Sunday, June 12, 2016

Why Vinegar is a Staple in my Home

Huh? What did you say? You may be wondering why I wrote such a weird thing in the title of this blog.

That's because I'm in the mood for blogging about random stuff for a while. Yes, I know I'm a romance writer, but I also have things to say about life which don't pertain to writing. Contrary to some opinions, writing isn't my whole life. I have quite a bit going on outside it.

This is why the simple, rather cheap and elemental product (vinegar) is now a staple in my home and why I always have a big bottle of it on hand:

1. It makes a great fabric softener which doesn't clog up my washing machine with those funny, waxy flaky things that stick to my lovely white clothes.

I have a top loader which is great for a family of five and for someone who hates washing things by hand and carting heavy, dripping clothes and blankets through my house to hang up outside. The machine can take a blanket or two in one load and spins a large amount of the moisture off first so I can take it outside to hang up without dripping all over the floor. But top loader's have a weakness - after a few months, horrible waxy, grey, gungy flakes suddenly spew out of somewhere and land up all over the load of washing. It's best to shake them off once the clothes are dry else they can smear all over the garments, making them look dirtier than they did before the wash. Then I discovered that you can use vinegar as a fabric softener instead of buying the expensive softener bottles at the store. I put about a quarter cup in, add a few drops of lavender oil inside to cut the strong vinegar smell and it makes the clothes soft and fluffy. It's cheap even with the lavender oil which lasts at least six months. And added bonus - I no longer get those flaky things.

2. It's great for cleaning bath rings.

Before I run a bath, I spray vinegar on the tub, then wipe clean with water. I bought a cheap spray bottle and filled it up with the acid. It does two things - helps get rid of residual dirt from the last bath or the kitty's paws or whatever happened to land up in there. And it balances the ph in the bath water, hence no yukky thrush which us ladies are prone to get when something is too alkaline. Store-bought bathroom cleaners are very alkaline which doesn't do well for our nether regions. Vinegar is great! Sure, it stinks the room out a little but soon the soap smells take over.

3. It's magic in baking.

Ever heard of using vinegar instead of eggs in a recipe? They basically work the same and you don't get to taste it against all that yummy sugar and butter, etc. So when you forgot to buy eggs or Aunt Lucy is allergic to them, you could always substitute 1 tablespoon vinegar for an egg. I'm also gluten intolerant but if I soak wheat flour in a one or two tablespoons of vinegar and milk or water for 12-24 hours, I can eat wheat bread and biscuits without any hassle to my tummy. Strange, I can have slices of this bread without a problem but I have a bit of flour in a store-bought gravy and I feel sick!

4. Vinegar truly is a marvel with cleaning things. My new discovery is freshening the dishwasher. I don't know about you, but I love my dishwasher. Being a family of five with three hungry teenagers and preferring home-cooked, balanced meals over take-outs and rushed, slopped-together food, we generate lots of dishes. On top of that, whenever I bake, I have to make a gluten-free version of it for myself. Unfortunately, my family hates gluten-free baked goodies, so I couldn't just make one kind. So, we have lots of dishes every day - piles in fact. Not that I bake every day, but you get the picture, I'm sure. So, the dishwasher is a godsend indeed. But after a while, it gets grungy inside and doesn't look sparkly and new and smell fresh anymore. Thanks to a wonderful blog I follow, I found a quick and easy way to get it looking and smelling like new. Simple - put a cup of vinegar in a glass jug on the top shelf of an empty dishwasher and do a normal, hot load. When you open up, the jug will be full to the brim of brownish water, but the machine will sparkle and shine and smell a whole lot better.

Oh, and it tastes wonderful on fried chips or in a salad dressing. Or even sweet and sour sauces.

Do you know any other helpful uses for plain old vinegar? I'd love to hear them in the comments.

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