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Saturday, 6 February 2010

Cleaning Up With Vinegar

Recently, I have been using vinegar to clean up kitchen grime in an old apartment, with some success. Vinegar, it seems, is acidic. From the entry on vinegar at Wikipedia:

Vinegar is an acidic liquid processed from the fermentation of ethanol in a process that yields its key ingredient, acetic acid (ethanoic acid). It also may come in a diluted form. The acetic acid concentration typically ranges from 4 to 8 percent by volume for table vinegar (typically 5%) and higher concentrations for pickling (up to 18%).

Distilled white vinegar is usually recommended for household cleaning; artificial white vinegar, in my experience, is cheaper and as effective. A small bottle of artificial white vinegar typically costs less than RM2.00. The entry at Wikipedia also notes the many uses of vinegar as a household cleaner.

White vinegar is often used as a household cleaning agent. Because it is acidic, it can dissolve mineral deposits from glass, coffee makers, and other smooth surfaces. For most uses dilution with water is recommended for safety and to avoid damaging the surfaces being cleaned.

Vinegar is an excellent solvent for cleaning epoxy resin and hardener, even after the epoxy has begun to harden. Malt vinegar sprinkled onto crumpled newspaper is a traditional, and still-popular, method of cleaning grease-smeared windows and mirrors in the UK. Vinegar can be used for polishing brass or bronze.

Recently, vinegar has been marketed as a green solution for many household cleaning problems. For example, vinegar has been cited recently as a eco-friendly urine cleaner for pets and as a weed killer.

A website proudly lists 131 uses for vinegar, although this number may increase in the future. The many uses of vinegar show that vinegar is the original multi-use household item. Recently a reader of wrote in its Q&A column that s/he discovered three new uses of vinegar: (1) treating psoriasis and clearing up the scales and itchiness; (2) getting rid of warts; and (3) relieving rashes. Another website lists 74 little known uses of vinegar.

One thing I must say, please try to avoid vinegar with caramel if your intention is not to use the vinegar for cooking. I purchased some golden coloured vinegar only to be disappointed that it was unsuitable for cleaning; it simply wasn't acidic enough.

Vinegar is good for cleaning old stains. The other day I went to an old house, whose previous tenants had allowed metal furniture to leave rust marks on the floor. I poured vinegar on the rust marks, and waited for about ten minutes. As I wiped the vinegar soaked floor with old newspaper, I noticed that the brown stains had lessened somewhat. Vinegar, it seemed, could reduce the deepness of the stains, but would require multiple applications to completely clean it.