Not too long ago I got to talking to someone about homemade cleaners and they said something to me about how they prefer to “disinfect with something stronger.” It’s unfortunate that so many people believe that “all-natural” somehow also means “less effective.” Here’s the facts…
White distilled vinegar all by itself, or in a vinegar and water mixture, has been found almost equal to the strength of store bought cleaners. Furthermore, there are other kinds of vinegar that vary in strength and some have been found to be exactly equal to some strong competitors.
For example, switching to apple cider or malt vinegar (although the smell is more pungent) around cold and flu season can help better protect against those specific germs. Adding more regular white distilled vinegar to your homemade cleaners this time of year can also assist with tackling those germs. Furthermore, there is also something called “cleaning vinegar” which has a higher acidity and is still safe for consumption (Heinz brand, some other brands of cleaning vinegar recommend you don’t ingest them).
Not to mention, the versatility of cleaning with vinegar gives you the most bang for your buck. Check out the list of things you can tackle with vinegar on this list from The Vinegar Institute.
Back on subject, when compared to commercial cleaners it’s no surprise that there are some things man made chemicals can do that vinegar can not. Quick example, drinking bleach can easily kill you and I don’t believe that death by vinegar has ever been recorded. On a more serious note, between the years of 1940 and 2010 various studies have been done on the power of vinegar. The results show vinegar is less effective on the “E. coli O157:H7 and Staphylococcus aureus.” It isn’t a fail proof cleaner, however, the study was never conducted to see it’s activity against these microorganisms once they had dried on a surface. Either way, both of these things are found in contaminated food so unless you make a regular habit of rubbing your beef/chicken with bleach before you cook it then this study is irrelevant.
There are plenty of websites and companies who stand behind using vinegar as a main cleaning staple. (Check out this article from Better Homes and Gardens).
What about the homemade baby wipes, do they really clean up baby’s bum? Yes, of course they do. There is soap in the wipes for the exclusive purpose of cleaning baby’s bottom. There’s also coconut oil to soothe and hydrate and NO chemicals, not a single one.
Or maybe you’ve heard that homemade laundry detergent doesn’t work as well as store bought. Let me fill you in on a little secret, I have two children and a boyfriend who works in masonry and chimney cleaning. I would never, ever, use a detergent that didn’t work. Not only does homemade detergent get out day to day messes but it tackles old stains as well. Our bed sheet had a large brownish stain near the foot of the bed and no matter how many times I washed it, the stain lived on. The other day I pulled back the blankets and saw the spot where I had rubbed my grubby little feet around and ruined my pretty white sheets long ago. The next day, I ripped the sheets from the bed and put them in the washer with the rest of my load (colors and all). Those bed sheets came out stain free! What commercial detergent couldn’t do, my homemade cleaner tackled in one try. Guess what, still no carcinogenic chemicals here.
And when you compare the chemical sheet of homemade cleaners to that of commercial brands, the proof is apparent. There are no chemicals in vinegar based cleaners.
Not everyone is going to start making their own homemade cleaners. Some people buy the cleaners that label themselves as “all natural” or “green choice” but remember, these companies do not have to be honest with you. Buy what you want, use what you wish, but stop second guessing vinegar based and otherwise homemade cleaners. The proof is in the punch and homemade cleaners knock germs, bacteria, dirt and grime right on their butts.