How to Remove Pantry Odors

Among the many annoyances in daily life, strong odors in various areas of your home can be one of them. Say you just cooked fish in your kitchen – how do you get rid of the smell that lingers for days afterward? This is especially relevant to those who like to spend time in the kitchen, strong odors can become a nuisance extremely quickly.

Luckily, there are a several ways to absorb and reduce strong odors naturally. That’s right – you can put away the Febreze because there are plenty of other options to return areas of your home to their regular, nothing, smell.

One problem area for many people is in the pantry. Because you are storing many different types of food, for longer periods of time, the pantry is one of the number one places where strong and unpleasant odors may linger. If you’re in a disaster situation, and stuck in the house, you happen to have to go to into the pantry often as most people do. This can quickly become an annoying and unpleasant task.

So, making sure to clean the pantry often and rotating your stock to avoid items that might go bad first, is always a great way to prevent unwanted smells from drifting further. If you happen to have a hidden pantry, then you definitely do not want strong smells alerting people to it.

This is why it is so imperative to know how to get rid of these unpleasant odors in the pantry, and just about anywhere else.

baking soda

Baking Soda

The tried and true method for removing unpleasant smells has been, for a very long time, baking soda. Baking soda is often touted as a remedy for curing terrible smells because it does not just mask odors – it absorbs them completely, leaving your pantry, fridge, or any other area of your home, completely smell-free.

So, what is baking soda? First off, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (sodium hydrogen carbonate). You’ll probably notice that this chemical makeup is reminiscent of regular kitchen salt (sodium chloride); that’s because baking soda technically is a salt.

Though baking soda typically appears as a powder, it is a crystalline like we know most salts to be. As you’ve probably noticed, baking soda is used for a great many things in the household – from cooking, to cleaning, to pest control, and many more.

This is why there are several methods to freshen up your pantry or refrigerator using baking soda:

  • The most commonly cited method is leaving a shallow dish of baking soda uncovered to the air in your pantry. Replace this container as necessary.
  • If you find that your pantry smells because something has spilled or rotted in it, you may discover that you have to clean the surface itself before the smell will truly go away. Do this by mixing a solution of baking soda and hot water (a quarter cup to a half cup of baking soda dissolved in a few cups of hot water) and using this mixture to scrub the surface. Any deeply ingrained smell won’t stand a chance.
  • If you keep your garbage can in your pantry, you can sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda into it to absorb any malodors in the trash as well.

coffee

Coffee

If you’ve ever gone shopping for perfume, you’ll know that coffee grounds are often placed in small containers on shelves to “clear your palette”, so to speak, for smelling different perfumes. Luckily for us, coffee grounds can be used to clear up more than perfume smells.

Similar to baking soda, coffee beans, or coffee grounds, can be used to absorb bad smells in areas of your home. However, unlike baking soda coffee grounds will be fragrant on their own, so this is a great method if you simply enjoy the smell of coffee. If you don’t like the scent of coffee, then you might want to try one of our other solutions.

The best way to use coffee as a deodorizer for your pantry is to place a few grounds, or whole beans, in a shallow dish and leave this dish in your pantry. Replace the grounds (or beans) as needed. Unfortunately, this will leave you with stale coffee, but if you have coffee that is already stale, this is a great way to get some use out of it.

Another tip is that if you have some leftover brewed coffee grounds, don’t throw those either. They can be used to scrub shelving, bins and floors that have had rotting garlic, onions, potatoes, or other strong offensive odors that could draw the attention of sensitive noses.

vinegar

Vinegar

Another miracle worker in the household world is vinegar, which has a variety of uses, from applications in gardening to cooking and cleaning. You can spray a concoction of vinegar and water onto surfaces to clean and disinfect them. So, it makes sense that this versatile acid would have deodorizing properties as well.

The reason for this is that since most smells have a pH level of above 7, which makes them a base. Vinegar is an acid. So, when vinegar molecules come into contact with odor molecules, an acid-base neutralization occurs; thus, eliminating both odors – in this case, your bad smell, and eventually, the smell of vinegar).

Vinegar smells on its own, but because of the way it eliminates odors, the vinegar smell does go away after some time. There are many ways to utilize vinegar for removing bad smells from your pantry.

  • Like coffee and baking soda, you can simply leave a shallow container of white vinegar or cider vinegar open in your pantry to neutralize bad odors. You can apply this method to any part of the house where you want to eliminate odors – not just the pantry!
  • Many people suggest simmering about a cup of white vinegar on your stove for roughly an hour to neutralize odors throughout the whole house. Make sure you leave your pantry door open so that it works in there as well.
  • For the really ingrained odors, such as rotting food or spilt items on a surface, you can also use a vinegar-water solution to scrub the area and deodorize it. There are many formulations for cleaners involving vinegar; one common ratio is one cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water. You can do some trial and error to see what ratios work the best for you. However, its recommended that you do some research beforehand to make sure that vinegar works well with the type of surface that you need to clean, as not all surfaces are compatible with vinegar.

Vinegar remains one of the most useful household items due to how diverse its uses are. Deodorizing your pantry is just one of many other uses for the chemical.

vanilla extract

photo: Brian Boucheron via Flickr

Vanilla Extract

Unfortunately, vanilla extract doesn’t have quite as many deodorizing properties as the methods listed above. Nonetheless, it does have its own strong and delightful smell that is excellent at masking malodors anywhere in the home. If you like how vanilla smells, then this might be the perfect tactic for you.

There’s a wide range of methods for using vanilla extract to mask bad odors, and some of these work better for larger areas, such as the entire kitchen or home, rather than just one space, like the pantry. However, if you keep your pantry door open while attempting these, you should see a difference in the smell throughout.

  • Bake a small amount of vanilla extract (two tablespoons) at 300 degrees Fahrenheit in an oven safe container for 20 minutes. Make sure that you place the container on the middle rack of the oven. Don’t forget it’s there, or else it could burn.
  • Similarly, you can also simmer vanilla on your stovetop for 20 minutes, or microwave it on high for a minute. Once the smell of vanilla has propagated to your satisfaction, dump out the extract and enjoy your new and pleasant-smelling home.
  • If your pantry has a lightbulb in it, you can sprinkle a few drops onto it and turn on the lights. The heat from the lightbulb will cause the extract to evaporate, scenting the air with a delicious fragrance. You can also buy rings that go around lightbulbs to disperse the smell.

