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Got vinegar?
February 9, 2014 4:56 PM   Subscribe

Grandmothers knew it, but commercial technology made it passe... What other substance can burnish your scissors, clean your piano keys, deodorize lunch boxes, footlockers, and car trunks, purge bugs from your pantry, and keep corned beef from shrinking....as well as 145 other things? Not much.
posted by chuckiebtoo (105 comments total) 79 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you have a mouse with a removable tracking ball

...then you probably realised 15 years ago that peeling compacted dirt off the rollers is the technological equivalent of picking scabs. Why deprive yourself of that small pleasure?

Given 149+ other uses for vinegar, it's a little odd that this one landed so high up the list.
posted by not the fingers, not the fingers at 5:04 PM on February 9 [51 favorites]


In breaking news, Reader's Digest admits vinegar supplants laughter as best medicine.
posted by mittens at 5:05 PM on February 9 [27 favorites]


So that's why I chuck it on corned beef. I just assumed it was flavouring.
I love vingear for cleaning.
posted by Mezentian at 5:05 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


I love malt vinegar on fried food. Smells like feet, tastes like heaven.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:08 PM on February 9 [10 favorites]


ALL HAIL VINEGAR THE ONE TRUE SAVIOUR


LONG LIVE THE NEW VINEGAR
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 5:11 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]


Dilute vinegar sprayed on your windshield can prevent frost forming overnight? I'm so trying that.
posted by figurant at 5:14 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Can vinegar make that list fit on a single page?
posted by The Hamms Bear at 5:18 PM on February 9 [37 favorites]


Soak your cuticles? Madge (Palmolive) would not be happy about that.

Disinfect toilet bowls is followed by Clean your toothbrush holder. I strongly suggest you do it in the reverse order.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:20 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


I'm very, very, sceptical about a lot of these. To start with, they're jumping between different sorts of vinegar; what they call "undiluted distilled vinegar" is a lot stronger than the "apple cider vinegar" they talk about elsewhere. The techniques that call for the "undiluted distilled" stuff would work as well or better with any mild acid.

And I bet that there is functionally no difference between tap water and the "4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar dissolved in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) cold water" that they recommend for washing vegetable produce to "eliminate the hidden dirt, pesticides, and even insects". It's basically a 50:1 dilution of the stuff you might put on a salad!
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:21 PM on February 9 [23 favorites]


A few years ago I read about household uses for vinegar then finally looked at the vinegar shelf at the grocery store and they had around 3 or 4 hundred gallon bottles in stock in two different acidities. So a bunch of grandmas out there know all about its usefulness. It was a lot cheaper than I was expecting.
posted by bukvich at 5:22 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


I just read a tip today to brush bacon with cider vinegar before cooking to improve crispiness. I have no idea if this is true but intend to test it at the first opportunity.

However:
A single cup of vinegar will kill off any bacteria that may be present in your wash load, especially if it includes cloth diapers and the like.

How exactly is that true?
posted by Lyn Never at 5:24 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


LONG LIVE THE NEW VINEGAR

DEATH TO MUSTARDROME!
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:24 PM on February 9 [9 favorites]


acetic acid for the win!
posted by sciencegeek at 5:26 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


And we're putting this stuff in our bodies?
posted by gucci mane at 5:26 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


Keeps your guts nice and clean.
posted by rifflesby at 5:27 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]


In breaking news, Reader's Digest admits vinegar supplants laughter as best medicine.

Well, if you rub a dilute solution of vinegar on a crabby person, it may cheer them up, and it increases jollity in many household situations. So the medicine may be a follow-on effect.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:33 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


You won't believe what happens when this old-media stalwart squanders 150 potential weird-trick sidebar ads in one straightforward article!
posted by gimli at 5:35 PM on February 9 [15 favorites]


Can vinegar make that list fit on a single page?

When I saw "150", I said to myself "pleasepleaseplease not one item per pageclick..."
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:40 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]


No processed supermarket vinegar for me. I harvest my own natural vinegar from my self-sustaining colony of vinegaroons.
posted by lagomorphius at 5:43 PM on February 9 [17 favorites]


It's very useful and more refreshing than a Junior Mint.
posted by arcticseal at 5:47 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Switchel!
posted by benito.strauss at 5:48 PM on February 9 [4 favorites]


Joe in Australia: And I bet that there is functionally no difference between tap water and the "4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar dissolved in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) cold water" that they recommend for washing vegetable produce to "eliminate the hidden dirt, pesticides, and even insects". It's basically a 50:1 dilution of the stuff you might put on a salad!

