Vinegar can really come in handy in the kitchen. Combine some red wine vinegar with olive oil and herbs for a refreshing salad dressing. Use it to marinade or tenderize meats, to pickle your veggies or to dissolve that gross waxy film from your apples. A tablespoon's worth of it will keep your poached eggs from breaking apart. Neat, eh?
It's easy to forget, though, how effective it can be in the rest of your rooms. After all, name-brand window cleaner has long replaced the vinegar-soaked newspaper your mom or grandmother once used to clean the windows. Vinegar seems to have come full circle as people become more environmentally conscious, financially strapped or simply grossed out by the idea of spraying chemicals that settle on their cookware.
[caption id="attachment_19924" align="alignright" width="158"] Photo: FountainAvenueKitchen.com[/caption]
You don't want your living room to smell like a cellar's worth of wine that's gone bad, but you're tired of paying top dollar for that orange-scented stuff at the store. No problem. Have an orange or two and save those peels. Put the peels in a sealable jar, making sure to fill the jar almost entirely. Now pour some vinegar in the jar, close it tightly and set it aside for two weeks. Transfer the orange-infused liquid into a spray bottle and get to work without worrying whether some of your homemade cleaner settled on your toothbrush.
Summertime brings with it fruit flies, and you may see these pests loitering by your garbage bin or your bananas, driving you absolutely, well, bananas. In a shallow dish, combine apple cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap and stand back. The smell of vinegar lures them, and when they try to land on the surface, they fall in and drown thanks to the dish soap, which breaks up the vinegar's surface tension. Science is pretty nifty, isn't it?
You know the drill. That scratchy feeling in your throat in the morning that signals the beginning of a cold and the promise of a painfully sore throat later. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 8 ounces of warm water. Gargle every hour.
Some people suggest you swallow a mouthful or two after gargling. Since that idea grosses me out, I recommend spitting. No worries, though! You can mix 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey, and have 1 tablespoon every four hours to soothe that achy throat. You can also add 1 teaspoon of honey and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water and drink right away.
Those are but a few uses for vinegar that don't begin to show its versatility. It helps remove wallpaper, kills weeds and even repels fleas. The best part is that it doesn't break the bank, you probably already have some in your cupboard, and by using it instead of store-bought cleaners, you're being kind to the planet.