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You can tackle salmonella, E. coli and other “gram-negative” bacteria with vinegar. Gram-negative bacteria can cause pneumonia, meningitis and bloodstream, wound or surgical site infections.
How does it work?
The acid in vinegar crosses the bacteria’s cell membrane, prompting a release of protons, which causes the cell to die.
White vinegar found on most store shelves is a five per cent concentration of acetic acid. It kills about 80 per cent of germs. Look for stronger concentrations at eco-friendly stores that have refill stations.
Mixing an acid (e.g., vinegar) with a base (e.g., castile soap) creates a (not dangerous) acid-base neutralization reaction. So adding vinegar to castile soap takes back its original oils. Looks like white curdling! It’s a common mistake. After using the all-purpose spray or scour that contain castile soap, spray surfaces — counters, tubs, tile and sinks — with vinegar. Use full strength for tough cleaning jobs or dilute 50:50 with water.
Five ways to clean with vinegar
- Fill your dishwasher rinse agent dispenser with white vinegar.
- Soak sweat-stained white clothing in about 60 millilitres of white vinegar and enough water to cover the stain. Leave overnight. Wash with eco-friendly laundry soap.
- Soak rusty tools in a pail of white vinegar and brush to clean.
- To deodorize your toilet, pour 125 millilitres of white vinegar into the bowl. Let sit 15 minutes. Flush.
- To remove hard water deposits on your tub/glass shower doors, heat 250 millilitres of white vinegar in a pot. Spray onto surface. Let sit 15 minutes and wipe clean.