One of the effects of the pandemic has been to focus people’s minds on less aggressive, more natural ways of cleaning. The Greeks and Romans used apple cider vinegar that was developed as a by-product of their soured apple wines for cleaning, 2500 years ago. Today natural healthcare proponents claim that apple cider vinegar has exceptional health benefits, many of them unproven. We are not medical experts but, we do know about the benefits it can offer as a natural cleaning material.
Vinegar generally is mildly acidic, with a pH value around 3. To make vinegar, yeasts first ferment sugar into alcohol, which is then turned into acetic acid by bacteria. Apple Cider Vinegar is slightly more alkaline than vinegar made from other bases, and that is what makes it a gentle cleaner that you can use throughout the house.
Kitchen Surfaces – A solution of equal parts water and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) makes a great surface cleaner. Not being as aggressive as chemical cleaners like Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda) ACV solutions will not dull the finish or damage surfaces like granite. It also has anti-bacterial properties that many chemical cleaners do not.
Washing Machines – One of the other benefits of ACV is that it does not contain phosphates which are becoming a big problem in watercourse contamination. Running the empty washing machine with 500ml of ACV in place of detergent will clean and de-odorise it. It is also possible to put 250ml of ACV into the wash in place of laundry additives, but you may need to check how it will react with some delicate fabrics. In the dishwasher 250ml will clean it and 100ml will be an alternative to a chemical rinse aid.
Drain Clearing – Some of the most caustic and aggressive chemicals found around the house are those used for unblocking domestic drains. Using an old school science experiment, we can do this in a more natural way. Baking Soda and Vinegar react to produce a foam, so pouring 100ml of baking soda into the drain followed by 250ml of a 1:1 mix of ACV and boiling water after about 10 minutes will make a natural unblocker. Wash it all away with boiling water.
Bathroom Cleaning – Another property of ACV is that it is anti-fungal. This makes it great for cleaning around the bathroom. You can use it neat or diluted with a little water depending on the amount of mildew you have to deal with. Limescale Removal – Some areas of the country have very hard water. This means there is a constant battle against limescale. Boiling the kettle with 250ml of ACV will clean out limescale, and the same can be done with irons, although a much smaller amount. Remember to rinse the kettle before making tea though. Shower heads can be soaked in ACV to remove limescale. We have already mentioned the benefit to washing machines and the same solution used for mildew will take limescale off taps and fittings.
This is just the beginning of the uses of apple cider vinegar around the home, it can clean windows, and even be used as a weedkiller. The main benefit in all these cases is that it is not chemical, it will not harm you or the environment. In 2019 a study was started by some Indian researchers to establish if it has any anti-viral properties. That work is still on going and it is too early to reach a firm conclusion, but as a step along the way to taking aggressive chemical cleaners out of the household apple cider vinegar can only be a good thing.