I know how my readers love to clean (especially with the reaction to my vodka article!) So, here’s another natural cleaning product to try.
Vinegar is a natural, inexpensive alternative to harsh commercial cleaners. Apple cider vinegar offers the same benefits as plain white vinegar, but with a more pleasant smell. Both have a similar acidity level and can be used to clean and disinfect around the house. Apple cider vinegar is a nontoxic, biodegradable cleaning alternative. The active cleaning agent in any vinegar is acetic acid, which is safe for most surfaces, but can dull some finishes on wood or no-wax floors and can cause etching in softer stone counter and floor surfaces. A diluted solution of 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to 1 gallon of water safely cleans surfaces without risk of clouding or etching.
A solution of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water makes an all-purpose cleaner you can use on almost any kitchen surface. Use it to clean and deodorize the inside of the refrigerator and microwave. Wipe full-strength apple cider vinegar on wood cutting boards to clean and sanitize. Add a cup of full-strength apple cider vinegar to the bottom of your dishwasher before running to clean and deodorize the machine and help prevent mineral buildup on your glassware.
Clean bathroom counters, cabinets, sinks and most surfaces with a mix of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. Bathroom drains will stay fresh and clean by pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of hot water. Let it sit for 10 minutes; then flush with boiling water. Use apple cider vinegar at full strength on showers and tubs to remove soap scum. The acidity of apple cider vinegar helps cut mineral deposits and other buildup without creating chemical fumes or leaving residue that you have to wash off.
Use the 50/50 water and apple cider vinegar mixture to give windows a streak-free cleaning. The same mixture can be used on painted surfaces to clean walls and cabinets. Adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to a load of laundry freshens both the laundry, and the machine. Cleaning with apple cider vinegar helps reduce odors and eliminate mold and mildew on any surface. The scent of vinegar can be strong when wet, but as it dries, apple cider vinegar leaves behind a mild, sweet scent.
There is a summer mode and a winter mode for ceiling fans. There is a single switch or pull chain on the fan to change blade direction. SUMMER: Set fan direction so that blade angle pushes air downward. This will have a cooling effect as air moves across your body. WINTER: Set fan in reverse direction so that blade angle pulls air upward. This will cause upward moving air to reach the ceiling and be pushed to the outer walls and down to the floor, thus circulating warm air around the room and preventing it from moving directly across your body (cooling effect) which you don’t want.
The leaves of liriope and mondo grass usually look pretty ragged by now. You can remove the old foliage by mowing it to about an inch from the ground or by using a string trimmer. Mine is in a spot along a walkway where I can’t reach with the mower and I don’t have that many plants, so I just sit on the ground and chop them down with kitchen shears. Remember that new leaves will replace the old ones, so don’t wait until fresh foliage emerges to trim them or the new ones will have choppy edges for the rest of the season.
When your spring-blooming bulbs (hyacinths, daffodils, etc.) are ready to pop up, it will be time to plant hardy summer bloomers, such as gladiolas, crinums, callas, cannas and rain lilies.
Judi Lloyd lives in River Bend and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org