There are few items in your home that are as versatile as white vinegar. From garden maintenance to cleaning tough messes, vinegar is a versatile and handy ingredient to have on hand for many different things. It may surprise you that white vinegar has been around for thousands of years, and while the process of making it may have changed, its popularity hasn’t. Read on to learn how vinegar is made, and how you can use it around your house in place of harmful chemicals.
How is Vinegar Made?
The white vinegar you see on the shelves at your local grocery store is typically made up of 4-7 percent acetic acid, and 93-96 percent water. Acetic acid is formed by fermenting a high-sugar content liquid. In the past, vinegar was made using inexpensive food items such as sugar beets, potatoes, molasses, or even milk whey leftover from cheese-making. Nowadays, commercial vinegar is made with grain alcohol, often utilizing yeast or phosphates to kick start the fermentation process. The resulting acetic acid is extremely potent and potentially hazardous, so it is then weakened to a safe level with plain water.
Other, more potent types of vinegar are available at your local hardware or gardening store. These can contain between 10 and 30 percent acetic acid, and are only to be used for cleaning or lawn care, never consumed.
Cleaning Vinegar a Natural Option for Around the Home
Many of the cleaning agents found on your grocery store shelves contain chemicals that can irritate your skin and be harmful when inhaled. Vinegar, on the other hand, is non-toxic and less likely to cause any skin irritation. Vinegar is naturally antimicrobial, making vinegar cleaning a very useful way to disinfecting surfaces around your home. Simply mix vinegar 50/50 with water to make a cleaning vinegar solution, and keep it in a spray bottle for quick and easy access to clean everything from your fridge to your countertops to your sinks. If you have marble or granite countertops, however, vinegar can cause etching on the surface and should not be used.
Need a little extra elbow grease for a tough stain or to clean your garbage disposal? Pour vinegar on your sponge or brush, and then sprinkle some baking soda on it as well. This combination helps to remove even the toughest odors and stains. Need to remove build up in your microwave? Combine half of a cup of both water and vinegar in a bowl, then microwave it for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it boils. Stuck-on food will wipe up with ease. Cleaning vinegar is also handy for other tasks, such as removing stains from plastic containers. Simply coat the container with vinegar, and let sit before washing as usual.
Vinegar can also be used to clean your bathroom. For toilets, pour a cup of vinegar into the water and let it sit overnight. In the morning, sprinkle some baking soda or borax into the bowl and scrub. Cleaning vinegar is also great for removing buildup on showerheads or sink faucets. Simply fill a baggie with vinegar and tie it around the faucet with a rubber band, ensuring that the faucet is submerged. Let sit overnight, remove, and use a brush to scrub away any remaining build up.
If you’re looking to use vinegar around your home, we have many different options available to address your every need, from 5 percent all the way up to 30 percent concentrations. Our large, 1-gallon containers are a great way to ensure that you never run out. We hope that this article has helped you to learn how to clean with vinegar, and avoid using harmful chemicals in your home!