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Non-food uses for food products...

c
caviar_and_chitlins May 27, 2008 03:37 PM

To explain- what are things that you can do with items that are normally considered "food", but used in a way that is not eaten.

My all time favorite: Buttermilk. Whiz it up in a blender with moss, then paint it into rocks, concrete bench, any place you would like moss to grow.

Peanut Butter: Gets rid of water rings on wood furniture.

What are yours?

  1. starlady May 27, 2008 03:39 PM

    I'm curious on this peanut butter thing - how do you do that??

    My peanut butter one - bubblegum in the hair

    Eggshells while not food are great for impeding slugs in the garden

    1. j
      Janet May 27, 2008 04:36 PM

      Mayo rubbed on water rings removes them. Rub in and leave it for an hour or so. Wipe off.

      Cucumber slices refresh tired eyes.

      Banana peels will shine shoes.

      The white skin inside a raw egg will pull the "poison' from a sore. You wrap it on say a sore finger and as it dries the infection pulls to the top.

      Salt poured on spilled red wine dries the wine and keep it from soaking in. Then vaccum the rug or shake off cloth.

      Gargle with salt water to ease a sore throat.

      Vinegar and baking soda both have house cleaning uses.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Janet
        im_nomad May 27, 2008 05:38 PM

        chamomile tea is also good for sore eyes

        1. re: Janet
          m
          moh May 27, 2008 08:02 PM

          Janet, I have a question about the raw egg skin. Is there any concern about Salmonella? Usually Salmonella is a GI issue, but I wonder about the effect on an open sore.

          1. re: moh
            j
            Janet May 28, 2008 09:21 AM

            I have no idea., I just know my husband's family used this remedy, and I learned to also. I had a piece of SOS pad in my finger and it was a mess. The egg wrap pulled the metal to the top. Of course I am of the generation that never worried about raw egg. And I still eat raw cookie dough.

            1. re: Janet
              m
              moh May 28, 2008 09:44 AM

              Janet, thanks for the info! I usually don't care too much about raw eggs, but am in a special situation now, and need to be a little more careful. This idea sounds very interesting though, I am quite intrigued. Amniotic membranes have very special medical properties in other contexts, and although I don't know if the egg membrane is the exact same thing, it does make me wonder!

          2. re: Janet
            Miss Needle May 28, 2008 12:24 PM

            If you have oily skin, you can also make a facial masque from raw egg whites as well. Helps to soak up the excess oil.

          3. c
            charlesbois May 27, 2008 04:53 PM

            boutonnières, centerpieces, bouquets made from vegetables, herbs and fruits

            Also sculpture...fruits, butter, etc.

            2 Replies
            1. re: charlesbois
              l
              lgss May 28, 2008 05:16 AM

              We joked that I should have carried a bunch of broccoli for our gluten-free, vegan wedding, instead of flowers.

              1. re: lgss
                m
                moh May 28, 2008 07:19 AM

                I would totally consider one of those beautiful purplygreen ornamental cabbages as a bouquet. Or one of those lime-green pointy-topped cauliflower/broccoli hybrids. Heck, I'd carry a branch of a fig tree laden with ripe fruit... but that might get messy.

            2. starlady May 27, 2008 05:40 PM

              Couple of tea bags in a warm bath for about half an hour (black tea) helps those of us who don't tan to not have fake orange stripes!! Just make sure your knees are submerged or you'll have shiny white knee caps :)

              1. im_nomad May 27, 2008 05:44 PM

                beer can make a nice hair rinse, so do certain types of vinegar.

                cloves for a toothache

                does using popcorn to decorate the x-mas tree count? and i guess on that note...you could also add dried apple slices or cookies.

                1. s
                  soupkitten May 27, 2008 05:54 PM

                  leftover, cold tea is a great, nontoxic wood furniture polish. it will stain upholstery though. tomato-based products can help get the smell of skunk musk off of unlucky pets & people. you can use beets and many other food products as dyes. the scent of lavender will repel moths and other insects. pepper spray will repel larger foes ;)

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: soupkitten
                    Caroline1 May 28, 2008 01:21 AM

                    For the record, my wire hair fox terrier once got sprayed heavily by a skunk that had been feasting on garlic at a nearby truck farm. Unvelievable! When four tomato juice soakings didn't do much beyond turn the poor dog pink, I called my vet. He said the unequaled deodorizer for skunk spray is Masengil Feminine Douche. The premixed kind. My vet was right! And it didn't turn my dog pink!

                    Just thought you all should know in case your dog meets a garlic eating skunk! There's nothing sadder than a pup that needs petting but you can't stand it near you.

                    1. re: Caroline1
                      s
                      soupkitten May 28, 2008 06:49 AM

                      huh. that's definitely new info to me, getting filed in the "for emergencies only" folder of the soupkitten brain, thanks Caroline!

