Natural Solutions using Vinegar
Besides adding zest to salad dressings, white vinegar is handy for many cooking tasks.
1. Adding a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the water when poaching eggs helps the whites stay formed. Add a few tablespoons to the water when boiling eggs, and if any shells crack, the whites won’t leak out.
2. If your leafy veggies are wilted, soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar can perk them right up.
3. After chopping an onion, you can eliminate the odor from your hands by rubbing them with a bit of white vinegar.
4. When cooking any vegetables from the cabbage family (like broccoli or cauliflower), adding a little vinegar to the water will perk up the taste and reduce the gassiness they can induce. This also works when cooking beans, making Mexican food a far more attractive option.Cleaning House: Vinegar can help with a variety of cleaning tasks, since the acid acts as a disinfectant and an odor neutralizer.
5. Clean and deodorize the garbage disposal by mixing equal parts vinegar and baking soda and putting it down the drain. After letting this fizzing mixture sit for a few minutes, flush out the drain with warm water for a clean and stink-free sink.
6. The steam from a boiling a bowl of vinegar and water can loosen caked-on food and get rid of odors in the microwave, too.
7. One of my favorite vinegar remedies and my personal weapon against fruit flies is to set out a small dish of white vinegar and some smashed fruit, covered with plastic wrap with some holes in it–the flies crawl into the trap, but can’t get out.
8. If your stemware is cloudy from the dishwasher, wrap the glasses in paper towels soaked in vinegar, let them sit, and the cloudy deposits will rinse right off.
9. There’s no need to use bleach on tile grouting when you can let vinegar soak on it and then scrub with a toothbrush.
10. Bring lightly scuffed or dirty DVDs back to life by wiping them down with some vinegar on a soft cloth.
11. If you have water condensation marks on your wood, just rub the piece of furniture with equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil to remove them. Make sure to rub with the grain, and then invest in a set of coasters.Cleaning Clothes: Vinegar works magic on upholstery and fabric, too.
12. If a child has an ‘accident’ on a mattress, clean it with a solution of vinegar and water. Afterwards, pour some baking soda onto the mattress, and brush or vacuum the residue once it’s dry.
13. Spraying vinegar onto deodorant-stained shirts before the wash can remove the discoloration. It’s also great for fighting mustard, tomato sauce, or ketchup stains.
14. Adding a cupful of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine can freshen up bright colors and give you cleaner laundry. Acetic acid won’t harm fabrics, but it dissolves the soap residue that can dull dark clothing. It also acts as a fabric softener, a static reducer, and a mildew-inhibitor.
15. Vinegar will also loosen chewing gum stuck to car upholstery, rugs, and carpeting.Outdoor Solutions: Tough enough even for the outdoors, vinegar can function as a car cleaner and an organic pest remover.
16. If your car still sports a bumper sticker from two elections ago, remove it by spraying the decal with white vinegar to saturate the area, and the sticker will peel off in a few hours. (You might need to spray it a few times.)
17. Wiping down your car windows and windshield with a three-to-one vinegar-water mixture can keep them frost-free in the wintertime.
18. Kill weeds and crabgrass growing in sidewalks and driveways by pouring vinegar onto them. A half-and-half solution of vinegar and water can even kill garden slugs if it’s sprayed directly onto them.
19. To extend the life of cut flowers, add a few tablespoons of vinegar to the water in their vase, along with a teaspoon of sugar.Pet Protection: There’s no need to use chemicals near pets when vinegar can handle most cleaning and bathing tasks.
20. Wipe out itchy ears with undiluted vinegar to keep dogs and cats from scratching at them.
21. Cats avoid vinegar, so to keep them from scratching furniture or sitting on certain areas, spray a vinegar solution onto the spot.
22. For outdoor areas, soak a sponge in vinegar and place it in the forbidden area to keep cats away. If kitty likes to mark his territory, spraying the area with vinegar can help eliminate the smell and deter recurrences.
23. Vinegar also gets rid of skunk odor. Soak the animal with a half-and-half vinegar and water solution, and then rinse with fresh water.
Vinegar can disinfect, deodorize, and de-gunkify just about everything. From shower curtains to sofa cushions, there’s not much that it can’t do. As an alternative to expensive and harsh cleaning chemicals, vinegar is something you can feel good about keeping in your cupboards. White vinegar and baking soda can even remove product buildup from hair and leave it soft and manageable. A product that can clean you, the dog, your car, and your house is what I’d call a good, green buy.
