Eco-feeling: how I use vinegar around the house

In recent times, I started to be more conscious about the environment and what I, as an individual, am doing to it. Because in the end, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? We can keep talking about the enormous shift in mindset that humanity will have to put in place to change things around for the planet when it all really boils down to what you and I are doing to the planet. Some of us have more power to change things than others, but we are essentially all empowered to have a say through the choices we make every day.

A clever friend of mine started a group on Facebook called “Pledge my age” and it asks from its followers to post one positive change in their behaviour toward the environment for each year they have lived. Inspired by this idea, I decided not only to follow this group but also to create regular posts about the eco-friendly practices I have heard of, tried myself, those that worked for our family and those that didn’t. Perhaps together we can think of some sustainable alternatives.

I will start today sharing my passion for a product you either love or hate and that we all come to hear about at some point: white vinegar.

I will start by stating what I have found from my own, personal research: white vinegar disinfects, whitens and softens fabrics. It is great as a household cleaning agent, it gets rid of many stains and it even disinfects minor wounds naturally.

Now the ugly bit: vinegar is not everyone’s favourite fragrance. But then again, it contaminates less than bleach and doesn’t stink any worse. Here’s how vinegar is used around my home:

As a multipurpose cleaner

This is where you will need to disguise the *very* strong smell of vinegar. I add lavender essential oil (15-20 drops) into a spray bottle containing one cup of water and one cup of white vinegar. This is the mix I swear by when it comes to dusting, wiping surfaces, cleaning bathrooms and even the kitchen. I have used it on smooth wooden furniture and laminate flooring, but I guess it’s a good idea to try on a small portion first if unsure.

To get rid of limescale

Wash your bathtub or shower plate with vinegar and water and you’ll be sure to clean surfaces and disinfect; don’t let the lack of foamy water or bubbles deceive you. We usually spray the whole area, let it act for a bit and then wipe/rinse; we only repeat this once more.

A side effect is getting rid of limescale. Try a little experiment: clean everything but the drain hole and you’ll see that as the vinegar naturally goes through it, all the limescale disappears on it and you get a shiny, grease-free drain hole (and bathtub) with no effort (or very little).

To clean floors

Again, you can use the same mix of vinegar, water, and lavender oil. The only thing to keep in mind is, on white flooring you will see marks, but they’ll be gone by the next day. I guess it’s better on patterned, wood-like flooring.

As a drains un-blocker

For this one, you need to use equal parts of white vinegar and sodium bicarbonate (aka baking powder). First, pour the vinegar on the blocked drain and then the baking soda: a fizzing sound will let you know something’s cooking 😊 –and you will see it too. Make sure to pour the vinegar and bicarbonate a bit at a time so you can control the mounting fizzing and check the effectiveness; it will also help you estimate whether you will need to pour in some more.

Unlike with common products for unblocking drains, you can do this as much as you like since it won’t corrode your pipes.

To get rid of shirt stains

This is one where you’ll need to pour in some elbow grease (not much, promised), but to a good end: it works. I have used all sorts of detergents to get rid of the yellowish stains under arms and on shirt collars, to no avail (won’t say whose shirts, just that our subject is male, in case you wondered). With this simple routine, you can have sparkling shirts in a breeze and you won’t need to do it often, I do it every 2 months or so. So here goes, the magic trick:

Sprinkle sodium bicarbonate on the areas of interest

Spray your vinagre+water+lavender oil on top and watch the fizzing build up. You can decide how much of it you want to put in. If needed, add some more baking soda; there ‘ll come a time when you’ll know how much to put into it.

Let it sit (roughly 30 mins)

Use the “puree” on your shirt as a scrub and rub *gently*, as some fabrics may be more fragile than others.

The greasy stains on collars are guaranteed to disappear with such a simple action. Armpits may take longer to get rid of, but they will seriously improve.

To clean the fridge

Using detergents on the fridge can generate nice little friends such as mould and bad smell over time. The trick here is to use a mix of water and vinegar (equal parts). Just spray it or rub it in the sink or do it whichever way you prefer. Nice and easy.

So where do I buy white vinegar?

Well here at Casa Tweaks, of course! No, seriously, I get it online. We have been unable to find it in bigger sizes in stores but if I do, I’ll be sure to post here. There are some very good offers out there and white vinegar always goes a long way –while contaminating less than any of the more conventional cleaning products available in the market. Same applies to Sodium Bicarbonate, you can find generous sizes for a very reasonable price.

We will discuss Sodium Bicarbonate in another post, in the meantime try some of these tips and see what works for you and what doesn’t. And if you know of other tricks that can be useful at home, please make sure to comment as we are all interested.

Ana Lucía Medina

Casa Tweaks at Archdeacon Cambridge’s Primary school – Thursday, 15th November

 We are happy to announce that Casa Tweaks will be present at a fundraising event for Archdeacon Cambridge’s Primary school in Twickenham.

It will be a shopping and pamper evening at the school’s main hall, starting at 7.30pm and up until 10.30pm. Tickets are just £5 and include a welcome glass of fizz plus a ticket for the raffle which has some truly amazing prizes from the exhibitors, including a gorgeous iron home accessory from Arti e Mestieri, donated by Casa Tweaks.

Massages, eyebrow threading, mini facials, manicures and reflexology are all available to book in advance. There will also be hand massages and free make up colour analysis sessions available to book on the night.

And of course, you will be able to get a drink at the fabulous Deakie Arms bar while enjoying some live music (still to be confirmed).

We love to be part of this lovely local initiative. Come along and treat yourself to a lovely evening in a very friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

Casa Tweaks is open!

You happen to be walking down the street, minding your own business, thinking about tonight’s dinner out and what you’re going to wear when suddenly you see it.

It’s a door that wasn’t there just yesterday. It’s yellow (bright) and next to it is someone unpacking a round object with slow-motion care. She places the object on the window of what appears to be a store, notices your puzzled look and smiles an inviting smile.

This is what Casa Tweaks is about –a little (online) shop where you can come in, have a look and find that perfect object you still didn’t know your home needed. We look bright yellow because we like the power of sunshine and what it can bring into every home (plus let’s face it –it suits us!) and it reminds us of yellow lemon fields in Sorrento.

Should’ve mentioned our store sells homeware from all around Europe…

We lived for quite some time in Italy and many of the objects that made part of our everyday life back then are still with us. Some have lost a bit of their original shine yet they look robust and homely and they tell stories of family. This is why we love our Casa –we only display on the window those products that we know can truly turn a house into a home.

And when is a home born? A home is born when a new picture is hung, when curtains go up or a new vase appears by the windowsill. It’s usually the smaller objects that you treasure most. At Casa Tweaks you find the objects and the brands that we love and this is why we treat our products with tender loving care.

Which reminds me of the lady still unpacking. That’s us, and we have many unopened boxes at the back of the store. Oh, and her inviting smile is also ours –this is your Casa too.