*How clean is clean?
Research has shown vinegar is effective in reducing microbial contamination thanks to its low ph when used undiluted (around ph 2.0). That’s why it has been so successfully used for preserving for hundreds of years, keeping food free from bacterial and fungal contamination.
Its acidity also helps to loosen lime and rust, and dissolve soap scum. It can also cut through grease, although it would seem more scrubbing effort is required than for commercial products. It is also a useful deodoriser, but that may depend on whether you like the smell of vinegar in your home.
However, your everyday cooking vinegar has its limitations. Its 5% level of acetic acid (the ingredient that does the dirty work) can kill bacteria and viruses if used undiluted and left to sit on a surface for 15 minutes.
It’s far better to get ‘cleaning grade’ vinegar which has an acetic acid level of around 10%. Tests have shown this is just as effective as bleach in killing E coli. Cleaning grade (or ‘double strength’) vinegar is available in NZ online, and in stock feed or specialist food stores, including:
Note: a 10% or ‘double strength’ vinegar can be safely watered down by 50% to use in cooking and preserving if required.