My old cleaning lady did this. I never used the homeopathic cleaning service again.
posted by dr_dank at 5:51 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


Vinegar is the cleaning-product equivalent of duct tape. If I don't know how to clean something, I just pour vinegar on it.

"Mother of vinegar!" also makes a good G-rated swear.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:51 PM on February 9 [23 favorites]


Note: creating a colony of vinegaroons is as easy as leaving a shop light out on the ground in certain desert biomes of the high desert of the American southwest.

Harvesting the vinegar, however, presumeably involves being bitten a lot.
posted by loquacious at 5:51 PM on February 9


I see your switchel and raise you a shrub.
posted by sonascope at 5:51 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Procter & Gamble hates it!
posted by gyc at 5:54 PM on February 9 [6 favorites]


145 weird tricks (discovered by a grandmom)
posted by uosuaq at 6:01 PM on February 9


figurant,
Please report back with the results of your experiment.
posted by sardonyx at 6:05 PM on February 9


And I bet that there is functionally no difference between tap water and the "4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar dissolved in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) cold water" that they recommend for washing vegetable produce to "eliminate the hidden dirt, pesticides, and even insects". It's basically a 50:1 dilution of the stuff you might put on a salad!

One tablespoon of white vinegar in a gallon of water has a very significant effect when you boil chunked potatoes in it, so I'd expect four times as much apple cider vinegar in the same amount of water would still have a meaningful effect, yeah. And the Heinz distilled vinegar we buy in the store is already only 5% acetic acid, and the rest water.
posted by kafziel at 6:11 PM on February 9


White vinegar does wonders for sour smelling dishcloths but it will also leach the color out of black t-shirts when it's at full strength. Consider yourselves warned.
posted by peppermind at 6:19 PM on February 9


deodorize lunch boxes

No. It makes them smell like vinegar. Which smells nasty.
posted by Foosnark at 6:20 PM on February 9 [8 favorites]


It smells like victory.
posted by Pudhoho at 6:22 PM on February 9 [5 favorites]


does it really remove smoke and smells if you just leave a bowl of it sitting out overnight!? I'm very skeptical about that. But I don't have anything stinky to try it on.
posted by The otter lady at 6:27 PM on February 9


I admit: I use vinegar as a clothes softener in the wash, and diluted to clean my monitor.

But the most important use is to brine chicken before grilling, combined with salt and water. That, my friends, will give you the crispiest skin ever. So good.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:28 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]


figurant,
Please report back with the results of your experiment.


Not likely to get any today. It hasn't gone above -20 C here and the day was a bit cloudy, so there isn't going to be a lot of moisture in the air to condense at night. But conditions should be ideal a bit later this week.
posted by figurant at 6:32 PM on February 9


Vinegar and Baking Soda make a great scrub for the kitchen and bath. I like that after 10 minutes it smells like nothing.
posted by cairnoflore at 6:34 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


As mentioned in Spike Trotman's excellent Poorcraft : A guide to Urban and Suburbian living, a mixture of white vinegar and water, set to boil, will defunk and destank a room like nobody's business.
posted by The Whelk at 6:39 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]


I don't see catching flies on that list.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:40 PM on February 9 [21 favorites]


I'll have to read this. Up to now, I've only been using vinegar to clean up baking soda spills.
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:52 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Vinegar doesn't catch flies, you know what catches flies?


Super expensive dark Belgian beer. Like Chimay. I tried it with cheapo rice beer and then again with the pricey bitter stuff and the Chimay had like four times the number of dead flies in it vs the rice beer vs. vinegar.


Fruit flies are fucking beer snobs man.


( I have like eight types of vinegar in my pantry cause I used to think I really liked ketchup but no I just really like vinegar. And pickle backs. And really bitter, sour wines. )
posted by The Whelk at 6:55 PM on February 9 [9 favorites]


I have a front loading washer, and once a week, I run an empty cycle on hot with a cup of distilled vinegar in it. Helps keep the musty scents at bay, and much cheaper than those Affresh tablets.
posted by spinifex23 at 7:03 PM on February 9


I love this vinegar (+ baking soda) love validation. Everytime I accidentally wander into an aisle in the grocery store that sells the ilk of tide and etc., I cannot help but sneer and curse their lies. Call me old fashioned, but
posted by oceanjesse at 7:03 PM on February 9


I use a lot of vinegar for cleaning. A lot of commercial cleaning products give me migraines, so I use vinegar for almost everything. Anyway, today I bought a 5 liter thing of vinegar at Costco, and there was an elderly couple there buying 8 of those big 5-liter jugs. I thought maybe they were going to do some sort of pickling project, but now I'm thinking they just read Reader's Digest.

