Three Household Products That Have Changed Our Lives (and 50 ways we use them)
By Jessica, Contributing Writer
When I was younger, I would get excited about normal things. Going out with friends, a new outfit, an upcoming trip. Now, domestic life overcomes me. I’m a grown-up. A woman.
Oh, I still get excited, but my passions have…shifted. You know what I really think is amazing these days?
The three magical ingredients!
Give me any household dilemma, and I’m almost positive I could solve it using vinegar, baking soda, or coconut oil!
Except tantrums. I haven’t quite figured out how they solve tantrums yet. (I’m sure there is a way, though.)
Seriously, though, it truly is remarkable that God created such amazing elements – products that can bake, clean, dissolve, soften, and heal, all while being completely safe for the home and the kids!
These three powerhouses were a great “first step” for me in becoming green and clean. They’re inexpensive, they’re incredibly versatile, and I already had them in my house!
Here are just a few ways we use these remarkable products:
- Disinfect bathrooms (I put vinegar in a spray bottle with a squirt of dish or Castile soap and a drop of essential oil)
- Safely disinfect toys (mix with hot water and soap)
- As an everyday shower cleaner
- As a scrub to remove stickers from the random objects your kids have placed them
- As a floor cleaner (with a bit of Castile soap and essential oil)
- To remove pesticides from produce
- Clean kitchen counters
- Degrease the microwave
- Disinfect baby seats and high chairs
- As a natural “Windex” for mirrors and windows
- As a hair conditioner (seriously works wonders!)
- Clean and freshen the car interior (diluted with soap and warm water)
- Added to soap when washing water bottles and straws to prevent mold
- For a buttermilk substitute, especially in dairy-free baking recipes
- In homemade salad dressing
- Halved with water as a wash to remove pesky ants
- To clean the fish tank
- To clean coffee maker
- Added to homemade chicken broth (just a splash) to help release trace minerals
- Added to boiling water to prevent eggs from cracking while boiling
- As a home remedy for sinus infections (apple cider vinegar, to be exact…this really works!)
- To soothe sore throats (apple cider vinegar)
- As a shampoo! (This worked like a charm for me to “de-gunk” and remove buildup.)
- To unclog drains
- To deodorize the trash can
- To eliminate odors in laundry, and boost the PH (add 1/2 cup to each load)
- To absorb odors in the refrigerator
- As a scrub for the sink
- In many science experiments for kids
- As a cheap additive to dish-washing machine detergent
- As toothpaste
- As deodorant
- To make sparkling clean that beautiful engagement ring (that if you’re like me, isn’t looking quite so sparkling)
- Topical application for yeast infections
- Topical application for nail fungus
- As an overnight hair conditioner
- Healthy substitute for butter – Coconut oil has saved the day as we deal with my son’s life-threatening allergies to dairy. We use it in oatmeal, muffins, cornbread, biscuits, cookies, cakes and more.
- Lotion, especially for dry and cracked hands or feet
- Add-in to oatmeal
- To soothe eczema
- As body lotion
- Bake, roast, or saute (ideal because of its high smoke point)
- Mixed with sugar, for a body scrub
- As a carrier for essential oils (eucalyptus chest rub is my favorite when we have colds)
- For diaper rash
- To remove eye makeup
I too use vinegar to clean the toilet, but after I spray vinegar around the inside, I sprinkle baking soda on top and let it sit a few minuets. It sort of foams up. then I swish and flush.
I also use vinegar instead of fabric softner in the washing machine. This has no scent like those fabric softner sheets. I do not own a dryer so I hang up everything to dry. Even when they are hung up inside they are soft.
I’m impressed you dry everything in Michigan, Susan! I use soda in my washer but didn’t realize it was softening, too!
Just FYI, vinegar is not a good idea to use on tile on a regular basis. It “cleans” grout by taking off the top surface due to the high level of acidity and will eventually eat the grout away.
Thanks for sharing that, Joanna.
I’m not sure about dish soap, but you shouldn’t mix castile soap and vinegar. It’s not harmful, but it wont’ get you the cleaning effect you are going for:
Thank you for sharing, Becky. I actually use Seventh Generation dish soap, and it works like a charm. I’m glad you pointed that out!
I use vinegar for rinse in the washer. also for athletes feet. take vinegar to the beach and if you get sung by jellyfish it takes the sting right out. baking soda is great for cleaning glass ware.
Just curious- What brand of coconut oil do you use? I want to start using it but there are so many out there as it is becoming a popular thing. I don’t want to use something thats not the real deal. Thanks!
Apple Cider Vinegar helps with bee stings too. I had a wasp sting me this summer-we quickly applied the vinegar on a cotton ball to my neck. Within 2-3 minutes, all of the sting was gone!
Excellent article. Thanks for sharing. I totally agree that these incredible ingredients can work wonders in almost everything around. Having 3 cats, I use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning up their accidents on different fabrics and floors. Vinegar neutralizes urine odor, while baking soda deodorizes beautifully. Coconut oil is my all time favorite oil to use on my body from head to toe, I get all the benefits of coconut as a moisturizer and smell nice at the same time. I have not tried using it for cooking though, I might give it a try in the near future.
And if you’re bored and looking for something to do mix all three together! The resulting mess should provide hours of fun! 😀
I was just wondering what type of vinegar you use. Wine vinegar, malt vinegar, balsamic…there are so many types! Does it not spell really strong?
white vinegar mostly. but sometimes (salad dressing) use apple cider vinegar
Coconut oil is my Windex, I use it for everything! My favorite trick is to use it topically as a treatment for pinkeye, which my husband gets occasion. I read somewhere a while ago that it’s a common treatment for dairy cows that develop pinkeye (a giant, contagious mess in livestock) but are limited in medication options because of “organic” status. One night my husband came home from work with a nasty case and I figured, why not try? He spread the oil on his closed eyelid, and around the eye, and in the morning it was entirely GONE! No trip to the doc. I’m not a doctor, and obviously be prudent about what you put near your eyes but, we eat the organic stuff I buy with a spoon so I don’t worry. This has worked for years for us.
Vinegar is also great to use in the little rinse compartment of your dishwasher!
Just wondering the protocol for using coconut oil as a hair conditioner. More on the ends or the root? My hair is super dry and i am trying to look for a natural way to get some moisture.
You can put any essential oil in a bottle of vinegar and use it as fabric softener. In cold weather it can be a bit staticky so I add a bit of cheap suave conditioner. =)
Apple cider vinegar, table salt and just enough all-purpose flour to make it into a paste. Use this paste on copper bottom pams to get them sparkling shiney again, and the salt helps scrub off any grime that may have built up previously.
I use baking soda sprinkled over organic honey as a facial scrub. When finished with this step I use apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball as an astringent. Then I use coconut oil mixed with vitamin E oil as a facial moisturizer . This is my daily routine. No chemicals or expensive products on my skin and it works great 🙂
Any time we process fresh meat we rub baking soda on it and let it set .in the frig for 24 hours. rinse well. It removes any wild taste and I think it’s more tender when cooked. We live in a very rural areas and nearly all our food comes from the farm.