White vinegar bottle

Yes. Acetic acid (a.k.a. white vinegar) is a great disinfectant. It also acts as a deodorizer and cuts grease.

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

  1. Fill your dishwasher rinse agent dispenser with white vinegar.
  2. 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.
  3. Soak rusty tools in a pail of white vinegar and brush to clean.
  4. To deodorize your toilet, pour 125 millilitres of white vinegar into the bowl. Let sit 15 minutes. Flush.
  5. 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.

Try these green cleaning recipes

Queen of Green image that reads: David Suzuki's Queen of Green gives you tips and recipes to live sustainably.