I'm totally trying spraying it on my car windshield.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:09 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


PICKLING THINGS IS ALSO RAD BTW
posted by The Whelk at 7:15 PM on February 9 [5 favorites]


I give my cats vinegar instead of water and...ok, not really.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:17 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


Acetic acid is weak. I use concentrated hydrochloric acid for routine housecleaning tasks. It's only 23%, I would prefer something stronger, like 100%.

Warning: read the MSDS. Acid vapor certified respirator recommended.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:19 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]


Would the vinegar spray do anything to the paint finish on the car if any landed anywhere other than the windshield glass? I know it's supposed to be diluted but .... Seems like it might do something.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:27 PM on February 9


Spray some on your neighbor's car and find out!
posted by kafziel at 7:33 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]


It doesn't damage the finish but it will take off any wax.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:35 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Spraying diluted vinegar on practically every surface of the house we bought from smokers worked wonders. Also: a metric crap-ton of KilZ. Might have actually been cheaper to re-sheetrock the entire house...
posted by combinatorial explosion at 7:47 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Who at Reader's Digest was forward thinking enough to secure the domain name "rd.com"?
posted by device55 at 7:53 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


The consultant they hired.
posted by notyou at 8:03 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Yes, got vinegar.
posted by timsteil at 8:15 PM on February 9


Vinegar is the best. I always throw in a generous measure of white vinegar whenever I'm doing the laundry. Dunno what it accomplishes exactly, but by god it must be doing something. I love to spray it on surfaces for cleaning, it makes me feel like I'm in a fish and chip shop.

Baking soda, too. Put that everywhere, all the time. Vinegar and baking soda are like the Leatherman and WD-40 of the kitchen and bathroom.

Anyway.

Vinegar!
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:43 PM on February 9 [5 favorites]


I use concentrated hydrochloric acid for routine housecleaning tasks. It's only 23%, I would prefer something stronger, like 100%.

Wouldn't this basically melt your entire house and kill you?
posted by Sara C. at 8:47 PM on February 9 [4 favorites]


Re vinegar and the paint finish of a car: in high school, some friends pranked another friend by squirting ketchup on their car, and it did, in fact, mess up the paint job. Ketchup is basically vinegar. So, eh, I would be careful spraying your car with vinegar willy nilly.

But you could probably wipe down your windshield with vinegar just fine. Just be sort of careful?
posted by Sara C. at 8:49 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Vinegar and baking soda neutralize each other and leave you with a weak solution of what? Sodium acetate maybe? Something inert, anyway. I can see how baking soda might be a mild abrasive for ceramic surfaces, and vinegar is a weak acid that will clean off some organic materials (maybe loosens up the dirt), and react with/neutralize some smelly stuff. But it won't kill bacteria at normal "vinegar" concentrations (5-7%). Mixing them together is FUN though, which ought to count for something.

Using hydrochloric acid at concentrations greater than the ~23% mentioned above is dangerous and not recommended, in case you were wondering. I wouldn't go near it without a respirator, rubber gloves and a face shield. Reading the MSD sheet should make you cringe a little.

I use only hydrogen peroxide from organically raised bombardier beetles for cleaning our house...
posted by sneebler at 9:02 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


I grout a lot and my hands dry out frequently; Washing my hands with vinegar helps reduce the dryness (better than water or creams). Also it rocks for cleaning grout haze off tiles and glass.
posted by julen at 9:06 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


I use concentrated hydrochloric acid for routine housecleaning tasks. It's only 23%, I would prefer something stronger, like 100%.

Wouldn't that be just hydrogen chloride then?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:26 PM on February 9


I can't decide if the mention of mouse balls indicates that this was written at least a decade ago or that the average reader of Readers Digest is likely to be using a decade-old mouse

Probably both
posted by ook at 9:39 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


likely to be using a decade-old mouse

True story: I used one the other week.
That is one technology I do not miss.

(Cassette tapes though, call me?)
posted by Mezentian at 9:53 PM on February 9


HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS MAKERS HATE HER!

Learn this local grandma's secret for making your junk dazzle.
posted by univac at 9:59 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


I knew metafilter skewed old, but lists of vinegar remedies? Next up, the miracle of garlic.
posted by benzenedream at 10:00 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


I dazzle just fine without grandma's help, thanks.
posted by Mezentian at 10:01 PM on February 9


I mentioned using vinegar and newspaper to clean windows to a friend once, and he looked at me like I had a dinosaur growing out of my forehead.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:13 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


Your computer, printer etc will work better if you keep the OUTSIDE dust free?

