Note: Use caution and do your own research when living with individuals with immunosuppressant disorders or other conditions since natural cleansers such as vinegar have not passed government tests that certify their antibacterial abilities.
The name vinegar comes from the French 'vinaigre' which means sour wine. Ever since the discovery was made of a past-its-prime wine, vinegar has been used throughout history for everything from a preservative, condiment, and beverage to medicinal treatment.
Vinegar's adaptability for use comes from its acidic makeup. It is produced by any sugar that is fermented. Depending on the original sugar source, a different vinegar
Although over the centuries herbed vinegars have been used for flavoring, today upwards of 29 varieties of vinegar can be found on your grocer's shelf.
The most common vinegar purchased by consumers is white vinegar
- 46% according to ACNielsen reports.
Vinegar also appears to have an indefinite shelf life. Although some changes may occur to the coloration or clarity - vinegar remains safe for food or other use.
Although no vinegar based products have been registered with official claim to being an equal alternative to chemical disinfectants, there have been several studies published (including one by the EPA) to impart to the industry that vinegar has strong anti-microbial properties.
While the official debate continues with some less favorable studies in the mix, according to the Vinegar Institute vinegar has been used to:
Reduce microorganisms in slaughter houses and poultry plants
Clean vehicles and equipment used in the construction industry
Wash and rinse walls and ceilings in restaurants and food establishments as well as other uses.
If you are considering using vinegar as a natural and biodegradable alternative to chemical cleansers most experts suggest using white vinegar at full strength.
You can also use diluted vinegar in a spray bottle or boiled on the stove as an air freshener. The vinegar scent itself will dissipate while removing other strong odors such as from cooking.
Vinegar can be used to clean glass, mirror and chrome leaving a shiny finish. Wiping with crumpled newspaper will prevent streaking.
Half a cup (up to two cups) of vinegar in the laundry will give you bright colors, prevent color bleeds and act as a fabric softener.
In the kitchen use vinegar to disinfect cutting boards, shine cutlery and clean ovens, microwaves, pots and even remove tea and coffee stains on china.
Boiling water with a mixture of vinegar and filling a teapot, or running vinegar through the coffee machine or dishwasher will remove deposits. Rubbing vinegar on your fingers before and after cutting onions will remove the odor from your hands.
Half a cup of vinegar in the bath water will give you soft skin (and a clean bathtub!). A cup of vinegar and warm water makes a good conditioning rinse for hair. And use apple cider vinegar as an astringent for acne prone skin.
Using vinegar instead of chemical cleansers is not only safer for the environment, but safer for you. Chemical cleansers can encourage hardy strains of resistant bacteria.