While this method won’t eliminate the odor quite as thoroughly because it does not absorb or neutralize smell as well as the previous two methods. Vanilla is a strong enough ingredient to mask odor fairly well, so that your house smells pleasant instead of unpleasant. If you’re aiming for a pantry that smells like nothing, this may not be the best method for you.

dried mustard

photo byt Ron Dollete via Flickr

Dried Mustard, Sage, Mints, or Other Herbs

Add a half-cup of dried mustard into 1.5 gallons of water. Wet a sponge, paper towel, or old rag with this solution and wipe down walls, shelves, and flooring to remove the smells. You can also pour this up into a spray bottle to make applying easier.

salt

Salt

Ordinary table salt absorbs orders, as well as makes a nice scrubbing agent.

  • Sprinkle the salt on any spills or areas where jars of canned food items have gone bad and exploded in the pantry. You just need to add a little bit of water to make a paste. Softly scrub the area to remove the cause of the odor.

lemon

Lemons, and Other Acidic Fruits

Many people have heard of using lemons, and the successes of it. The ascorbic acid in many citrus fruits will eliminate rank odors.

  • Cut the lemon or citrus fruit in half and place it with the cut side up in a bowl of water. Leave this in the corners of the pantry and allow it to work its magic.
  • Another way to use citrus fruits is to make a pomander. These are extremely simple to make. Just stick cloves into the fruit until the surface is completely covered. Tie a string or twine around it and hang it up in your pantry. This will keep things smelling fresh for several years.
  • You can also mix lemon juice and water for another cleaning solution to get rid of ingrained odors on surfaces.

Miscellaneous Methods & Final Notes

The best part about many of these solutions is that these items are generally easily found in your home. Almost everyone has access to at least one of these solutions – even if you find yourself in a disaster situation and you’re stuck in your home. Now, you know that there are plenty of methods available to you for eliminating bad odors, which is great in case you’re stuck for a while.

Additionally, there are some other miscellaneous methods that can help reduce odors in your pantry.

  • Placing a dryer sheet in your pantry, or anywhere else, where you want to deodorize – even the inside of a musty book. A dryer sheet left overnight will deodorize it.
  • You can simmer a mixture of spices on your stove to get rid of bad odors throughout your home and make your home smell like autumn. Achieve this by simmering lemon or orange peels, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in water for as long as it takes to smell better, or to the scent of your liking. Make sure to leave your pantry door open or place the steaming pot of spices on a towel in the middle of your pantry. Close the door to trap the aroma inside. After a little time, you can remove the pot from the pantry after it has cooled and the scent has died down. You can also reheat this mixture to use in another room.
  • Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the corners of your pantry can mask any light malodors as eucalyptus is antibacterial and antifungal.

As you can see, there are a range of methods available for deodorizing your pantry and various areas of your home. If you find yourself stuck at home for a long period of time, like when the SHTF, then making sure your shelter is a pleasant place to be can make all the difference. These methods, through some easily accessible materials, you can be comfortable within a pleasant-smelling home.

The post How to Remove Pantry Odors appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

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7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Medicinal Garden

7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Medicinal Garden There are more people growing their own food now than in recent years. This is great news for American health in general. The exposure to fresh vegetables and fruits often creates more desire to eat fresh vegetables and fruits. The natural next step for a gardener and …

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Noise and Light in a Survival Situation: How to Stay Hidden

Noise and Light in a Survival Situation: How to Stay Hidden I cannot explain how important this is for the average prepper and survivalist to understand. These disciplines of light are just crucial. For many preppers the idea of traveling and moving at night is not foreign. Still, without training in light discipline you could …

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What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homesteading

What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homesteading How many people are stuck in a cubicle for 40 hours a week? When I am on the road I look at all the cars and wonder how many people are stuck in a life they hate and wishing they were on about 20 acres off …

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Using Ground Covering Edibles in Survival Gardening

Have you ever cultivated a garden for yourself? Did you do it thinking about being self-reliant, thinking it will be a strong source of food for years to come with just a little daily effort to manage it? Did you plant it in neat little rows that you dug inside a carefully measured plot of land protected by chicken fence to keep out pests? Did you spray a pesticide on your plants to protect them in their newly fertilized soil after a trip to the local store? Are you going to be able to do ANY of that after SHTF? No, as that will only show others where your food is. So the approach will be the exact opposite.

You can find your answer by taking a look at cultures and peoples who lived without modern conveniences and modify that to be a self-sustaining garden that not only survives on its own, but can provide you with the means of survival: a Survival Garden.

What is a Survival Garden?

As nature has been growing nuts, berries, herbs and medicinal plants with success for millions of years without man’s help and in many ways, the plants support one another in that growth, this is what we need to consider when planning a garden for survival. Plants grow in one of 3 dimensions. Some will be taller, some will be shorter and some will be the filler or protection between. These are the ground covering plants and what we will be focusing on today.

If you had planted a survival garden, you would still have a source of food that an untrained eye won’t recognize. By choosing the right plants for your garden, you will be able to leave nature to do a job it has been doing without the aid of man for many generations – simply growing food for you with no input.

What plants do I choose for a survival garden?

The ideal species of plant to use in your survival garden would be a perennial – a plant you plant once, will grow for multiple years, and that will produce food every year without the need for human intervention to replant it like with other seeding plants.

You will also have natural camouflage, as letting the survival garden grow naturally will make it look like organic growth instead of a manmade garden, throwing potential food thieves off the trail. These are the fillers, the ground covering plants. To make the garden one step further for survival, I would suggest consider using edible ground covering plants to make your survival garden that more bountiful.

Why use ground cover?

The main reason you need ground covering plants is in the life cycle of the perennial. Once they are planted, they should return year after year true. But you need to protect them and the soil they are in for that to happen. Ground covering plants can help in a few different ways, helping boost the overall health of the garden year after year.

  • Plants that are ground covering can provide herbs, medicine and fruit year round
  • Ground cover helps protect the soil from erosion
  • They help transition soil from full sun to shaded allowing for more types of perennials to be planted
  • They protect the perennials from weather and exposure
  • Some ground covering plants can attract or repel bugs

What should you look for in a ground covering edible plant?

