Friday, April 16, 2010

Vinegar Fridays

With the nice spring weather, I've been on a gardening kick, so here we go again on Vinegar Friday. These are tips for outdoor living that all involve white distilled vinegar.

Getting ready to hang up your hummingbird/butterfly feeders? Don't wash them out with soap and water! The soap residue is bad for these beauties. Instead, soak them in water and vinegar. Scrub as needed and let the sun dry them before filling with your favorite nectar.

Before starting up your fountain for the summer, make sure you immerse the pump in vinegar to get rid of the mineral deposits. This will keep your pump in good working condition.

Cleaning with undiluted distilled white vinegar is a good idea for birdbaths and grills. You can shine up your grill by spraying the vinegar on a ball of aluminum foil and scrubbing away at all the cooked on grime.

With the warmer weather comes the occasional distinct odor of something that died somewhere close by. After you locate the dead rodent and remove all the remains, saturate the area with vinegar. As an added insurance that the odor is gone, cover with a fabric softener sheet (if you still have some around after learning about how bad they are for you, your dryer and your clothing).

Dilute some vinegar in water to clean your kids' outdoor toys and equipment. While you're cleaning the toys, you can also sanitize your furniture with a vinegar-soaked rag. Plastic porch furniture is a little sensitive, so dilute 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a gallon of water. For tough stains, pour some baking soda on the furniture and scrub with a soft cloth.

Of course, distilled white vinegar is a natural pest deterrent:
  • Rabbits will stay away from vinegar. Wash out some empty pill bottles and pour some vinegar in them. Add cotton, punch holes in the lid and place them around your plants.
  • If moths are a problem, capture them in can with a blend of vinegar and molasses (2 parts to 1). Attach a wire or string to the can and hang it from a tree. My husband loves moths, so this is something I'm not likely to do.
  • Slugs can be a nuisance, in a slow, unobtrusive way. Kill them by spritzing them with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water.
  • Solve the problem of ant colonies by pouring undiluted vinegar right on the anthill.
  • While you're not going to find me calling cats pests per se, they can be troublesome if they opt for using your kids' sandbox for a litterbox. Keep them out by pouring vinegar in the sand.
Clean your outdoor rugs by adding a cup of vinegar to a bucket of warm water and using a brush to scrub with. Just grab the hose for a good rinsing.

When it's harvest time for your vegetables (can't wait!), wash them well with a tablespoon of vinegar in 1 1/2 quarts of water.

Weeds and grass poking through your patio or walkway bricks can be easily, and safely, eliminated by pouring vinegar directly on them.

If you have a problem with lime in your gardens, neutralize it with vinegar. And by adding some vinegar to your watering can, you can boost the acidity of your soil. This is a good way to change the color of your hydrangea blooms, although your should check with your local gardening center to determine the best way to do this.

Berry stains on your hands and other gardening-related skin problems can be eradicated simply by rinsing your hands in vinegar when your done berry-picking or playing in the dirt.

And that's all I have for you, my friends, today on Vinegar Friday.

Enjoy your day, naturally.

Keeping it green,


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