Q. I have a three-year-old and am expecting a new baby in a few weeks. I hate to use harsh chemicals to clean our house, and usually rely on good old soap and hot water, sometimes with vinegar or baking soda. I use bleach or Bon-Ami sparingly for some things.
I found a recipe for home cleaner spray–a simple mixture of white vinegar, water and a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. I spray this mixture everywhere, confident that I could eat it if I had to. It does a great job on the stainless kitchen sink, microwave, countertops and bathroom sink.
I’m under the impression that vinegar will be enough to kill germs, especially bacteria. Is that true? Do I need to add something more caustic to get the germs?
A. Vinegar is a great cleaner, but we didn’t know how well it could kill germs. We asked germ guru Charles Gerba, PhD, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He has done field studies on household germs.
Dr. Gerba said that vinegar is useful as a cleaner and has some antimicrobial properties, but it is not considered a sanitizer or disinfectant. For disinfecting, dilute bleach is still best.