Vinegar. It’s a simple household staple that dates back to around 5,000 B.C., when Babylonians made it and used it as food and a preserving or pickling agent. Even Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, around 400 B.C. prescribed apple cider vinegar mixed with honey for ailments, including coughs and colds.
He may have been on to something, too, since there are some studies listed in a WebMD article that note the following possible medicinal uses of vinegar. For starters, studies indicate the possible benefits of vinegar as helping to lower glucose levels. More specifically, a 2007 study showed that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by four-to-six percent.
Additional studies point towards vinegar helping to support healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels as well as lowering rates of heart disease. More studies need to be done, however. Then there’s vinegar’s possible role in weight management. Research points to vinegar’s ability to help people feel full, so that they can better manage their weight.
History also records that vinegar has been used as an energizing or cleansing agent when consumed as a tonic or when added to drinking water.
And speaking of cleansing. . . throughout history, vinegar has been used to clean and disinfect wounds and to help speed up wound healing. Apple cider vinegar, in fact, was used this way in the American Civil War and even as late as World War I.
Its cleaning uses don’t stop there, though. Since vinegar is typically at least four percent acidity and is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antimicrobial, it has also been used in the past as an inexpensive, effective household cleaner—and it still is today. In fact, many prefer it to other, sometimes toxic, cleaners on the market. Here are some uses for it:
Antibacterial cleaner: As a surface cleaner, vinegar can be poured onto a cloth or sponge and applied to any surface that needs cleaned. For cleaning dirty cloths and sponges, simply soak them in a mixture of vinegar and water overnight, then rinse for use.
Grease remover and deodorizer: Vinegar is also effective at removing grease. Pour vinegar onto a cloth or sponge and apply it to the greasy surface. It also doubles as a deodorizer, leaving surfaces and other areas residue-free and smelling fresh.
Dishwasher cleaner: Just pour a cup of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher and run it—empty of any dishes, glasses or silverware. Doing so helps to remove any buildup on the interior of your dishwasher. And it sure beats having to scrub it!
Window cleaner: Using a sponge and one part vinegar and one part water will keep your windows sparkling. One caveat, however, is that if this is the first time you’ve cleaned your windows with vinegar, pre-existing chemicals from other cleaning products may leave behind streaks. To fix that, just scrub those marks with undiluted vinegar to get rid of them.
Drain cleaner/unclogger: Vinegar paired with baking soda can release mild drain clogs. Here’s how: pour a pot of boiling water down the drain first, followed by a half cup of baking soda. This loosens buildup. Next, pour a mixture of one cup vinegar and one cup boiling water down the drain. You may want to cover the drain opening, though, because the vinegar-baking soda mix can bubble up. After this, uncover the drain and pour another pot of boiling water down the drain to remove any leftover clogging.
Vinegar—a simple household product with many uses and benefits.