The joy of CH3COOH

In an earlier post, I alluded to my new found love – CH3COOH, or Vinegar. Balsamic or Brown, apple cider or rice wine, I have a love of the sour stuff. What other foodstuff can be a salad dressing one day and a fabric conditioner the next? A hugely important ingredient in a good hot vindaloo, then a cheap and cheerful surface cleanser. It truly is wonderful stuff.

My favorite vinegar, heathen that I am, is good old white. 2litres for just over a dollar at a well known supermarket that rhymes with ‘moles’, how can you go wrong? Just the smell of the stuff has my saliva producing buds going ten to the dozen and wandering off to the nearest fish and chip shop.

However, the main point of this post is not to wax lyrical on French dressings or hot chip accompaniments. It’s to let you know, if you didn’t already, of all the wonderful household tasks that can be completed using vinegar, with nary a chemical in sight and a wee bit of money left over for a tipple of your choice…

We started exploring the whole ‘non chemical’ cleaning world when MJ (manhoovers junior) was spending most of the day crawling on the floor, licking the furniture and eating suspect items under the fridge. Come to think of it, he’s 4 now and still engages in at least two of those… We wanted a host of non chemical cleaners, and whilst you can purchase those ‘environmentally friendly’ products, I’m sure they’re not safe enough to eat, and besides, they can get a bit exxy, even if the dolphins are thanking us.

So, a quick list of what we use vinegar for at our place, a bit of a science lesson and some links to interesting reading:


Get yourself one of those bottles with a trigger spray, fill it half with vinegar and half with plain old water. You’ve now got yourself a pretty powerful disinfectant. I use it for surfaces, toilets, wooden floors, children…

If your washing machine has a separate fabric conditioner section, try vinegar next time. It DOES NOT make your clothes smell of vinegar and it helps keep the internals of your machine clean. Apparently it also assists with getting rid of strong perfume smells on your clothes, and helps makes towels more absorbent.

We’ve been using vinegar as a rinse aid in the dishwasher for a year or so, as well as the ‘half tablet’ approach (see previous post). I have noticed NO difference compared to Finish rinse aid, and there are no chemicals coating your dishes. And same as above, it helps keep the internals of your dishwasher clean. No need to buy those dishwasher cleaner things that appear to be the same cost as saffron wrapped in printer cartridge ink. The effectiveness of vinegar as a rinse aid does appear to be linked to the hardness of your water, so give it a few tries before you dismiss it. If you notice water spots on your crockery, your water may be too hard and you’ll need to use commercial rinse aids.

Spray vinegar on your cooktop, range hood or other really greasy area and then sprinkle bicarb on it. Marvel at the foaming white goodness, as it eats away at your baked on grime!


Vinegar is a weak acetic acid (about a pH of 2-3). Combine this, with its anti microbial properties, and you have a great surface cleaner. It’s non toxic, doesn’t damage your skin (so no need to wear those rubber gloves that make your hands smell like a gimps armpit) and of course it doesn’t matter if your offspring licks the area that has been cleaned!


There is loads of stuff on the intertubes about vinegar, but here are a couple of useful places to start:

Vinegar works wonders – general hints about using vinegar

1001 uses for white vinegar – as it says!

The Vinegar Institute – yes, I had no idea such a thing existed either, but there you go!

Do you have any uses for vinegar that you’d like to share? If so, get commenting!



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