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Helpful Kitchen Alternatives

Updated on August 15, 2015
PAINTDRIPS profile image

As a Baby-Boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.

Aluminum foil

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My collection of alternatives

I have collected a number of helpful alternatives to save money and the environment. Some of these things have been around for years and some of them I have only recently discovered. Try some of these alternatives for yourself and see.

Aluminum Foil

Instead of dryer sheets, try a lightly crumpled up square of aluminum foil. Cheaper and reusable. Believe it or not, it really works.

Vinegar

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Vinegar

To keep cut flowers fresh longer doing buy the expensive fresh packets. Instead mix 2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

4 cups warm water

Pour this into the water for cut flowers to keep the blooms fresh longer.

More vinegar

I understand vinegar has tons of benefits. For sunburn, for instance. Soak a cloth in vinegar and place it on the sunburn. It will remove the sting and the burning. Believe me. Some say apple cider vinegar, some say white vinegar. Either seems to work fine. It will also prevent blistering if blisters have not already formed.

Azaleas love a little acidic soil. Add a couple tablespoons of vinegar to a quart of water to pour on azalea roots.

Wash pots out with vinegar before repotting plants. It kills unwanted molds and neutralizes excess lime.

Ecology and Economy

Do you like using ecological and economic organic alternatives?

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Fresh Mint

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Mint

Fresh mint or pennyroyal works wonders to ward off fleas. We had plenty of cats and dogs around the house and sometimes fleas would get into the house and carpet. I would sew a casing of fabric and stuff it with fresh or dried pennyroyal and tie the casing around the neck of the cats and dogs. This kind of protection does not kill fleas it only annoys them so they jump off the animals and don’t come into the house. This is especially good for kittens who cannot wear the harsh manufactured flea collars until they are 6 months old or more. Refresh the mint in the fabric casing every couple of months throughout the summer to keep the fleas at bay.


Fresh Cilantro

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Fresh Herbs

Cilantro and Basil; a 3 inch stem can be rooted in water. Place them in a window that doesn't get direct scorching sunlight. When the roots reach several inches, transfer into small pot with potting soil for continued availability.

One garlic clove tossed into a shallow cup of water will root. When the roots get to be 2 to 3 inches long put the garlic into potting soil. You can cut and cook with the tips of the leaves for a very mild garlic flavor or use them as a garnish.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil

A few drips of olive oil on a cotton ball can be used to remove eye make-up safely; fix a stubborn zipper; silence a squeaky hinge.

Coconut oil can be used as an alternative to expensive eczema creams.

Coconut oil mixed with baking soda can be used as a deodorant.

Newspaper

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Old Newspaper

Crumple newspapers in travel bags to remove stale musty odors. Change the paper every few days till the odor is gone.

Cornstarch

In a pinch, cornstarch can be used as a deodorant. It absorbs excess moisture and smell. Plus it is very soft on the skin.

Lemons

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Lemon Rinds

My husband appreciates lemon squeezed into his iced tea. This leaves me with lemon rinds that usually go into the trash. However a couple of lemon slices every week of so tossed down the garbage disposal keeps it smelling fresh. Just drop the lemon rind or two into the garbage disposal and turn it on with the water running. Fresh as a daisy.

Butter

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Need Buttermilk?

Ever need buttermilk for a recipe or fresh butter quick? If you have some whipping cream, then you have all you need to get fresh butter and buttermilk both. Simply put a cup or two into a quart jar with a lid. Put something clean in the cream that will add to the stirring like a wooden clothespin. Shake the jar for about 15 minutes until you can see the butter separate from the buttermilk. Remove the clothespin and spoon out the butter. It is good to add a little salt and refrigerate as soon as possible. Voila. Fresh butter just like in pioneer days. The milk left over is pure buttermilk.

Problems with cockroaches

I found that the noxious roach sprays drove me out of the house more often than the roaches. Finally my grandfather told me about boric acid powder. He said they used to use it when he was a boy to keep the roaches out of the house. It has no smell and is safe to get on your hands. My mother said it was what they used to clean the sleep out of baby’s eyes and cradle cap from their heads. It is however poisonous so it should not be ingested. What happens is that the roaches walk in it and track it back inside the walls to their families, who lick it off their feet, where they all die inside the walls. It is save to put around cracks on counters and in cabinets but not inside things that will be eaten. It works really well.

Mayonnaise

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Egg substitute

It is quite annoying to be in the middle of baking something only to find you are out of eggs. A workable substitute for eggs is 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Certainly you cannot fry it like an egg but for emergencies for a cake batter or cookie batter, it works fine.

Bananas

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Keep bananas fresh longer

Wrap plastic around the stem. The stem gives off ethylene gas, which causes it to ripen. If you wrap plastic tightly around just the stem it will impede the giving off of gas and keep the fruit from blackening for about 4 to 5 days longer.

Destructive Gophers

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Problems with gophers

Here in California we have some pretty aggressive gopher problems, digging up the lawns and even eating gardens from the bottom up. I stepped into the garden one day to find just the stalks of the garlic left because the gophers had eaten the cloves beneath them.

The gopher poison they sell is not that safe around animals like dogs and cats, it’s terribly expensive, plus there is no guarantee the gophers will actually eat it. Much better than gopher poison is chewing gum. Yes, chewing gum. Fruit flavored is best liked by the gophers. Unwrap a couple sticks of gum and put them down one of the gopher runs; cover it up and wait. Within days you will notice no more activity from the gopher. That is because they love the stuff but cannot digest it and apparently their digestive system locks up and they die in their gopher run. No need to dispose of the bodies. They are already buried.

I’m not sure what this says about chewing gum except that I don’t like the idea of swallowing gum. Apparently all rodents have a problem digesting gum.

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Kitchen Comments welcome

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 20 months ago from Fresno CA

      CorneliaMladenova,

      I'm so glad to be of help. My eczema is under control with this treatment. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • CorneliaMladenova profile image

      Korneliya Yonkova 20 months ago from Cork, Ireland

      Great ideas, Denise, thank you very much. The advice about coconut oil is really useful for me. My older daughter has eczema and now I am going to try it and help her. :)

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Kristen,

      Thanks so much. Glad to be if help.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great tips, Denise. What clever ideas to find around the kitchen. Voted up!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Excellent, DaphneDL, that's what I was hoping for.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • DaphneDL profile image

      Daphne D. Lewis 2 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      Using aluminum foil is new to me, and now I want to try it! A few of these I've tried, but have picked up some great new ideas here to use.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
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      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Let me know how they work out for you. Thanks for visiting.

    • notsuperstitious1 profile image

      Edith Rose 2 years ago from Canada

      All good ideas. Some I knew about and some I did not, so I will try them.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      I've tried the aluminum foil in the dryer. It actually works!!