Home > Case Studies > Vinegar to the Rescue: A Case Study

Vinegar to the Rescue: A Case Study

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 9 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Vinegar Cleaning Eco-friendly Cleaner

Housewife Lesley had been hearing a lot about the benefits of using non-chemical cleaners: not only were they better for the environment but they were also better for the health of her family. So she was keen to swap her usual harsh chemical cleaning solutions for more eco-friendly versions. She knew that the local organic grocery store stocked specially formulated ranges of eco-friendly cleaners and resigned herself to having to go and buy some of these, despite their hefty price tags. Then she bumped into her sister-in-law on the way to the shops and told her of her plan.

“Well, you could go and get some of that eco-stuff, I suppose,” said her sister-in-law, “but to be honest, you could do just as well for a lot of things with plain white vinegar.”

“White vinegar?” said Lesley, surprised.

“Yes, plain old white vinegar. It works wonders.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, vinegar is actually a mild acid and so it is really good for killing mould, bacteria and other germs. It’s also a fantastic stain remover – it even removes solid stains like soap scum, you know, and those limescale deposits from hard water? It even works as an air freshener. And the best thing is that it’s dirt cheap and you can get it in any supermarket! Plus it’s pretty harmless to use.”

“Wow,” said Lesley. “I never knew vinegar had all those uses.”

“Oh, there are lots more,” said her sister-in-law. “Listen, I have this book at home which is actually on vinegar and all its different uses. Why don’t I lend it to you and you can try out some things – then if you still want to go and get some commercial eco-stuff, you can do that.”

“That sounds great! Thanks so much!” said Lesley.

Later that evening, Lesley eagerly started going through the book and was amazed at all the different uses for white vinegar in the household, including:

  • Cleaning and deodorising drains by pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of hot distilled vinegar; waiting 5 minutes and then flushing with hot water.
  • Cleaning the oven door window with full-strength distilled vinegar to remove grease splatters. Leave on for 10-15 minutes with the door open, before wiping away with a sponge.
  • Removing limescale deposits inside a kettle by adding ½ cup of distilled vinegar to the water in the kettle and letting it sit overnight before pouring out and rinsing. Alternatively, if the build-up is very bad, boil full-strength vinegar in the kettle for a few minutes, before letting it cool and then rinsing with water.
  • Deodorising the toilet bowl and making it sparkle by pouring 3 cups of distilled vinegar into the bowl and then letting it sit overnight, before scrubbing well with a toilet brush and flushing.

With the help of the book and her sister-in-law, Lesley found endless ways to use white vinegar in her cleaning around the house and discovered that not only was it eco-friendly and healthy for her family but also very economical and kind of her purse strings!

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