"Using vinegar as a disinfectant
is the original GREEN way to clean"
Research reported in 1996 on sanitizing food and food preparation surfaces, showed that the efficiency of vinegar as a disinfectant could be increased by 10 times when the surface or food was sprayed with normal vinegar (5% acetic acid) and hydrogen peroxide (3%) over either one of the sprays alone.
The researchers found that this spray combination killed virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, and E. Coli bacteria present on heavily contaminated food and food preparation surfaces.
Then in February 2006 researchers from MicroChem Lab Inc. in Euless, Texas, raised the bar even higher by reporting at the American Society for Microbiology, that a solution of vinegar and regular household bleach could be used, not just as a powerful disinfectant, but as a very effective sterilizing agent against bacterial spores dried onto test surfaces.
According to the researchers, " Bacterial spores dried onto surfaces are considered the most resistant to disinfectants of all microbes, and a disinfectant that can kill such spores would be expected to also kill all types of vegetative bacteria, fungi, mycrobacteria (TB), and viruses."
They found that the vinegar bleach solution sterilized all of the surfaces tested within 20 minutes, while a diluted bleach solution alone was only effective in killing all of the spores on 2.5 percent of the surfaces after 20 minutes.
To make a sterilizing solution for household use, Dr. Norman Miner (one of the study researchers) recommends first diluting 1 oz (30 ml) of household bleach in one gallon (3.8 L) of tap water and then adding 1 oz (30 ml) of 5% distilled white vinegar.
So if you really want to sterilize that old wooden cutting board in your kitchen, don't use vinegar as a disinfectant only, wipe it down with the above vinegar/bleach solution, wait 10 to 20 minutes, and voila it's done.
However use caution when preparing any sterilizing solution, as Dr. Miner explains: "I would remind everyone that antimicrobials of any type are toxic biocides and should be used with many safety precautions such as rinses, ventilation, protective clothing, etc."
Warning: Do not add more vinegar than recommended to bring the pH of the sanitizing solution down to 6.0. Because when the solution pH is between 4 and 5 it is very corrosive to metals. And when the bleach solution is dropped below pH 4.0, deadly chlorine gas is formed.
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