Tag Archives | vinegar

Fruit Flies Be Gone

 
Since I was young, I have loved summer fruits – peaches, nectarines, strawberries, plums!  Yumm… you could only get these fruits in the summer so I looked forward to it.  
 
What I don’t like about summer fruit….  fruit flies!  They have started to show up at my house in the last couple of weeks.  Now, I could put the fruit in the fridg, but then they don’t taste as good and I won’t eat as much.  Neither will my kids.
 
How do I deal with the fruit flies?   Fruit flies are pretty easy to deal with without using any sort of pesticides.  All you need – a small glass, apple cider vinegar and some plastic wrap.
 
Don’t use your good, expensive apple cider vinegar (ACV)with The Mother, cheap store brand works great.
 
 

 

Fill the glass with about an inch or so of ACV

 
 
 
Place some plastic wrap over the top and poke some holes.
 
 
 
Sit it by your fruit bowl.

 

 

The fruit flies are attracted to the ACV, crawl in through the holes then can’t get out.
 
You’ll need to change the vinegar every few days.  It loses its effectiveness.
 
I used to use a piece of paper wrapped into a cone shape stuck in a jar for years.  It worked, but it’s a pain when you have to change the vinegar.  I find this method much easier.
 
Now some of you may recall that I gave up plastic wrap a couple of years ago.  Where did I get this?   I took a play out of my grandmother’s book and saved some that came on a pie or maybe it was mushrooms.
 
I set up my trap when I saw the first signs of fruit flies.  So far it seems to have kept them from getting out of control.  If you have a real problem with fruit flies,  clean your drain and remove any compost, rotten fruit, and garbage often.
 
Fruit flies are pretty easy to rid without the use of pesticides.  If you have other creepy crawlies in your home, you may be tempted to use the pesticides.  Like I was when confronted with even the idea of lice!  Take a deep breathe and look into pesticide-free alternatives.   According to Healthy Child Healthy World, step one of their 5 step plan to creating a healthier environment for your children is to avoid pesticides.
 
How do you deal with pests?

This post is part of Simple Lives ThursdayFrugal Days Sustainable Ways, and Tiny Tip Tuesday.

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Don’t Toss Those Citrus Peels!

 
 
 
citrus infused vinegar for cleaning {thegreeningofwestford.com}
 
 
 
 A while ago I investigated ways to use citrus peels – beyond composting them.    In doing so I came across infused vinegar.  I was intrigued.   I have since made infused vinegar several times with oranges, lemons and grapefruit.  I am addicted!   
 
Why would I want infused vinegar?  Do I cook with it?  Maybe you could, but I use mine for my homemade cleaners.  The vinegar extracts the essential oils from the citrus peels,  mellowing the smell of the vinegar and  adding a boost of cleaning power to the vinegar.
 
I love that I can get extra use out of something before it gets composted.  If you are just getting started making your own cleaners, this is a great, cheap way to start without investing in essential oils.
 
I substitute one of these infused vinegars for the vinegar in any of the homemade cleaner recipes, then skip the essential oils. 
 
What You Need
 
 
ingredients to infuse vinegar
 
 
Citrus peels – orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, or a combination
Glass jar with lid – reuse an old spaghetti sauce jar
White distilled vinegar
 
The Method
 
 
Save your citrus peels – I save mine in the freezer until I have enough to fill the glass jar.
 
 
 
inexpensive green cleaners
 
 
Fill the jar with your peels, really stuff them in there, the more the better. (Can you tell my orange peels are frozen?)
 
 
vinegar cleaners {thegreeningofwestford.com}
 
 
 
  Fill the jar with distilled vinegar.  Make sure all the peels are covered by the vinegar, otherwise mold could start growing.  Get the kids to help!
 
 
 
citrus infused vinegar cleaner
 
 
 Let the jar sit for 1 – 2 weeks, gently shaking every once in a while.  Give it a wiff every once in a while. When you can smell more fruit than vinegar, it’s done.
 
 Strain the vinegar and keep in another jar to use.
 
 
Have you ever infused vinegar?
 
 

This post is part of Vintage MauveFrugally SustainableSeasonal Celebration SundayYour Green ResourceSimple Lives ThursdayWorks For Me Wednesday,  Frugal Fridays, Simply Natural SaturdaysHome is Where the Heart IsTiny Tip Tuesday, Green Sisterhood Weekend Reading List, Green LivingThursdayFabulously Frugal Thursday, From The Farm, Wildcrafting Wednesday

This post was featured at Tiny Tip Tuesday!!!

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Homemade Green Cleaners Made Easy

Chemicals are everywhere! In our furniture, flooring, cleaning products, toys, clothes… This list goes on. The more I read, the fact I keep coming back to is that even if a specific chemical hasn’t been linked with some detrimental effect, yet, it’s safety hasn’t been proven either.

Most of the “new” chemicals used today are not tested before they are put on the market. This is something that Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and Healthy child Healthy World are trying to change. Until they succeed, I wanted to rid my family of as many of these chemicals as I could. Again, I started with the easy, inexpensive things – our cleaning products. So many can be made from safe ingredients you have around the house – edible ingredients that people have been using for years! And so cheap! Each of these cleaners costs less than $1, after the initial expense of the spray bottle ($1). And that’s including the essential oils. Skip those and you are talking $ 0.30. If you choose to reuse an old spray bottle, just make sure you clean it very well.

