"It turns out that a combination of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar is almost as effective as stronger cleansers like bleach when used in combination. It gets better: When exposed to light or heat, hydrogen peroxide undergoes a chemical change and converts to pure water (that's why HP is sold in a dark bottle). That means it starts out as a powerful disinfectant, but after spraying it around, you end up with simple water. You don't have to rinse surfaces afterward or worry about chemical residue -- because there isn't any. When used in tandem with vinegar, the combination is totally safe and very effective at killing bacteria."
"Placing the two cleaners together in the same bottle won't work. The vinegar will destroy the peroxide. This is a two fisted approach."
Joan, thank you for posting this discussion. I read about this years ago and started spraying vinegar & H2O2 on my fruits and vegetables. I read that they were better at disinfecting than any marketed product by a factor of 10.
Over the years, I've tried to confirm the findings of Susan Sumner, a food scientist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, but haven't found any. I've asked all my doctors and they've not heard of it. Everything I read on the internet appears to come from this one study by Susan Sumner.
Because of not being able find any confirming study, I've been slightly skeptical, and have started using these two products less and less over the years. I've also read that H2O2 plus vinegar can produce a toxic substance. However, since reading your post here, I've looked-up more references and it sounds like with the weak solutions of Hydrogen Peroxide and vinegar that you buy at the store are not to be worried about. I also don't find anything that refutes the one study, so I've decided to start using this method on my produce again.
I was reminded by several of these articles that H2O2 should be kept in dark spray bottles because light degrades it. My spray bottles are dark, except for one vertical strip that's there so you can see how much you have in the bottle. That's not a big deal for me, so I have just covered those strips with black tape.
I like one site that yours referenced: http://www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=how_to_disinfect_your_home_... Also, one that the USDA seems to refer to: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5079866
For years, I've sprayed my toothbrush, flossing tool and water-pic with H202 only, after using them and rinsing with warm water. From what I read, that sounds like a good idea.
Spud, sorry it has taken me so long to catch up on reading. I didn't look up any confirming articles and it looks as though you did; I find it strange there are no other research articles on the combination. Thanks for the USDA article. What a good idea to spray your toothbrush, flossing tool and water-pic with H202. I have read a long time ago that toothbrushes often have fecal and urine molecules on them and that seems hard to believe. However, the way germs can spread, it seems plausible. I've always washing and scrubbed fruits and vegetables from the green grocer that are large enough and my soft fruits must have as many bacteria as the hard skinned ones.
I use composted steer manure in my garden so am careful about washing produce from there.
Isn't it nice to be able to stay inside for this dormant period? I look forward to it as much as I look forward to the growing time.
I am of two minds. On the one hand, I'm picky about making sure the dishes and flatware are spotless, and probably overdue laundering stuff. I think the dishwasher almost sterilizes the dishes. I wash my hands religiously. For laundering, I've found that 1/4 the detergent amount, and washing on quick cycle, is more than adequate for almost everything.
On the other hand, most of the time I don't worry about bacteria in my world. I was originally trained as a research microbiologist. In my youth, I spent a lot of time with my arm up to the armpit in cattle rumens (the front stomach type organ), which is filled with fermenting forage in a complex soup of bacteria and protozoa and fungi. Stinky but never minded. I also don't mind working with herbivore and poultry manures in the garden. Dog poop is another matter - dogs eat poop from other animals, so can carry parasites and pathogenic organisms. Still, even then I use it for non-food plants, burying it. And as deer deterrent.
People are another matter entirely. People have all sorts of diseases. So Im much more careful.
Plus, large scale agriculture is notorious for spreading antibiotic resistant, disease producing bacteria. If using meats it probably is a good idea to have a separate cutting board, or sanitize the cutting board and knives etc with vinegar or peroxide like the article says.
I usually just use soap or detergent and water, for washing. I do use peroxide toothpaste. I think it keeps the gums and teeth healthier.
Back in the Middle Ages there was a hospital run by a wealthy woman, Elizabeth, who recognized many women were widowed or left to fend for themselves and their children when men went off to conquer the infidels in the Holy Land. Many of these children and women were battered, bruised and broken. She took them in, nursed them back to health, gave them nourishing food, taught them a trade and these trained women spread all over Europe, some of them starting other battered women's and children's shelter.
Down the canal from Elizabeth's shelter was a hospital run by Roman Catholic priests. People would go in their hospital and die. The priests questioned why their residents died and the woman's shelter had few deaths. They assumed it was because the women were witches and there is a door on the canal where women were thrown into the water with millstones tied to them. If they survived they were witches and killed by other means. I stood in that doorway looking into black swirling water thinking of the wretched history of religion throughout time. Elizabeth was put in a wicker basket and burned.
It turns out the reason the women-run hospital had so many survivors was that they washed their hands, boiled their linens, scooped the dead rats out the water well, and kept their food products clean and protected from rodents. Doing these basic chores, they died as witches.
Just the simple things that people do who knew, either by experience or intuition, that to be clean is to be healthy.
Thanks for the story. It's hard to read, but good to be reminded of what religion has done.
Talking about being clean, I read once in a while the hypothesis that being too clean can keep your immune system from staying as strong as it should be, and wonder if that's true.
Oh yes, I do believe too clean is not good for a growing child, and not good for the anxious parent who transmits anxiety to the next generation. Growing up in the country and as a very young child living in migrant workers' camps, I think I have a healthy respect for dirt and cleanliness. For example, washing hands after going to the bathroom was a big deal in the camps. We also put down newspaper with a hole torn in the middle to sit on. Surely we had news on our bottoms, but we avoided some of the germs.
My mother always went to the latrine and shower room with two buckets, one to disinfect sinks, show floors and toilets, the other to make things shine. Then she would use the facility. Our neighbors teased her but she was very strict about kitchen and bathing facilities As with so many things, it not either/or, it is both/and.
What brutality. Religion is awful.