Show Notes: Unexpected Vinegar Uses and Pipes – On the House

Show Notes: Unexpected Vinegar Uses and Pipes

By on March 3, 2018

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Spring is around the corner and we have some useful and unexpected tips to use vinegar around the house! Looking to hide your outlets and switches? Debating whether to buy that air purifier? Questioning which pipe to use for what project? We’ve got you covered!




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Congratulations to our winners Anthony, Stephanie, and Brian!

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What if we told you there is one item in your kitchen pantry that can do it all? This homekeeping multitasker can whiten your laundry whites, wash your windows and mirrors, drive out pests, eliminate odors, and remove stains, and leave your surfaces sparkling clean. Enter: vinegar, your secret weapon.

 Deodorize the Room

Unpleasant odors lurk in the carpets, rugs, and upholstery. To remove these musty smells, fill a dish with half an inch of white vinegar and leave it out in the room until the smell dissipates.

 Dissolve Rust

To clean sharp edges on a dirty knife or pair of shears without cutting yourself, pour white vinegar over the blade. Then sprinkle with coarse salt and rub with a cork. Rinse with water and wipe dry to prevent rusting.

Keep Colors Bright

If you think that the colors of your clothing may run in the wash, try this time-honored easy treatment: Prerinse laundry in a solution of distilled white vinegar and cold water, using 2/3 cup vinegar for each gallon of water. Let the garments soak for up to 15 minutes, then wash and dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Whiten Your Whites

On the flip side, vinegar is naturally acidic, and will whiten fabrics when added to the rinse water. Add it to the first rinse so it can be washed out by the second rinse. Depending on the size of the load, add anywhere from 1/8 cup to 1/2 cup.

 Clean the Faucet

Cut through the crusty buildup of mineral deposits on your faucet with this trick: Soak a paper towel in full-strength white vinegar, then drape over the buildup. Leave for about an hour, then scrub scum away.

 Wash Your Windows and Mirrors

Reflective surfaces such as these should have a streak-free shine. You can make your own cleaner by mixing one part vinegar and one part water.

Get a Fresher Cup of Coffee

This is a natural way to clean your coffeemaker: Fill the carafe with equal parts water and white vinegar. Pour into the reservoir and turn the machine on. When several cups have filled the carafe, turn it off and let it sit for an hour. Then turn it back on and rinse it out with a few cycles of fresh water before brewing a cup.

Sanitize Your Garbage Disposal

It’s no surprise that a trash bin can harbor the worst odors in your home. But a rinse-down doesn’t always do the trick. After rinsing with fresh water, use a long-handled brush to scrub the inside with a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. Rinse once more and let dry.

Remove Hard-Water Stains

Use a clean rag to rub each piece with distilled white vinegar. This will remove the hard water’s calcium and magnesium buildup. (And don’t worry — the items won’t smell like vinegar once dried.)

 Drive Away Pests

Keep the ants from marching in: Pour equal amounts of water and white vinegar into a spray bottle, and shake to mix. Then, spritz the solution in areas where ants tend to gather, like kitchen floors or the crevices in painted baseboards. You can also use the repellent outside to spray your patio, porch, or picnic table where you host gatherings.

 Unclog the Showerhead

If it becomes clogged, fill a plastic bag with undiluted white vinegar and place the bag over the head so it is submerged; secure and seal the bag with a rubber band. Soak overnight and then scrub the face with a toothbrush.

 Kill Weeds

Warm weather means more weeds. But don’t go for the chemical weed killer. Douse the offending foliage with vinegar instead. The weeds will likely shrivel in a day or so; resilient ones rarely withstand a second treatment.

Restore Your Stained Rug

Oops. Have a spill? Blend white vinegar and water together in equal parts, and pour the solution over the stain. After a few minutes, wipe it away for a rug that’s as good as new.

 Furbish Wood Floors

Vinegar works as an efficient cleaner for wood floors as well. If yours becomes really dirty, try a solution of 1/8 cup plant-based liquid soap and 1/8 cup distilled white vinegar to 1 gallon water (add 10 drops essential oil for fragrance, if you prefer).

 Tidy up the Toilet

To remove a hard-water ring from inside the toilet, pour white vinegar into the bowl and let set for an hour. Scrub clean and flush.

Clean Bath Toys

Wash bacteria and mildew from bath toys by giving them a bath of their own: Fill a bucket or large bowl with warm water, adding 1/2 cup white vinegar per gallon of water. Soak toys for 10 minutes, then rub gently with a sponge and allow to dry. The acetic acid in vinegar cuts through dirt buildup and works as a natural disinfectant.