9 ‘harmless’ habits that age you
Little things can sabotage your efforts to slow down the clock
updated 9:01 a.m. ET, Tues., May 4, 2010
It pretty much goes without saying that smoking cigarettes and frying your skin in the sun make you older, so kudos for quitting and slathering on the sunscreen religiously. But if you’re trying to turn back the clock — or at least slow it down a little — don’t overlook these other habits that may be sabotaging your efforts.
1. You keep your college bedtime
Act your age: We’re not saying you need a perfect 8 hours every single night, but make sleep a priority more often and your body will thank you. Everyone's sleep needs are different; to find out what yours are, sleep experts recommend you turn off the alarm clock when you're well rested, and see how long you naturally sleep. (Most people need 7 to 8 hours.)
Read more: 100 ways to sleep better
2. You have a soft spot for sweets
Act your age: It's not easy to eliminate sugar completely, but limiting added sugar to no more than 10% of total calories can help. If you're a 45-year-old woman of average height (5-foot-4), that's 160 calories (or 10 teaspoons) from added sugar — about the number in one 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola or six Hershey's Kisses. By comparison, the average American consumes 31 teaspoons per day of added sugar, or the equivalent of 465 calories. Watch for stealthy sugar in unexpected foods, like salad dressing. Many prepared foods contain hefty amounts of sugar, but it's hidden under aliases — including barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, and turbinado — on ingredient panels.
Read more: How sugar ages your skin
3. You’re stressed more often than not
Over time, stress that doesn’t go away can delay healing, harden your arteries, and possibly shrink areas of your brain involved in learning, memory, and mood—talk about feeling older!
Act your age: Stress will never go away completely, but how you manage everyday blips can keep hormones on a more even — and healthy — keel. Deep breathing is the top antistress pick of Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD: He makes time for it at least twice a day. “It only takes 2 minutes,” he says. “I do it in the morning, when I’m falling asleep in the evening, and anytime I feel upset.” Try it: Exhale strongly through the mouth, making a whoosh sound. Breathe in quietly through the nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7, then exhale with the whoosh for a count of 8. Repeat the cycle 3 more times.
Read more: Stressed? Here's how it shows on your face
4. You only exercise when trying to lose weight
Act your age: Don’t let your sneakers get dusty. Choose any activity you enjoy — be it walking, cycling, or dancing — and aim for a minimum of 20 to 25 minutes a day. Break it down, if you have to, into two 10-minute sessions. Slowly increase the frequency, duration, and intensity in small increments. If you miss a day, don’t let it become a habit; just pick up again the next day.
Read more: Burn fat in 10 minutes
5. You blast your iPod
Act your age: To ageproof your iPod, keep the volume as low as possible. Use noise-canceling earbuds to block out ambient sounds, reducing your need to jack up the volume. Wear earplugs when you’re around other loud noises too, like the garbage disposal, coffee grinder, lawn mower, etc.
Read more: Prevent hearing loss
6. You never see your girlfriends
Act your age: Your friends keep you young — simple as that. So if hectic schedules keep you apart, consider carving a more permanent place in your schedule for friend time. Take advantage of Facebook or e-mail groups to stay in touch on a more frequent basis — even clicking through and commenting on a pal’s recently uploaded vacation photos can help you feel closer.
Read more: 8 friends every woman needs
7. You eat fruits and veggies — but not every day
Act your age: ODing on veggies a couple of days a week or month—and skipping them the rest of the time—doesn’t do your body any favors. To truly maximize their age-defying benefits, aim to eat antioxidants every 4 hours or so or with every meal.
Read more: 14 ways to make vegetables less boring
8. You’ve shunned all fat from your diet
Act your age: Remember that fat isn’t inherently evil, and it won’t make you fat per se. About 20 to 35% of your daily calories should come from fat (mainly healthy, unsaturated fat) like those from the above sources.
Read more: Healthy fats you should enjoy
9. You can’t remember the last time you had sex
Act your age: Rekindle the romance between you and your partner. To shake things up, try making the first move next time. “Some women are not active participants in their sex lives,” says Pat Covalt, PhD, author of What Smart Couples Know. “A lot of men would like to be touched more, seduced more. Everyone wants to feel wanted.”