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As preppers, if we stored a different product for each of our cleaning needs, we’d need a storage room the size of Costco to put it all in. That’s why I love vinegar.
Vinegar is multi-purpose, non-toxic and inexpensive. With the addition of a few drops of essential oil, it even smells good. There are about a million different ways to use it, and that’s before you even get into the use of vinegar in some of your recipes.
My favorite use? Easy. Vinegar is the key component in my all purpose DIY cleaner aptly named, Peppermint Juice. More about that later.
Every self-respecting prepper should have lots of vinegar stashed away. Here are 50 reasons why. (Many of them were graciously contributed by my friend Joe Marshall at Survival Life.)
Why Preppers Need Vinegar In Their Stockpiles
1. Disinfect wood cutting boards.
2. Soothe a sore throat; use 1 tsp. of vinegar per glass of water, then gargle.
3. Fight dandruff; after shampooing, rinse hair with vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.
4. Remove warts; apply daily a 50/50 solution of cider vinegar and glycerin until they’re gone.
5. Cure an upset stomach; drink 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar in one cup of water.
6. Polish chrome.
7. Keep boiled eggs from cracking; add 2 tbsp to water before boiling.
8. Clean deposits from fish tanks.
9. Remove urine stains from carpet.
10. Keep fleas off dogs; add a little vinegar to the dog’s drinking water.
11. Keep car windows from frosting up; use a solution of 3 oz. vinegar to 1 oz. water.
12. Clean dentures; soak overnight in vinegar and then brush.
13. Get rid of lint in clothes; add 0.5 cup vinegar to rinse cycle.
14. Remove grease from suede.
15. Kill grass on sidewalks and driveways.
16. Make wool blankets softer; add 2 cups distilled vinegar to rinse cycle.
17. Remove skunk odor from a dog; rub fur with full strength vinegar and rinse.
18. Freshen wilted vegetables; soak them in 1 tbsp vinegar and a cup of cold water.
19. Dissolve mineral deposits in drip coffee makers.
20. Deodorize drains; pour a cup down the drain once a week, let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse.
21. Use as a replacement for a lemon; 0.25 tsp.. vinegar substitutes for 1 tsp. of lemon juice.
22. Make rice fluffier; add 1 tsp. of vinegar to water when it boils.
23. Prevent grease build-up in ovens; wipe oven with cleaning rag soaked in distilled vinegar and water.
24. Kill germs; mix a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
25. Clean a clogged shower head.; pour vinegar into a zip-lock bag and gang it around the shower head. let it soak overnight to remove any mineral deposits.
26. Shine patent leather.
27. Remove the smell from laundry that has been left in the washer too long; pour 1 cup of vinegar in with the load and rewash it.
28. Make propane lantern wicks burn longer/brighter; soak them in vinegar for 3 hours, let dry.
29. Act as an an air freshener.
30. Soften paint brushes; soak in hot vinegar then rinse with soapy water.
31. Remove bumper stickers and decals; simply cover them with vinegar-soaked cloth for several minutes.
32. Prolong the life of fresh-cut flowers; use 2 tbsp of vinegar and 3 tbsp of sugar per quart of warm water
33. Prevent Mildew; Wipe down shower walls with a vinegar solution.
34. Soften calloused feet; soak your feet in a mixture 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water for 30 minutes then scrub them with a pumice stone. The dead skin should slough off easily.
35. Treat Acne; start with a solution of organic apple cider vinegar and water at a ration of 1:8, apply the toner to blemishes and leave on a minimum of 2 minutes.
36. Preserve food; many vegetables that would otherwise require pressure canning may be waterbath canned if you pickle them in vinegar.
37. Remove stains from white counter tops; mix a paste of baking soda and vinegar, apply it to the stain overnight, then scrub it clean in the morning.
38. Remove cooking spray build-up; vinegar cuts grease on baking sheets when spritzed on from a spray bottle, then washed as usual.