Save Your Shoes

Leather and suede are some of the hardest materials to maintain. Stains can easily result when our shoes come in contact with rain or salt. So rub shoes with a paper towel dampened with white vinegar. The white vinegar will dissolve the salt.

Refresh the Furniture

To remove musty smells from old furniture, try this: Fill plastic containers with white vinegar; seal, and punch holes in the lids. Put one inside each drawer or cabinet overnight to absorb odors. For extreme cases, you can clean interiors with a vinegar-dampened cloth.

Shine the Silver

Silver is easily scratched and tarnished. Restore its sparkle: Gently buff with vinegar and a soft cotton cloth. Finish by rinsing and drying the pieces with the cloth.

Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Set out a shallow dish of apple-cider vinegar. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap; using a needle, punch a half dozen holes in the surface at least a half inch in from the edge of the bowl. The fruit flies will fly in and get trapped.


Another unexpected use of vinegar came from our listener Lori in Farmington, New Mexico! She suggested using vinegar and steel wool to stain wood.

Check out the video below that shows you how!


Local building codes say we have to have so many outlets every so often. And switches are just a necessity of life. So what do we do about them when it comes to hiding them or at least minimizing the impact they have on our kitchen or bath design?

You don’t have to ruin a perfectly good backsplash by placing white outlets and switches right in the middle of a beautiful tile pattern.

Put them in a secret compartment.

You can hide an outlet behind a little trap door. When you need the plug, just open the door and plug in the appliance. This is especially handy on an island.

Hide them in plain sight.

What outlet? I don’t see an outlet. Imagine a bright white outlet and plate cover on this beautiful island. It would be an obvious eyesore. By specifying a brown outlet and cover, the service disappears.

Any good wallpaper hanger should be able to cover a plate cover in the wallcovering so it simply goes away in the pattern.

Group outlets and plugs to minimize the busy-ness.

Placing outlets and switches in groups serves dual purposes. First, it can put the proper amount of outlets where you need them most. Why put a random plug somewhere it might never be used? Also, as in this case, the size and placement can be part of the design. By grouping these services in three, the plate cover is nearly the same size as the glass tiles in this backsplash. It’s a nice little trick to keep in mind.

 Work the outlet into the design.

Outlets and switches in their standard locations would detract from the look of this vintage-style bathroom. By turning the outlet to the horizontal position, the tile setter was able to work it seamlessly into the tile pattern. It melds into the tile rather than sticking out like sore thumb.

In a kitchen, moving the outlets to a lower, horizontal position helps keep them out of the design-critical parts of the backsplash. And because you won’t have long cords snaking up to a higher plug, they’ll be mostly out of sight when in use.

 Specify a special plate cover to match other design elements.

My mom always said, “If you can’t fix it, feature it.” That is the exact sentiment behind the decision to use sleek stainless-steel plate covers for the switches and outlets in this contemporary kitchen.

Mirrored plate covers make outlets cut into mirrors almost disappear.

Tuck the outlets under the cabinets.

If it is really important for you to not see any outlets in the backsplash, then consider running a plug strip behind the under-cabinet lights. This removes the unsightly plugs completely.


5 Reasons You Need an Air Purifier

Spring is around the corner, and most people are excited because that means sunny days, blooming flowers, and warmer temperatures. But, I see spring as watery eyes, itchy noses, and absurd amounts of money spent on whatever medication dulls the misery best.

I decided that I am going to prepare myself for this season by getting an air purifier, however, you don’t have to have allergies to invest in an air purifier and according to there are five reasons why:

  1. Prevent the spread of mold – Areas that have high levels of moisture often have mold as well. Mold is a fungus made up of spores that can fly through the air and stick to other objects. An air purifier will trap these spores within the filter preventing them from spreading.
  2. If you have pets – Do yourself a favor and get an air purifier with a HEPA filter. You may not know it, but pet dander can be the culprit to your mystery allergies.
  3. If you have Asthma – An air purifier can trap the incoming throat-tightening allergen and prevent it from spreading throughout your house.
  4. If you’re a smoker – The toxins in smoke are not only harmful to humans and animals, but they are almost impossible to get rid of! Smoking outdoors and having a whole-house air purifier is the best way to prevent your home from smelling like the Vegas strip.
  5. If you have allergies – An air purifier may be your best bet to not waking up feeling like you ate a plate of pollen with a side of dust. Whole-house purifiers coupled with a smaller bedroom purifier could be the dynamic duo you need to get through this allergy season.