A good ground covering plant is chosen for its ability to be suited to the conditions of the area, its low maintenance and its ability to provide a healthy coexistence among the other plants in your survival garden. Most ground covering plants can be in one of two categories, a clumper or a carpeter.

  • Clumpers spread out leaves as they grow, making clumps of shade in varying heights. The roots are underground or at the point of the base of the plant.
  • A carpeter does not need division and it quickly covers surfaces at one height, making an even blanket of ground cover.

The best way to fill out space while awaiting the garden to grow and being able to harvest edibles is using herbaceous ground covering plants.

Ground Covering Edibles

The following is a list of the best low maintenance ground covering edible plants for consideration your garden:

Oregano

One facet of the mint family, oregano or as those in the bush call it “wild marjoram”, is a hardy ground covering edible. It is pretty drought tolerant; making it favorable for those in dry climates, as it also likes full sun. Oregano is a clumpy type of ground covering when left wild, making it good cover and protection in gardens. It has a lot of eastern medicinal value, including one that modern researchers have applied to livestock, especially cows. It reduces gas, specifically methane by up to 40% while it also increased milk production in grass-fed cows, according to a report and story by Livescience.

Oregano has been mentioned in most folk medicines and goes back as far as the times of Hippocrates. Oregano oil is crucial oil for the development of cooking and preserving food since ancient texts recorded such.

Oregano is used in:

  • Numbing topical medicines
  • Canning many sauces
  • Meat products
  • Perfumes
  • Antifungal applications
  • Antiseptic
  • Soaps
  • Detergents
  • Can be used dry or fresh
  • Alcoholic beverages as it has polyphenols
  • Hormone therapy
  • Anticancer medicines
  • Anticancer dietary supplements

Oregano types:

  • Hot and spicy
  • Golden
  • Greek
  • Mexican
  • Cuban

creeping rosemary

Creeping rosemary

From the mint family, this variety of rosemary is similar in taste to the upright growing culinary herb, and is quite popular as an edible ground covering plant. It is very prominent in arid regions for providing shade in a garden when coexisting with many garden varieties of vegetables, as it is a drought tolerant plant that is also evergreen. It can be propagate quite well in the full sun through individual cuttings or using established adults for divisional piecing. It has a very fibrous rooting system so it’s very good for retaining soil. It would be great for sloped or steep gardens.

The plants make up is 20% camphor so it can be a culinary herb or medicinal additive to any garden.

Uses in history have included:

  • Medicine
  • Herbal tea
  • Essential oil extracts
  • Antiseptic
  • Astringent
  • Treatment of inflammatory disorders
  • Perfumes
  • Improves shelf life of oils and foods

Types for ground cover:

  • Prostrates
  • Irene
  • Pyramidalis
  • Albus

mint

Mint

If you have a nice moist place that needs filling, you may want to consider one of the varieties of mint or what some bushcraft people call “deadnettle.”. For shady areas, this edible quickly covering ground plant is quite easy to acquire and grow.

Mint spreads rapidly with just a few stem cuttings, so be sure to have it in a place you don’t mind it taking over between plants. Mint varieties can cross pollinate, so to retain the unique flavor and characteristics of each strain, do not plant too close together. The many flavor profiles can enhance any soups, drinks, salads or teas.

There are hundreds of types. Some of the nicer varieties I like are:

  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint
  • Pineapple mint
  • Chocolate mint
  • Brazilian mint
  • Mint sage
  • Apple mint
  • Orange mint
  • Ginger mint

Uses in history have included:

  • Medicine
  • Herbal tea
  • Essential oil extracts
  • Antiseptic
  • Astringent
  • Treatment of inflammatory disorders

thyme

Thyme

If you have paths or need a plant that can stand up to foot traffic and isn’t fragile at all, try thyme. Thyme is usually seen along garden paths or edging survival or urban gardens for this very reason, it holds up and helps protect young plants and helps stop soil from being spread too thin or damaged in heavy rains.

Thyme lends itself to a growth pattern that is straight and upright, or it has creeping varieties that are more carpeting in growth like mint.

Simple cuttings or division of adult plants can be used for this flourishing edible ground cover.

Uses include:

  • Culinary seasoning
  • Ornamental
  • Aromatics
  • Medicinal

Some varieties are:

  • Coconut Thyme
  • Lemon frost thyme
  • Silver needle thyme
  • Highland cream thyme
  • Caraway thyme
  • Lime thyme

Woodland strawberries

Recorded as being consumed since the Stone Age, wild strawberries can make a great fruit bearing ground covering plant. They have a long flowering period and can form fruit on runners or in clusters known as crowns. They can be grown by seeds or plant division and the fruit may be white or red. Woodlawn strawberries are abundant producers of fragrant strong tasting fruit and can grow in shady, moist spots that may be too wet for most garden seedlings.

  • Jams
  • Sauces
  • Liquors
  • Medicinal

Final thoughts

In the future when there may be potentially no refrigeration or electricity, having survival gardens that produce fruit and edible foliage year round can make all the difference. Saving those gardens from erosion and predation, while hiding them in plain sight may take some planning, but it is well worth the effort.

The post Using Ground Covering Edibles in Survival Gardening appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

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Savings: 5 Ways to Get Fruit Trees For Cheap!

Savings: 5 Ways to Get Fruit Trees For Cheap! Fruit trees are nearly mythical in some settings in America today. To happen across a tree that food grows on in an urban setting is absolutely amazing. We all have those stories of people who had an apple tree in their backyard. Its magic thing to those …

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10 Best Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes for Kids

10 Best Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes for Kids Getting the family involved in your efforts to be more self-reliant or independent can be a huge hurdle. When articles like this come along you have to take full advantage of them. Its one of those great cases where you find yourself with a gravitational pull that …

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DIY Air Conditioners on the Cheap

There are a number of challenges to living off the grid, and in a disaster situation, there is unfortunately no way to get around having to deal with them. A lot of everyday conveniences that we take for granted require electricity and gas. In such situations, simple tasks can become much more difficult.

