Using white vinegar for common household tasks can save you around $100 per year.
Well, white vinegar can replace many of the common cleaning products you have in your home… the ones you are always repurchasing throughout the year.
A gallon of vinegar will cost about $2.50.
This gallon will come in handy for the ten household tasks below and should last you at least six months, if not longer. No more paying for expensive weed killers, window cleaners, dryer sheets, and more.
White Vinegar is ideal for cleaning as it contains an acid content of about 5%, which helps to:Kill microorganisms Work as a disinfectant Deodorizer Odorless Once Dried Affordable Natural Bug Repellent
Here’s 10 excellent ways you can use white vinegar for everyday household tasks.#1 All Purpose Cleaner
Use vinegar to create an all-purpose cleaner that you can use on most surfaces. You can clean the windows, your shower, wash floors, wipe down countertops, or clean your kids toys. All you need to do is combine equal parts of white vinegar and water into a spray bottle, shake it up, and you’re ready to go. If you want to add a fragrance consider adding tea tree essential oil as it smells crisp and clean, and it’s antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antiviral!#2 In the Washing Machine
It’s true. Add a half cup of vinegar to your laundry load, as you would normally do, and it will help make your laundry extra fresh. You will still use your soap (and softener if you’d like), but vinegar will assist with softening, eliminating stubborn stains and deodorizing.#3 DIY Dryer Sheets
If you’re looking for unique ways to save money and incorporate more natural products into your cleaning regimens, consider making your own dryer sheets by utilizing white vinegar.
Simply fill a glass jar halfway with vinegar, add 15-20 drops of an essential oil (optional for scent) and put some rags into the jar. When you need a dryer sheet, ring out one of the rags and throw it in with your clothes. These DIY dryer sheets will eliminate static and help soften your laundry.#4 Clean the Microwave
Combine equal parts of white vinegar and water into a coffee mug, and place your mug in the microwave. Run the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Carefully remove the mug ensuring not to burn your hand and simply wipe your microwave clean. The moisture will loosen up any food or spills that may have occurred, and the steamed vinegar will help deodorize your microwave for a fresh and clean result.#5 Scissors
If the blades of your scissors have any sticky residue on them, dampen a rag with vinegar and carefully wipe the blades of your scissors. The vinegar will do an excellent job of removing any adhesive or build up, and your scissors will be shining like they’re new!#6 Jetted Bathtub Cleanse
Whether you want to deep clean your jetted bathtub or your hot tub, vinegar is an excellent way to do so. The acidic nature of the vinegar will reduce the calcium build up in the tub and get rid of any bacteria hiding in those jets. Simply fill your tub with warm water until the jets are fully submerged, and then add 2 cups of vinegar. Run your jets for 10 minutes and you will have a freshly descaled tub.#7 All Natural Weed Killer
Kill the weeds in your yard, without harsh chemicals. For this, you will need:table salt dish soap vinegar (duh!)
Begin by combining 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 cup of vinegar together in a spray bottle. Let that sit for at least 10 minutes, or until the salt is dissolved and then add 1 teaspoon of dish soap. Shake this is and begin spraying those pesky weeds. Use this weed killer on a sunny day for accelerated results.#8 Remove Wallpaper
Don’t spend money on an expensive wallpaper remover, when vinegar works just as well. Combine equal parts of vinegar and warm water together in a spray bottle. Spray this combination onto the wallpaper and let it penetrate through to the adhesive for about 10 minutes before scraping it off.
For even easier removal, use a wallpaper perforator before spraying on your homemade solution. The microscopic holes will allow the solution to get behind the paper.#9 Clean Your Shower Head
Combine a half cup of baking soda with 1 cup of vinegar in a large freezer-size ziploc bag. Raise the bag up to your shower head and submerge it into the mixture. Secure the bag with a rubber band and let this sit. This will help remove any calcium build up or bacteria that has accumulated over time. Remove the bag after 30 minutes and run the shower to thoroughly rinse.#10 Dishwasher
Even though a dishwasher is constantly washing and having soap run through it, it is still important to deep clean your dishwasher. White vinegar will help to eliminate any hard water stains and soap scum buildup that might be lingering around. Simply prepare to run your dishwasher as you normally would, but fill a coffee mug up half way with vinegar and place it upright on the top shelf. The steam will help cleanse and disinfect your dishwasher… plus, you will be shocked to see how clean your dishes come out. No streaks at all.