No.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:50 PM on February 9


I use concentrated hydrochloric acid for routine housecleaning tasks. It's only 23%, I would prefer something stronger, like 100%.

Good chem thread on maximum aqueous solution of HCl and pH thereof.
posted by telstar at 12:56 AM on February 10


HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS MAKERS HATE HER!

Learn this local grandma's secret for making your junk dazzle.


That... is a different product, I am pretty sure. Although, perhaps, your grandma shined up hers with vinegar.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:23 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]


Vinegar Tits was the nickname of the head screw in 'Prisoner'. Salt and vinegar chips turn my lips white. Red wine vinegar is the stinkiest vinegar. I love and hate vinegar. I love the fact that if you see the word vinegar mentioned a lot in a short paragraph it starts to look very odd and yet somehow soothing at the same time, which is quite different from the actual liquid.
posted by h00py at 3:35 AM on February 10


I love the fact that if you see the word vinegar mentioned a lot in a short paragraph it starts to look very odd and yet somehow soothing at the same time, which is quite different from the actual liquid.

Ah yes, that would be the brain worms. A glass of vinegar, neat, just before bedtime, every day for a week, will clear those right out. Primary sign of first-stage infection, of course, would be thinking that red vinegar has a smell.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:54 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


this reminds me of the time I saw R.E.M, and Stipe lectured us all for a while. Register to vote. Use Murphy's Oil Soap. Don't change your oil in the driveway. Clean with vinegar.
posted by thelonius at 4:40 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]


I tried it with cheapo rice beer and then again with the pricey bitter stuff and the Chimay had like four times the number of dead flies in it vs the rice beer vs. vinegar.

How many did the Chimay start off with though?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:02 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


I don't see catching flies on that list.

The best way to catch fruit flies is with vinegar! Take a small open container and pour a couple ounces of 50/50 water and vinegar in it, and then mix in one drop of liquid dish soap. The flies will be attracted to the vinegar and land on the surface of the liquid; the dish soap breaks the surface tension so they fall right to the bottom instead of resting on top, and then they drown.

We usually keep this next to the produce basket on the counter when it's warm and the fruit flies come out. The flies are much more interested in the vinegar than the fruit.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:26 AM on February 10 [6 favorites]


I keep a lot of vinegar around the house. I use a white vinegar/salt mixture for killing weeds between stone in my patio and I use apple cider vinegar in my chicken's water for gut health. I use it for cleaning just about anything porcelain and the white vinegar is 3 bucks for a gallon at Costco.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:38 AM on February 10


Oh, also, I have hard water and when I'm canning I pour a little white vinegar into the water bath and I don't get mineral deposits on my canning jars.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:42 AM on February 10


They forgot the best use of vinegar of all!

Allow me to elucidate:

1. Obtain Chili peppers of relevant strength for your needs.
2. Chop said peppers
3. Place in jar
4. Add salt until you think its the right tolerable amount
5. Fill jar with vinegar, and seal lid
6. There is no step six. Wait, no, there is. Wait as long as you possibly can before sampling the goods.



7. Quietly sip your pepper vinegar right out of the jar at three in the morning in front of your fridge while hoping nobody catches you. Cry because it's so fantastic. Take elaborate measures to cover up your crimes.
posted by Thoth at 7:17 AM on February 10 [11 favorites]


If your pots & pans have got those weird-ass spots on them and no amount of scrubbing or soap gets them clean, pour vinegar in them (just enough to cover the bottom) and let sit. 15min later your pots are clean.

This is science. It's some kind of reaction with the metal.

Otherwise vinegar only good for one thing: French Fries!*

*Canadian-style french fries
A) ketchup + additional white vinegar to make the ketchup a soupy vinegary mess
B) vinegar + salt
C) Fuck it, more vinegar
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:39 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


If you have a mouse with a removable tracking ball, throw it away and buy a new mouse.

In the course of the above, I discovered that the page appends a link to everything I copy. Anyone else see that? Copy anything from a page paragraph, and the site appends a blank line and then a pingback link to your clipboard contents. Frickin' weird. Wonder if scrubbing my clipboard with vinegar will remove the link?
posted by caution live frogs at 8:56 AM on February 10


Does the wood paneling in your den look dull and dreary?

Seriously this copy was written in like 1986 wasn't it?
posted by caution live frogs at 8:59 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


Seriously this copy was written in like 1986 wasn't it?

