I’ve mentioned more than a few times that I’m a big, fat Kate Spade fan. I love how all of her pieces manage to be both whimsical and classic. I’m also a big I Spy DIY fan and when Jenni did a post a few months ago on DIY quote totes that were inspired by Kate Spade’s cheeky totes, I knew I’d have to make my own version.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of buying a container of big, juicy strawberries only to have them go gross within a couple of days. All berries really. And grapes too, while we’re at it. So I hit up Pinterest hoping to find a magical spell that would keep fruit fresh–even if it got pushed to the back of the fridge and I forgot about it for a couple of days.
The Pinterest gods were on my side and I found a great trick from The Frugal Girls: vinegar. Now, don’t go running with your nose all scrunched up in the air. I know you don’t want your fruit to smell (or, worse yet, taste) like vinegar. I don’t either. So I was a little skeptical.
But when I opened my refrigerator and no less than half of a container of strawberries I had bought days before were mushy and gross, I threw caution to the wind.
The post said to soak strawberries in a mix of one part vinegar to ten parts water and let them dry completely before putting them in the fridge in an uncovered bowl.
Now, we all know that I’m not the best at following directions. Sometimes it turns out OK and other times (like my pathetic attempt at a mug cake or that time I tried to make one of those yarn balls), not so much. This time though, a little improvising worked out fine.
Aside from checking out The Frugal Girls post, I consulted a couple of other websites about vinegar washes. They all had pretty much the same information. The difference was in the water to vinegar ratio and the method of storing your fruit. I decided to be wild and crazy and wing it.
I filled my sink with water about half way and then threw in a cup of vinegar before dumping in a three pound container or strawberries (go big or go home, peeps). I let them sit for ten minutes or so, stirring it up with my hands once in a while to make sure every bit of strawberry benefited from the soak.
Next up was drying the berries. The vinegar is key for killing any ickies that might be on there (think mold spores). Some people even say it may help get rid of some pesticides. But vinegar is not the only key to this process. You also have to make sure everything is completely dry before you store them. Moisture is the enemy here!
I put the berries in a colander for a bit before laying them out on a towel. I made sure none of them were touching to help the drying process. When I was satisfied that they were dry, I put them into a Rubbermaid produce saver container (they have a little tray on the bottom that allows room for water to drip if there’s excess moisture) and laid a paper towel on top to soak up any that way. I’m not a big fan of leaving things open in the fridge, so I tested my luck.
Well, when I went to take pictures one week later my berries were just as good as they had been on day one. In fact, we ate the last of them on day eleven and they were still in perfect condition.
Needless to say, I’m a total convert and have now started soaking all of our fruits (as you can see from the picture up top). I only soaked those yesterday morning so I can’t tell you with absolute certainly that it works just as well, but I have no reason to believe it won’t work.
And, in case you’re wondering: the fruit doesn’t even have a hint of a vinegar taste or smell. I didn’t rinse my strawberries after the vinegar wash to be extra sure about it. I had a feeling from my green cleaning escapades that it wouldn’t be an issue (my house never smells like vinegar after it dries), but I tested it to be sure.
VERDICT: I could not be happier with the outcome. I plan on soaking pretty much any produce that comes into my home in this wash. It saves me money and ensures that I clean my sink regularly (for the record, I clean it with baking soda and vinegar—I’m a big fan of DIY green cleaning and I don’t want any chemicals in my wash!) 😉
I’ve mentioned once or twice that I make jewelry, right? Well, while I keep working towards opening up my Etsy shop, I thought I’d give you an insanely simple DIY earrings tutorial.
This one is perfect for anyone who has been interested in jumping into the world of jewelry making but is slightly intimidated by it. These earrings are so stinkin easy that you can do them in about five minutes. Plus, they’d make a really pretty gift–Mother’s Day, anyone? 😉
I was standing in my kitchen the other afternoon, washing dishes for what felt like the millionth time that day, when a warm breeze came through my window. I enjoyed every second of it and once it stopped, two things became incredibly clear.
One: I suddenly and desperately needed to clean the last hangers-on from the Great Purge of 2013 and continue with the organizing my life spree. And two: I had a physical need for everything in my world to smell as clean and as fresh as lemons.
Weird? Yes. If any of my friends told me this story my immediate response would be “Are you prego?” I’m not, but the story is true. Something about the warmth and the sunshine and the breeze reignited my cleaning fire and made me lemon obsessed. In fact, within days I went out and bought lemongrass essential oil to add to all of my DIY Green Cleaning Recipes.
