GREEN CLEANING -VINEGAR
Every day new cleaning products reach the shelves at the Supermarkets.
They promise to clean your home and leave a fresh smell. Most of us don’t think much about the poisons hidden on it and how much can impact our lives, our families, and our fur babies.
As a great green alternative, you can use vinegar. But what is vinegar and where can it be used?
Let’s talk VINEGAR
Vinegar is an acidic, clear liquid substance derived from fermenting alcohol, usually made from fruits or grains, that is used as a primary ingredient in many green cleaning products in addition for it’s culinary uses.
Vinegar is comprised approximately of 5% acetic acid and 95% water; however, vinegar does vary in the amount of acidity they contain. For example, distilled white vinegar usually contains around 5% acidity, whereas champagne vinegar contains 6% acidity.
A 5% acidity level is common for most general all-purpose cleaning, but
sometimes a stronger level is preferred for disinfecting the toilet, for
Types of Vinegar
Non-organic and organic vinegar is available in a variety of types, such as distilled white vinegar, rice wine, champagne, apple cider, malt, balsamic, etc. rice wine, champagne, apple cider, malt, balsamic, etc. Organic vinegar is made using organic grains or fruits and manufactured according to organic guidelines. Distilled vinegar has gone through a pasteurization and straining process where the bacteria used in making the vinegar has been
removed. So, in vinegar that isn’t distilled, you’ll notice “strands” or “floaters”
The most commonly used vinegar in green cleaning is distilled white vinegar. The organic variety is definitely more earth-friendly because it is made with grains that aren’t genetically modified or treated with pesticides or fertilizers.
Due to a pH of 2.0 and the acetic acid content, vinegar is an inhospitable environment for many microorganisms, so it is the perfect cleaner for your home! Just think about how well it does at inhibiting bacteria and mold from growing in pickles.
Still not convinced?
Studies have been done testing how effectively it kills bacteria and viruses. Vinegar is very good for disinfecting fruits before eating.
Cleaning Uses Vinegar can be virtually used anywhere in the home from cleaning wood floors to windows to wastebaskets, but it is not recommended for use on marble since the acid content can etch the surface.
Often combined with water for green cleaning, the ratio of water to vinegar may vary depending on the cleaning task at hand. For example, pure vinegar might be needed to clean heavy mildew stains on tile or disinfect a cutting board, whereas a simple 50/50 solution of vinegar will work for general everyday cleaning.
The high acidity level of vinegar helps loosen mineral deposit such as lime and rust, and dissolve soap scum, due to their alkaline nature, so it is great for bathroom and kitchen cleaning. It is also useful for cutting through grease on ovens, cooktops, stoves, and grills, and it easily strips wax build-up off of wood floors.
In addition, a vinegar soak helps remove stains, such as coffee and tea, from kitchen sinks, cups, and coffee makers. It is also useful for deodorizing and removing kitchen and bathroom odors as a simple spritz of a vinegar-water solution will prove. And it is often added to the laundry rinse cycle as a softening agent.
Other ingredients, such as citrus juices, may be added to vinegar to amplify its cleaning abilities, such as is done in this recipe for “ Clean everything lemon lime vinegar spray.”
Because it’s natural and biodegradable, it’s a good choice when doing outdoor cleaning such as car washing, wiping down patio furniture, cleaning exterior windows, etc.
According to Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. in her article Expiration Dates for Common Household Chemicals,” vinegar lasts about 3 1/2 years.
But if the expiration date has passed, it’s not a total loss.
THE VINEGAR INSTITUTE, comprised of vinegar manufacturers worldwide, states that vinegar has an almost indefinite shelf life and notes that vinegar may change aesthetically after a period of time, but it is still safe. However, a big bottle of distilled white vinegar won’t last long as you’ll find multiple uses for it!
Safety and Environmental Notes
Because vinegar is edible and all natural it is easily biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
Should vinegar come into contact with the eyes, flush with water for 10-15 minutes.
The Chemistry of Vinegar
Vinegar is a natural by-product of plant fermentation. Household vinegar is a mild solution that contains 5 to 10 percent acetic acid. For this reason, it is very effective at breaking down molds, grease, and bacteria—substances that make up many household stains. The acidity of vinegar also serves as a mild antiseptic that hinders the growth of some bacteria. It’s acidic nature also makes vinegar effective at dissolving mineral-based deposits, which by nature are alkaline in composition.
