Hippocrates appreciated vinegar for its ability to fight certain infections. For hundreds of years, it has been used for ulcers and coughing as a non-toxic disinfectant.
Many people also use vinegar as a means to get rid of germs and mold. Does it really work?
Research shows that vinegar effectively eliminates microbes found in food products. Tests by Japanese scientists have revealed that vinegar inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria strains that were found in food.
In turn, a 2014 study, published in the American Society for Microbiology, showed that acetic acid is an effective and non-toxic tuberculocidal disinfectant. Its activity should be effective against most bacteria.
In PLoS One, we can read that diluted vinegar (with 4-8% acetic acid) effectively disinfects surfaces from the influenza A virus.
And what about mold?
The vinegar contains: mineral salts, vitamins, amino acids, polyphenolic compounds, and non-volatile organic acids. Acetic acid has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Research published in the American Society for Horticultural Science reveals that vinegar has antimicrobial effects on many fungi, such as those that break down the fruit.
In turn, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reads that vinegar with 4% acetic acid inhibited the growth of P. chrysogenum, which is a fungus that often appears in damaged and or humid rooms.
Benefits of Vinegar
What else can vinegar be useful for?
- Helps to get rid of kitchen germs and deposits
Vinegar in combination with warm water is a great cleaner for: sink, oven, kitchen countertop, microwave, and kitchen faucet. Added to wash the dishes in the dishwasher will help give them a shine. Also, it can be added to clean the coffee machine as it will dissolve sediment and scale.
- It will help in cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry
Vinegar will also be great in the bathroom. The combination of it (also apple cider vinegar) with baking soda, essential oil (ex. tea tree or orange) and Castilian soap will create a means not only for cleaning but also for washing. It helps to get rid of deposits from the washing machine and shower cubicle.
In addition, vinegar will help remove stains from clothes and make them soft. Although this may seem like a risky idea, it works great. Effectively restores the softness of rough towels.
- It effectively cleans the floors…
To obtain a non-toxic agent for the floors, mix ½ cup vinegar with approx. 1.5 liters of water. Works great on tiles or panels, but be careful with wooden substrates. The acidity of vinegar may damage them.
- … and rugs.
Vinegar and water can help to get rid of stains and unpleasant odors from the carpet. Apply the mixture to the problem area, then press with a paper towel to speed up absorption. Once the spot dries, vacuum it.
For a colored rug, it’s a good idea to test on a small patch in an invisible place to make sure that there is no discoloration.
- It will help remove bacteria from everyday equipment
Vinegar and water with the addition of a few drops of antibacterial essential oils can be an alternative to antibacterial sprays. You can successfully use it for sports bags, gym mats, computer screens, and telephones. With the addition of baking soda, it will deal with grease even faster.
What to watch out for – precautions and side effects
Vinegar (and some glass cleaners, dishes soaps or toilet cleaners) should never be combined with bleach. This may result in the release of chlorine gas. Exposure to even a small amount of it can cause: irritation of the ears, nose, and throat, burning and watering of the eyes, runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing, pain and blisters on the skin. Prolonged exposure to chlorine gas can increase chest pain and breathing problems, leading to vomiting, pneumonia, and even death.
Vinegar should also not be combined with hydrogen peroxide. This duo can cause eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation, as well as breathing problems.
Baking soda and vinegar should be combined immediately before use. Don’t keep them mixed together, because it can result in … an explosion. Also do not store a spray made of water, vinegar, and baking soda.
Because vinegar is an acid, it should be diluted with water. Otherwise, it can irritate the skin or destroy wood.