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Green Cleaning - Some Household uses for White Vinegar

Updated on June 19, 2013

White Vinegar

Many people worry about the increasingly strong commercial products used for cleaning in the home. The cupboard under the sink in the kitchen in many homes is full of bottles of this and that brand of magical liquid advertized as today’s wonder product.

Ancient people knew of a wonder product, a versatile product that had many uses in the home. 10,000 years ago, people discovered that old wine left to oxidize became vinegar. Babylonians, Ancient Greeks and Romans used vinegar as a food preservative.

Vinegar has a magic ingredient, acetic acid is 5% of vinegar. All the many types of vinegar are produced by oxidizing alcohol into vinegar. White vinegar is the most useful and versatile and has many uses around the home. It is green, it works, it is inexpensive, it is non-allergenic, and it is readily available. Those wishing to avoid using harsh and toxic cleaners around their children and animals might care to try white vinegar to answer those household problems.

In the kitchen, white vinegar has many uses in cookery. Adding a little white vinegar to the water when poaching eggs stops the whites spreading too much. When boiling eggs, a little white vinegar added to the water will ensure that, if the shells crack, the egg whites will not leak out into the pan. If leafed vegetables are wilting a little in the heat, soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar will refresh and revive them. When cooking broccoli, or cauliflower, adding a little white vinegar to the water perks up the taste, and makes them more digestible so reducing undesirable results.

Acetic acid acts as a disinfectant, neutralizes odours, and so makes an effective household cleaner. Mix equal parts white vinegar with baking soda and pour the mixture down the sink. Leave the fizzing mixture for a few minutes and flush well with warm water, the sink drain will be clean and odour free.

Put a basin containing equal parts white vinegar and water into your microwave. Boil the mixture for a few minutes, to loosen any food spill residue and ensure that your microwave smells sweet.

Some areas have very limey water and this makes your kettle less efficient at heating water and can damage the element in electric kettles, if left to build up. Put a mixture of half water half vinegar into your kettle; boil the mixture and leave to soak over night. In the morning throw the mixture away, put clean water into the kettle boil it and throw it away twice before using the kettle to make your morning tea, or coffee.

Tile grouting often looks grubby, do not reach for the bleach. Allow white vinegar to soak on the grouting and scrub with an old toothbrush.

White vinegar is also useful, when doing the laundry. Commercial fabric softeners build up in clothes over time, and their strong perfumes often irritate those with sensitive skin. A cupful of white wine vinegar, added to the washing machine with the rinse cycle, dissolves soap scum, reduces static, softens fabrics and inhibits mould, everything a commercial fabric softener does without the strong perfumes or build up on your clothes. Spraying vinegar onto marks such as deodorant, mustard, or ketchup, stains before washing can clear them.

Car windows and windscreens will stay ice free, if you wipe them with three parts vinegar to one of water mixture.

White vinegar is a versatile and useful cleaning product. It is inexpensive and effective and does not build up on surfaces or clothes. Vinegar dissolves lime scale, and it will not harm children, or pets. If you are concerned about the environment, using harmful product near your children or animals, or simply the cost of cleaning products, why not try white vinegar.


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