One thing that we commonly take for granted is air conditioning. For those of us in hotter areas, like Arizona or Nevada, living without it is unthinkable, but if SHTF, that may be one of the first things you have to give up. The power draw of an air conditioning system can be too much to sustain privately, especially when you may have other things you need to power to survive.

Luckily, there are a few options for cooling your home to solve this problem. There are a lot of ways to make very low power air conditioning units by yourself. Some of them run on rechargeable batteries, while some even run directly on solar power.

Here are a few DIY air conditioners that will keep you cool even without a lot of power usage.

Styrofoam Ice Chest Air Conditioner (Battery-Powered)

This air conditioning unit is super easy to assemble, and get the parts for it. In fact, you do not need anything more than the following:

  • Styrofoam ice chest
  • Ice or frozen bottles of water to fill the chest
  • A knife
  • A piece of dryer tubing
  • A battery-powered fan with a diameter smaller than the lid of the cooler.
  • Batteries for the fan.

So long as you have some supply of batteries, preferably rechargeable, on hand, even in a disaster situation this is a great option for cooling small areas of your home.

When we say fan, we mean just a regular old blade fan encased in wire. Again, it needs to be small enough to fit comfortably within the rectangular-shaped lid of the cooler.

The amount of cooling this provides will depend mostly on the width of the tube and the size of the cooler. A larger cooler will blow cold air for longer because you can use more ice or frozen bottles of water, which will take longer to melt. Using the frozen bottles of water means you can refreeze them later to use again. The wider the tube, more air can blow out of it.

The setup for this cooler is pretty predictable. First, you fill the cooler with ice or frozen bottles of water, but not so much that it’s totally full. You will want a little bit of space between the lid of the cooler and the ice when you close the lid (we will explain why later).

Next, cut a hole the size of the dryer tube in the lid of the cooler, off to one side. Next, cut a hole only slightly smaller than the diameter of the battery-powered fan close to the center of the lid. The fan will be resting atop this hole, so it should not be so big that the fan falls inside the cooler. The fan should be stationary too. Oscillating fans would not work for this project.

Insert the dryer tube into its hole, and turn it on and rest the fan on top of the hole that you cut for it. Ideally, the fan will be small enough that it doesn’t rest over the side of the cooler. You want as much of the fan blowing into the cooler as possible.

What happens is the ice cools the air in the cooler, and the fan circulates it out of the cooler through the dryer tube. You need enough space for air in the cooler so that it can actually become colder, so you don’t want to overfill it with ice.

These can cool a small to medium sized room depending on the size of the dryer tube. The cool air will last as long as the ice (and fan battery) does.

Bucket Air Conditioner (Battery-Powered)

This air conditioner is a very similar concept to the Styrofoam cooler air conditioner, except that it operates in a bucket and can provide cool air for much longer. For this you’ll need any old five-gallon bucket, Styrofoam (a strip thin enough to line the bucket completely), a battery-powered fan (smaller in diameter than the lid of the bucket) PVC pipe (about a foot), a knife, a two-gallon jug of water, and a hole saw.

First, cut three holes the width of your PVC pipe on the side of the bucket with the hole saw. Line the bucket with the Styrofoam, and re-cut the holes in the same position. Leave the Styrofoam lining the bucket.

Next, cut a hole in the top of the bucket about the diameter of the fan, but not so large that the fan falls into the bucket. You should be able to secure the fan in the hole without movement. Your next step is to cut the PVC pipe into three equal pieces, and fit the pieces into the three holes that you cut.

The final step is just to freeze your jug of water, and then place it in the bucket. All you have to do is secure the lid of the bucket and turn on the fan. The air conditioner will last as long as the water in the jug is frozen and as long as the battery in the fan lasts.

Much like the previous suggestion, this air conditioner works by circulating the cooled air around the frozen water jug. Unlike the previous air conditioner, this one works for around six hours. It can last longer if you can achieve a better seal around the PVC pipe and the fan.

DIY Swamp Cooler

Aside from these, however, there are many other tutorials on building more complicated low-power swamp coolers. Below is one such air conditioner.

Most of these swamp coolers require significantly more equipment and explanation; however, it’s fairly easy to find solar-powered versions and even battery-powered versions. If you’re looking for a cooler that might hold out a bit better over time, these sorts of air conditioners might work better for you.

If you need something that is absolutely zero power; then one such method that has recently been made popular was created by Ashis Paul, an inventor from Bangladesh.

This cooler requires no power whatsoever, and uses parts that are easily accessible for most people. It is based on the idea that moving air reduces the temperature. All you have to do is install it in a window and enjoy the breeze.

The first thing to note about the Eco-Cooler is that it is more a fan than a true air conditioner (despite what the video says). It makes your home feel cooler by increasing the velocity of the air passing through it – like a fan. However, unlike regular house fans, the Eco-Cooler uses no electricity whatsoever.

The Eco-Cooler is extremely simple and requires very minimal materials – in fact, only two. The first material you will need is a board cut to the size of one of your windows. Before starting this project, you should choose a window that gets the best wind flow during the hotter seasons.

Your board should be about two millimeters thick, and made of a sturdy material. After all, this is going in the window of your house, so anything that can’t stand up to a little rain in the summer probably will not work very well. One type of material that works really well is white foam board.

Part of the reason this feels cooler in the summer is simply the fact that the white board insulates the home, so the ambient air temperature in your home won’t be as hot as without it. The next step is to collect plastic bottles of about the same size. Supposedly, the larger the difference between the circumference of the bottleneck and the body of the bottle is better, so two-liter soda bottles will work well.

Next, cut the base of the bottles off so that you have homemade plastic funnels. Cut holes in the white foam board to the size of the rim of the bottle; then push the bottles through the foam board at evenly spaced intervals. When you’re finished, the body of the bottles should be close enough to touch each other, and the entire board should have bottles sticking out of it (see the video above for reference).

Next, cut the top part of the caps off (but not so much that they can no longer screw on). The point is to make an opening about as large as the opening of the bottle. Screw the caps on to secure them to the board (this might work better doing them one by one instead of screwing on all the caps at once so you don’t mix up caps).

Finally, install the board with the body of the bottles on the outside of the house. The wind passing through the bottles will be compressed through the bottleneck (which heats the air slightly), and then as it expands into the home it will cool.

