Vinegar is not harmful when in contact with the skin, furniture, fabrics, and most surfaces (except marble, as it can erode). It can be used safely, especially around children and pets, and can even be consumed when diluted with water or oil. It can be consumed in small quantities undiluted, but excessive consumption can induce gastric problems. Its strong odor is non-toxic and will eventually fade after exposure to air. The only time vinegar poses a health risk is when mixed with store-bought cleaners or other chemicals, because the resulting fumes are deadly. Never mix vinegar with bleach or ammonia!
As the product of fermented ethanol, vinegar has been used throughout history among all cultures. The Greeks prescribed it as a health tonic, the Egyptians created colored glass using its acidic properties, and Romans used it in their foods.The Bible also contains mention of vinegar, or sour wine, which was given to Jesus upon the cross.
In recent years, there have been claims of vinegar being useful for holistic purposes, such as with weight loss, diet, and disease prevention. There have been several vinegar products on the market for those purposes, but they have since been taken off the shelf.
Instead, vinegar has now been widely touted as a “green” product, safe for the environment and the home as an alternative to store-bought cleaners. Therefore, it is a cost-effective household cleaner because it is just as useful if diluted with water or not, where you can really get your money’s worth.
A gallon can be found at most grocery stores for under $3 and has a long shelf life of several years, depending on the type of vinegar, with white vinegar being the most widely used variety. Others most commonly used in cooking include malt vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and rice vinegar.