You've probably been advised to use vinegar as a home cleaner, but you may have wondered: is it effective enough? Vinegar is an all-natural substance that's in almost everyone's kitchen. But as well as having powerful cleaning properties, it can also be used to disinfect. This natural, mildly acidic liquid does its job without producing toxic chemicals, so it's not harmful to your health, and it can be produced in an environmentally friendly, sustainable way.
Read this article to find out all about vinegar, its history, its cleaning properties and, most importantly, how to use it to clean your home.
Reading time 6 minutes
A brief history of vinegar
If we look at the evolution of vinegar, we can say that it is certainly the oldest ingredient in your kitchen. Vinegar has been found in Egyptian shipwrecks since around 3000 BC, but vinegar is also mentioned in Babylonian writings from the same period. It is even mentioned in the Bible!
We won't bore you with the events of the next 4-5000 years, so let's jump straight to the 19th century! Although vinegar had been made for thousands of years, it was Louis Pasteur who first published the scientific, microbiological knowledge behind vinegar in the 1850s. A few decades later, as large companies such as Heinz started mass-producing vinegar, it slowly became a household staple.
How is vinegar made?
The original name of vinegar comes from the French word “vyn egre”, which is how it became euphemistically known as 'vinegar'. The word means "sour wine", where “vyn” means wine and “egre” means sour. But vinegar can be fermented from any vegetable matter, so in addition to wine vinegar, you can also find vinegars made from rice, malt, fruit, or cereals. To put it simply, any substance containing sugars and starches that can become alcoholic can also become vinegar during the fermentation process. The vinegar used in ancient times was made the way many great culinary discoveries were made by accident.
Bacterial fermentation produces acetic acid, and in the old days this happened naturally, as the bacteria producing the acetic acid in the fermented, slightly alcoholic liquid were exposed to oxygen. Until the 19th century, people had no idea why this happened, so they thought that wine left in the open air simply turned into vinegar. But later, the true background to the process was understood, and this started a real revolution in vinegar production.
The cleaning and antibacterial properties of vinegar:
Thanks to its antibacterial properties, vinegar is also an excellent cleaning agent. Let us look at the benefits of using vinegar to clean your home.
A great solvent. Vinegar can easily dissolve soap residue and grease, making it a good cleaning agent for a variety of surfaces.
It removes odours. Although vinegar has a strong smell of its own, it quickly dissipates and carries unpleasant odours with it.
The best descaler.
It has antiseptic properties. Researchers have found that vinegar not only kills bacteria and pathogens in food, but also kills some viruses.
It is easy to rinse off.
How should we use vinegar for cleaning?
Vinegar is an effective, non-toxic, and vegan cleaner, but how should you use it to clean your home?
Using a white distilled vinegar or vinegar made from biomass is a good ecological solution for our homes. A good strong white distilled vinegar infused with water is better, but even better is to use a vinegar-based formulation made directly for cleaning, such as CYCLE products.
Use vinegar to clean the kitchen and bathroom.
You can also use vinegar to wash your clothes. It may sound strange, but if you put a little vinegar in place of rinse aid, your clothes will be cleaner, fresher, and even softer.
You can even clean the toilet with it. You can also use vinegar to clean the inside and outside of the toilet bowl. Pour a splash of undiluted vinegar into the shell and leave it there for a few hours. Then rub it all over with a brush and rinse.
Use the vinegar as a glass cleaner. Using one part water and two parts vinegar, you can make a stain-free window cleaning liquid, squirt it on the glass and wipe it off to get a clean, stain-free glass.
If you are looking for a classic cleaning scent, you can suppress the strong smell of vinegar by adding some natural essential oils. This could be orange, grapefruit, or lemon essential oil. This will also make it smell better without putting any toxic substances in the cleaner. This is what we do with CYCLE products.
You can also use it to remove stains on your carpet. If you put baking soda on the stain on the carpet and then wash it down with half a cup of vinegar, you can get rid of it!
Freshen up your bedroom with vinegar. Spray a little vinegar on your mattress and let it dry. It will help get rid of mites, mould and odours.