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From Source Article: moneypit.com
The start of spring brings balmy afternoons, the thwack of baseball bats, and emerald lawns and flowers bursting into bloom. But it’s not all pretty. Throughout the United States, termites, carpenter ants and an army of other household pests are swarming around houses, foundations and woodpiles, preparing themselves for their annual munch fest. Now is the time for spring pest control. Preventing termites from destroying your home involves being prepared before it happens and knowing the signs of when it does.
This year pest experts estimate roughly 50 billion termites are gearing up to attack homes; maybe yours. The unwanted pests cost homeowners approximately $2 billion per year.
Home Improvement expert Bob Vila knows all too well what termites can do. He and his wife purchased a 200 year-old Cape on Martha’s Vineyard. Termites had already eaten their way through most of the floorboards and the windowsill plates. Repairs are about 75 percent complete. “We’ve never spent a night in the house”, Vila said. “This summer, hopefully, we’ll get in”.
Unfortunately, by the time a homeowner realizes he or she has a pest problem; the damage has already been done.
“You hardly ever know, unless it’s in an advanced state”, said Villa.
Termites can be tough to spot, typically entering your home in areas like inside dark crawlspaces or the basement, unless you happen to be around during a swarm, a part of the termite’s life cycle where they fly off and reproduce. When this happens, you’ll either spot the swarm itself or find the clear wings termite swarms leave behind, typically near windows or on sills.
Mud tunnels running along a homes foundation, on floor framing or even in drywall are another indicator that termites may have chosen your house for a meal. Termites construct these tunnels to keep themselves moist during the journey from nests deep in the ground around your house to the wood floor or wall framing they’ll often feed on.
But by the time you notice the signs of an termite infestation, the damage has most likely already been done. To avoid a surprise attack, have your home inspected for termite damage. An annual, professional wood destroying insect inspection only costs about a hundred bucks, good for the whole year and the best way of preventing termites from invading your home.
If termites are found, a new breed of undetectable pesticides like Termidor Termite Defense is one way to deal with them.
Unlike the old repellent treatments or baits that take too long to work, undetectable termiticides are installed into the soil where termites live, creating an effective pest control. The insects unknowingly pass through Termidor and then take some of it back to the nest where it is passed to the rest of the colony, killing the entire infestation once and for all.
Spring Pest Problems not Limited to Termites
Though hard to imagine, carpenter ants can chomp their way through wood sections of a house even better than a termite. Ants are probably the number one pest in the United States.
Some sections of the country, particularly the southeastern United States, are harder hit than others with carpenter house infestations, simply because the weather is warmer much of the year. Carpenter ants love moisture and warmth, and are only as active as the environment is.
Before you reach for the can of Raid, make sure you know what you are dealing with. Take a sample of the pest to your local county agricultural agent, or call in a pest control expert for an opinion.
If pesticides are called for, companies these days are using integrated pest management, which basically translates into tailoring the pesticide to the pest, then using as small an amount of pesticides as possible to do the job.
By combining integrated pest control techniques, the exterminator could apply less pesticide, thereby minimizing exposure to the consumer and liability to the applicator.
These Wood Destroyers Leave Powder Behind
Termites and carpenter ants are not the only wood destroyers that can wreak havoc in your home. Powder post beetles are found in every state in the continental U.S. and can be as destructive as termites. Powder post beetle larvae usually enter the home through infested wood, before any sign of infestation is noticed. The larvae then mature and bore their way out of the wood, leaving behind a small hole and fine sawdust, hence the name.
Powder post beetles can be found in hardwood floors, furniture and cabinets. Un-infested wood that is already finished (sanded, stained and varnished) will not become infested because adult beetles can’t get into the wood to lay their eggs. Once powder post beetles have infested wood, fumigation by a qualified pest professional is really the only way to go. Unfortunately, it does not rule out future infestation.