39. Control blood sugar; drink high quality apple cider vinegar 4 times per day to keep blood sugar under control.
40. Keep psoriasis under control; wash the affected area with plain white vinegar several times per week.
41. Kill moss; spray it, undiluted, on moss.
42. Penetrating fluid for rusty items; soak metal items that are rusted together in vinegar overnight. If you begin to get some movement, replace the vinegar with fresh vinegar and soak for one more day. The items should become freed up.
43. Use in place of commercial fabric softener; add it to the last cycle in your washing machine. (Don’t worry, the water will rinse out any vinegar smell)
44. Remove pesticide from produce; soak produce in a sink full of water with 1 cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda
45. Remove ball point pen marks from walls; dab full strength vinegar on the spot with a cloth. Repeat until the mark is gone. (Don’t scrub, though, or you’ll just smear the mark all over the wall.)
46. Remove sticky residue from scissors; dip them in a cup of full strength vinegar. Then use that vinegar for other cleaning purposes.
47. Remove candle wax; if you get candle wax on your wood table, soften the candle wax with the heat of a blow dryer. Dip a cloth into equal parts vinegar and water, then gently scrub away the rest of the wax.
48. Get rid of the smell of smoke; if you burn dinner (or have a smoker in your home), you can get rid of the smell by sitting a bowl of pure vinegar out in the area where the smell is.
49. Make a trap for fruit flies (gnats); put apple cider vinegar in a Mason jar. Poke some holes in the lid large enough for them to get in. They’ll be drawn to the smell, then die in the jar.
50. Kill weeds in the cracks of your sidewalk; forget about using toxic Round-up on weeds. Spray full strength white vinegar on the plant at the roots. (10% is best if you have a real issue, not the kitchen kind).
How to Make ‘Peppermint Juice’
One of my favorite uses of vinegar is as an all-purpose cleaner. And while 1/4 cup added to water in a spray bottle while do the job just fine, it is a lot more fun to make Peppermint Juice. You will find the original recipe in the article Prepper Checklist: DIY Cleaning Supplies but I’ll repeat it here for you as well.
Window, Floor, General Surface Cleaner aka Peppermint Juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
32 oz. (1 quart) cups water
1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. peppermint essential oil
Make up a batch of Peppermint Magic in a re-purposed juice jug. Fill your spray bottles from this master supply. Using different essential oils, you can make Tea Tree Juice, Lemon Juice or some other scent. I prefer peppermint oil or tea tree oil for their antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.
The Final Word
With limited storage space and a limited budget, it is good to know that there a multi-use items out there that can do the job and perform a number of functions around the home, the garden in the great outdoors.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: The article I wrote on DIY cleaning turned out to be hugely popular all around the web. In cased you missed it, here is a link to the article Prepper Checklist: DIY Cleaning Supplies and to some of the products that I use to make my own cleaners.
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, (Pack of 36): No list of DIY cleaning supplies would be complete without these wonderful microfiber cloths. They will last you for years and will allow you to replace paper towels forever. Truly. I color code using blue for glass and windows and the other colors for everything else. I love these.
Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds Liquid Cleanser: I know that Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile soaps have a cult-like following but I prefer the Sal Suds. I call my DIY cleaner “Sudsy Sal”.
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap: Of all of the Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps, peppermint is my favorite. I use it to make “Peppermint Magic”, an all purposed cleaner.
Peppermint Essential Oil: I favor peppermint and tea tree (Melaleuca) essential oil in my cleaning supplies. But there are many types of essential oils to choose from. Take your pick. One thing you will find is that a little goes a long way. The nice thing about essential oils from Spark Naturals is that they are also excellent for therapeutic and healing use and well as for use in DIY cleaning supplies. Just remember to use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout to get 10% off your order.
Mobile Washer: This is hand operated washing machine. Like a plunger, it uses a technique of pushing and pulling the water through clothes to clean them well without wearing them out. It uses a minimum of water and less soap due to the agitation motion. Use in a bucket (5-gallon suggested), sink or tub.