A demonstration of this effect can be done with your mouth. First, blow air out of your mouth with your mouth wide open (hold your hand in front of your mouth to feel the temperature). At the same rate, blow air out with your lips pursed.

In this scenario (as in the case with the Eco-Cooler), your mouth is acting as a throttle for the air passing through it. The increased velocity of the air makes it feel cooler on your skin as it passes by. It’s better if the board is installed on a side of the home that has more shade and better wind flow.

Currently, there is a lot of debate about the actual effects of this system. While it may not do the job of your expensive HVAC system, it certainly will feel better when it’s hot outside. The video claims a 5 degree Celsius difference in temperature, though this may be an exaggeration.

Part of why this works so well in India is because many of the homes are made from corrugated tin, which means that on summer days, the inside of the home is hotter than the outside (much like leaving your car in the sun). Circulating outside air through the home has a much more pronounced effect in these types of homes because the temperature difference is so drastic.

If your home is not made of corrugated tin (which it likely isn’t), you will probably not notice as great an effect with the Eco-Cooler. At the very least, however, the Eco-Cooler provides a no-cost fan for hot days that will amplify even a slight breeze because of the design. In disaster situations, this may be a great option for cooling the home, especially since the materials are easy to come by.

While air conditioning may seem like a luxury considering how much energy it uses, there are plenty of low-power options for disaster situations, or even for those who want to save a little money on air conditioning. With our options, the most power you’ll need is enough to freeze ice and a few batteries. Otherwise, there are plenty of tutorials for building air conditioning using solar power.

There’s no need to worry about extreme heat with these DIY options. You can use no power, batteries, or even the sun.

The post DIY Air Conditioners on the Cheap appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

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Tor 0.3.0.7 was released last week!

Tor 0.3.0.7 was released last week! nickm May 26, 2017

Hello! This release came out 11 days ago, but since the blog was down at the time, I was only able to announce on the tor-announce@ mailing list. Nevertheless, I'm copying it here in case anyone didn't see it.

Tor 0.3.0.7 fixes a medium-severity security bug in earlier versions of Tor 0.3.0.x, where an attacker could cause a Tor relay process to exit. Relays running earlier versions of Tor 0.3.0.x should upgrade; clients are not affected.

If you build Tor from source, you can find it at the usual place on the website. Packages should be ready over the next weeks.

Changes in version 0.3.0.7 - 2017-05-15

  • Major bugfixes (hidden service directory, security):
    • Fix an assertion failure in the hidden service directory code, which could be used by an attacker to remotely cause a Tor relay process to exit. Relays running earlier versions of Tor 0.3.0.x should upgrade. This security issue is tracked as TROVE-2017-002. Fixes bug 22246; bugfix on 0.3.0.1-alpha.
  • Minor features:
    • Update geoip and geoip6 to the May 2 2017 Maxmind GeoLite2 Country database.
  • Minor features (future-proofing):
    • Tor no longer refuses to download microdescriptors or descriptors if they are listed as "published in the future". This change will eventually allow us to stop listing meaningful "published" dates in microdescriptor consensuses, and thereby allow us to reduce the resources required to download consensus diffs by over 50%. Implements part of ticket 21642; implements part of proposal 275.
  • Minor bugfixes (Linux seccomp2 sandbox):
    • The getpid() system call is now permitted under the Linux seccomp2 sandbox, to avoid crashing with versions of OpenSSL (and other libraries) that attempt to learn the process's PID by using the syscall rather than the VDSO code. Fixes bug 21943; bugfix on 0.2.5.1-alpha.
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The Best Handgun for Home Defense and Urban Environments

The handgun may well be one of mankind’s greatest inventions, at least in my opinion anyway.  There is a reason I say this. It is because for self defense man has risen from rocks and pointy sticks, to complex machinery made from steel, and other man-made materials.

Man made or gift from the heavens

Don’t be mistaken, steel is indeed man made. Steel does not exist naturally, only the iron from which the steel is created. There is an exception to this, meteorites. There have been iron meteorites that have enough other trace metals and carbon in them to be considered steel.

Bladed weapons were made in the past from meteorites and are still so today. I even saw a 1911 .45 pistol made from meteorite, the slide, frame, grips, and all moving parts. Only the barrel was made from modern steel (pictured below).

meteorite 45

In all its awesomeness

If the firearm itself wasn’t awesome enough, man then improved upon his achievement when he figured out how to shape other metals into casings, and projectiles. He figured out how to create a contained explosion, and then control this violence into a precision ballet that enables (some of us) to put a small piece of metal into a target hundreds of yards away, with consistent accuracy. Well, fairly consistently for some of us.

Then to top all of that off, this amazing creation is small enough to be held in one hand, it’s just incredible when you think about it. If a handgun were taken back into ancient times it would be worshipped as a magical talisman. This is because it is a mysterious object held in the hand, and with fire and a thunderous roar it holds the power of life and death.

Life and death

This is something that every firearm owner who carries for self defense should keep in mind. You hold the power of life and death in your hand. This should not be taken lightly. But, this can be a good thing if we are talking about saving OUR life.

To get to my rifle (or shotgun)

I have often heard the expression that your hand gun is merely a tool to help you get to your rifle or shotgun. In other words, since you can’t go around everywhere carrying a rifle or shotgun, your hand gun is there to help you get to the rifle or shotgun.

Well, technically you can carry a rifle or shotgun around with you, it would just be awkward. That’s why it is presumably in the trunk if you are out in the world in your vehicle.

I have been known to carry a rifle in my trunk or even just in the backseat on occasion, but now I rely more on my handgun to get me home to my rifles when I am out in the world. I keep a spare magazine or two with me as well as a backup gun 80% of the time. If you are at your home/homestead, then your rifle might be just in the other room and your handgun is on your side.

However, if you lived on a large plot of land then it would be reasonable to take the rifle along with you while you are out working or just enjoying your land. A handgun is an excellent choice for your daily carry defensive weapon, as it is not cumbersome like a rifle would be, and it is much more discrete.

