Vinegar. It seems to be the panacea for natural green home cleaning. It is amazing to me how many books and internet articles tout vinegar as the answer to almost every cleaning need. Great, but does it work? Green Cleaning Products, LLC reviews, evaluates, and tests loads of products to determine which green cleaning products and green janitorial supplies are the most effective. After all, if it does not do to job, is it worth having?
There are hundreds of vinegar uses that are available on the internet. Oftentimes it is recommended as a natural green home cleaning product as a disinfectant. So, today I will answer the question: Does vinegar really kill household germs?
The purpose of a disinfectant is to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. In doing so, the goal is to quickly protect against a broad spectrum of microorganisms and pathogens in a manner that is as safe to humans as possible. After all one of the primary objectives to using green products is for a safe and non-toxic clean.
Vinegar is certainly inexpensive, non-toxic and biodegradable, but it stinks. Although the odor will eventually dissipate, some cannot tolerate it.
Vinegar in any form, including white, malt or rosemary-infused, is about five percent acetic acid. This acid is what is actually that killing bacteria and viruses, most likely by denaturing (chemically changing) the proteins and fats that make-up the household germs.
So vinegar works, however, when compared to commercial cleaning products, vinegar does not stack up. American researchers found that while vinegar killed some household pathogens, it is not as reliable as commercial products. Additionally they found that vinegar did slightly better than bicarbonate of soda or baking soda, another common green cleaning product.
As part of research that was aimed at preparing us for the flu pandemic in 2009, UK scientists identified that malt vinegar will (as will bleach) inactivate the flu virus.
Unfortunately vinegar does not touch some types of salmonella, which can transfer from raw meat to chopping boards and onto other foods to give us food poisoning. When Japanese researchers studied the ability of rice vinegar to disinfect salmonella, it found that for the strains that formed biofilms, the slimy matrix that forms in wet or humid conditions, vinegar just could not get past the slime to kill the bacteria inside.
So the short answer to the question of “Does vinegar really kill household germs?” is Yes, but it does not do as good a job as commercial products, such as those offered by Green Cleaning Products.
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