By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)
One of the most rewarding parts of the summer flower garden is the cutting and arranging fresh flower vases. While flower arrangements purchased from florists can be quite expensive, home cut flower gardens can provide armloads of beautiful blooms all season long.
But what are ways to extend the vase life of these cut flower bouquets? Many tips and techniques lend themselves to improving the length of time that flowers are kept fresh. One method, adding vinegar to cut flowers, is especially popular.
Various types of vinegar have a multitude of uses around the home. Many have explored the potential use of vinegar for cut flowers. Adding vinegar to cut flowers may work due to its ability to alter the pH of water in the vase.
Those preserving cut flowers with vinegar are essentially lowering pH, which in turn, increases the acidity. This increase helps to create an environment that is less suitable for the growth of bacteria, which is often the culprit in the speed of decline in freshness of the flowers.
While there is some evidence that vinegar and cut flower arrangements are compatible, it should also be noted that vinegar for cut flowers is not a stand-alone solution to vase life extension. Combining other techniques can help to produce the best results. Adding vinegar to cut flowers will also need to be done in proper quantities, as well as with the addition of other ingredients needed by the flowers.
Those preserving cut flowers with vinegar commonly add both sugar and household bleach to the vase as well. Dissolved sugar serves the important purpose of continuing to feed the stems nutrients as they draw water from the vase. Small amounts of bleach are used to kill any bacteria in the vase that persist.
Ratios for preserving flowers with vinegar will vary. However, most agree that roughly two tablespoons each of vinegar and dissolved sugar should be used for each one quart vase. Adding only a couple small drops of bleach will be more than sufficient for the cut flower vase, as too much can quickly kill the flowers.
In creating this mix, always make certain that vases are kept safely out of reach from children and pets.
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White vinegar is an ideal and cheap tool in your cleaning arsenal, with dozens of uses around the home. Distilled white vinegar can kill some household bacteria, get rid of odours and leave a streak-free shine. Vinegar can also be found at most supermarkets and is inexpensive, with no need to splash out on pricier cleaners which have the same effect.
However, anyone wanting to wield vinegar at home should bear in mind the acidity levels.
Some materials, like granite and marble worktops, stone floor tiles, irons, and hardwood floors will warp or become discoloured if cleaned with vinegar.
You shouldn’t reach for any cleaners containing vinegar to clean egg stains or spills as vinegar can make the egg coagulate and harder to remove.
However, there are several uses you may not even know about for white vinegar. Express.co.uk has put together a list of six things white vinegar can do.
White vinegar uses: Six ways to use white vinegar - from cleaning to flowers (Image: GETTY)
Often glasses can become cloudy or retain streaks when put in the dishwasher.
However, one tip is to add distilled white vinegar to your dishwasher to get shiny glasses and prevent scaling in your dishwasher.
Simply pop a large glass with two cups of vinegar on the top of the dishwasher.
This will mix with the water as the cycle goes, and work to descale your washing machine as well as giving any glasses extra shine.
White vinegar uses: Adding vinegar to flowers can help preserve them for longer (Image: GETTY)
Often cutting boards can become tacky or heavy with residue.
So one way to clean your cutting board is to spray undiluted vinegar over it.
Or you can mix one part white vinegar to four parts water and soak it for few minutes, then rinse off and dry.
If you have a smelly drain it can often be tricky to shift without chemicals.
However, using a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda can help shift any bad odours.
Sarson’s vinegar advises pouring 125ml of baking soda in the drain, then follow with a mixture of 250ml clear distilled malt vinegar and 250ml of hot water.
Immediately stopper the drain with a rag or cloth to keep the bubbles contained for 10 minutes.
Rinse by pouring a kettle of boiling water down the drain.
White vinegar uses: Get rid of any excess food or odours on your cutting board (Image: GETTY)
White vinegar uses: Cover the wine stain with vinegar and leave for a few minutes, then rinse with water (Image: GETTY)
Wilting flowers can be a pain, especially when brightening rooms after all this time at home.
So to keep your flowers looking fresher for longer, try adding distilled malt vinegar to the water.
