Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tip of the Week: Baking Soda and Vinegar

I know I am a little late posting this week's Tip of the Week, but better late than never right? There are a lot of people spouting the benefits of vinegar and baking soda around the internet and some of the books I'm reading right now (I got some really awesome homesteading books as gifts over the holidays) and I decided to try out a few. I've compiled a list of the uses I have found and loved for these two cleaning warriors. One of my favorite things about these two things ingredients is that there are SO MANY uses for them. I'm not even joking, you can probably do anything with baking soda and vinegar! So, what can you do with them?....


1. Washing Your Hair

I'll admit, I was a little bit skeptical about ditching my shampoo and conditioner (how does it remove the grease and stringiness? My scalp is an oil machine!). When I left my typical organic shower products at my parents' house for the holidays, I decided to try a technique I'd read about several times. First, I took a small mason jar that had previously contained jam and devoted it to my shower routine. Next, I sprinkled about a tablespoon of baking soda into the jar and took it in the shower with me (my jar is a half of a pint so if your jar is bigger, you'll need more soda or less water). When I'm ready to wash my hair, I fill the jar up with warm shower water and slowly drizzle the soda water over my scalp. It's not like regular shampoo because it isn't thick, it's more of a rinse. Trust me though, my hair is typically very oily unless I shower every day and since I've been using soda, I've been able to wash my hair less. I do the same technique (you can use separate jars probably but I just pour right out of the bottle) with a bottle of apple cider vinegar as a conditioner after you're done rinsing out the soda. The vinegar reacts with the residual soda and keeps your hair from looking like you've got major dandruff!

2. Cleaning Spills From Carpets

We had a baby visitor stay in our house recently who contracted some kind of tummy issues (probably a cold or food poisoning) which resulted in a lot of yucky carpet. While the carpet was still wet from the mess, we drizzled a little bit of white vinegar onto the yucky stuff, patted the spot dry with a rag, sprinkled baking soda onto the damp area, and waited for the carpet to dry. After everything was dry, we vacuumed up the mess and it didn't leave a stain! Also, it was really cool listening to the soda react with the vinegar. Until the mess dried, our carpet sizzled!!!!

3. Helping Relieve Nausea and Upset Stomach

One of my best friends taught me this one! Ok, I'll admit that it's kinda gross, but if you can get over the taste, this trick really works. In a little cup, put a small amount of baking soda into the bottom and cover with just enough water so that you can take a shot of soda water. Try and drink it as fast as you can because jeez is it gross. The soda water helps relieve nausea because it bubbles in your stomach, causing you to burp and relieve some of the pressure in your stomach. All around, this technique is a little gross but trust me, it works. 

4. Removing Soap Scum From Showers 

In my line of work, I do a lot of cleaning. Let me just repeat that... I do a LOT of cleaning. Sometimes my clients use harsh chemicals to clean that I don't want to be in contact with or I am allergic to the scent (it's not an official allergy but most artificial scents will give me a sneezing fit and a swollen nose). A really great compromise I have come up with is using baking soda and vinegar for almost all of my bathroom cleaning purposes. For soap scumy tubs, rinse the shower and tub so all the surfaces you want to clean are damp. Using a damp rag, add a little bit of baking soda so that your rag is a little "gritty". The soda acts as a gentle "sand paper" that scrubs away soap scum in minutes. Also, vinegar is a disinfectant and can be used anywhere that you would use bleach. I use apple cider vinegar because it smells better than distilled white. 

5. Drying Out Pimples

Baking soda is very absorbent, which is why it is such a magical substance. By mixing a tiny bit of water with a tiny amount of soda, I've created a paste that dries out zits in no time. Just apply it before you go to bed and in the morning wash off the film. It's best not to use too much of the paste on your face though because it can remove the natural oils that your body produces that keeps your skin happy and healthy. 

I'm sure there are many other uses for these two ingredients (or science fair experiments!), but these are the ones I've tested and have found success with. Do you have any helpful hints for these two wonder substances?

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