Whether you’re cleaning house, cooking a meal, improving your appearance, or fighting a cold, this indispensable guide will help you with natural and simple solutions to your daily tasks requiring only basic—and inexpensive—items with multiple uses that you should always keep on hand in your home.
Vinegar, baking soda, lemons, duct tape, and beer are just a few of the all-purpose tools you need to eliminate odors, keep your food fresher longer, get rid of pests, increase storage space, de-stress, give yourself a spa treatment, and so much more. With easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll discover clever and creative ways to give your home—and yourself—a makeover while saving time and money.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||8.10(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.10(d)|
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For just around $2 a gallon, vinegar is the easy, low-cost secret for natural cleaning, better cooking, and health and beauty needs.
SIMPLY NATURAL CLEANING
Try a Mirror Miracle
Make your mirrors shine with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Use old newspapers to wipe mirrors with the mix, then add extra shine by rubbing with a clean dry-erase or blackboard eraser.
Stop Windshield Wiper Streaks
Dampen a cloth with vinegar and run it down each blade. The acetic acid cleans away any dirt and residue but also coats the wipers to keep them frost-free.
Make Chrome Gleam
Need a chrome polish? It's as simple as vinegar. Apply directly on chrome with a rag for a quick and easy shine.
Keep Ceramic Sparkling
For ceramic tile that always looks new, wipe it regularly with a sponge dampened with water and a splash of vinegar. Avoid soapy or oily cleaners, and never use abrasives, which will dull the finish and make glazed tiles more prone to dirt.
Whiten Grout — Without Bleach
You can dissolve nasty buildup without harsh bleach. Simply create a paste from baking soda and water and apply it to the grout. Spray the area with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water. Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a brush. Then rinse with warm water and admire the results!
Power Your Shower Spray — Naturally
Stay on top of mold and mildew by keeping this daily shower spray within easy reach of all family members. Mix 1 part vinegar with 10 parts water in an empty spray bottle and you're ready to go. Bonus: You don't have to worry about a toxic cleaner hitting the baby's bath toys.
Clean Your Toilet While You Sleep
To remove hard-water deposits in your toilet bowl, pour 1 cup white vinegar into the bowl and allow it to sit for several hours or overnight before scrubbing.
Clogged Showerhead? A Solution Is in the Bag
It's easy to remove mineral deposits from a showerhead without using harsh chemicals. Just unscrew it and submerge it in white vinegar overnight, and the clogs will disappear. If you can't unscrew it, fill a small, sturdy bag with vinegar and attach it to the showerhead with duct tape, or use an old toothbrush and vinegar. To clean the screen in your showerhead, wash it with water mixed with a dash of dishwashing liquid.
Wipe Away Decals
As a dad to three boys, I found a solution for when the kids outgrow Thomas or adopt a new favorite team. Sponge a solution of equal parts lukewarm water and white vinegar on the decal thoroughly; let sit a few minutes. Stubborn sticker? Saturate it with straight vinegar and let sit for 15 minutes.
Brighten Cloudy Glass
Embarrassed by your cloudy glasses when company comes to visit? It's not uncommon for glassware to begin to develop a fine film after so many trips through the dishwasher. Before you run out to buy new ones, try this inexpensive little trick. Treat your glasses to a soak in a bath of warm vinegar for an hour. They'll emerge sparkling clean!
Get a Dishwasher Like New
Soap film coating your dishwasher? Run it on an empty cycle using vinegar instead of detergent. It will be sparkling clean, and your next load of dishes will be sparkling, too.
Freshen Up the Garbage Disposal
Keep your garbage disposal running properly and odor-free with this simple once-a-month trick: Fill an ice-cube tray with white vinegar, and when frozen, grind about a dozen cubes. The ice sharpens the blades while the vinegar deodorizes the drain.
Mop Away Dirt and Grime
For mopping vinyl or ceramic floors, use ½ cup white vinegar added to 1 gallon warm water. It's cheap, effective, and completely nontoxic.