                      1. re: Caroline1
                        dockhl Jun 1, 2008 01:14 PM

                        I had that happen @ 3AM one night, no tomato juice in the house. I found that Mrs. T's Bloody Mary mix worked just fine ;)

                        1. re: dockhl
                          Caroline1 Jun 1, 2008 06:17 PM

                          Oh god, I hope not! The smell of skunk spray heavily laced with garlic is unimaginable! That particular skunk liked playing with my dog. It would come in the yard, romp for a while, then when it was time to go, let him have it! The first three times were taken care of pretty well with tomato juice. The fourth and final garlic spray couldn't be touched. The sad end to the tale is that I knew Valentine (my dog) wouldn't be sprayed any more when we passed the skunk on the road the next day. Someone had changed its name to "Road Kill." Other than spraying, it was a nice skunk. As skunks go.

                          1. re: dockhl
                            d
                            dolores Jun 30, 2008 07:06 AM

                            I used ketchup, but had heard about the douche remedy. This is the one my vet suggested, but it still takes a few weeks to completely dissipate.

                            http://tinyurl.com/4lrz8e

                            I never heard of the PB or mayo one, and find the buttermilk/moss one fascinating.

                        2. re: soupkitten
                          n
                          NE_Elaine May 28, 2008 09:24 AM

                          There is also a solution that you can mix up that contains hydrogen peroxide whcih works very well. I had to use it last summer. :-(

                          1. re: soupkitten
                            Jennalynn Jul 25, 2008 07:33 PM

                            Not sure if it qualifies as actual "food"... but you can make great dye out of Kool-Aid.

                            1. re: Jennalynn
                              l
                              Lucia Jul 25, 2008 09:03 PM

                              yep. Did that to my hair in hs.

                          2. jbyoga May 27, 2008 06:06 PM

                            My car runs on biodiesel from french fry grease! Does that count? :)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jbyoga
                              k
                              Kagey May 30, 2008 02:55 AM

                              That's excellent! Good for you!

                            2. Passadumkeg May 27, 2008 06:21 PM

                              A cold steak on a black eye.
                              Cayenne pepper w/ detergent as an insect repellent on garden plants.
                              Salt as a slug killer a la Gary Larsen (weed killer too.).
                              Garlic oil sprayed on ponds kills mosquito larvae.
                              Left over coffee as a house plant fertilizer; coffee grounds directly on garden plants.
                              Olive oil for dry skin.
                              Turmeric as cloth die.
                              Onion skins for dieing Easter eggs.
                              A bag of frozen veggies (especially peas) on a sprained ankle or other swelling or on forehead for hangover headache.
                              A vinegar douche.
                              Oysters instead of viagra.
                              Baking soda as tooth paste.
                              Flour & salt = Play Dough
                              White tooth paste as nail hole putty filler on white walls (Kids love to eat tooth paste!).
                              Wax on screw threads to allow the screw to go into wood more easily.
                              Fry oil to power diesel vehicles
                              Beer to catch garden slugs.
                              Sherry as a trap for cock roaches (They die happy!).
                              Boy, what do the above 2 reflect on Chowhounds?
                              Fini for now.
                              Whew.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Passadumkeg
                                m
                                moh May 27, 2008 08:01 PM

                                Also red wine for fruit fly traps.

                                1. re: Passadumkeg
                                  Caroline1 May 28, 2008 01:48 AM

                                  **Garlic oil sprayed on ponds kills mosquito larvae.**

                                  Any oil sprayed or poured on top of water will kill mosquito larvae. It suffocates them. Garlic not required. My personal preference is a thin layer of poured diesel oil or kerosene because it will spread thinly across the water, is biodegradable, and has a high flash point. Food oils will often attract other critters.

                                  **Wax on screw threads to allow the screw to go into wood more easily.**
                                  I use soap rather than wax because it will eventually leach into the wood after the screw is placed and help prevent the screw from backing out. Wax doesn't do that.

                                  Oh, and if anyone ever has a roach problem, get a gecko! We once bought a house overrun by roaches because it was built on land that should have been fumegated prior to building. No remedy helped until we got Jose Gecko. He was chartreuse with turqoise "buttons," and we never had another roach inside the house. Even long after Jose was no longer with us.

                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                    Passadumkeg May 28, 2008 03:27 AM

                                    My Little Texas Yellow Rose, garlic oil is a proven environmentally friendly method of mosquito control. I understand your love of Texas petroleum products, but on our pond, no thank you. I know of soap, but wax is more of a food item. And I loved our house geckos in Bolivia, but up here in Yankee Land, he' freeze his Progressive green ass!
                                    Hook 'em horns and go eat some pastor tacos and real BBQ for me will ya?
                                    The Granola Kid

                                    1. re: Passadumkeg
                                      Caroline1 May 28, 2008 11:33 AM

                                      Well, I have no love of Texas (or California or Pennsylvania or any other) petroleum products, BUT....! Vegetable oils, including garlic oil (if you cn find it) tend to clump together in oily patches that are deeper than a petroleum slick. It takes much less kerosene or diesel to put a slick across water that will suffocate mosquito larvae. Ratio wise, my semi-educated guess is that on the surface of a large steel drum type barrel, it would probably take a cup or more of vegetable oil to cover the surface whereas an eighth of a cup or less of deisel or kerosene would do it. To my way of thinking, the objective is to kill the larvae and allow the water to clear as quickly as possible. Because of the much large quantities of vegetable base oil it takes, that defeats the purpose.

