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November 2017

VODKA CLEANS? What? When Did This Happen?

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I graduated college 17 years ago. I packed my stuff and headed to the job I had received. And all those boxes will eventually end up in my basement following, marriage, kids, etc. Then comes the day where we discuss, over dinner, finishing the basement. Creating, what I hope would be a man cave, an oasis. Well, my wife had different ideas, but a brand new pool table, and a huge tv still made the cut! I can live with that.

SO, the next step. Time to go through all these boxes and get rid of (everything!, but that will never happen) anything that needs to go. Boxes of memories from all these years. Then, I ran across my college boxes. I haven’t opened these since I moved all those years ago. There was just nothing in them I guess I really needed all these years. And upon opening them I could see why. I won’t go into those details (you are welcome), but in one box I found something I had no idea was ever in there.

Vodka. A bottle of vodka. Even crazier, it was a bottle of vodka with a note attached from my roommate that said “enjoy your new success”. He must have slipped it in the box when I was moving. A little surprise when I got to my new place, but I never opened the box! If this was an episode of “Friends” we would be Chandler and Joey. We are still great friends to this day. He probably always wonders why did I never say “thanks for the vodka”. Or, he just forgot.

So, now I have this bottle of vodka. And I love the sentiment, but we weren’t exactly rich in those days. This isn’t the top-shelf fun stuff. This isn’t the mid grade stuff that sits at the home bar. This isn’t even the rail vodka you get with a mixed drink at the local bar. This stuff is… Well, I don’t have a clue what this stuff is. I don’t think it should have existed, and I absolutely do not trust the shelf life of whatever this beautiful gift is.

What do I do with it. Flush it and recycle the bottle? Create lighter fluid? Place it on the mantle as a reminder of where I came from? I’m kidding. I decided to see if there is anything I can do with old vodka, and surprisingly enough.

YOU CAN CLEAN WITH IT!

What? When did this happen? I suppose I only thought of vodka as a cleaning agent. Now, I live in an eco-friendly cleaned home. We use green products, and it turns out vodka is a natural cleaner. I mean it’s not distilled white vinegar, but it is a cleaning agent.

Wikipedia states “Traditionally, vodka is made by the distillation of cereal grains or potatoes that have been fermented, though some modern brands use other substances, such as fruits or sugar”.

Here is some cool stuff that I learned:

Your Basic Surfaces Cleaner

Mix In A Spray Bottle

Citrus Cleaner

  • Take orange peels  and let them sit in a sealed  jar of vodka for 4-5 weeks
  • Drain the liquid into a spray bottle and you have a powerful citrus scented cleaner

Bathroom

  • Spray vodka on soap scum. Let sit just a few minutes and wipe away.

Bed Dressings

15- 20 minutes before bedtime you can refresh your sheets and pillowcases with a spray.

Mix The Following In A Spray Bottle

Mirrors And Windows

  • Spray straight vodka onto windows, mirrors, and glass-topped furniture. Stay away from the wood finishes. Wipe off vodka with a microfiber cloth to remove streaks and smudges.

Toilet

  • Pour ½ cup vodka into your toilet once a month to keep toilet rings from forming.

It’s pretty easy. I mean I never had any intention to clean with vodka, but if you have an old bottle sitting around and you wonder what to do. There is the solution in an eco-friendly way.

Let’s Clean The Oven… Naturally!

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I use to just hit self clean, but my oven doesn’t like that function anymore. The oven still works fine, but it isn’t cleaning itself. I’ve become very eco-friendly over the years. I started mainly because of the price tag, but found my house is fresher using natural products.

My oven didn’t look that great in the interior. It was grimy, greasy, and some unknown burn stains were there. It’s not like people show off the inside of their oven to guests, so I guess we really don’t think too much about it. This is a “for me” job. I mean if I was at a restaurant and happen to see this is where they are preparing the food I ordered; I’d politely leave. So, since I am the one serving food out of this thing, I’d better live up to at least those standards, right?

Items You Need:

What To Do:

  1. Take out the oven racks. You want the oven to be empty.
  1. Prepare a baking soda mixture.

In a bowl:

  • Mix ½ cup of baking soda with enough water needed to make a paste.
  1. Spread the paste all over the interior surfaces of your oven EXCEPT THE HEATING ELEMENT. This is a pretty dirty job. Gloves might help. Using a soft sponge might help, but a cloth works fine. You will see the white paste becoming brown as you spread it on.
  1. Go to bed (kidding, stay up and watch Conan). This stuff has to sit there for at least 10-12 hours. Just make sure the entire interior is covered.
  1. Oven Rack Time.You can use a bathtub, a sink, or a garbage bag (double bag in my opinion) filled with water:
  • Cover the racks with hot water: Fill your bathtub, sink, or bag with very hot water until the oven racks are covered.
  • Take your dishwasher detergent: Measure out a ½ cup of dishwasher detergent.
  • Add the detergent to the water: Swish it around. Allow the racks to soak for 4 hours, or overnight.
  • Brush off any remaining gunk: After soaking, gunk and stains on the racks should be soft and easy to wipe off. Use a non-abrasive scrub brush or sponge.

Back To The Oven:

  1. 10-12 hours have gone by. Take a damp cloth and wipe out as much of the dried baking soda paste as you can.
  1. Pour distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray everywhere you still see baking soda residue in the oven. If it foams, it’s working.
  1. Use a clean wet cloth and wipe out the remains. Then place the oven racks back into place and the job is done.