But your rifle is vital for serious defensive situations; after all, soldiers don’t typically go into combat with just a handgun. One good example of this is 25 years ago during the LA riots. Korean shop owners were said to have gotten on the roofs of their stores armed with rifles and shotguns. When the rioting hoards came to their stores to loot, the store owners let go a quick burst from rifles, and shotguns from the roof tops. This sent the rioters fleeing in fear for their lives, thus keeping their stores and their families unharmed.

Here is a rather tranquil video from a news report in 1992 during the LA riots when the Korean store owners protected their property. They never were looted like the rest of the stores near them were.

Few, if any, were shot, but merely the sound and sight of a man armed with a powerful rifle kept them, their families, and their stores safe from the rioters and looters.  Some store owners are shown in video footage, on the ground in front of their stores firing at looters with semi automatic handguns. This shows the reality that being well armed can be vital in a situation like that.

Appropriate ammunition

One important detail that shouldn’t be overlooked is the type of ammunition that you fire from your defensive weapon. The idea of using as firearm in self defense is that you or your loved ones lives are in danger. Because of this danger, you must use your firearm in defense of you or your loved ones lives. To do this effectively you want to use an expanding projectile, AKA, a hollow point.

This video shows extreme slow motion projectiles “splashing” against a steel plate and penetrating the same steel plate.

Hollow point projectile

This is because a hollow point projectile expands when it enters the “target” and so becomes larger. As it expands it often also creates “blades” from the metal jacket which cut a hole through the “target”.

This allows for a rapid loss of blood, resulting in a rapid loss of blood pressure, which in turn results in hypoxia. (Hypoxia is oxygen deprivation of the cells) Hypoxia in turn, results in death, thus saving you and your loved ones. But what if you missed the “target”? What then? That projectile is going somewhere.

Often even when the “target” is struck squarely center mass the projectile will pass through and continue on its trajectory. This could cause harm to innocent bystanders if you are out in the world, or to your loved ones in your home.

Frangible projectile

For this reason, rather than using expanding projectiles, you should use frangible projectiles. Frangible is derived from the Latin word, “frangere”, which means “to break”.  This is because frangible projectiles are designed to do just that, break up upon impact with hard surfaces. This prevents ricochets from harming innocent bystanders.

Here is a video of a frangible handgun cartridge called a magsafe. I have some in .38 spcl caliber and my tests showed them to be devastating to the test meat. They do not over penetrate and basically disintegrate if they hit a hard surface like brick, yet will pass through glass and a car door to reach a target.

Magsafe ammunition is made with a copper jacket filled with small lead shot and held together with epoxy, as you can see in the picture on the left.

This design is what lets this type of ammunition perform the way it does. You can’t get this type of performance from an FMJ projectile.

mag safe

Watch this video where a ricochet from a .50 BMG rifle fired at a steel plate that was way too close to the shooter comes back and almost takes off the shooters head.

A ricochet is when a projectile strikes a hard surface then bounces off in a direction different from its original trajectory. Considering the distances modern projectiles can travel, a ricochet has the potential to travel hundreds of yards and harm someone in an urban environment.

See how frangible ammunition reacts in gel and upon striking a hard surface in this short video here:

So, by using frangible ammunition in an environment that is high risk for friendly fire related injuries caused by pass through and/or ricochets, you minimize the risks.

Using shotguns for home defense and urban environments

Another method of home and self defense is using shotguns. In your home and around your homestead if you have acreage, by using a shotgun for defense you can also help to minimize risk of injury and/or death to innocents.

Of course this is negated if you choose to use slugs or heavy buckshot in the home because these types of ammunition can still have pass through and ricochet risks. You can solve this problem, again, by using frangible projectiles.

Here is a video demonstrating the use of frangible shotgun slugs.

Many people that have less experience do not realize that in short distances of only 20-30 feet or so, a birdshot round fired from a shotgun acts as a frangible slug. At these short distances the shot cup doesn’t have a chance to open and disperse the shot yet and so carries the shot to the target en mass.

The impact of this mass of shot at these close ranges is quite devastating. I had to prove this to someone one day when we were out back in my yard shooting. I set up three sheets of 3/4” plywood and from about 20 feet or so away I fired a 12 gauge shot shell with number 7 or 8 birds shot, common “playing in the yard with a shotgun” ammo at our house.

The 2” hole blasted through the boards convinced him that, yes this does act as a frangible slug at short distances. Of course once you double that range the effect quickly begins to diminish so this method is intended solely for use inside the house.

Here is a video that demonstrates that.

If you intend to use a shotgun around your home outside, then I would opt for buckshot and/or slugs, depending on how well you shoot. If you aren’t so great of a shot then buckshot is the way to go. If you expect to be shooting at running targets or in the dark, again, buckshot is the way to go.

Shotgun in a hand gun

If you want to use the shotgun idea in an urban environment to minimize risk of injuring an innocent with friendly fire then I would suggest using a Taurus Judge or a Smith & Wesson Governor. These are .410 bore revolvers and can fire birdshot, buckshot, and slugs as well as .45 Long Colt ammunition. You can put a combination of these rounds in the gun and have a blast with it. (Pun intended)

judge with ammo

Final thoughts

What it comes down to, as usual, is to use your head. Think about the scenario that is most likely to occur and think about what equipment will best control the situation. Carrying a handgun for EDC is the best idea because it is the most suitable for that situation.

Having a rifle or shotgun in the trunk and/or at home is a good idea because you can go from the handgun to the rifle/shotgun if the situation calls for that. The ammunition you will use for these different situations should be considered and determine what is best.

If you carry a handgun in an urban environment it is probably best that you use frangible ammunition to minimize the risk of hurting innocent bystanders from pass through and/or ricochets. Likewise, if you have other people in your home frangible ammunition is likely to be the best course of action there as well, especially if you are using a shotgun or rifle in the home.

Just use your head. I would say use common sense, but it seems that common sense isn’t really that common. So THINK about your situation, assess the situation, and determine the best course of action to resolve the issue. If your knowledge limits your decision making then do your research and learn what you need to know to make the best decision. Your, and your loved ones lives, and stranger’s lives too, can depend on what course of action you take.