Vanquish Smells with Vinegar
Vinegar absorbs and neutralizes odors — from smelly pets and paint to smoke. Place a cup of vinegar in any room the odor reaches. In the kitchen, try boiling 1 cup vinegar in 2 cups water. In 15 minutes, the smell should be gone. To remove odors from washable items, add 1 cup white vinegar during the wash cycle.
Make Oven Cleaning Safer
To reduce fumes after you've used a powerful oven cleaner, wipe down the inside of the oven with white vinegar. It will remove any remaining residue and help neutralize the cleaner. Your lungs will thank you.
Use a Virtually Free Freshener
Vinegar is so perfect for neutralizing odors and cutting back on dust. Keep a little in a small jar near heating vents. Our favorite Who Knew? hero will leave your room smelling cleaner than it ever did with an air freshener. Just be sure to replace it once a week.
Deodorize Your Cutting Board
Do you have a cutting board with a lingering odor that just won't quit? Remove the smell by rubbing the board with white vinegar.
Get Fresh-Car Smell
A bowl of vinegar set in the car overnight will remove odors left by pets, kid athletes, takeout food, and more!
Help Black Appliances Shine
Vinegar can help remove streaks on black appliances. After cleaning them with warm, sudsy water and a sponge, rub them with a rag dampened with straight white vinegar. The vinegar will remove soap residue and make your appliances shine.
Try a Spot-On Stainless Steel Cleaner
You've scrubbed it twice, but you can't seem to get those water spots out of your stainless steel sink! The solution? A little white vinegar. Just rub into the spots and they'll disappear.
Clean That Ice Dispenser
It's so convenient to have a refrigerator with built-in ice and water dispensers, but you may have noticed how gross the dispenser tray can look after a while. That whitish mineral buildup seems impossible to wash off with soapy water, but vinegar will do the trick. Soak the tray in straight vinegar for a few minutes, then scrub the stains with an old toothbrush. Rinse with warm water, and your dispenser will look like new again!
Steam Away Microwave Mess
Microwave walls can take a beating from food and drink explosions. But cleanup and deodorizing are simple when you use vinegar. In a microwavable bowl, combine ½ cup vinegar and 1 cup water. (You can also add a few drops of lemon juice, if you like.) Microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, then let sit for a few minutes while the steam goes to work. You should be able to easily wipe away any formerly caked-on mess.
Boost Your Dish Soap
Did you know that the acetic acid in vinegar dramatically increases the cleaning power of soap? Boost your dishwashing liquid's effectiveness by adding a couple of teaspoons of white vinegar to the bottle (agitate gently to combine). You'll need less to get your dishes clean, saving you money!
MAKE YOUR OWN
In a spray bottle, add a 1:3 mixture of vinegar and water plus a few drops of an essential oil. Mist onto clothing and let dry.
Clear Coffee Stains
Blot the stain with a solution of 1 part vinegar and 1 part water, then let sit for 10 minutes. If it's a tablecloth or piece of clothing, wash in the washing machine as usual. If it's a carpet, then dab with a clean paper towel and repeat with the vinegar mixture until the stain is lifted.
Never Buy Fabric Softener Again!
Instead, simply use white vinegar. Use the same proportions as you would for a liquid fabric softener — you'll never notice the difference.
Make Sweat Stains Disappear
Is your laundry nemesis a perfectly good white tee yellowed by pit stains? Vinegar to the rescue! Just pour a small amount of white vinegar directly onto the stain and gently rub it into the fabric before washing.
YOUR SECRET INGREDIENT IN THE KITCHEN
Stop Pasta from Sticking
Skip the oil, which can chase away your pasta sauce; turn to vinegar instead. Adding a bit of white vinegar to the cooking water will lower the pH level and stop starch from getting pulled into the water, creating a sticky situation.
Moist, Spreadable Icing Every Time
To keep icing from hardening, just add a very small amount of vinegar after it's whipped. This addition will help the icing retain some moisture so it won't dry out as fast.
Out of Eggs? Vinegar to the Rescue!
Already started a baking recipe and realized you don't have eggs? Just mix 1 teaspoon vinegar with 1 tablespoon baking soda for every egg needed. The combination will cause dough to leaven, much like eggs do.
WANT TO GUARANTEE A FLAKY PIE CRUST?
