Tuesday, August 21, 2012


             We’ll get to the vinegar in a minute. I’m feeling quite vinegary myself at the moment because Tim just cyber-sent me a news clip that I find so astounding and at the same time so depressingly political business-as-usual that I have to share and comment.

Would you trust anything this man says?
            Good news, ladies! According to the medical men Missouri congressman Todd Akin hobnobs with, we girls have the ability to shut down our ovaries during legitimate rapes. Not the illegitimate ones, mind you, so don’t go getting too excited.

Pity we can’t exercise this amazing ovary-control ability all the time—the abortion card, as played by the ignoramuses masquerading as our leaders, would just fall off the table. I wish Rep. Akin’s (and friends’) mothers had known. Think of the embarrassments they’d have been spared over the years.

Alas, Mr. Akin is far from alone in his educated witlessness. How about the angry numb-nuts who shot up a bunch of Sikhs because he thought they were Muslims? My dentist’s 30-something partner admits he’s never heard of Chairman Mao. And here’s another your-tax-dollars-at-work idiocy: the Brunswick County School Board recently decreed every school must hire a “literacy coach.” Putting aside for the moment the whole ridiculous “coaching” trend-du-jour, wouldn’t you think teachers already fill that bill? Well, no, not according to administrators who apparently can’t distinguish between a child and a bag of elbows. The local elementary school has hired—after last year’s slashing of teacher and teacher-aide positions—a girl with about 35 seconds of classroom (not to mention life) experience to “coach” people who have spent a quarter-century teaching. The phrase “like a fish needs a bicycle” comes to mind.


             Okay. Having indicated that I am full of piss and vinegar myself, let’s away to the topic at hand.

Pricey white vinegar
            The Bizarro-World Suzy-Homemaker thing that’s assumed control of my brain hit a high note this past weekend. For the first time in three (maybe more, but who’s counting?) years, every mini-blind and all but two windows in our house are sparkly clean. Layers of greasy dust, cat nose-prints, mystery finger marks, salt build-up—all gone. Both blinds and windows rank second only to ironing on the loathed chores list, especially blinds. I’ll tell you true, there is no easy way to remove the accumulated crap of years from those bendy, rattly, difficult-to-balance window coverings. (Blinds are all we’ve got between us and prying eyes: I gave curtains the heave-ho a decade ago. See anti-ironing comment above.) 

Squeaky clean blinds & windows
            Before the astonished silence turns to thundering kudos, I should probably mention our little house only has three double and two single windows, so the whole endeavor took just three hours, from take down to put back up. Nonetheless. What gave me the impetus to undertake the nasty task? The understated power of vinegar.

Pickles made with less pricey vinegar
I’ve always liked vinegar, the way it smells, the way it tastes. It’s my first choice for salad dressing. Time spent in British Commonwealth countries led me to prefer it over ketchup when it comes to chips/French fries. Vinegar is a key ingredient in pickles, some of my favorite foods to make as well as eat. Heating up pots of vinegar to boiling will clear anyone’s sinuses: I dimly recall Momma splashing some into the ubiquitous vaporizers of my childhood.

The cats' bathroom floor
gets a vinegar treatment

            Yes, plain ol’ white vinegar is good for spiffing up stuff around the house. Pour one cup into a gallon of water and you’ve made the cheapest and best cleaner ever. Vinyl floors, windows, bathroom fixtures, countertops, appliances, the stove’s exhaust fan all benefit. And there’s no cloying scent remaining after it dries. 


Ooh, that smells like... nothing
Tim maintains that the sink drain in my bathroom emanates unpleasant odors because I use mostly cold water. He says that, instead of melting away into Oak Island’s ticking time-bomb of a sewer system, the soap and toothpaste harden on the pipe above the elbow and rot. Not to worry—a dollop of vinegar straight out of the bottle kills the smell for a more than a month.

Better'n Downy

             Vinegar is also a lovely alternative to commercial fabric softeners. A quarter-cup of vinegar per load works just as well, while saving money and packaging waste and without additives, artificial colors and perfumes.

Vinegar for driveway weed control
I thought this blog was supposed to be about gardening, I hear you thinking. Guess what? Vinegar serves multiple purposes outside, too. Got weeds in the cracks of your sidewalk or driveway? Instead of spraying Roundup, douse them with full-strength white vinegar. It’s just as effective, ’way less expensive and environmentally toxic, and doesn’t do anything to benefit the maleficent overlords at Monsanto.

Vinegar disinfects pruners
 When cutting away diseased or insect-infested parts of plants, clean your pruners with a one-to-ten mixture of vinegar and water to prevent whatever from spreading around the garden.

            Been bitten by mosquitoes, chiggers, horseflies or fire ants, or stung by a bee or wasp? Pour undiluted vinegar on the injury as soon as possible after it happens to decrease the itch. The pruner-cleaning bottle Tim and I keep in the truck also serves this purpose. (F.Y.I.: ammonia works well as an anti-itch agent, too.)

A non-toxic mosquito repellant?
 The wonders of vinegar never cease. To de-grime our mini-blinds, I hung them on the north wall of our outdoor shower to sponge them down. This luxuriantly grassed (the only place in the yard where the turf gets lots of water), shady area is well-beloved by mosquitoes, especially by late afternoon. As I managed to drench myself as well as the blinds with vinegar and water, I noticed the whining menaces gave me a wide berth. Is it possible that vinegar is an insect repellant as well? I’ve poured some in a spray bottle, and mean to test my theory at the next opportunity.

            Want to explore more uses for nature’s miracle liquid? Check out the website “1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar.” You’ll be amazed. And cleaner. And less smelly. And not so itchy.

Thanks for dropping by.