The best thing you can do to prevent a powder post beetle invasion is to inspect any wood before you purchase it, or ask your contractor to do the same. Moisture is a big factor in infestation, so make sure the wood is properly kiln or air dried. Also make sure the wood is sealed or use treated wood, and don’t store wood furniture outside, in a shed or a garage.Preventing Termites, Carpenter Ants and Powder Post Beetles
Homeowners don’t have to sit idly by until their rafters and floorboards collapse. There are pest control steps and preventative measures that can be taken to keep the bugs at bay:Keep your house dry. Termites and carpenter ants love moisture. Check your gutters and downspouts to make sure water drains away from your house. Keep all firewood and wood products away from your foundation. Vila suggests buying only enough firewood to get you through the season. Trim fence slats and any wood trim around your house like garage door jams up off the soil. Remove all wood, cardboard to paper from the crawlspace or basement floor. If storage is necessary, be sure to keep storage off the floor to avoid attracting insects.
Most importantly, if termites, carpenter ants or wood destroying beetles do infest your home – don’t panic! These insects work very slowly. Take your time and find a qualified pest management pro to help you kill them once and for all.
The National Pest Management Association is an excellent resource for finding a qualified Pest Management Professional in your area who will be preventing termites, powder post beetles and other wood-destroying insects from destroying your home.
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From Source Article: moneypit.com
If your home suffers from drippy, wet condensation on the inside of windows during cold weather, you’ve probably noticed it can make a real mess of everything below. In the 20 years I spent as a professional home inspector, I’ve noticed all sorts of so-called DIY “solutions” for this problem, from rolled up towels strategically placed to catch drips on the window sills below, to very creative attempts at channeling water with what can only be described as a built-in gutter connected to the bottom of these persistently wet windows! Needless to say, while amusing, these well-intentioned attempts rarely provide any long term benefit.
Truth be told, if you really want to stop window condensation, you first need to understand why it happens. Let’s start with an example most can related to. Imagine sitting outside on a warm summer day with a glass of ice-cold lemonade at your side. The outside of that glass will be wet with condensation. Why? Because warm air holds more moisture than cold air, and as the warm summer air that strikes that cold glass and gets chilled, it releases the moisture it held and voilà – you’ve got condensation!
This same thing happens inside a home when conditions are right. If water forms on the inside of windows, there’s likely a combination of causes allowing that to happen. These include high humidity, poor insulation and a lack of good mechanical and passive ventilation. They all combine to let moisture form and rise up through the home causing a wide variety of potentially unhealthy and unpleasant conditions from water damage, to mold and more.
Building science tells us that this movement of moist air is part of the “stack effect” where warmer air enters a structure from the lower floors, often though a crawlspace or basement, and then rises up through the building – cooling as it goes – and releasing much of that moisture along the way. It’s a powerful force, but one that can be overcome with steps to reduce moisture at all its sources.
How to Stop Condensation Inside Windows – Once and For All
Given that we can’t fight physics, the best way to stop condensation from forming on the inside of windows is to reduce the humidity that allows that moisture to form in the first place. That includes addressing the most common ways excess moisture gets in to the home, improving windows to be able to reduce the temperature differential between outside and inside, and improving the ventilation needed to move the moisture out. Some of these steps are simple, some take more time, expense and planning. But all will help reduce or completely eliminate moisture from forming inside your windows and can be accomplished individually or all at once.
Grading, Gutters and Drainage
Whether you have a home on a basement, crawlspace or slab, chances are you are letting too much moisture collect too close to your foundation. Gutters often become clogged, downspouts rarely extend far enough away from a home and soil often settles around the foundation. These conditions allow rain water to take aim at your concrete or block foundation which is perfectly suited to absorb that moisture and discharge it as humidity that evaporates from the foundation into the house, or even as a full-fledged basement or crawlspace flood!
To stop the flow, clean your gutters, extend spouts at least 4 to 6 feet away and make sure the grading around your home slopes AWAY from the foundation. For all the details, read our post about stopping wet basements as the very same advice applies.
