​Humble, universal vinegar

MANY USES: A bottle of vinegar can be found in most households, and can be used for a myriad of cleaning and disinfecting chores around the home.
MANY USES: A bottle of vinegar can be found in most households, and can be used for a myriad of cleaning and disinfecting chores around the home.

For many centuries floral and herbal vinegars were used to ward off infections.

Doctors in the Stuart times in England carried special walking sticks with a silver knob on the end, inside of which was a vinaigrette made of moss soaked in aromatic vinegar.

With this under his nose the doctor believed he would avoid being infected by his patients. Today a bottle of vinegar can be found in most households and can be used for a myriad of cleaning and disinfecting chores around the home.

To make a general disinfectant cleaner, add 750mls of white vinegar to eight litres of warm water, or proportionally less to suit your needs. Use the mixture to clean glass, mirrors, ceramic tiles, enamel surfaces, chrome, refrigerators, washing machines and even floors. To clean window sills and remove mould, soak a cloth in this vinegar solution and wipe over.

Store excess cleaning liquid in a suitable sealed bottle for future use. In the bathroom vinegar and salt can be used as a mild abrasive to clean baths, sinks, toilet bowls and tiles. Apply with a soft cloth, rubbing the paste over the ceramic surface. Shower curtains can be cleaned by scrubbing with white vinegar. If shower heads become blocked, remove and boil in water containing half-a-cup of white vinegar. Sanitise and clean the inside surface of toilet bowls using a liberal splash of white vinegar. To eliminate toilet bowl odours, pour white vinegar into the bowl and leave overnight.

In the kitchen clean electric plastic jugs or kettles by adding one cup of white vinegar, topping up with water, bringing to the boil, then rinsing well. To remove tough grease from dishes and utensils, add a dash of vinegar to the washing-up water.

And for sparkling glassware, rinse well in water to which has been added a little white vinegar. Burnt-on food in saucepans can be cleaned by sprinkling with bicarbonate soda and a dash of vinegar. Bring to the boil, then wash as usual when cool. Stainless steel cookware can be cleaned with a cloth dampened with vinegar, then thoroughly rinsed.

In the laundry vinegar also has many uses. Clean the inside surface of your iron by filling it with equal parts of vinegar and water. Let it steam a minute or so, switch off and leave for an hour. Wash out with clean water. Vinegar can also be used as an effective fabric softener.

Just soak garments overnight in a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water, then rinse well in clear water before washing. And to remove all traces of soap or detergent from your wash, and  to eliminate fluff or lint on your sheets, add one cup of vinegar to the final rinse cycle.