Sometimes the old staples really are the best choices for products around the house. My grandmother always had a spray bottle of vinegar that she kept for “this and that.” Then today’s “wonder” products surfaced on the market, and they are promoted to clean, shine, disinfect, remove stains and generally do everything better. The trouble is they are all chemical-based and you need a different product for each use.
With the emphasis shifting back to a greener environment, vinegar is making a comeback. Not only is it versatile and natural, it is also inexpensive. Derived from any fruit or substance containing sugar, vinegar is made in a two-step process. The first is the alcoholic fermentation that occurs when yeasts change natural sugars to alcohol. The second step is when bacteria converts the alcohol to acid. Proper bacteria and timing is the key to the whole process.
Whether it is white, apple cider or balsamic, vinegar is a natural disinfectant and has antimicrobial properties. When used as a cleaner it eliminates 99% of bacteria, kills 98% of microbes, destroys 82% of molds and makes 80% germs vanish. It is non-toxic, biodegradable and cheap.
About this time I can hear the counter-argument that bleach is also an effective germ killer. True, but unlike vinegar, bleach is bad for the planet and hard on lungs. When bleach is manufactured it releases cancer-causing dioxin and brain-damaging mercury into the air. My cousin was using bleach to scrub stains from the driveway before sealing it and some soaked through her jeans on her knees. Even though she immediately washed it off, she ended up with severe chemical burns.