For crawlspaces, and especially those with dirt floors, it’s also important to install a vapor barrier (thick plastic sheet, with as few seams as possible) across the entire crawlspace floor and assure that the crawlspace vents are left open in all but the very coldest months.Improve Ventilation from Bottom to Top
The EPA tells us that indoor air is typically far more polluted that outdoor air. Improving your homes ventilation can make air healthy again. Consider the following:Add Mechanical Ventilation
The foundation of a healthy home is a healthy basement, as basements are one of the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution and high humidity. One product perfectly suited to address both is EZ Breathe. EZ Breathe is a ventilation system that takes moisture out of the air and improves indoor air quality by helping remove odors, allergens, chemicals, mold spores, dander, soil gases, all manners of indoor air pollutants. It works by exhausting the stale air from below grade spaces as well as the contaminants and moisture that come with it, and replaces it with fresh air, thereby creating a healthier, less humid atmosphere.
With humidity being reduced at the source, it’s much less likely to be available to form on windows, walls and other areas inside the home. In fact, some EZ Breathe customers have reported basements feeling dryer and warmer, as well as completely eliminating window condensation.Make Sure Bath and Kitchen Fans Vent Outside
Another common source of moisture inside the home is that which we create from cooking and bathing. In both cases, it’s important that exhaust fans be vented outside. Kitchen vent hoods that don’t exhaust and simply recirculate do nothing to reduce moisture. Bath exhaust fans also need to be vented outside, and not into attics or other crawlspaces. Plus, since humidity hangs around long after bathing is complete, bath exhaust fans should be on timers or humidistats that allow them to run long enough to completely eliminate the moisture before shutting off.
As an added benefit, reducing bathroom humidity also means that mold won’t be able to form nearly as easily, and you’ll be doing a lot less cleaning!
Improve Attic Ventilation
Many homeowners tend to think of the home as being built in sections that are sealed off from each other. But while a roof can keep out the rain and insulation can prevent heat loss, moisture on the other hand, has the uncanny ability to flow freely from the basement to the living space an on up into the attic. That’s why good attic ventilation is an important part of the managing moisture that might otherwise show up as window condensation.
Aside from the negative effects of condensation, moisture that condenses in attics can rot out roof sheathing and render insulation ineffective. In fact, if you are wondering if your attic has excessive moisture, here’s a home inspector’s trick of the trade; Next time you are up there, look at the tips of roof shingle nails that stick through the sheathing. If you see rust on those nail tips – you’ve got moisture that’s not being ventilated!
To correct poor attic ventilation, I recommend continuous soffit and ridge vents. Air will enter the attic at the ridge, run up under the roof sheathing when it carts heat away in summer and moisture away in winter, and exit at the ridge. This 24/7 ventilation solution is far more effective than any other type of mechanical or passive attic ventilation solution.
Replace Old Windows
I saved this point for last because it’s costly and as explained above, there’s a lot you can do short of window replacement to reduce or eliminate condensation inside windows. However, truth be told, the worst windows condensation problems are caused by poorly insulated window glass. Windows that are single pane, many older metal windows or those that are thermal pane where the insulating seal has been lost (these often also appear as foggy) are ripe for a condensation issue.
As we discussed earlier, just like condensation forms on a glass of ice-cold lemonade during a hot summer day, warm moist air that strikes a cold window surface will release that same moisture and turn into a drippy, leaky mold-forming mess in your home. By replacing inefficient, drafty and cold windows with new Energy Star rated units, you’ll find that condensation will be a rare occurrence, especially if you also tackle some of the steps outlined above.
To reduce costs, consider replacing windows on the colder north side of your home first, followed by the east, west and south. By spreading the job over multiple seasons, you’ll be replacing those windows must likely to form condensation first, and then completing the job in year 2, 3 or even 4.
Stopping condensation inside windows is far easier to do if you understand the basic causes and cures. By reducing moisture at its source, adding mechanical ventilation like EZ Breathe, as well as improved bath, kitchen and attic ventilation, and by replacing old, outdated windows, you’ll be able to enjoy a dry, healthy and comfortable indoor environment.