Using Vinegar to Clean Your Home 0
While the chemical industry has been spending millions of dollars on research & development and advertising a year, people have been rediscovering the power of their kitchen pantry when cleaning. People have stopped resorting to sprays and scrubs full of harmful chemicals, which have negative effects on people using them, the individuals exposed to them, and the environment. Instead, many are resorting to simple concoctions made from a few, well-known ingredients to get the job done.
And when it comes to cleaning naturally, there's no greater hero than white vinegar. Its acidic nature helps in breaking down greasiness, cutting through grime, and killing a lot of germs. Used with other powerful ingredients, it can create amazing natural cleaning products that you can make yourself, keeping your home more natural and keeping your waste levels down.
Here are some easy DIY recipes for household cleaners that use Vinegar:
All Purpose Cleaner:This is a great recipe for those who aren't a fan of the "pickling smell" that comes with use of vinegar in household cleaning.
- 1-2 cups of white vinegar
- The peel of two lemons (a great way to use leftovers)
- 1 tsp Castile Soap (like Dr. Bronners or the Green Beaver)
- 20 drops of Lemon or an alternative essential oil
Put your lemon peels in a glass jar and cover them with the vinegar. Screw the top on, give it a shake, and leave the jar in a sunny place to infuse for at least 2 weeks. After this time, strain the vinegar to remove all the lemon pieces and pour into a spray bottle. Add the remaining ingredients and you're ready to go! Just give your solution a swirl before using and you have a fresh smelling, natural, and effective all purpose cleaner.
Glass Cleaner:No more streaky mirrors and windows! Just 3 ingredients and you have your own DIY version!
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup rubbing alcohol
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and get cleaning! Use with a soft cloth that won't leave lint on your surfaces. Store away from heat as the alcohol is flammable.
Combine equal amounts of vinegar and lemon juice in cup or bowl and then transfer into a spray bottle (or not!). With a small, clean cloth, softly rub the solution into your furniture to polish. Wipe away any remaining moisture with another dry cloth. This solution doesn't store well, so you'll want to prepare a small amount each time you intend to do some polishing.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner:
Pour a cupful of vinegar in your toilet bowl, let it sit for a few minutes, and scrub with a toilet brush. The vinegar will lift any stains that remain and neutralize the smell. If you have some stubborn discolouration or stains that don't react to just vinegar, throw some baking soda in there first, and then add more vinegar. It will cause a fizzy reaction and the by-product is an acid which is effective in fighting grime.
Add a cup of white vinegar to your load of laundry for some extra softness. It also helps with restoring your whites to their former glory without threatening your colours. Don't worry about the vinegar smell- it will be masked by the laundry soap or add some essential oils to your wool dryer balls to impart a different scent.
White Vinegar vs. Household Vinegar
One thing to be careful with is what kind of vinegar you are using in your cleaning products. While you are welcome to use the white vinegar that you find at the grocery store, many DIY'ers like to use household vinegar, a more potent option with less water in it. In stores we offer refills on the Unscented Company Household Vinegar which is 12% acetic acid instead of the regular 5% that you would get in the grocery store. This means that you can cut down on at least half of the vinegar amounts listed in the above recipes if you are using household vinegar. This high acidity vinegar can be great for spot treatment, tough stains, and cutting through thick grime, giving you more options than regular vinegar.
As you see, there's no need to stock up on new cleaning products this month- just refill the containers with ingredients you can easily find around your home!
(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)
Zero Waste Solutions to Keeping Food Fresh for Longer 0
Part of being zero waste is about consuming what you do have; food included. While the compost bin is a better option than the landfill, your mouth is the ultimate zero waste destination for your food.
However, when you're looking to minimize plastics and therefore end up buying a lot of basic produce, it can become difficult to keep your food fresh and good to use. We're not even going to go into the crazy temperatures we have had this summer and how that can affect the speed of decomposition...
How to Store Food
Here are some key items in your fridge and pantry along with some tips on how to keep them and store them for maximum freshness:
Kale & Spinach
These leafy greens can really vary in terms of lifetime depending on how you keep them. Try destemming, cutting, and washing them as soon as you buy them. Then run them through the salad spinner while in a cloth produce bag and then put the entire thing in the fridge. The dampness will keep the contents fresh (don't let it be wet, just damp!)
Tomatoes in the grocery store are never stored in the fridge. Why? Because keeping them there destroys the flavour and texture as they get "mealy".
Avocados need to ripen before they are ready to eat, and most times the store sells them a little under so that they don't reach this stage until they are already at your home. Store them on your counter until they are ripe, and then move them to the fridge to maintain that level. If you open an avocado and only use half, store the remainder with the pit in either in an airtight container or wrap with a beeswax wrap (we carry Abeego in-stores).
Once cut or picked, these can be stored in a beeswax wrap or cloth produce bag in the fridge. A notable exception is basil which will turn black pretty quickly. If you keep the cut stems in water at room temperature, it slows down the process.
Best kept in a linen bread bag or at least covered with a linen tea towel. The linen allows for natural ventilation while slowing down the drying out process.
Not in the fridge please! Store in a cool, dry place for maximum lifetime. Onions can be stored like that too!
Real coffee aficionados know that the only way to enjoy a fresh cuppa joe is to properly store those beans. Once you open the bag or container that your coffee beans came in, transfer to an airtight container like a jar and keep in the fridge. If you have left over ground coffee, you can store it like that as well.
Fruit like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits can be stored either in the fridge or on the counter. However, for maximum juiciness, store in the fridge and bring to room temperature before consuming.
Plan for the "end of life" for your food
Of course, even with these tips, time will take its toll on your food- and that's why having a few "last call" recipes is always handy. Smoothies, salads, soups, quiches, tarts and pizzas are all great ways to use up the items which are close to expiry but can still be eaten. Don't forget the power of the freezer, of pickling, and preserving, as these are great ways to extend the life of your food and enjoy local, seasonal items year around!
Let us know your #zerowastelifestyle hacks for preserving food for as long as possible!