Posts tagged: DIY home projects

20 Weird But Amazing Uses For Vodka

20 Weird But Amazing Uses For VodkaPhoto © kytalpa – Fotolia.com (under license)

Ahh yes, vodka. Instigator of much mischief and mayhem. Doing a little background research for this page, I found out a few great tidbits of vodka trivia. Vodka is made from the distillation of fermented foods – notably potato or grains. It’s been around for centuries and was originally drunk neat in Russia and Eastern Europe. Nowadays, it is a worldwide staple in many famous cocktails and mixed drinks – including the Bloody Mary, Screwdriver, Sex on the Beach, Moscow Mule, White Russian, Black Russian, vodka tonic, and of course the vodka martini.

We discovered an astonishing list of 20 additional uses for vodka. These are definitely weird and amazing. Jellyfish sting soother? (I want the story behind this!) Laundry freshener? Flower preserver? Yes – and 17 more besides. How many of these “discoveries” were the result of drunken mishaps? Probably quite a few.

Now to some, the idea of using vodka for anything other than drinking might seem sacrilegious – but there are others out there who don’t drink – or aren’t opposed to a little experimentation. And many of course will simply be curious. Vodka is also considered safer than isopropyl alcohol for numerous home uses, being “food grade”.

There is one more that wasn’t mentioned, that I must certainly add to the list of 20 – making herbal tinctures! We have a big page where you can learn all about tinctures, including how to make them. And we have also a recipe page for a herbal migraine tincture.

Anyway here is the link to the brilliant list of 20 weird but amazing uses for vodka:

http://ecosalon.com/20-unusual-ways-to-use-vodka

Enjoy!

16 Veggies You Can Re-Grow From Kitchen Scraps

16 Veggies That You Can Re-Grow From Kitchen ScrapsPhoto – © mbongo – Fotolia.com (under license)

Here’s an old idea that seems to have been completely forgotten about until recently: There are several foods which you can re-grow from saved pieces and will create a whole new plant! Isn’t nature amazing?

This idea seems to be undergoing an “internet renaissance” with the resurgence of interest in homesteading, survival skills and similar pursuits. Together with seed saving techniques, you can save a lot of money on groceries this way.

Because this method is in effect a simple type of cloning, the plants you get will very very similar to the ones you grew them from. So be sure to pick the tastiest, best varieties to regrow! Purchase veggies of a super-high quality once, and continue to harvest time and time again.

Another thing to consider is that (for example) a whole garlic bulb can be re-grown from a single clove. So there is the potential for creating a whole garden from a few pieces and multiplying your yield.

We discovered a great list of 16 plants that can be re-grown. Note that each of these veggies has a specific technique that goes with re-planting it – so you will need not just the list but to read the instructions – which are provided.

Ok, here is the link (archive version) for the full list and tutorials on how to grow the veggies:

http://wakeup-world.com/2012/10/15/16-foods-thatll-re-grow-from-kitchen-scraps/

How To Make A Natural Anti-Dust Mite Carpet Cleaner

How To Make Natural Anti-Dust Mite Carpet CleanerDust mites: They live in your carpet – and your bed. Photo – FDA (public domain)

Every so often the time comes when your carpet needs something more serious than vacuuming – and the typical strategy is either to pay for professional cleaning or to rent the “rug doctor” machine.

In addition to the dust, stains and grime that accumulate over time, carpets make a wonderful home for dust mites – microscopic beasties that eat dust. A dust mite is around 0.04 millimeters long – in other words, you don’t see them – but they are a real health hazard for millions of people.

This part is gross, but true – their poop is (as you can imagine) so small that it becomes airborne… and we breathe it in! Each dust mite produces around 2,000 of these particles in a 10 week lifespan… and there are thousands if not millions of the infernal things in most carpets, pillows and bedcovers.

Many people are allergic to dust mites and their poop – and they are considered one of the most common causes of asthma and allergies. [1]

This is one of the reasons why it’s good to give the carpet a deep cleaning – and cleaning fluids are designed to disinfect unwanted life-forms as well as cleanse dirt. However, as is so often the case, industrial / commercial cleaning fluids typically contain powerful man-made chemicals – and some have been found to have adverse health effects.

So if you are into the natural lifestyle and (rightly) concerned about the level of chemicals in the home, we have an alternative! It also happens to be very inexpensive.

The “basic” formula is really simple – a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water. There is also a natural stain/spot remover and a carpet powder at the link at the end of the article.

However I’ve done some research and “upped the firepower” a bit: Did you know that numerous essential oils have been found to be natural dust mite killers? Oh yes! I found a brilliant scientific study from 2006 which lists several essential oils which have been found effective in this regard. [2] Clove essential oil was found to be (by far!) the most effective of the ones examined in this study; followed by matrecary, chenopodium, fennel, caraway, rosemary and eucalyptus.

Several other scientific studies have found good activity of other essential oils against dust mites: A 2009 study found juniper essential oil to be powerful against dust mites. [3] Tea tree and lavender have also been found by other researches to have a good natural anti-dust mite activity. [4] Also, tea tree has also been found effective against scabies mites. [5]

A further 2006 study found pennyroyal essential oil to be highly effective, and more so than ylang ylang, citronella, lemon grass, tea tree, and rosemary. [6]

So there are your weapons! Why not try concocting your own special anti-dust mite carpet cleaning fluid using 50/50 white vinegar and water – and adding a few drops of these essential oils to the mix? 🙂 If you are asthmatic, you might find an improvement in your breathing after giving your carpets a thorough cleaning. I would also suggest putting all bedding through a hot wash and hot tumble dry (assuming that is ok for the fabrics).

Here is the link to the original formula, including the stain remover and the carpet powder:

http://naturehacks.com/house-and-home/how-to-naturally-clean-your-carpet

References:

[1] House dust mite. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_dust_mite

[2] Saad E, et al. (2006) Acaricidal activities of some essential oils and their monoterpenoidal constituents against house dust mite, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Acari: Pyroglyphidae). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1661675/

[3] Lee CH, et al. (2009) Acaricidal activities of major constituents of essential oil of Juniperus chinensis leaves against house dust and stored food mites. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19722401

[4] Williamson EM, et al. (2007) An investigation and comparison of the bioactivity of selected essential oils on human lice and house dust mites. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17662541

[5] Walton SF, et al. (2004) Acaricidal activity of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil: in vitro sensitivity of sarcoptes scabiei var hominis to terpinen-4-ol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15148100

[6] Rim IS & Jee CH. (2006) Acaricidal effects of herb essential oils against Dermatophagoides farinae and D. pteronyssinus (Acari: Pyroglyphidae) and qualitative analysis of a herb Mentha pulegium(pennyroyal). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16809961