                                      If you keep your house warm enough for people, it should be warm enough for a gecko! Or you could knit it a muffler and get it some snow boots if you let it go outside. I've tried and tried to find another gecko with the same colors as Jose, but no luck! <sigh>

                                2. k
                                  kobetobiko May 27, 2008 06:23 PM

                                  Lemon or lime to remove smell in the fridge or to remove oil from surface.

                                  Rubbing citrus peel on surface to repel ants

                                  Covering eyes with cold soaked tea bags to remove dark circles

                                  Honey to sooth chapped lips

                                  Coarse salt to remove dead skin on lips; Put into tub and soak for bathing (lessen tiredness)

                                  Mint at the window to repel mosquitoes

                                  Putting red beans (or any beans?) inside a cloth bag, heating it up in microwave, to use as hot pads for winter or for aching muscles

                                  rice in salt shaker to avoid salt from caking

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: kobetobiko
                                    Vetter May 27, 2008 06:59 PM

                                    Fruit juice or puree for facials
                                    kosher salt to scrub greasy cast iron pan clean
                                    rose or orange blossom water as facial toner or ironing water

                                    1. re: Vetter
                                      c
                                      caviar_and_chitlins May 27, 2008 07:10 PM

                                      you reminded me of another one- yogurt and aspirin facial mask.

                                      1. re: caviar_and_chitlins
                                        k
                                        kobetobiko May 27, 2008 07:37 PM

                                        oatmeal + milk + honey as facial brings back 20 years (ok, may be 2 years)...

                                    2. re: kobetobiko
                                      Miss Needle May 28, 2008 12:26 PM

                                      I also like using sea salt (only the fine one -- the coarse one hurts too much) as a body scrub to exfoliate my skin all over. Your skin becomes smooth like a baby afterwards and also tightens it slightly. But don't do it if you have open sores because that will hurt.

                                      1. re: Miss Needle
                                        m
                                        maxandrick Jun 12, 2008 02:44 PM

                                        Have you ever tried old coffee grounds,salt and some olive oil mixed together, can't believe how soft my body feels after shower. I works really well on rough feet, I've got DH using it now.

                                        1. re: maxandrick
                                          Miss Needle Jun 30, 2008 07:25 AM

                                          I don't drink coffee so I haven't used coffee grounds. But I can definitely see it working well. Coffee grounds are the correct consistency, and caffeine firms up the skin (some beauty products contain caffeine).

                                    3. Sam Fujisaka May 27, 2008 07:15 PM

                                      Cornstarch as foot powder (albeit I've never done this)

                                      Kumquats as slingshot ammo when playing war with friends as a kid in the 50s

                                      Arepas as frisbee or skeet targets

                                      Rice thrown at weddings

                                      Wheat paste (flour and water) for papier mache

                                      Starch as in starched shirts of old

                                      Lemon down the disposal to improve aromas

                                      Cooking oil to rub into my rolling pins and wooden salad bowls

                                      Eggs, tomatoes, and cream pies to throw at out of favor politicians

                                      Tea, rice, and brown sugar used in stove-top smoking

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                        babette feasts May 28, 2008 08:27 AM

                                        Cornstarch...I've worked with some male line cooks who swore by cornstarch to keep certain parts from sticking together during a hot night in the kitchen.

                                        1. re: babette feasts
                                          Caroline1 May 28, 2008 11:43 AM

                                          Cornstarch is also a great baby powder. Much safer and better than talc. Not a serious problem if small amounts are accidentally inhaled. It's also a fun "squeek toy" in small zip lock bags. Squeeze it and it squeeks. And old sound effects trick that sounds like someone walking in snow.

                                          1. re: babette feasts
                                            Scargod May 29, 2008 08:56 AM

                                            I use cornstarch (here at the house) as a lubricating powder, on my hand, when I shoot pool.

                                          2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                            Miss Needle May 28, 2008 12:27 PM

                                            "Arepas as frisbee or skeet targets
                                            Eggs, tomatoes, and cream pies to throw at out of favor politicians"

                                            Should have known that was you, Sam. : )

                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                              j
                                              jlafler May 29, 2008 10:23 PM

                                              And, as discussed in another topic, cornstarch is good for making oobleck.

                                            2. ipsedixit May 27, 2008 09:46 PM

                                              Olive oil to polish shoes

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                starlady May 27, 2008 09:56 PM

                                                Olive Oil in the Bathtub, or as massage oil

                                              2. fromagina May 27, 2008 11:08 PM

                                                To remove the calcium left in a pot from cooking legumes, add vinegar or juiced lemons and water, and boil.