Total cost should be less than 15 dollars, but chances are you already had most of the stuff needed for the job. Hope this helps anyone in the situation I was in. Take Care.

Vinegar Is Versatile

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Who knew? Vinegar was suggested by a friend for cleaning in eco-friendly ways. Turns out this stuff is amazing. It really can do a lot more than I could think of. I researched things beyond what my friend had advised. I listed my top ten below of what my discoveries were.

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.

For some vinegar uses listed below, you’ll need to decide how much you want to dilute white vinegar. On wood floors, for example, cleaning with vinegar requires one cup diluted with about one gallon of warm water. But for cleaning mildewed tile and grout, use full-strength vinegar.

#1 Vinegar as a Natural Weed Killer

Vinegar is strong enough to kill weeds…. And it will kill the ones you love! So be careful when spraying it around your garden and yard! Make sure to spray directly on the leaves of the weed itself or whatever plant you are trying to get rid of. For best results, use white vinegar on a day of dry, sunny weather …it  needs some time in the sun to work its deadly magic on those nasty weeds!

#2 Vinegar and Pet Care    

Dogs and cats can often be bothered by itchy, scaly ears! Especially dogs with floppy ears like a retriever. Dilute white vinegar in a 1:4 ratio (1 tablespoon vinegar to 4 tablespoons water) and let it soak into a clean rag. Then use the rag to wipe out the inside of your pet’s ears. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to have your pet get sprayed by a skunk, vinegar is an easier acid to use than ketchup for getting rid of the smell! Finally, if unwanted cats are creeping around your yard, spray or pour vinegar onto their favorite litter box — they hate that stuff!

#3 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 make your glasses, plates and other dishes sparkle! Second, it can help to clean the dishwasher itself: Once a year (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 buildup that can prevent your dishwasher from working at its best ability!

#4 Vinegar and Car Care        

Remove bumper stickers with a few squirts of undiluted white vinegar. (You may need to reapply the vinegar multiple times to get loosen the sticker,especially if it’s been there for awhile). It can also be used as a glass cleaner and deodorizer in your car. You can also wipe down your windows with diluted vinegar in winter to keep them frost-free!

#5 Vinegar and Cut Flowers        

There’s all kinds of superstitions about ways to extend the life of cut flowers. Some folks swear by a copper penny, others add Sprite or Seven-Up, and some drop in an aspirin. Many still sick to just adding a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the water, plus a dash of sugar. (Which has always worked just fine for me).

#6 Vinegar and Cleaning Tiles    

Many reach for the bleach when confronted with grungy, discolored tile and grout. But white vinegar is not only effective at cleaning and whitening, it’s also safer than chlorine bleach (especially for households on a septic tank, where bleach should never enter).

  1. Just spray full-strength vinegar on grout and caulk in the shower or kitchen
  2. Let it soak in for at least an hour
  3. Then scrub it off with a brush.
  4. Viola! You’re finished!

#7 Vinegar and the Laundry

Vinegar has many laundry uses! I keep mine stored right next to the detergent. It works wonders removing stains like mustard, ketchup, tomato sauce, and grass. Just spray a little white vinegar onto the stain before washing, or soaking whites in vinegar will help bring back their whiteness. And just like in your dishwasher, vinegar helps to break down detergent when added to the rinse cycle, making clothes fresher, more colorful — and it gets rid of funky towel mildew. One cup should be plenty — add less when using a front-loading washing machine.

Warning: NEVER add vinegar to chlorine bleach — it will create noxious chlorine gas, a potentially deadly compound.

#8 Kitchen Cleaning with Vinegar        

Clean your coffee maker out with diluted vinegar every month, but remember to run fresh water through it before making coffee again (or you will have a not so good surprise)! Use white vinegar and salt can clean stainless-steel cookware and sterling silver, and undiluted vinegar disinfects cutting boards. You can even use it on your wood boards! When cleaning your microwave, just pour a little vinegar into a bowl of water and microwave it for a few minutes. You can then easily wipe out your microwave. Finally, if your sink is clogged or smelly, try pouring 1/4 cup of baking soda down the sink, then add 1 cup of vinegar and cover the drain tightly — the reaction between these two compounds can power out clogs (you may need 2 or more applications for tough clogs).

#9 Hard-Water Stains and Vinegar        

If your toilet bowl, bathtub or sink has lime deposits from hard water, soak or spray vinegar onto the grit. It should loosen the deposits enough to remove them easily. You can also clean any appliance or fixture that’s not working right because of hard water — especially irons, showerheads and faucets — soak or spray white vinegar and let the deposits crumble away.

#10 House Cleaning with Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the world’s best all-purpose green cleaners with dozens of cleaning uses. Diluted white vinegar is excellent for cleaning windows, hardwood floors, carpet stains, fireplace bricks, irons, shower curtains, upholstery, mattresses, and glassware.

Warning: The one exception is marble and other stone surfaces. The acid in vinegar (and lemon, and wine) can permanently damage these surfaces, so keep vinegar away from these stones.

   

I hope these natural tips are as useful to you as they have been for me! House cleaning sometimes ends up on the backburner in our busy and overscheduled lives. Why not leave it to professionals? Then you are able to sit back and relax, and leave the dirt and grime to them!

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