Vinegar Use – Like bicarbonate of soda,vinegar is a cheap, efficient, non-toxic and environmentally safe cleaner. Vinegar – distilled malt vinegar, although the brown variety will do – is the best descaler, and is wonderful for cleaning windows, is a good deodorizer and a gentle cleaner. It is especially good for descaling kettles and giving a shine to glass.
Vinegar, which means literally ‘sour wine’, results when wine or another alcoholic liquid is allowed to ferment a second time by exposure to bacteria in the air. Eventually, the fermented liquid will become vinegar – acetic acid (C2H4O2).
Vinegar can be made from the juice of many sorts of fruit and grain, including barley (to make malt vinegar), apples (to make cider vinegar) and grapes (to make wine vinegar). The Japanese make vinegar from rice; the Filipinos make it from coconut. White distilled vinegar is often made from wood.
Vinegar is extremely useful for housekeeping. It deodorizes, cleans, restores colors and is the best descaler. It will also kill germs. For housekeeping purposes, the best vinegar to use is white distilled malt vinegar. Its smell seems to linger less than brown malt vinegar, though this can be used very successfully. Do not, however, use vinegar on any porous surface or anywhere you suspect it might stain. Never use vinegar on marble, alabaster or unglazed pottery.
How to use vinegar around the house?
– Remove water marks from worktops and kitchen surfaces by cleaning them with a paste made from 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
– Spray full-strength vinegar on a chopping board last thing at night and allow to dry; do the same on kitchen worktops, to keep them smelling sweet.
– If you want a stronger vinegar (say, to tackle very heavy limescale), bring to the boil and simmer until reduced by about a third. Allow to cool and use.
– Instead of adding vinegar to final rinse when washing glasses, spray newly washed glasses lightly with vinegar before drying immediately.
– As well as the lemon and bicarbonate of soda mixture, copper pans can be cleaned with a paste of equal quantities of vinegar and table salt. Rinse and polish to a shine.
– Dark stains on aluminium pans can be cleaned by adding equal quantities of vinegar and water and boiling.
– A small dish of vinegar will attract fruit flies keeping them away from fruit.
– Although the best way to clean windows is with washing-up liquid, you can stretch commercial liquid (not cream) window cleaner by combining it with vinegar and water (to one third commercial cleaner, add one third water and one third vinegar.
– Disinfect the toilet handle and doorknob in the bathroom by spraying with neat vinegar and wiping dry.
Note: Water and electricity do not mix. For light switches, spray the cloth very lightly, then use it to wipe around the switch.