                                                All purpose household cleaner and stink-suppressor: 2/3 white vinegar, 1/3 water, and lemon extract in a spray bottle. A spritz in the air kills most odors. Great wall cleaner and counter cleaner and...

                                                Mayonnaise for: dry hair.. rub it in.. put on a showercap and let it soak in.. then shampoo out.

                                                Honey.. the number one best burn aid. Ice the burn until it's numb then slather on honey. When it begins to hurt again, ice. Repeat the ice and honey rotation until the burn no longer hurts. No blisters.

                                                Honey for teenager's zits. Wash face well then pat dry. Dip fingertips in honey then pat and pull all over face until the honey is really tacky and pulling the skin a bit. Removes dead skin. Unclogs pores. Encourages the growth of new capillaries.. disinfects. Rinse.. pat dry.. dot pimples with vitamin E oil.

                                                Ground cinnamon repels ants. Until you can make your boric acid and sugar water ant killer, surround their entrance area with cinnamon.

                                                Sprinkle cheap cinnamon around seedlings to keep snails, slugs, and cats at bay.

                                                Take 2 to 4 gelatin caps of cinnamon a day to lower LDL cholesterol

                                                Oatmeal poured upon a dog or cat "accident" to wick it dry.. makes it easier to clean up.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: fromagina
                                                  Passadumkeg May 28, 2008 12:46 AM

                                                  Olive oil in our Choco labs food to improve sheen on coat and digestion.

                                                2. champagne120 May 28, 2008 01:44 AM

                                                  Olive oil to take off the sticky residue left from price tags, etc. Takes a little elbow grease, but it definitely works!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: champagne120
                                                    Miss Needle May 28, 2008 12:28 PM

                                                    I prefer jojoba, but have also used olive oil as a hot oil treatment for hair.

                                                  2. mkmccp May 28, 2008 05:14 AM

                                                    Cold cabbage leaves put next to the breasts of a lactating woman to relieve soreness, blocked milk glands, and during weaning. Frozen peas work in a pinch, too but not as good as cabbage.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: mkmccp
                                                      i
                                                      Isabella May 29, 2008 03:48 AM

                                                      also cold boiled cabbage leaves for arthritic knees

                                                    2. Scargod May 28, 2008 05:15 AM

                                                      mayonaise for removing labels and stickers. The oil in the mayo penetrates and softens the adhesive. Apply liberally and wait for it to penetrate. Lots of cooking oils will work to soften and remove adhesives.
                                                      Baking soda and superglue can provide an instant, rock-hard reinforcement. This is a modelmaker's trick. You need a thin, fast setting cyanoacrylate adhesive (superglue) to do some of this but thicker ones can be mixed and set with a "kicker". If you have repaired, say, a cracked or broken plastic item, with superglue (by wicking the water-thin glue into the crack), you can reinforce the break (or crack) with baking soda. Either place the soda where you want to provide reinforcement and wick the glue into it or wet the spot and sprinkle on the soda. The moisture in the soda causes the thin superglue to set within seconds. Watch the fingers with the runny versions of "CA"!
                                                      Beer to attract snails. It always attracts me.

                                                      1. CindyJ May 28, 2008 06:39 AM

                                                        Beer -- set a pan with beer out in the garden, watch the slugs die a happy death.

                                                        Various shapes of macaroni -- great for kids' craft projects.

                                                        1. JungMann May 28, 2008 06:43 AM

                                                          Cooked rice as glue
                                                          Strong tea to clean grease

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: JungMann
                                                            Miss Needle May 28, 2008 12:30 PM

                                                            Ha ha. I remember using sticky rice at home whenever we ran out of glue for my craft projects as a kid.

                                                          2. danhole May 28, 2008 07:48 AM

                                                            An elderly neighbor gave me this tip when my daughter was little and had a terrible ear ache; take a small clove of garlic, heat it up on the stove, wrap in a thin layer of cotton (from a cotton ball) and put it in the ear. The heat of the clove helps relieve the pain. I did that in an emergency and then got her to the Dr., who was from India. The Dr. pulled the cotton covered clove out and exclaimed that her mother used to do that for her when she was a little girl. Works in a pinch.

                                                            Avocados are a great moisturizer for your hands, face, and hair. Take a couple slices and put under your eyes for about 15-20 min. to reduce puffiness.

                                                            There are so many food tricks, but this is all I can remember this morning!

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: danhole
                                                              fromagina May 28, 2008 08:12 AM

                                                              Oh yes.. I'd almost forgotten about all of the food that makes for great facials!

                                                              Besides avocados.. yoghurt, whey, buttermilk, honey, mashed apples, bananas.. and many more foods can be an inexpensive (and delicious) part of ones skin-care regimen; as well as teas and herbs for steaming the face. Whey from drained yoghurt (or yoghurt itself) is lovely in the bath.

