One of the first posts I wrote here was on the versatility of that acidic jack of all trades, white vinegar. If you haven;t read it you can check it out here: https://cheapcheer.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/pucker-up-c-c-site-of-the-day/.
But it took some conversation in the UP with my sister-in-law Patty and her husband John, back in Marquette in June, to open my eyes(and nose) to one of the top-five reasons for always having a cheap gallon of white vinegar in the pantry.
It’s the cheapest, most effective room deodorizer on the plant. Farewell, Febreeze! No longer will I spring for one of those eight buck tubs of crystalline all-Green smell neutralizers.
While we were cleaning out musty closets in my late father-in-law’s house, Patty kept saying, in the face of our “Oh yucks!” , “No problem. We’ll just set out a dish of white vinegar and the smell will be gone in a day.” I thought, “Yeah, right, Odor Pollyanna!”
Over breakfast, or dinner, or hours sorting through family photos, Patty and John made their case for the virtues of cheap vinegar against the slings and arrows of Xtreme stinkiness. First scenario: her father , Joe, was a connoisseur of a good cigar, a recliner and TV sports. They held a smoke-free house, but she’s such a great daughter that she let her father blow a cloud. She said that her house never smelled like a fifties poker game because she set out a couple of small bowls of white vinegar, and the absorbed the heady scent of the hand-rolled Florida Cubanos.
Then John told tale that clinched it for me — made me a believer. They have homes in Arizona and Colorado. When they opened up the house in Colorado last spring — grab your clothespins — they found a family of dead skunks trapped under the porch. They did not go quietly: we all know that the skunkiness smell takes ages to eradicate. And, well, they were dead, rotting skunks. The mind reels.
John dealt with their mortal remains, but the sheer funky, nasty, rotting flesh stench would not be a selling point for their realtor. No curb appeal. No curb appeal from a hundred yards. He placed a couple of big dishes of white vinegar around the crime scene, and poof! In two days your twitchy-nosed great Aunt wouldn’t have noticed a thing.
I confess that when you walk into our house, the nasal thing can be overpowering. Twenty five years of garlic,garum masala, fried onions and stinky cheese. Oh, and the fried fish. And the cigarette smoke. I’ll give the cats a pass. Since I returned from the UP, I decided I’d trust my in-laws and set a small bowl of white vinegar on the bookshelves in the living room. It works.
I’m not saying the air here in the Little House in the ‘Ville is as pure as that at Green Gables or a Mormon Retreat House. But it’s better, lots and lots better. Measurably better.
And so cheap.