While it appears ridiculous that any one substance can clean windows, floors, coffeemakers, mirrors, cure sunburn, remove the build-up in your dishwasher, remove warts, and cure athlete’s foot, I assure you that it’s true. And no, it’s not Windex, as fans of My Big Fat Greek Wedding might guess. It’s vinegar. And, yes, it works well as a window cleaner, too. And as a delicious addition to salad dressing or mustards.
Distilled white vinegar is made from the oxidization of the ethanol in alcohol, usually an alcohol made from grains. This oxidization process produces acetic acid, the key ingredient in vinegar. These modest little bottles of distilled white vinegar are the closest thing to a natural clean-all, cure-all, and flavor-all. Vinegar is made from local, renewable resources and is non-toxic. The mild acid naturally deodorizes, degreases, kills mold, and is an antiseptic. If you want, there are vinegars that are certified organic, though most vinegars are naturally organic. It’s effective as a cleaner and is safe to use around pets, children, and those with allergies. And all of this comes for the low, low price of less than five dollars for a hefty jug and can be found at your local grocery store.
What kind of vinegar should I use?
All mentions of vinegar in this article refer to the grocery store variety white distilled vinegar. And while vinegar does come in a variety of acetic acid concentrations, anywhere from 4% to 18%, most grocery stores carry vinegar that is at around 5%. This strength works well for both cleaning and cooking.
Distilled White Vinegar Remedies
Vinegar can be used to clean things. Use vinegar to clean almost anything. A couple of tablespoons mixed with water in a spray bottle is a cheap, environmentally-friendly solution to Windex. Simply spray on and wipe off with a paper towel. Use distilled white vinegar to clean your coffee maker, stove, linoleum floor, toilet, or to remove pet stains. No harsh chemicals needed. Use white vinegar for a no-muss, no-fuss, cheap and nontoxic alternative to having a dozen different chemicals stored under your sink. You won’t even have to dress like a Haz Mat specialist to use vinegar. It’s one bottle and is even safe enough to drink.
Vinegar removes skunk smell from your pet. We’ve all heard that tomato sauce will get rid of skunk smell from your pet, but not a lot of people consider the color of their bathtub or their own pet. And while some may not mind a tomato tinted Bichon Frise or Maltese, vinegar is colorless. Douse the body, legs, and tail of your pet with undiluted vinegar. For the face and ears, saturate cotton swabs with vinegar and gently dab at the fur. Avoid making eye contact with the vinegar. Vinegar is non-toxic, but eyes are sensitive and vinegar is still acidic. If vinegar runs into the eyes, gently flush with cool water.
Vinegar relieves sunburn and helps prevent blistering and peeling. Spraying vinegar onto the skin at the onset of a sunburn will help remove the “heat” from the burn. This will also help to prevent the blistering and peeling associated with a healing sunburn. But the sooner this remedy is applied, the better it works. Consider using chilled vinegar to pour directly onto the sunburned skin. This will also work for other mild burns. Besides quick relief, and not having that itchy, flaky sheet of skin coming off of your back, vinegar’s natural antiseptic qualities will help kill off any bacteria on the compromised skin.
Vinegar is a natural way to help cure and prevent Athlete’s Foot. Cure Athlete’s Foot by soaking your feet in a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water for ten minutes a day for ten days. The acetic acid weakens the fungus so that your immune system can finish it off. Vinegar can also be used to prevent Athlete’s Foot after those bare-footed incidents in public showers. Those showers are warm, moist places that harbor a lot of germs, viruses, and fungi. After exposure to these lovely treats, simply spray your feet with vinegar and put ‘em up to air dry. This will kill off those little shower surprises and leave you with the added benefit of deodorized feet.
Vinegar can get rid of warts. Mix warm water and vinegar in a 50/50 solution. Soak the area with the warts for twenty minutes a day. If the area affected by warts is not capable of being submerged, such as warts on the face or legs, saturate a couple of cotton balls in full strength vinegar and hold them lightly to the affected area. Wet the cotton balls as necessary to keep the warts saturated. Repeat this treatment each day until the wart disappears. It should take about two weeks. This works because the acetic acid will start killing off the virus that causes warts. Eventually, they’ll be gone.
More Uses for Distilled White Vinegar
As a college student, I struggled to keep my dorm room clean and to fight off the reek that came in from the rooms of other students that weren’t so smell-conscious as myself. With only a single 11 by 16 foot room to store everything I owned in the world and a banking account that averaged about $17 after groceries, I wasn’t too keen on spending money on a dozen different cleaning products that wouldn’t fit in my room anyways. I needed as few products as possible to clean the face prints on my windows, the spilled soda on my tile floor, pizza grease stuck on my countertops, and was a safe cleaning product for someone that had asthma. White vinegar degreased, deodorized, and generally defunkified each crevice of that dorm room. And vinegar has the benefit of all the remedies listed above, all in one hefty jug for only a couple of bucks. It even kept my feet wart-free and Athlete’s-Foot–free for three years of using dorm room showers.
Little White Lies About White Vinegar
Vinegar can NOT be used to flush marijuana from your system. While some suggest drinking large amounts of vinegar to remove traces of marijuana from your system, it will really do nothing except make you vomit. And as the traces of marijuana are stored in your fat cells, vomiting will not assist you in testing clean. However, brushing your teeth with white vinegar will deodorize your mouth and help to kill bacteria. You may not pass your drug test, but the smell of marijuana will not be apparent on your breath.
This is your typical “grocery store” variety of white distilled vinegar. It is roughly 4% acidity and can be used for any of these natural remedies. The price for a one gallon jug is about two dollars. It is easily stored and is one of the best natural products to cook with, degrease, deodorize, sanitize, and treat skin topically. It is a natural and environmentally safe alternative to many harsh and expensive chemical products.