                                                              1. re: danhole
                                                                babette feasts May 28, 2008 08:23 AM

                                                                A few drops of warm olive oil (in th ear) is good for earaches, too.

                                                                1. re: babette feasts
                                                                  danhole May 28, 2008 09:34 AM

                                                                  That was my MIL's trick! Forgot that one.

                                                                2. re: danhole
                                                                  i
                                                                  Isabella May 29, 2008 03:51 AM

                                                                  We cut a small X into the tip of the garlic clove and insert as is into the opening of the ear. Only the tip need go in, please do not push this into your ear canal.

                                                                  Works like a charm for an earache or infection as garlic is a natural antibiotic.

                                                                3. f
                                                                  Fydeaux May 28, 2008 09:00 AM

                                                                  I have been using a standard container of cheap Dollar Store salt dissolved into a gallon of vinegar as a weed killer for a couple of years now. My yard smells like a fish & chip shop (good or bad depending on your POV), but environmentally friendly, and especially effective on sunny days.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Fydeaux
                                                                    danhole May 28, 2008 09:35 AM

                                                                    Will that kill the grass that gets into the cracks of the sidewalk?

                                                                    1. re: danhole
                                                                      f
                                                                      Fydeaux May 28, 2008 12:22 PM

                                                                      Definitely! That's where I started using it; some weeds took several applications, but it worked really well.

                                                                      If you are using it your lawn, you will want to use a sprayer with an adjustable tip to spray very narrowly. This will prevent no more grass around the weeds than necessary from turning brown (learned from experience, but the grass did green up again in short order).

                                                                  2. CindyJ May 28, 2008 12:17 PM

                                                                    I once had a cooking instructor for a class in Chinese cookery who, whenever she would slice into a piece of fresh ginger, would touch the cut surface with her fingertip and then dab a little behind each ear.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                                                      b
                                                                      beany May 28, 2008 07:13 PM

                                                                      did she say why she did that?

                                                                      1. re: beany
                                                                        CindyJ Jun 11, 2008 06:50 PM

                                                                        She used it like cologne. Eau de ginger! :)

                                                                        1. re: CindyJ
                                                                          alkapal Jun 30, 2008 06:42 AM

                                                                          ginger is used in lots of perfumes. cabotine by parfums gres is a favorite of mine.

                                                                    2. j
                                                                      jlafler May 28, 2008 09:26 PM

                                                                      A few weeks ago during breakfast my daughter invented a cottage-cheese-grapefruit-blueberry facial and hand scrub -- sure to be on sale soon at your local natural grocery or cosmetic store!

                                                                      1. meatn3 May 28, 2008 09:32 PM

                                                                        Oatmeal or baking soda in bath to sooth skin.
                                                                        Potato starch, among others, as a resist for surface design with fabric
                                                                        Wheat flour as a resist (can be colored) for surface design with paper (paste paper)
                                                                        Wheat flour made into a paste and put through a very fine sieve for book making
                                                                        Cola to remove rust or loosen food burnt in a pan
                                                                        Bay leaves to repel moths
                                                                        Celery sometimes (depends on the cat) works like catnip
                                                                        Baking soda in water to neutralize "pickle" in jewelry making
                                                                        Daikon radish used to create a patina on some Japanese precious metal alloys such as shibuishi
                                                                        Milk in milk paint
                                                                        Egg in egg tempera
                                                                        Carrageenan to thicken the bath for marbling

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: meatn3
                                                                          Passadumkeg May 29, 2008 02:57 AM

                                                                          Meatn3, you remind me of a Flemish still life. How did I miss these? Gettin' old. Is Linseed oil edible? How does one burn Sienna?

                                                                          Dandelion flowers for wine? The greens for salad or steamed. Sure beats Round UP!

                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                            l
                                                                            lgss May 29, 2008 03:56 PM

                                                                            linseed oil is also known as flaxseed oil
                                                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linseed_oil

                                                                        2. PamelaD May 29, 2008 09:44 AM

                                                                          baking soda and/or coarse salt for scubbing clean cast iron skillets (instead of soap) and also salt and lemon juice to clean/shine copper pots.

                                                                          1. purple goddess May 29, 2008 04:04 PM

                                                                            I make the best exfoliating soap out of crunchy peanut butter and muesli

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: purple goddess
                                                                              Caroline1 May 29, 2008 06:38 PM

                                                                              Cheap table salt mixed into cheap cold cream or lotion or butter or margarine or cheap cooking oil (take your pick) also makes a very effective exfoliant.

                                                                            2. amethiste May 29, 2008 07:54 PM

                                                                              My "locktician" (hairdresser for dreadlocks) uses a combination of fresh squeezed lemon juice and aloe vera as a setting lotion. After I come out from under the dryer, she uses olive oil to moisturize my scalp.

                                                                              I use olive oil between visits to keep my scalp moisturized, I also spritz it on my wet skin after a shower

                                                                              1. k
                                                                                Kagey May 30, 2008 03:07 AM

                                                                                Vinegar descales my kettle and washing machine.

