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Cleaning with vinegar: efficiency in just a few minutes

Vinegar is just as effective for cleaning your home as the most popular commercial products. In our test earlier, the Association of Conscious Consumers had compared commercial detergents with 20% food vinegar examining the bactericidal and fungicidal effects of the products. The numbers had showed that vinegar kills 99.9% of bacteria! In our recent test, we wanted to see how much time it takes for vinegar to achieve this performance. Good news is that, according to the results, even those who cannot stand the smell of vinegar will not have to suffer for long.

According to a poll conducted by market researcher Nielsen

  • 49% of people use vinegar for the laundry and cleaning.
  • This figure is going up year by year.
  • A further 11% are open to use vinegar in the future though have never used it for cleaning.

What is the minimum time vinegar needs to be in contact with the surface to make sure it would work? This is what our most recent lab test was supposed to answer.

Fungicidal effect in just 1 minute

The smell of vinegar divides people; many find it hard to stand the smell even for a short period. For them it may be important to use it as briefly as possible. Therefore, we assigned the laboratory to test the disinfecting ability of 20% food vinegar, comparing different exposure times: 1-minute, 5-minute and 10-minute measurements were performed.

Based on the results, we see that

under the given test conditions, 20% food vinegar has a bactericidal effect after an exposure time of 5 minutes, and a fungicidal effect after an exposure time of 1 minute.

This type of test was done on different strains of fungi and bacteria, and in all cases, the vinegar managed to reduce the amount of pathogens previously found on the surface – to a negligible level.

Vinegar is by far the cheapest

Besides efficiency and gentleness, of course, price is also an important consideration when shopping. In our previous test, the Association looked at the price of the tested products (per litre on average). The results speak for themselves!

  • Domestos Extended Power Pine Fresh – 750HUF/litre
  • Sanytol universal disinfectant spray – 1850 HUF/litre
  • Frosch vinegar cleaner – 1000 HUF/litre
  • DIY EcoTeam mixture  250 HUF/litre
  • Food vinegar (20%) – 200 HUF/litre

In addition to price, it is also important to consider that most commercial cleaning products contain a number of active ingredients and additives might be risky to our health and the environment. Therefore, in 2019 we launched a campaign to promote safe and environmentally friendly cleaning products. We promoted, for example, simple and traditional cleaning agents, explaining what they are able to do, what they are good for and how to use them, ex. vinegar, citric acid, baking soda and more.

What should we use vinegar instead of?

For example, instead of all-purpose cleaning products. We have recently examined all-purpose cleaning products. The conclusion of the investigation was that

the use of all-purpose cleaning products is unnecessary, because the above-mentioned alternative and cheap agents do the disinfection at least as well as the commercial ones, besides they are gentler to the natural environment.

What can conscious consumers do?

  • If you do not want to give up commercial products in bottles, instead of buying cleaning agents with harsh active ingredients, go for the ecolabelled detergents that contain vinegar – our results prove that they do the most important part of the job.
  • The easiest is to use plain food vinegar for cleaning.
  • Choose the vinegar of higher concentration (20%) and dilute it up to twice with water, thus reducing plastic waste in your household.
  • It’s cheap to clean with vinegar: the price of a litre of 20% vinegar is around 200 HUF.

If you want to change one single thing in your household, replace the environment- and health-damaging fabric softener with cheap, environment-, health- and washing machine-friendly vinegar.

Vinegar is the same price as the cheapest fabric softener, or even less expensive, but it is a better choice for the environment, health and the washing machine.

You will find all related Product Tests on tudatosvasarlo.hu.

eu life logogreen and safe lifestylesThe campaign is supported in the framework of Green&Safe LIFE-styles project by the LIFE funding programme of the European Union and co-financed by the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture. ENV GIE HU000622

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