What About This? By Wayne William Cipriano

Vinegar! That’s some really great stuff.

Everytime Rosalie takes off on a trip and I’m here alone for a while, I naturally start living like a cowboy. Don’t get me wrong, the place doesn’t turn into a disaster zone qualifying for Federal funding. Everything gets replaced appropriately when it is used, but I don’t go overboard on the cleaning aspect of “generally accepted standards of good housekeeping.” After all, it will just get dusty, dirty, greasy, etc. all over again, usually immediately after having been cleaned, so why not give the entire place one really good going-over just before Rosalie is due to return?

The problem is, of course, that such massed cleaning takes a bit more elbow grease than the more traditional periodic attention –but I guess I’m OK with that since that’s the procedure I’ve adotped.

To  handle that massed cleaning, vinegar seems to work for just about everything. It’s mildly acidic so it works to remove just about any stain you can think of, collects dust and dirt and cuts grease better than plain water and doesn’t have to be rinsed like a lot of soaps and stuff that look great right after you’ve used them but show up poorly after drying.

Vinegar smells pretty good too, reminding me of the terrific salads I’ll get when Rosalie returns to her duties here and we (I) return to a healthier diet consisting of more than pizza, peanut butter, jelly, and bread (my mainstays after I’ve consumed all the goodies she left for me.) Vinegar works well on floors, walls, kitchen sinks (lime stains), bathroom fixtures, dishes, pots and pans, and so on. At least that’s what I’ve been told – my cleaning is somewhat more limited – but I use vinegar a lot. And, far from least important, it is very cheap.

About the only problem I have about using vinegar is mixing it with other cleaning agents. I’m not sure what the kids mixed vinegar with when they were much younger and decided to “clean up the house for Mom,” but they almost gassed themselves into unconsciousness when they mixed vinegar with some other everyday household cleaning agent (might have been ammonia). No serious permanent damage to them, but a reminder to the wise that even “safe” household chemicals can get very interesting when haphazardly combined.

I’m not sure if all vinegar (like wine vinegar) is made from grapes. In fact, I don’t have any idea how vinegar is made at all. If grapes are used, I wouldn’t mind if some grapes (too ripe, too sour, or otherwise unsuitable for wine) were used to make vinegar, but as a wine consumer, I’d be sad to learn that jugs of what might have been wine now contain vinegar. I’d consider that a waste.

Yes, I know that we can’t clean using wine as we do vinegar, but I’d point out that with enough wine, I don’t seem to be overly concerned with cleaning at all and am ready to greet Returning Rosalie as Cowboy Wayne.