                                                                                I use baking soda to clean my oven. Works surprisingly well, and you don't have to be too extremely fastidious about rinsing off every particle, since it's not poisonous. Also leaves no smell.

                                                                                Baking soda made into a paste with a tiny bit of water is a good quick polisher for tarnished silver.

                                                                                One thing that doesn't work: Vinegar does not dissolve grease. Anyone who's ever made salad dressing can tell you that, and yet I keep reading it in articles about "green" household cleaning!

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Kagey
                                                                                  s
                                                                                  soupkitten May 30, 2008 09:49 AM

                                                                                  the vinegar/water solution *will* cut grease if you add a very small amt of biodegradable, vegetable-based dish detergent. green spray formula: 1 cup water, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon detergent. add scent/extract if desired. put in clean spray bottle and use as all-purpose cleaner.

                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                    k
                                                                                    Kagey May 31, 2008 03:48 AM

                                                                                    Right. But detergent alone will cut grease, so I can't really see the need for the vinegar!

                                                                                    1. re: Kagey
                                                                                      Scargod May 31, 2008 06:20 AM

                                                                                      You said, yourself, that you used it for descaling your kettle.
                                                                                      As an acid, vinegar reacts with many materials, other than oils, removes scale and works together with detergents (which also do the suspension) to cut grease and "dirt" so it can be carried away by washing and rinsing.

                                                                                      1. re: Kagey
                                                                                        fromagina Jun 1, 2008 01:10 PM

                                                                                        Vinegar does a great job on soap-scummed plastic shower curtains and soap and water spattered areas around a sink. It's truly wonderful for cleaning toilets, sinks, fridges inside and out, and cabinet doors, AND vinyl floors. It is a fine, non-toxic air-freshener too. Spritze a fine mist of 2/3 vinegar, 1/3 water in the kitchen air to eliminate fish or bacon, etc. smells. Put a cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle of your dishwasher for sparkling glass.. or a cup or 2 in the washing machine rinse cycle to get out the last bits of detergent.. also leaves a clean smell, which is to say, no smell at all. As we all know, "clean" doesn't smell like chemicals formulated to simulate artificial floral scents; "clean" has no smell at all.

                                                                                        1. re: fromagina
                                                                                          k
                                                                                          Kagey Jun 3, 2008 10:25 AM

                                                                                          I might add that vinegar in the rinse cycle of the washing machine helps neutralize the effects of hard water. Clothes don't come out like cardboard.

                                                                                    2. re: Kagey
                                                                                      meatn3 Jun 1, 2008 02:32 PM

                                                                                      I use vinegar to clean my coffee maker. After the vinegar has run through the maker I put a cup of baking soda in my most sluggish drain, then pour the used vinegar over it - helps keep the drains clean!

                                                                                    3. s
                                                                                      smartie May 31, 2008 06:53 AM

                                                                                      a beaten egg white with a drop of brandy painted onto a baby's bottom allowed to dry then put on barrier cream does wonders for diaper/nappy rash.

                                                                                      A spray of Pam is supposed to be good on squeaky hinges if you don't have WD40.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: smartie
                                                                                        Scargod May 31, 2008 06:58 AM

                                                                                        Pam might be a safe and effective way to quieten the old broad when she starts getting noisy...

                                                                                        1. re: smartie
                                                                                          Caroline1 May 31, 2008 08:17 AM

                                                                                          Diaper rash... I'd forgotton about this. Time will do that. When my daughter came down with terrible diaper rash from her first paper diaper (on an airplane), my pediatrician had me mix 1 tsp of salt in a cup of warm water, paint the rash with it, then hold an incandescent bulb about a foot from the rash (used one of those car mechanic lightbulbs-in-a-cage) for five minutes. Salt is a miracle drug!

                                                                                        2. l
                                                                                          lgss May 31, 2008 07:30 AM

                                                                                          I haven't tried these, a friend sent them in an e-mail a while ago.
                                                                                          Crayon marks on walls? This worked wonderfully! A damp rag, dipped
                                                                                               In baking  soda. Comes off with little effort (elbow grease that is!).  
                                                                                          To clean artificial flowers, pour some salt into a paper bag and add the
                                                                                              Flowers. Shake vigorously as the salt will absorb all the dust and dirt
                                                                                              And leave your artificial flowers looking like new! Works like a charm!  
                                                                                          Spray your TUPPERWARE with nonstick cooking spray before pouring 
                                                                                              In  tomato based sauces and there won't be any stains.
                                                                                          Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half, and rub it on your 
                                                                                               Forehead.   The throbbing will go away.  

                                                                                          1. b
                                                                                            bklynite Jun 4, 2008 02:50 PM

                                                                                            We used milk plus a small amount of detergent to clean a chocolate stain out of a dress. This was just in the sink, not a washing machine. Supposedly the milk would've worked on its own, according to the website we consulted. So since we added some detergent I can't swear it was entirely the milk, but the stain did start to lift before the detergent was added, so draw your own conclusions! It was sort of magical and nice to know that milk and chocolate aren't a combination limited to eating!

