Prepare Every Needful Thing

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

Home Production and Gardening–October 2014

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Uses for Vinegar

white vinegarAs we work to build our year’s supply, it makes good sense to store products that have multiple and varied uses. Vinegar covers the spectrum from food to medicine to cleaning to a mild pesticide, all the while being safe, stable and cheap. Back in pioneer days vinegar was even used as a lemon substitute, leading to the invention Vinegar Pie, which is surprisingly delicious…

  • Use in place of normal salad dressings. Some vinegars are tasty enough to be used as is, others benefit from being seasoned.
  • Part of the reason meals begin with a salad is that the combination of bitter greens and acidic vinegar make an excellent digestive stimulant which can prevent heartburn and indigestion. If you prefer sweet or creamy dressings, vinegar can also be taken separately—just add a capful to as small a glass of water as you can stand. Zingy, yet effective!
  • Add a little to your meat marinades and broths. Your meat will be tenderer and your broths more calcium-rich.
  • Healthy skin is protected by an acid mantle. After exposure to alkaline soaps, detergents and even garden soils, it can take some time for your skin to regain its proper pH, leading to dryness, irritation and damage. You can help things along by rubbing on a little vinegar. You may even find that your need for lotions is decreased. And the odor does rapidly dissipate after drying.
  • Remove mineral deposits from shower heads by unscrewing and placing to soak overnight in a bowl of straight white vinegar. If you cannot remove it, you can fill a bag with vinegar, and attach it around the fixture with a rubber band or zip tie.
  • Us as a rinse aid for spot-prone utensils and glasses. Add to your dishwasher’s compartment or add generously to your rinse water when hand-washing.
  • Make a simple furniture polish using equal parts vinegar and olive oil. Rub into wood with the grain and then polish with a soft dry cloth to hide small scratches and remove water rings.
  • Remove water rings from leather by dabbing with a sponge soaked in full-strength vinegar.
  • Mix equal parts vinegar and water in an empty spray bottle to make an excellent window cleaner.
  • A little straight vinegar will often remove ballpoint pen from hard surfaces.
  • Remove soap scum and water spots from ceramic tiles by mixing 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup ammonia, and 1/4 cup borax into 1 gallon warm water. Rinse well with cool water and let air-dry.
  • My experience has been that when deodorizing laundry, if baking soda doesn’t help, then vinegar will. Add a cup or so either to the wash or rinse cycle. Vinegar may also eliminate the need for fabric softener, depending on the chemistry of your water supply.
  • Make a simple and effective fruit fly trap by punching a hole with a nail in the center of the lid of an old jam jar, pouring in an inch or so of apple cider vinegar and replacing the lid. Flies will be drawn to the fragrance and crawl in, but be unable to find the hole again to exit.


Note: Do not use vinegar on granite countertops, computer or device screens, unglazed iron or aluminum and never mix with bleach-containing products as you will create chlorine gas!


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