable future. We used to use Murphy’s Oil Soap which certainly worked, but the scent does bother me. So I added a cup of white vinegar to 2 gallons of warm water. First, I use the dust buster because it takes a lot of effort to clean the little crevices and seams. Then I mopped and was careful not to leave standing water. I think it came out great. I had to empty the bucket once. The vinegar smell has dissipated. I washed the dog bedding and now the room looks great and smells just normal – no intense perfumey scents and minimal dog smell.  Another bonus was not having to worry about cat paws picking up cleaner if they snuck by me to investigate the clean floor. A few days later, no soap scum or residue at all. 

So vinegar is probably going to earn a regular rotation in our green lifestyles. My next project is to tackle the inside of my CRV – the 50/50  mix is supposed to be good on windows, dash and even the carpeting.

Have you tried vinegar to green your life?

 

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  • I have to add that I also took a stab at cleaning my nearly-tote-free car today – I haven’t even seen the backseats in at least 6 months. I just did the dash and front “end” panels (interior) but it worked very well and best of all – NO SCENT. I’m going to try cleaning the carpets with a little vinegar, soap and water – they can’t possibly be any worse after being around for 13 years, right?

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