                                                                                            1. purple goddess Jun 4, 2008 03:50 PM

                                                                                              I also use pots and pans as vases.... but I'm odd like that

                                                                                              1. Veggo Jun 4, 2008 04:25 PM

                                                                                                My latest, all natural "Roach Motel" came about here in Florida. I inadvertently left a cordial glass with a little bit of Xtabentun, the honey and anise based mexican liquer, out in my lanai overnight, and not one but two large roaches found it and drank themselves to death.

                                                                                                1. starlady Jun 5, 2008 06:50 PM

                                                                                                  You can use oatmeal to wash your hair. The oatmeal soaks up all the oil, and then you just brush it out! My gf and I used Instant Apple nad Cinnamon when Vancouver had the water ban a couple years ago. We smelled so pretty! But mostly I use that meathod while camping LOL

                                                                                                  1. Chew on That Jun 6, 2008 03:56 PM

                                                                                                    Egg yolks make great hair conditioner. Beat a couple eggs in a bowl, then soak your hair in it. Let it sit for a bit than wash it out! I've done this.

                                                                                                    1. d
                                                                                                      dd992emo Jun 12, 2008 02:30 PM

                                                                                                      Peanut butter is also an excellent chrome polish. Mayo is good furniture polish.

                                                                                                      1. BobB Jun 30, 2008 07:13 AM

                                                                                                        Lemon to remove fish smell from your hands, arms, or ...other parts (with fond memories of a young Susan Sarandon doing just that in the opening scene of Atlantic City.)

                                                                                                        1. thenurse Jun 30, 2008 07:15 AM

                                                                                                          Just found out from my doula that garlic suppositories help prevent Group B strep in late pregnancy. At least I have a few months to contemplate whether I want to try it....

                                                                                                          1. hill food Jun 30, 2008 10:00 AM

                                                                                                            oven cleaner: put a large potato in a dirty oven (don't clean, peel or de-eye it) leave it in there on high heat until it explodes, all the baked-on gunk the oven has accumulated will wipe off with a paper towel.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: hill food
                                                                                                              BobB Jun 30, 2008 10:10 AM

                                                                                                              Um...OK. Some of these tips have seemed a bit far-fetched, but this one I find EXTREMELY hard to believe. I'm not saying you're wrong, but could you possibly give even a hint of a scientific explanation as to why hot potato fragments would remove burned-on oven gunk? Especially since you'd need to let the oven cool enough to wipe it with paper towels. I would think this would just add to the baked-on mess.

                                                                                                              1. re: BobB
                                                                                                                hill food Jun 30, 2008 12:05 PM

                                                                                                                I'm not sure honestly, I was living alone in a studio apartment, came home late from classes/studio, threw in a potato 'cause I was too lazy to cook, mixed a drink and fell asleep on the couch. when I woke up a few hours later, I saw the mess and turned off the oven and went to sleep properly, thinking "holy crap" tomorrow's gonna be so much fun...

                                                                                                                all I can guess is the potato starch leached out the grease and crust and it did all wipe down. they weren't really fragments, it was more as if someone had spraycoated the inside with mashed.

                                                                                                                I guess I was lucky with the timing and the potato didn't completely bake on.

                                                                                                                dumb luck - I'm gonna get that tattooed on my a$$ if I ever get one. tattoo that is, a$$ is long gone.

                                                                                                            2. toodie jane Jul 1, 2008 08:21 AM

                                                                                                              hestated to post after Hill's fine one (post, that is) but

                                                                                                              Baking soda and water mixed to a slurry and massaged into the scalp make a wonderful shampoo, avoiding all the harsh detergents and numerous dyes, colorants and preservatives of commercial shampoos. Leaves the hair shiny and very soft. You may add scent by using a drop of essential oil per 1/2 pint of soda/water. I use rosemary oil.

                                                                                                              Apple cider vinegar mixed in water (1to 16) is a rinse. No lingering vinegar odor. You can use lemon juice& water too, if you have a tree.

                                                                                                              I've been doing the soda & vinegar route about 2 years and am very happy with the results. Yeah, no chemicals, and very cheap.

                                                                                                              1. l
                                                                                                                lgss Jul 10, 2008 03:13 PM

                                                                                                                Soak fabric or fabric items in hot water with salt and white vinegar to make them colorfast. Wash afterwards with something white you don't care about to make sure the color is set.

                                                                                                                I got lots (10+ yards) of maroon fabric from a freecycler, and since I'm on the "Green Team" at work wanted to make a bunch of cloth napkins for the cafe there. The fabric bled a lot so I used the above method to make it colorfast.

                                                                                                                1. l
                                                                                                                  lgss Jul 25, 2008 06:59 PM

                                                                                                                  Personally, I don't consider vodka as food, but some here may...

