by Kevin Lapp
on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 at 1:44pm.
Each household has their own version of it: the great winter swap. In other words, all the ways we adjust our routines to prepare for and combat the winter season. We hang holiday wreaths in exchange for patio furniture, pack away light jackets for hearty coats and find creative indoor projects to occupy our families during cold, dark afternoons.
Winter comes with its share of woes, so we’ve gathered a few cost-effective and natural ways to help you tackle three common household challenges of the season.
Swap your salts
When it comes to unwanted snow and ice, many turn to salt for a quick fix. Consistent use of melting salts cause harm to grass and plants by preventing water and nutrient absorption – not to mention that, when tracked indoors on the heels of your boots, salt pellets can also end up stuck in a pet’s paws or child’s mouth.
For a natural way to treat icy walkways, mix one part sugar with one part Epsom salts. Epsom salts are much more environmentally friendly as they’re made of magnesium sulfate, a compound that plants already crave. In fact, adding Epsom salts to plant fertilizer is a trick seasoned gardeners use to boost soil absorption.
Vinegar is a great, natural solution for treating your vehicle’s icy surfaces as its acetic acid-base prevents precipitation from freezing by raising the melting point of water. Add three parts vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle and pre-treat windows and mirrors at night for an ice-free morning. The same mixture will also melt ice that’s already formed.
De-icers, even natural ones, cannot be relied on to melt through thick layers of compact snow, so physically shoveling and scraping away wintery mix is the most effective way to keep driveways and walkways safe.
There are many shovels on the market that are designed to ease the stress on your back while shoveling, and even attachments you can purchase for existing winter tools. Take a quick survey of your local home store’s seasonal aisle and your back will be thanking you come spring.
Heating your home during the cold winter months tends to make indoor air dry and uncomfortable. Humidifiers are great for keeping the air in your home healthy, but an open crock pot heating water on low is a natural way to add moisture to a room without having to buy another appliance. You can also add a drop of essential oil or a few citrus peels and a cinnamon stick to infuse the space with scent.
Don’t have a crockpot? Move your laundry room’s drying rack into your main space or bedroom and fill it with damp clothing to dry overnight. Not only will you add humidity to the air, not running your dryer will save on energy costs, and who doesn’t love the smell of fresh laundry?
Having a few tricks up your sleeve that eases the burden of winter means you’ll have more time to spend playing (or hibernating) this snowy season.