Add a teaspoon of vinegar to your recipe when you add the water.
One Simple Step for Fluffier Meringue
When making a meringue, add ¼ teaspoon white vinegar for every three egg whites and watch it really fluff up.
DIY Fruit and Veggie Wash
Don't bother with those expensive produce washes! You can make your own that's just as effective by simply spraying a bit of vinegar on your fruits and vegetables and rinsing. Natural, easy, smart.
A Solution Your Hands Will Love
Working with berries, beets, or other stain-producing foods? Keep vinegar close by — it will remove any stains from your hands. Rub it on after washing your hands with soap to finish off stubborn stains.
Buttermilk Anytime You Need It
Most of us don't regularly keep buttermilk stocked in the fridge. And there's no need to — you can transform regular milk with a bit of vinegar. Mix 1 cup milk (whole or 2 percent works best) with 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Then let it set for about 10 minutes at room temperature. Voilà!
HEALTH AND BEAUTY
Get Rid of Greasy Hair
Vinegar is not just for the kitchen; it gets grease out of oily hair, too! Simply shampoo your hair as usual, rinse, then pour ¼ cup vinegar over it and rinse again.
Hair Color That Lasts and Lasts To preserve that amazing color you got at the salon, rinse your hair regularly with white vinegar to seal the hair cuticle.
COOL SUNBURNED SKIN
To ease sunburn pain, rub vinegar on the affected area with a cotton ball or soft cloth.
Make Your Own Dry Shampoo
Between washes, vinegar can help revive hair. Add 1 teaspoon vinegar to 2 cups water in a spray bottle, and spritz onto your roots.
Bring Back Beautiful Nails
If you have an unsightly nail fungus that makes you want to hide your hands or feet from view, you'll love this tip. Soak your nails in a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 2 cups warm water every day for 15 minutes. The acid in the vinegar will attack the fungus, leaving you with lovelier nails.
Fight Foot Fungus and Odor
Before you head to the doctor, give this simple home remedy a try. Soak your feet in white vinegar once a day for a few days. If it doesn't clear up, it's time to seek professional help. A vinegar bath will also help tackle foot odor.
Take the Sting Out of Jellyfish
The acid in vinegar can soothe the stinging and pain caused by jellyfish venom. Some research has found that it can actually prevent the release of more venom as well. Be prepared by keeping a small container in your beach bag.
Cheap and Easy Denture Cleanser
Here's an effective method for cleaning dentures that works just as well as the expensive tablets: Soak them overnight in a solution of one part white vinegar and one part water. The acidity of the vinegar fights tartar buildup and removes stains.
Stop a Nosebleed Fast!
Just dampen a cotton ball with vinegar and plug the nostril. The acetic acid in the vinegar cauterizes the wound.
Prep for manicures and pedicures by soaking your fingers and toes in a bowl of white vinegar for just 5 minutes. Bonus: If you plan on applying nail polish, prepping with vinegar may help the polish last longer.
You can speed healing of simple bruises with vinegar! It helps dissolve the pooled blood that causes the bruise by enhancing blood flow. Simply soak a cotton ball in vinegar to create a compress and apply to your skin for up to 30 minutes. Gently massage the area as you apply, if it feels comfortable. Use twice a day and rinse after each application.
Cure Hiccups in Seconds
Just drink a teaspoon of any kind of vinegar (though some say apple cider vinegar is more palatable). You can mix it in a bit of water, as needed. Exactly why it works hasn't been discovered, but it's suspected that it somehow calms the spasms that bring on hiccups.
Soothe Insect Bites
Is the itch driving you crazy? Dab the area with a cotton ball soaked in vinegar. (Skip this remedy if you've already scratched the area raw. Remember, scratching will only make the itch worse and slow healing.)
Enlist to Help Fight Lice
While it won't get rid of lice on its own, white vinegar can make it much easier to remove those sticky eggs, called nits. Vinegar works by dissolving the sticky solution that secures the lice eggs to your hair. Then you can use a special nit comb to remove nits from the hair. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, then dip the nit comb into the mixture. Repeat dipping the comb as needed, and be careful not to get vinegar near the eyes.
