Tuesday, June 29, 2021

White Vinegar: the Miracle Acid

White vinegar, also called distilled or spirit vinegar, has been found on kitchen and bathroom shelves for hundreds of years. White vinegar is probably one of the most underappreciated kitchen chemicals most people have in their pantry. For such a simple compound its uses are legion, everything from cleaning glass to dressing salad.

Vinegar can be made out of anything that has alcohol in it: wine, hard cider, and beer are popular choices. White vinegar, like vodka, is distilled from grain. Grocery store white vinegar is generally made up of 5–10% acetic acid and 90–95% water. Industrial and agricultural grade white vinegar can contain up to 20% acetic acid but is not intended for human consumption. 

In the food realm alone, white vinegar has numerous uses, such as:

  • Pickling vegetables, fruits, and eggs
  • Salad dressing
  • Marinades and sauces for meats, seafood and vegetables
  • White vinegar combined with baking soda is a good leavening agent for certain types of baked goods
  • White vinegar and milk can be used to make certain types of cheese

Outside of edibles, white vinegar has even more uses when it comes to cleaning. 

WARNING: Never combine vinegar and chlorine bleach. This combination can release chlorine gas, which is potentially fatal.

  • Disinfectant and cleaner for a variety of items:
    • Countertops
    • Showers and tubs
    • Toilets
    • Floors
    • Dishwashers
    • Windows and mirrors
    • Coffeemakers
  • Removing adhesive from many surfaces
  • Drain cleaner and deodorant
  • Mold killer
  • Cleaning hard water stains
  • Stain remover in laundry
  • Weed killer, especially when combined with salt and dish soap
  • Removing skunk musk

Speaking of animals, a dilute mixture of white vinegar and water can be used to treat a pet’s itchy or scaly ears. Finally, white vinegar can be used to dissuade cats from using a location as a litter box. Since cats really dislike the smell of vinegar, spraying some on a place they’ve used as a bathroom can prevent them from reusing that spot. Simply apply straight vinegar on outside spots, or diluted 50/50 with water for indoor locations. You may need to reapply, especially with outside use, 

WARNING: Never use vinegar on marble or other stone surfaces. The acid in vinegar can permanently damage them.

A gallon jug of white vinegar generally costs less than four dollars and is available at grocery and hardware stores around the world. I highly recommend everyone have some of this miraculous wonder chemical in their household preps!

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