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Wild Edibles Wednesday: Broadleaf Plantain

 Wild Edibles Wednesday: Broadleaf Plantain Peek out your window right now. Look at the grass or undisturbed areas in your yard. You will see the broadleaf plantain. Its everywhere. Don’t confuse this wild edible for the banana looking plantain of South American cookery. This wild edible is actually much more effective a plant. This article …

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What Preppers Are REALLY Getting Ready For

 What Preppers Are REALLY Getting Ready For This article is a great, no nonsense, look at the goals of prepping. I find that there are a number of conflated situations that we prepare for but as the author states, ‘we are all just preparing for an interruption in the day-to-day life we’re used to.’ This is …

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Economic Crisis: 7 Signs that we need to Prepare for a Coming Economic Meltdown

Economic Crisis: 7 Signs that we need to Prepare for a Coming Economic Meltdown The world is changing and so is the economy. Many markets that used to rule the roost are taking tremendous hits. It makes for a terrifying economic outlook. People are concerned and have every right to be. This article offers up …

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How To get Started With Fishing

How To get Started With Fishing Fishing is great. When the weather starts to warm and big ole bass are setting up on beds the fishing gets incredible. The panfish are going crazy and just getting out with a bobber and some minnows is a great time. Outside of being great fun its also your …

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Hiding Out: The Real World Value of Hide and Seek as a Kid or an Adult

Hiding Out: The Real World Value of Hide and Seek as a Kid or an Adult Its always nice to see an article that tells you fun things are the right things to do. This article comes from a great source and one of my favorites to read lately. Of course, this article isn’t all …

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What Are The 6 Areas of Preparedness?

What Are The 6 Areas of Preparedness? Recently, I have become mildly obsessed with the idea of survival niches and the breaking up our survival goals. I think we have reached a point where there is so much content its hard to isolate what you really want to learn. This article offers us some information …

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3 Ways to Use Your Swimming Pool for Emergency Preparedness

3 Ways to Use Your Swimming Pool for Emergency Preparedness Water is one of the big three when it comes to survival. Its on the mind of all survivalists and preppers. We are always looking an easy and innovative ways to increase our water storage. The idea of water storage itself is a bit of …

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Finding Order in the Middle of a Disaster

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Canning Equipment – The Must-Have Tools For Canning Season

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Garden Uses for Vinegar

Gardening is a difficult enough skill to pick up without having to worry about all the problems that come with it, like dealing with weeds, pests, animals, and more. Luckily, there’s an easy way to deal with these issues, and it’s available at your local supermarket or gardening store.

Vinegar is becoming an increasingly popular solution to dealing with common garden problems, from weeds to slugs and snails, to ants, to rabbits eating your plants. It’s easy to use, as it usually just needs to be mixed with water or sugar or even soap in different parts to use it effectively (depending on the problem you’re having).

While you can go out and buy specific products for all of your gardening needs, vinegar is a great one-stop solution for many different problems. On top of that, for preppers, vinegar is a great option for dealing with these problems because it’s so easily accessible. If you’re in a disaster situation and have to tend to your garden to feed yourself and your family, vinegar is an excellent way to solve common problems.

About Vinegar

Vinegar is produced by fermenting ethanol with acetic acid bacteria to transform it into a liquid that can be anywhere between 5 and 20% acetic acid. Most of the people use vinegar in cooking or pickling, but because it’s such an easy produced and mild acid, it has also been used for cleaning and many medical purposes. In fact, among DIYers and survivalists today, it is still popularly used for these reasons.

There are many different kinds of vinegar, as you may have seen while searching for the correct vinegar to buy when cooking. There’s everything from apple cider vinegar to balsamic vinegar to red wine vinegar. For DIY or survivalist purposes, you will be using distilled white vinegar, and very occasionally apple cider vinegar.

Different types of vinegar have different ingredients and processing methods. Fermenting distilled alcohol (most commonly made from malt or corn) and then diluting it with water produces distilled white vinegar. The final vinegar is typically between 5 and 8% acetic acid in water with a pH of 2.6.

Distilled white vinegar is the one that is usually used for cleaning and gardening.

Storing Vinegar

Before we get into using vinegar in the garden, let’s go over how to store it so that you can stockpile it for emergency situations. Since it’s so useful for tending a garden and for cleaning, it’s a great option for storing for when SHTF.

Luckily, because vinegar is so acidic, it is easy to store indefinitely without worrying that it will go bad. That’s why it’s so often used for pickling and preserving foods. Some flavored kinds of vinegar, because of the ingredients added, may lose some of their flavors over time, but this period is between five and ten years (and even then, it’s still perfectly safe to consume).

When any vinegar is stored for a long period, you may notice that it becomes cloudy or develops sediment. It is okay and does not mean that the vinegar is unsafe for consumption; however, you may notice altered flavor at this point.

Vinegar is one of the easiest products to store. In fact, the best way to stockpile vinegar is to simply store it in its original, sealed container in a cool, dark area. Like any other chemicals or similar substances, you should strive to store it in an area that does not see many temperature fluctuations.

But at the end of the day, all you really need to do is buy as many jugs of distilled white vinegar as you think you’ll need in a survival situation and store it in your basement somewhere dry.

Using Vinegar for Weeds and Fungus

The number one thing you should keep in mind when you’re using vinegar to kill weeds in the garden is that it will typically only kill the green, leafy part above the surface. The root systems, however, will remain unaffected, which simply means that after killing the surface of the weeds, you’ll still need to hand pick the roots out.

The exception to this is if you use vinegar to kill a weed repeatedly in a short period. Over time, the weed will not have enough reserve food to regrow, and will eventually die. Although, if you are looking for a quicker solution, it may be better to use vinegar to destroy the leaves then going in later to finish the job.

Another method to getting the roots is to soak the soil with your vinegar solution; however, this could affect the root systems of the plants that you want to keep. One thing to remember when using vinegar to kill weeds is that vinegar does not discriminate. It will kill surrounding grass and other plants if you are not careful with its application.

The best way to use vinegar to kill weeds is to use a spray bottle from short range and avoid misting any other plants. On the plus side, vinegar is great for destroying weeds that spring up from the cracks of your sidewalk, on the sides of your house, and more. This is because it doesn’t require you to dig in and fully remove the weed yourself, and there is no need to be as careful when spraying it in these areas.