Prevent Swimmer's Ear
If you or your children are prone to swimmer's ear, a bacterial infection of the ear canal, take this precaution when enjoying time in the pool, ocean, or lake: Dab a solution of 1 part vinegar and 5 parts warm water into each ear three times a day. The vinegar will ward off bacteria and keep ears pain-free.CHAPTER 2
A simple box that you likely have in your kitchen right now can freshen up your home inside and out, bring solutions to your kitchen, and even help with common health concerns.
SMART CLEANING ANSWERS
A Gentle Swap for Scouring Powder
The best thing about scouring powder is its abrasive action. The worst is the harsh chemical smell. To get all the benefits without the caustic chemicals, use baking soda instead. In most instances, baking soda will work just as well as scouring powder.
Simply Clean Tiles
For an easy, natural tile cleaner, mix together ¼ cup baking soda and 1 gallon warm water. Scrub with a sponge or mop, then rinse. For tough stains, wait 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing.
Love Your Grout Again
Is there anything more satisfying than nice, clean grout? A simple paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water is all you need. Make a new batch each time you plan to attack the space between your tiles.
Get Rid of Mildew
Looking for an easy mildew remover? Simply scrub the affected area with an old, damp toothbrush sprinkled with baking soda. This natural cleaner works great for shower curtains — if small spots of mildew appear, dab with baking soda on a damp cloth.
To get rid of scuff marks left on vinyl flooring by dark-soled shoes, rub some baking soda into the spot with a wet rag. The marks will disappear.
Show Off Crystal-Clean Crystal
To clean your cut crystal, mix a teaspoon of baking soda with warm water, then dab it onto the crystal with a soft rag. Rinse with water, and buff with a dry, soft cloth.
Supercharge Your Detergent
To boost the power of your dishwasher detergent, sprinkle a little baking soda in the dishwasher every time you run it. It will also help fight foul odors before they start.
Know This Skillet Saver
The teriyaki chicken you made for dinner was delicious, but the sweet sauce left terrible black burns on the bottom of your frying pan. To clean it, first sprinkle the pan with ¼ to ½ cup baking soda, and fill the pan halfway with water. Bring the water to a boil, and the burned pieces should start to release. As the water boils, you may want to use a spatula to help the process along. When most of the pieces are removed, turn off the heat, dump the water, and wash as usual.
Perk Up Your Plastic
Have plastic storage containers with lingering odors? Wash them with hot water plus 2 tablespoons baking soda.
Get Better-Tasting Coffee
The secret many of us miss: Make sure you clean your coffee maker regularly. Just add several tablespoons of baking soda to your pot, fill it with water, and run it as usual. Then repeat using only water.
Tackle Tough Appliances
If you haven't had time to clean up and now there's dried-on food stuck in the blades of your blender or food processor, bring baking soda to the rescue. Add 1 tablespoon baking soda along with 1 cup warm water to the bowl, put the lid on, and let it blend for 10 to 15 seconds. Wash as usual.
Refresh Water Bottles and Thermoses
I can't even count how many times our boys have left something to fester in a container! Simply fill the container with hot water and ½ cup baking soda, then let it sit overnight. In the morning, rinse well and it should be as good as new.
The Brightest White Cabinets
White kitchen cabinets can be beautiful, but they can also show grease, dust, and dirt more than their darker counterparts. To keep them looking their best, add water to a small amount of baking soda until it's a runny paste. Scrub the mixture on the cabinets, and then rinse with warm water.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Who Knew? 10,001 Household Solutions"
Copyright © 2018 Castle Point Publishing, LLC..
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of ContentsPart 1: Who Knew? Heroes
Part 2: Home & Auto Hacks
All-Over Odor Elimination
Floor & Carpet Care
Office & Electronic Smarts
Natural Pest Control
Great Gardens & Outdoors
Part 3: Chef's Secrets
Secret Ingredients & Swaps
Fresher Food Longer
Kitchen Problems Solved!
Easy Cleanup & Organization
Part 4: Health & Beauty Boosts
DIY Spa Treatments
Part 5: Healing Remedies
Cold & Allergy Fighters