Virtuous Vinegar: The Green Way to Clean, Deodorize, Descale, & Decalcify

Virtuous Vinegar: The Green Way to Clean, Deodorize, Descale, & Decalcify

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As we approach the sunny days of summer, that special ingredient that you likely add to your favorite salad dressing or BBQ sauce should really be acting as a double agent.  That’s right.  Among it’s many respectable qualities, vinegar truly packs a punch when it comes to eating through the build up you might find on your floors, walls, kitchen sink, and just about everything else.

Among over 95 ways of cleaning with vinegar, listed in a Reader’s Digest story, there are a few common uses for the pungent powerhouse:

  • Brighten up brickwork: Whether it’s the mantle, exposed wall or even brick flooring, all you need to do is dilute 1 cup white vinegar with 1 gallon warm water, soak a cloth and get to wiping.
  • Unclog and deodorize drains: Vinegar, along with other green grit getter’s (a.k.a. baking soda), is the best way to get at those nasty plumbing wares.  Using a funnel, pour 1/2 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar into the drain.  Let it foam, then flush with hot water.  Wait a few minutes, then flush again with cold water.
  • Remove mineral deposits from showerheads and faucets: If you have a sprayer that isn’t quite spraying in the direction you were hoping for, it may be time to decalcify.  If you can remove the blocked pieces, place them in a pot filled with 1 quart hot water and 1/2 cup distilled vinegar for 10 minutes.  If you can’t take the showerhead or faucet off, tape a small plastic bag filled with vinegar over the fixture and let sit for an hour, then wipe off.

You may be asking yourself, “How the heck can vinegar be capable of all these remarkable cleaning solutions and still leave things germ free?”

Typical white vinegar is actually acetic acid.  It is a disinfectant that also acts as a deodorizer.  According to the David Suzuki Foundation, vinegar can be used to “tackle household bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and other ‘gram-negative’ bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria can cause infections including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis.”

According to Canada’s National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health, the acid in vinegar crosses the cell membrane of bacteria and prompts a release of protons, which causes the cell to die.

And, the best part, while your house may smell a bit like a pickle jar at first, when this miracle potion dries, its scent goes with it! But with a few drops of essential oil that can be avoided as well.

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