I started at the library with a few books on homemade cleaners. The one I really liked is Easy Green Living by Renee Loux. It was a great introduction. She organized the book according to the rooms in your house. First she explains the possible toxins in cleaners or other things. She then gives you alternatives – homemade and store bought.

All of the ingredients were very easy to get. I did order some essential oils, but you don’t need these. And if you decide you want them, try GNC at the Pheasant Lane Mall. They carry most of the popular ones – who knew! I then bought some spray bottles from the Dollar Store and made up my own labels using Microsoft Word and some clip art. So here is my list of non-toxic cleaners I use in the 2 messiest rooms.

What you will need:

Spray bottles (Dollar Store)
White Distilled Vinegar (Grocery Store)
Castile soap (Bed, Bath and Beyond (great price!) Grocery Store, Target, GNC)
Baking Soda (Grocery Store, BJ’s, Costco)
3 % Hydrogen Peroxide (Drug Store)
Essential oils (optional, but are available locally at GNC)

 

Kitchen:

kitchen cleaning products
From left to right:

Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution found in most drugstores) – I put an extra spray top (from an old bottle of window cleaner) onto the hydrogen peroxide bottle. Keep it in the original brown bottle to keep it from breaking down.

Distilled White Vinegar – Kept in a spray bottle. For more uses for vinegar, check out a great post by Live Green Mom.

Baking Soda – an old parmesan cheese shaker bottle filled with baking soda.

All Purpose Cleaner
2 cups water, ½ cup distilled white vinegar, 1 tsp castile soap, 10 drops lavender, 10 drops lemongrass, 10 drops lemon
If you have granite counter tops, do not use this. The vinegar can damage it.

Update: I’ve since eliminated the castile soap in this recipe.  I found that it often clumped and recently discovered that vinegar and castile soap don’t really work well together and can clump!

Uses:

To clean counters and table: All Purpose Cleaner

To disinfect: I spray some of the pure vinegar then spray the hydrogen peroxide. The mixture of the 2 creates a super disinfectant. Some sources claim this combination will kill Salmonella and E. Coli. Never combine the 2 into one bottle and store. This can create a bad combination to leave around your house. I use this on my counters on occasion, cutting boards, kids’ reusable bottles, anything I feel needs a little extra.

Unclog a drain:

Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain
Pour 1 cup vinegar
Let it fizz for a while
Follow with boiling water

I also like to so this in the summer when I am having fruit fly problems. I read somewhere that they like to breed in your drain. I swear it helps!

Scrubbing Anything: I sprinkle a little baking soda on anything that needs extra scrubbing – pots, pans, dishes, the counter. Add a little water and it makes a great paste. Think of it as a substitute for Soft Scrub.

Oven Cleaner: Sprinkle your oven with baking soda, spray with water to form a paste. Let it sit for 12 hours. Wipe off. If the baking soda residue remains, spray with your straight vinegar. Vinegar dissolves baking soda.

Clean the Greasy Tops of Cabinets: I have to tell you how great baking soda is. If you have ever looked at the tops of your cabinets, especially the ones near the stove, you will notice a disgusting mix of grease and dust. The first time I tried to clean this mess, I was up there with a mixture of ammonia and water. Ugh the smell gave me a headache and it still wasn’t easy to clean. The next time I tried I knew better than to use ammonia. So I got up on my counter with my trusty shaker bottle of baking soda and a spray bottle filled with water. I sprinkled the baking soda all over the top of the cabinet then sprayed with the water, just enough to make a paste. I then wiped the paste away with a rag – the baking soda and all the grease-dust ick came right off! I was amazed! And no fumes!

 

Bathroom

bathroom cleaning products
Yes, that says USED baking soda. When I change the baking soda from my fridg and freezer, I keep it to use to clean the toilet or the drain, above. I just need the baking soda to fizz, it doesn’t need to be completely fresh to clean the commode.

Vinegar – mine is mixed with lavender, but you don’t need this.

Castile Soap

Uses:

To Clean Toilet:

Into the bowl – 1 TBSP of castile soap, 1/3 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup vinegar
Let it fizz for a few minutes
Scrub toilet
Flush

Anti-bacterial Hand Soap:

4 oz castile soap
10 drops of tea tree oil

All purpose cleaner: same as above.

I am still experimenting with homemade laundry detergents and dishwasher detergents. So far, I am not impressed with the results, but I’ll let you know if I come across anything worth passing along. Will you try these? Are you already using something similar?

Update 2/7/2011: Since this post I have tried Charlie’s Soap Powder and Soap Nuts
for laundry and Bi-O-Kleen Automatic Dish Powder with Grapefruilt Seed &; Orange Peel Extract. I LOVE them all! More on this to come.  Check here for a great deal on Bio-Kleen 8/2012.

If you purchase these products through this link, I will receive a little pocket money.


This post has been shared on Frugally Sustainable’s Wednesday Blog Hop, Teach Me Tuesdays, Printabelle, Your Green Resource, and Tiny Tip Tuesday

This post was featured at Tiny Tip Tuesday.
      

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