Put a stop to buying chemical cleaning products

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Instead of buying and using chemical cleaning products use vinegar instead.

Often it is said that you should use white vinegar for this only but the truth is that all vinegar, including the brewed malt vinegar, the brown one, that is common in Britain. White spirit vinegar, too, can be used.

Vinegar is great for cleaning floors, windows, mirrors, and laundry. It whitens, disinfects, freshens and softens all colors of laundry, and the smell goes away when dry. It reduces the cost of buying expensive cleaners as well as reducing your carbon footprint.

If you had an oven pan that has food burned into it, whether of glass, ceramic or metal, or food burned into a frying pan or skillet then pour on a little vinegar, of whatever kind, over the burned residues, leave it to sit for a while, and all you have to do then is to wipe off the burned in residue. In most cases no scouring will be required.

I have been using vinegar – about a 1/2 a shot glass full – with every bowl of dishes that I wash by hand and this saves washing-up liquid and also time. The dishes go sparkling onto the drying rack and they dry off in no time.

When wiping down counter surfaces in the kitchen I use hot water with some washing-up liquid and a good full to two shot glasses of vinegar in the water. That way the surfaces are cleaned and disinfected at the same time.

Vinegar is also a great cleaner for other things. Soak a rag with a little vinegar and use it to wipe off the sap residue on the blades of secateurs (pruning shears) and loppers. This can also be used for axes, pruning saws, etc. Plant sap and tree resin can cause corrosion to a blade and therefore the manufacturers of quality secateurs recommend the use of removal agent called, I believe, Sap Ex. Why, however, use a chemical compound when nature has given one to us already in the for of ascetic acid, aka vinegar. After wiping a blade clean this way apply some lubricant as a blade protector; some salvaged olive oil or other cooking oil will do nicely.

How to obtain salvaged cooking oil (no, this is not used cooking oil): Every bottle of oil always have a small residue left in it that you cannot get out without tipping it upside down for a while. I turn bottles upside down into a small glass jar and over time quite a lot of oil thus accumulates. This is use for oiling wooden handles, blades and such.

There are a lot more uses for vinegar and, as I said, even though people always seem to stress the “white wine vinegar” it does not have to be.

Here in the UK we rarely even get that sort of vinegar and the common one is Malt vinegar. At Sainsbury's a Basics version of this can be obtained for less than 20pence pint bottle. What a great price for a ever so useful product.

Vinegar also is great in first aid use as a disinfectant wipe, for instance, and, as said, for a variety of other uses.

© 2009