This recipe makes 8 ounces of mixed solution, so multiply the ingredient amounts as needed to fit the size of your spray bottle. Also, the above recipe creates a solution that is a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water. This is a good ratio for most cleaning projects, but for very tough jobs, such as cleaning excessive mold and mildew, you can increase the potency of the solution by changing the vinegar to water ratio to 2:1 ( 2/3 cup vinegar to 1/3 cup water, for example).
HOW TO MAKE YOUR GREEN CLEANER
½ cup white distilled vinegar
½ cup water
12 to 24 drops of essential oil
Measuring cup and funnel
HOW TO DO IT
How to Mix an Aromatic Vinegar Solution Choose one or a combination of essential oils. (See more information below.)
Using a measuring cup and funnel, add the vinegar and water in the desired ratio, and shake to mix them together.
Add the essential oils directly to your spray bottle.
Shake the bottle to incorporate the essential oils.
Label the bottle with a permanent marker.
Store the bottle out of direct sunlight or heat, which can change
the chemical constituents of the essential oils.
To use, spray any areas that need to be cleaned, rinse well, and wipe dry. For tougher cleaning jobs, like grout, use a toothbrush or scrub brush.
Depending on your mood; try these scents, which are combinations of the top five essential oils to use in your green cleaning.
Which Essentials Oil Should I use?
Other essential oils to try to include basil, bergamot, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, grapefruit, lime, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
How Does This Cleaner Work?
The low pH and acetic acid content of vinegar make it difficult for many microorganisms to grow.Vinegar cleaners are, therefore, a mild antiseptic, though it should not be regarded as a broad-spectrum disinfectant. Also, the essential oils add additional antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal qualities to your all-purpose cleaner. Finally, the high acidity level of vinegar serves to loosen mineral deposits, such as lime and calcium and will help dissolve soap scum.
- For tough cleaning jobs, let the spray sit for several minutes.
- For mineral build-up around fixtures or excessive mildew in the shower, give this spray a few minutes to work before cleaning with an old, soft-bristled toothbrush or scrub
brush. Then rinse well.
- To disinfect surfaces, such as countertops, let the spray sit for at least 60 seconds before rinsing.
For scrubbing action, try first sprinkling some baking soda in the sink, bathtub, shower, toilet, oven, or on the cooktop. Then, use the vinegar spray to dampen it, which will create a paste. Scrub away with an eco-friendly sponge or scrubbing tool, and watch as the built-up soap scum, dirt, odors, and mold disappear.
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- To clean mirrors, simply spray on the vinegar cleaner buff it dry with a natural, soft, lint-free cloth, such as an old T-shirt or a cloth baby diaper.
- To eliminate odors, use this spray as an air freshener. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer.
Cautions and Warnings
Vinegar can break down latex grout if it is left on too long. Do not use vinegar cleaners on marble, granite, and other natural stones, such as those used in countertops and floors. The acids in vinegar can dull and etch stone surfaces. Don’t clean up raw egg spills with vinegar cleaner. It will cause the liquid egg to coagulate and make it harder to clean up.
Be careful when using vinegar cleaner on hardwood floors. Test it first in an inconspicuous area. Some finishes may be damaged by vinegar. Although clothes irons do collect mineral deposits, most manufacturers warn against pouring vinegar or vinegar- based cleaners through them to remove mineral build-up.
Read the instructions to determine how best to remove mineral deposits from your clothes iron.
Vinegar can irritate your eyes if contact occurs. Flush liberally with water for 5 to 10 minutes if the product gets in your eyes.
It is important that you use essential oils safely. If you get essential oils in your eyes, flush with water for 10 to 15 minutes. Consult a doctor if irritation persists. If you get essential oils on your skin, wash with soapy warm water. One
exception: Lavender doesn’t harm the skin; in fact, it is often used directly on the skin to treat burns, insect bites, etc.
Don’t ever mix vinegar with bleach. It will create toxic chlorine gas. So before using vinegar-based cleaning products, do a mental check to make sure you aren’t mixing it with any bleach-based cleaning products you may have forgotten about. Combining the two can be highly