                                                                                                                  1. To remove a bandage without pain saturate the bandage with vodka.
                                                                                                                  The stuff dissolves adhesive.

                                                                                                                  2. To clean the caulking around bathtubs and showers, fill a
                                                                                                                  trigger-spray bottle with vodka, spray the caulking, let set five
                                                                                                                  minutes and wash clean. The alcohol in the vodka kills mold and mildew.

                                                                                                                  3. To clean your eyeglasses, simply wipe the lenses with a soft, clean
                                                                                                                  cloth dampened with vodka. The alcohol in the vodka cleans the glass
                                                                                                                  and kills germs.

                                                                                                                  4. Prolong the life of razors by filling a cup with vodka and letting
                                                                                                                  your safety razorblade soak in the alcohol after shaving. The vodka
                                                                                                                  disinfects the blade and prevents rusting.

                                                                                                                  5. Spray vodka on wine stains, scrub with a brush, and then blot dry.

                                                                                                                  6. Using a cotton ball, apply vodka to your face as an astringent to
                                                                                                                  cleanse the skin and tighten pores.

                                                                                                                  7. Add a jigger of vodka to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo. The alcohol
                                                                                                                  cleanses the scalp, removes toxins from hair, and stimulates the growth
                                                                                                                  of healthy hair.

                                                                                                                  8. Fill a trigger-spray bottle with vodka and spray bees or wasps to
                                                                                                                  kill them.

                                                                                                                  9. Pour one-half cup vodka and one-half cup water into a Ziploc freezer
                                                                                                                  bag and freeze for a slushy, refreshing ice pack for aches, or black
                                                                                                                  eyes.

                                                                                                                  10. Fill a clean, used mayonnaise jar with freshly packed lavender
                                                                                                                  flowers, fill the jar with vodka, seal the lid tightly and set in the
                                                                                                                  sun for three days. Strain liquid through a coffee filter, then apply
                                                                                                                  to aches and pains.

                                                                                                                  11. To relieve a fever, use a washcloth to rub vodka on your chest/back
                                                                                                                  as liniment.

                                                                                                                  12. To cure foot odor, wash your feet with vodka.

                                                                                                                  13. Vodka will disinfect and alleviate a jellyfish sting.

                                                                                                                  14. Pour vodka over an area affected with poison ivy to remove the
                                                                                                                  urushiol oil.

                                                                                                                  15. Swish a shot of vodka over an aching tooth. Allow your gums to
                                                                                                                  absorb some of the alcohol to numb the pain.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: lgss
                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                    soupkitten May 14, 2010 06:52 PM

                                                                                                                    evr. . *hic* thing. . . in my houshe. . . ish *hic* clean. an, alsho, the washps, are *hic* dead. and. . . my tooshache is *completely,* *hic*. . . shayonara. i'ma. . .go shleep now. ;-P

                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                                      hill food May 15, 2010 07:57 PM

                                                                                                                      I'll get right on those chores but first Daddy needs a few fingers of breakfast...

                                                                                                                  2. s
                                                                                                                    sueatmo Jul 25, 2008 08:12 PM

                                                                                                                    What an interesting thread! I also use vinegar to clean my coffee machine. This past winter we tracked my laminate floor up with dirty snow and salt and the only way I could get it completely clean was with a vinegar wash.

                                                                                                                    I have in the past used dried rice or beans to make beanbags or small stuffed animals. I've also used dried rice over a sheet of waxed paper set into an unbaked pie shell to keep piecrust flat in the oven as it is being prebaked. I used the rice repeatedly for this purpose.same

                                                                                                                    Coffee grounds are nitrogenous; when mixed with wood ashes and small bones will make a fairly complete fertilizer if left over a season. I have done this once. It did seem to work. You mix this in a garbage pail, I believe. The wood ashes dissolve the bone.

                                                                                                                    I have used baking soda sprinkled on carpet and then vacuumed to help freshen a room.

                                                                                                                    And, a kettle of boiling water poured weekly down the kitchen drain never did anyone any harm.

                                                                                                                    1. h
                                                                                                                      HillJ Jul 26, 2008 01:55 PM

                                                                                                                      Herb sachets in your dressers
                                                                                                                      Herb sachets in your bath water
                                                                                                                      Add used coffee grounds to potted plants
                                                                                                                      A play dough made from cinnamon powder & applesauce make wonderful christmas ornaments
                                                                                                                      Honey & brown sugar make a gentle lip scrub
                                                                                                                      Whip ripe avocados for a super hair condition

                                                                                                                      1. Pharah May 14, 2010 03:47 PM

                                                                                                                        I use vinegar and water to clean almost everything around the house. The dog likes to lick the floor after I mop, so the vinegar/water mix won't poison her if she licks it. I also use baking soda paste to clean the kitchen and bathroom sinks, the bathtub, tiles and grout. Baking soda on the carpet to deodourize. Really, that's all I use: baking soda, water, and vinegar.

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