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Vinegar Does More Than Flavor Food

September 14, 2009 By: NB Category: Clean Chemistry, Safest Cleaning Agents

white vinegar

white vinegar

Vinegar results from a natural fermentation process – the oxidation by acetic acid bacteria of the ethanol found in beer, cider, wine or any other alcoholic liquid. Acetic acid bacteria are a gram-negative, aerobic, rod-shaped bacteria present universally in foodstuffs, water, and soil. The acetic acid concentration of vinegar usually falls around 5 percent by volume for table vinegar up to 18 percent or higher for pickling vinegar. At a 5% concentration vinegar has a pH of about 2.4, slightly less acidic than lemon juice. Acetic acid is detectible by a characteristic smell.

Concentrations by weight of 10% to 25% are classified as an irritant. Higher than 25% is corrosive and must be handled with great care as it can cause skin burns, mucous membrane irritation, and permanent eye damage that may not even appear until hours after the exposure. Concentrations over 90% are also flammable. Common table vinegars, including distilled white vinegar, are safe for humans and animals.

Among vinegar’s versatile aspects you’ll find the following:

  1. Vinegar is antibacterial.

  2. It is also antifungal.

  3. Vinegar will dissolve mineral deposits including limescale and hard water spots from glass and hard surfaces.

  4. Vinegar included in a bath and tile formula as a rinsing agent will help prevent bathtub rings and soap scum.

  5. It is an effective solvent for epoxy resin and hardener.

  6. Vinegar is safe as a herbicide as the acetic acid is not absorbed into root systems. It will kill top-growth but perennials will reshoot.

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Eight Great Uses For Baking Soda

September 14, 2009 By: NB Category: Clean Chemistry, Safest Cleaning Agents

sodium bicarbonate

sodium bicarbonate

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate and to a lesser extent as sodium hydrogen carbonate, is a chemical compound found in the mineral natron. It is a white solid that is crystalline in structure but can appear as a fine powder with a slight alkaline taste. The natural mineral form of sodium bicarbonate is nahcolite but it can be produced artificially. Besides helping our baked goods rise and have a light texture, baking soda is a wonderful additional to our cleaning arsenal. Here’s why:

  1. Baking soda is antiseptic and helps kill germs not only in our homes but for personal hygiene as well. A paste made from baking soda and 3% hydrogen peroxide is a safe and effective alternative to commercial toothpaste. It also makes a good natural deodorant. It is more effective than vinegar, salt, or hot water alone when washing vegetables to remove pesticides.

  2. It’s anti-fungal and not only helps kill mold and mildew but will neutralize their odors.

  3. Baking soda will dissolve tarnish. A solution of baking soda in warm water ( 3 Tbsp to a quart of water) with a piece of aluminum foil laying in the bottom of the container will remove tarnish from silver when it comes in contact with the foil.  Caution: This method should NEVER be used on any plated items, only solid metal, and never on any piece of aluminum, or the finish will be damaged.

  4. Baking soda is a powerful odor absorber – in the fridge, freezer, down the drain, on carpets, upholstery, fabrics, even a pair of smelly sneakers.

  5. It’s gently abrasive. A smooth paste of baking soda and water will help scrub off caked on, baked on, dried on gunk from glass cook-tops, porcelain, fiberglass, stainless steel and enameled metals.

  6. Baking soda softens hard water and is superb as a fabric softener. As an aside. you never want to use a fabric softener on towels and washcloths – it hampers their absorbency.

  7. Baking soda will extinguish small grease or electrical fires. Don’t use baking soda on a deep-fryer fire though – it might cause the flaming grease to splatter.

  8. It is effervescent when combined with vinegar and will work wonders cleaning a grimy oven or clearing a clogged drain.

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