Like a lot of the other ingredients I’ve been using, this one has a bunch of awesome qualities (it’s an antidepressant and is antibacterial, antimicrobial, insecticidal, fungicidal, antiseptic, deodorizing… the list goes on and on!). I also bought a big old bag of lemons and turned to the internet for ways to complete my mission.
I’ve put together a list of 20 of my favorite tips for cleaning with lemons…
- Fill a glass jar with lemon peels then fill the jar with white vinegar. Let this sit for 2 weeks, strain and use as a cleaner (via The Greening of Westford).
- Clean brass and copper by sprinkling salt on a lemon half and rubbing it on the metal, then rinsing thoroughly. (via Real Simple)
- Cut a lemon in half and use it to scrub the hard water stains on any fixture. (via Broccoli Cupcake)
- Clean your microwave and remove odors by placing 3/4 cup of water with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice in the microwave. Heat to boiling. Don’t open the door for another 10 minutes. Then just wipe away food particles with a clean cloth and dry. (via Mother Nature Network)
- Dip the cut side of a lemon half in baking soda to tackle counter tops; wipe with a wet sponge and dry. Don’t use on delicate stone, like marble, or stainless steel (it may discolor). (via Real Simple)
- Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice (or sliced lemons) with one gallon of very hot water. Soak white clothes in the solution (don’t use for silk, it’s best for cotton and polyester). Let the clothes soak from an hour to overnight, depending on how badly it needs bleaching. Remove the clothing from the mix and pour the mix into the washing machine and wash as usual. It’s impossible to over-bleach using lemon juice. (via DIY Network)
- A dilute lemon juice rinse for your hair cuts soap residue and leaves hair softer and shinier. (via Mother Nature Network)
- To remove tough food stains from light wood and plastic cutting boards, slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing. (via Real Simple)
- Clean mineral buildup on tea kettles and coffee pots by boiling lemon slices in the pots. Allow the mixture to sit for an hour or two, and then rinse and dry. (via Mother Nature Network)
- To clean stubborn soap scum from shower doors, dip a halved lemon in baking soda and scrub. Rinse with water once you’re satisfied to remove any left over baking soda residue.
- To tackle grout stains add lemon juice to 1 or 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar (an acidic salt that acts as a natural bleaching agent) to make a paste. Apply with a toothbrush, then rinse. (via Real Simple)
- To clean windows and mirrors put a few tablespoons of lemon juice and water into a spray bottle. It works as well as a vinegar solution and smells better. (via Mother Nature Network)
- To get rid of unpleasant smells in your kitchen, heat the oven to 300 degrees F and place a whole lemon on the center rack. With the door slightly ajar, let the lemon “cook” for about 15 minutes; then turn off oven. Let the lemon cool before removing it. (via TLC)
- If your hands smell from chopping garlic or handling raw fish you can rub them with lemon juice, which will neutralize the odor. (via Real Simple)
- To remove dried-on food or detergent from the chrome inside your dishwasher by rubbing it with a piece of lemon. Rinse by wiping with a damp cloth, and then rub dry with a clean, dry cloth. (via TLC)
- To bleach tomato sauce and other acidic-food stains from dishwasher-safe items, rub lemon juice on the spots, let the items dry in the sun, then wash as usual. (via Real Simple)
- Scrub grills and grates with lemon juice and salt. (via Mother Nature Network)
- Make your wooden furniture gleam by mixing one part olive oil to one part lemon juice, then rub the liquid in with a soft rag. The same mix will also give sparkle to your wooden floors. (via Quick & Simple)
- Remove rust stains from cotton and polyesters by making a paste with lemon juice and cream of tartar. Rub the mixture into the stain, let the item sit for about a half hour, and then wash as normal (test before use). (via Mother Nature Network)
- When you run out of dish soap, slice a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on top, working the lemon half like you would a Brillo pad. Watch as the citric acid cuts, loosens and then dissolves grease, giving your pots and pans a shiny glow. (via iVillage)
Do you have any tips for DIY green cleaning with lemons? I’m always up for new cheap and easy ways to clean!
Let’s be real, people. If you’ve read a handful of my posts, you know this momma is cheap. I don’t mean it in a bad, two dollar hooker kind of way. I just mean if I can save a buck (or ten) you better believe I will.
Luckily this works nicely with my desire to be nice to the world we live in. I mean, the whole reduce, reuse, recycle mantra should tell you straight off the bat that thriftiness is an eco-friendly lady’s best weapon.
Since Earth Day is next Monday, I thought I’d let my inner granola-crunching, tree-hugging hippie run wild and show off a few of my favorite eco-friendly organization tips.
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