Add two tablespoons of clear distilled malt vinegar and one teaspoon sugar to a quart of water in a vase.
Wine stains can be among the trickiest to get out of clothes and carpets.
However, vinegar can be a simple way to remove any pesky wine stains.
Simply cover the affected area with vinegar and allow to stand for several minutes.
Rinse thoroughly with water and if some staining remains you can repeat the process.
Often window cleaning solutions can be expensive and contain a lot of chemicals.
However, you can create your own with just water and vinegar.
Mix one part distilled vinegar to 10 parts warm water in a spray bottle.
Use a microfibre cloth for streak-free shine when cleaning your windows.
Nurseries and garden centers carry vinegar products containing 11 to 20 percent acetic acid. These products are designed for weed control and have been found effective at killing plants. They work best on young, newly emerged plants and might require repeated applications. In research studies, these products only temporarily thwarted tough perennial weeds, such as Canadian thistle, according to Purdue University Extension. In the garden, they have the power to kill or damage most herbaceous flowers.
Some gardening blogs extoll the virtues of vinegar as a fertilizer or treatment for disease, but these claims are unfounded, advises Jeff Gillman of the Washington State University Extension. Vinegar has never been proven to control disease and its value as a fertilizer is minimal. Any benefits are outweighed by the risk of causing damage to flowers.
Vinegar has so many uses that it is challenging to list them all. There are almost as many health benefits of olive oil, too. Mix them together for a delicious salad dressing or try them separately for different health options.
For a sore throat caused by coughs and colds, gargle with a glass of warm water with a tablespoon of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of salt added. Use as often as needed until your sore throat is gone.
Once a week, give your teeth a brush with a toothbrush dipped in distilled white vinegar and baking soda. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing. Brushing with baking soda and vinegar will keep your teeth white and destroy the bacteria that cause bad breath.
Not only can you clean your teeth with vinegar, but this miracle household product is also ideal for how to clean a toothbrush. Soak your toothbrush periodically to get rid of unwelcome bacteria that may build up on the surface. This is a particularly good idea if you have just been sick. Stop those germs from spreading with a toothbrush rinsed in vinegar.
>> More about white vinegar and storage: Does white vinegar go bad?
For a relaxing spa treatment at home, add our Skin Softening Bath Additive to your bath water, and enjoy a soak. The vinegar removes excess oils and dead skin, leaving your skin soft and smooth.
Before applying nail polish, I clean my nails with a cotton ball dipped in distilled white vinegar. The vinegar cleans away residual oils. It helps my manicure last longer and reduces chipping.
White vinegar is a quick and effective home remedy for a dry, flaky scalp. Once a week, pour a cup of white vinegar over your scalp and wait 15 minutes.
Rinse it out with cool water. Your hair will shine again and don’t forget to clean your hair brushes with vinegar (of course) while you at it.
The disinfecting ability of white vinegar can be used in a foot bath. Soak your feet in a water diluted solution of vinegar for a couple of minutes, and it will help fight foot fungus and toenail fungus.
Are your feet in need of repair before you don those summer sandals? Soften them up by soaking them in one part vinegar and two parts warm water. The vinegar softens up the skin and removes dead skin. Follow up with a good buffing.
Rinse your hair with a tablespoon of vinegar added to your rinse water once a month to remove build up of hair products. Your hair will be cleaner and brighter.
Not only can you add vinegar to the rinse water for your hair, but you can also use it as the best way for how to clean a brush for your hair, too. Soak your hairbrush in a vinegar and water solution and rinse away the grime. Let your brush dry upside down on a paper towel and it will be clean and ready the next time you need it.
Soak your loofah in vinegar and water overnight to remove soap residue and disinfect it. Rinse it thoroughly and hang it to dry.
A dab of white vinegar on mosquito bites and insect stings stops the sting and itch while it disinfects the area and helps them heal. Its disinfecting nature is a huge benefit of white vinegar.
Here are some of my favorite things that vinegar can be used for. I am sure there are hundreds other that you may come up with.
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