 Your home plumbing system will have different types of piping materials for different uses, including fresh water supply, waste drainage, irrigation, gas pipes for appliances, and so on. Which type is used in which application will largely depend on the age of your plumbing system. An older plumbing system may be dominated by cast iron and galvanized iron, while a new home will have plastic pipe of various types used almost exclusively.

Some plastic pipe used in plumbing (such as PVC and CPVC) may also be used in the venting of high efficiency condensing furnaces. However, this tutorial will focus on pipe materials use in plumbing applications. It will outline the most common types of plumbing piping materials found in homes of different ages, what they are used form, with an overview of how to cut and fasten them together. We will look at the following types of plumbing materials used in piping for waste lines, water supply pipes, and natural gas supply:

Cast iron for plumbing waste lines. Used for main soil stack waste lines and vent pipes.

PVC (Poly0Vinyl Chloride) for plumbing waste lines. Prevalent Use: Use for sanitary waste lines, vent pipes, and drain traps.

Chromed brass for plumbing waste lines. Chromed brass is often used in lieu of PVC for exposed waste line applications, such as “P” traps or other drain traps where appearance is important.

Chromed copper for water supply lines. Chromed copper pipe is often used where the appearance of exposed water supply lines is important.

Galvanized iron for water supply lines. Galvanized iron pipe was once a popular method of plumbing water supply lines in the home, but it gradually fails due to corrosion and rust. For this reason, it is no longer commonly used and has been largely replaced with copper pipe or PEX plastic pipe.

Copper (rigid and flexible) for water supply lines. Copper pipe comes in two types, rigid and flexible. The rigid type comes in several wall thicknesses: K, L, and M. Type M is the one normally used for water supply pipes. Copper has proven itself over the decades to be corrosion resistant and very reliable.

CPVC (Chlorinated Poly-Vinyl Chloride) for water supply lines, and is an inexpensive rigid plastic that is designed to withstand high pressure and hot and cold temperature.

PEX (Cross-linked Polyethylene) for water supply lines. Typically blue (cold water) or red (hot water) or white flexible plastic pipe.

PEX is made of cross-linked HDPE (high-density polyethylene) polymer and is an incredible piping material that has been in use since the 1970s. PEX is strong and flexible, withstanding temperatures from below 32°F  to 200°F. PEX is corrosion resistant, and unlike copper pipe, will not develop pinholes.

Black Iron for gas pipes. Black pipe looks like almost exactly like galvanized iron pipe, except it is darker and specifically designed for gas applications: natural gas or propane supply pipes. It is often used for feeding gas supply to the furnace, boiler, or water heater.




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Dick’s Question:

I have an almond wall hung toilet and the tank is cracked. I cannot replace it with a floor mounted toilet because it is on the second floor of my home and I cannot find a new almond wall hung toilet to match all my other bath room fixtures….. Help!



Pros and Cons of a Wall Hung Toilet

 Pros Related to Wall Hung Toilets

 A benefit of a wall-hung toilet is that it provides the bathroom with clean lines. The lines that are created by the wall hung toilet helps turn the bathroom into a stylish room that can complement the rest of your home’s decor. This is accomplished by concealing water outlets and other aspects of the toilet that make it stick out and appear to look like an eyesore in the bathroom.

Another pro of having a wall hung toilet in your bathroom is that it takes up a minimal amount of space. Because it is hung to the wall it takes up no floor space like a conventional toilet does. This allows you to install the toilet in any convenient space near a water source in order to open up the space more for other decorating ideas.


Cons Related to Wall Hung Toilets

 Among the biggest cons related to a wall hung toilet is the cost. A wall hung toilet has a greater cost than the conventional toilets. This cost does not include installation and other costs associated with hanging the toilet on the wall.

A wall hung toilet can also come loose over time due to the pressure exerted on the wall mount. This may require constant adjustment and rehanging by a qualified plumber, which can become expensive. You may also experience more leaking from these toilets in comparison to the floor mounted toilets, which again will result in more repair costs.


Considering Wall Hung Toilets

 Wall hung toilets are not as popular in the United States as they are in European countries. For a homeowner who chooses to have a wall hung toilet installed in their home, consideration should be given to the advantages and disadvantages of this type of toilet. If you are cost conscious buyer you may want to choose a conventional floor mounted toilet as oppose to the more expensive wall hung toilet.

Comparing costs is just one of the things that you should do before deciding on a wall hung or floor mounted toilet. Go to a kitchen and bath store and look at the different models that are available and test them out for look, feel and how it may work in your bathroom.



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