Here’s a quick recipe on how to make an effective weed killer using regular 5% acetic acid white distilled vinegar:

  • 1-gallon vinegar
  • 1-cup salt (to prevent the weed from growing again)
  • 1-tablespoon soap (to make the mixture adhere better to the weeds)

Stir this mixture together thoroughly in a bucket, and then fill a spray bottle to start weeding. Keep in mind with this particular formulation that too much salt sprayed in one area could cause nothing to be able to grow in that soil again. Be judicious in your use of the weed killer, as it could have unintended side effects on the plants you want to keep.

When using the solution, make sure the whole plant is coated and do it on a sunny day so that the mixture and plant can dry out. With this solution, it should only take a few days for your weeds to die.

Vinegar can also be used as a fungicide for black spots or mildew on your plants. However, unlike the weed-killing recipe for vinegar, recipes for fungicides use much less vinegar because it can harm the plant. You want to kill the fungus – not your roses!

For this, you’ll want a sprayer that can spray accurately in small areas to do the least amount of damage to your plants. Some quick recipes for fungicides:

Recipe 1 (most plants)

  • One gallon of compost tea or green tea
  • 2 tablespoons of 5% acetic acid white vinegar

Recipe 2 (best for roses or mildew)

  • One gallon of water
  • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Recipe 3

  • One gallon of water
  • One tablespoon of baking soda
  • One tablespoon of horticultural oil
  • One tablespoon of 5% acetic acid white vinegar

As you can see, there are some recipes out there for creating great herbicides and fungicides. If you are very careful with your proportions, you shouldn’t have any trouble dealing with pesky annual weeds or the occasional mildew. Just remember to spray accurately!

Using Vinegar for Pests and to Deter Small Animals

On top of being great for an herbicide or fungicide, vinegar also has many uses in keeping out common pests and animals. Again, most remedies online call only for 5% acetic acid white vinegar, and especially when dealing with small animals, you definitely want to stick to this type.

Here’s a list of pests and animals that vinegar can help with:

  • Slugs and snails – You don’t need these pests eating your vegetables and flowers. Spray them directly with vinegar, and they will die pretty quickly.
  • Ants – Spray on thresholds to effectively repel ants from any areas you want to be bug-free. You’ll need to reapply fairly frequently for this to work. You can also spray inside the hill itself to do more damage.
  • Fruit flies – Mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar with a tablespoon of molasses, a 1/4-cup of sugar, and 1-cup of water. Then add about one inch of the solution to the bottom of a can, water bottle, or another vessel, and place near the area where you have a problem with fruit flies. Replace and clean when needed.
  • Cats, rabbits, raccoons, moles, rodents, and many other small animals – Most people will soak something in vinegar for about an hour, such as a corn cob or cotton balls, and then leave these items around the garden area to keep these animals away. You can replace them every couple of weeks. For cats, you can also just spray full-strength vinegar around the areas you don’t want them in.

Using Vinegar for Cleaning and Sanitizing

The other big use for vinegar is cleaning and sanitizing tools and pots. Again, because it is such an easily made mild acid, vinegar has been used for a long time in cleaning and even in medicine. Its usefulness in these areas remains today.

First and foremost, you can soak your garden tools in a solution that half water and half vinegar to clean and sanitize them for use again. When doing this, you only need to soak the tools for half an hour to an hour before rinsing and then drying them. The vinegar will prevent fungus and other harmful bacteria from contaminating your tools.

If your tools are rusty, you can soak them in full strength vinegar (5% acetic acid white vinegar) overnight to get rid of the rust. The vinegar will dissolve the rust over a period of hours, and once it’s done, you can scrub it off easily. Your tools will look good as new.

Another item in your garden that vinegar can refresh is a clay pot. If your garden has many clay pots that are starting to look old (no longer the lovely red-brown color they started with), you can use a solution that is one part vinegar to three parts water to soak them for about half an hour before scrubbing them. Once you’ve scrubbed them, they’ll look brand new.

Similarly, you can use vinegar to clear up mineral deposits on the saucers beneath potted plants, on birdbaths, on plastic containers, or on just about anything. So long as you soak the area (either by spraying it down well or by actually leaving it in the vinegar), the acid will break down these deposits, enabling you to scrub it properly whatever it is that needs cleaning. It will depend on what it is; you may need to use full or half strength vinegar.

Safety Precautions

Vinegar that is above 10% acetic acid is corrosive to the skin and should be handled carefully. The vinegar you buy at the grocery store is usually below 10% acetic acid, but you can get solutions up to 30% by purchasing vinegar from your local gardening store or online.

Of course, if you buy a vinegar solution that’s above 10% acetic acid, you’ll want to use some protection for your eyes and hands when you are using it. Pickling vinegar is a good compromise if you don’t want to deal with the harsher chemical, as it’s about 7% acetic acid. Most of the applications discussed, however, only call for 5% acetic acid vinegar.

If you happen to get vinegar with an acetic acid content above 10% on your hands, then you should just rinse your hands (or any other affected body parts). You want to do so for at least 10 minutes to ensure that all of the acid is gone. If it’s a large spill, immediately remove any clothing you are wearing and shower to rinse it off as quickly as possible.

If vinegar with high acetic acid content gets into your eyes, first immediately remove any contacts, then flush your eyes with water for at least 15 minutes. After this, you should seek medical attention.

Some Final Notes

Many people also use vinegar for refreshing plants like rhododendrons and azaleas because these plants prefer a little acidity. By occasionally watering these types of plants with a vinegar solution (a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water), you can help them perk up and look their best. Vinegar can also help preserve cut flowers when added to a vase (one to two tablespoons with a tablespoon of sugar).

No matter what your gardening need is, vinegar is an excellent and easy solution. Especially for those who are interested in preserving their garden in case disaster strikes, vinegar is a perfect acid for dealing with these everyday problems. It is easily stored for when SHTF, and only needs to be mixed with other common household ingredients.

In short, vinegar is one of the most versatile products that you can have in your home or retreat. If you’re someone that prefers to do things in a more natural way (or a more sustainable way for survival situations), then you should consider using vinegar for more of your household and gardening needs.

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MegaCities: The Future of Combat (Time to Move now!)

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Pegroll: the Foldable Tool Oraganiser

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8 Affordable DIY Generators The Utility Companies Absolutely Hate

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Affordable Vehicles That Can Survive an EMP

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