The book the list is adapted from, is copyright 2005. Wood paneling is timeless.
posted by mittens at 9:09 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


"Does the wood paneling in your den look dull and dreary? That's because it's 2005. Wood paneling is dated and depressing; even the bottle of vinegar under your sink could tell you that. Vinegar!"
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:45 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


Vinegar, please!
posted by Renoroc at 9:45 AM on February 10


Drink it!
posted by gottabefunky at 10:00 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


Hah, I was wondering if that was related to the restaurant Pok Pok at all.
posted by gucci mane at 10:05 AM on February 10


I've been using a vinegar hair rinse (just 1 part apple cider vinegar to 4 parts water, rather than the egg whites or olive oil mentioned in the article) for several months now and it is seriously better than any conditioner I've ever tried. My hair stays smooth and tangle-free for days - it's awesome.
posted by darchildre at 10:21 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


We usually keep this next to the produce basket on the counter when it's warm and the fruit flies come out. The flies are much more interested in the vinegar than the fruit.

Supernormal stimuli!
posted by univac at 10:24 AM on February 10


Do you know the VinegarMan?
posted by mudpuppie at 10:47 AM on February 10


How about Vinegar Boy? (Updated link for that FPP.)
posted by asperity at 11:52 AM on February 10


Good chem thread on maximum aqueous solution of HCl and pH thereof.

Hey that was useful, it says the max concentration is 37%, my 23% is about 2/3 maximum concentration. I already feel more powerful.

Wouldn't this basically melt your entire house and kill you?

No, it wouldn't dissolve the acid resistant bits like your bathroom's ceramic fixtures, or acid resistant metals.

But I did notice the MSDS was changed since I last checked it. OSHA says acid resistant respirators are insufficient. You need a SCBA, Seld Contained Breathing Apparatus, basically a self contained oxygen supply with a full face mask, like firefighters use. I personally use a SCNBA, a Self Contained Non-Breathing Apparatus. I hold my breath until I leave the room.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:04 PM on February 10


It's like people don't even read the word "basically".

I mean why even use hedges and qualifiers anymore, amirite?
posted by Sara C. at 12:07 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I don't get the antibacterial stuff, either. Vinegar's made by various bacteria, and some of them can survive reasonable concentrations — way above anything recipe that has you dilute vinegar.

Vinegar's for chips. If you want to kill shit, use bleach. Or Jeyes Fluid.
posted by scruss at 12:15 PM on February 10


Wouldn't this basically melt your entire house and kill you?

Nope. It would acidically melt your entire house and kill you.

Ba dum tssshhh
posted by figurant at 12:16 PM on February 10 [23 favorites]


This is more appropriate, figurant.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:17 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I'm actually creating my own wood stain with vinegar for some birch ply-board letters that are too light to put up on my kitchen walls. It's easy!

Take a steel wool pad and shred it, put it in a jar, fill the jar with enough white vinegar to cover the shredded steel wool. Cover the jar and let it sit for at least 10 hours. The longer you let the mixture steep, the darker the eventual stain.

Depending on the amount of natural tannin in the wood you want to stain (birch doesn't have a lot), once you want to use the mixture, steep a lot of black tea for an hour, then paint the wood you want to stain with the tea, leave it for 5 minutes, wipe off any remainder, then brush on the vinegar, which should now have enough iron mixed in to give your wood a nice brownish-red color once it dries. Oil or poly the wood afterwards, and there you are.
posted by droplet at 12:34 PM on February 10 [6 favorites]


glacial acetic acid or GTFO
posted by exogenous at 1:30 PM on February 10


glacial acetic acid or GTFO

I used to buy Kodak glacial acetic acid by the gallon.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:56 PM on February 10


Vinegar is one of my favourite things in the whole world. Thanks for this post!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:00 PM on February 10


Derp, also, there's some outfit here in Ontario that is making maple vinegar using the same bacteria used for balsamic. It is unreasonably good.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:01 PM on February 10


I put vinegar into the dishwasher rinse aid dispenser. It is a heck of a lot cheaper than rinse aid and works just as well, and keeps your dishwasher clean to boot.
posted by eye of newt at 9:27 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


We once, um, "cleaned" the trunk of a friend's car. We borrowed it for a bulk grocery run and picked up a glass gallon jug of apple cider vinegar. One abrupt stop later...

Her car smelled like apple cider vinegar for the better part of a year.
posted by linettasky at 10:54 PM on February 10


I've called poison control twice in my life now (and would like it to remain at that number, please) and once involved acetic acid.

The trap for the lyophilizer (freeze drier used in labs) needed to be cleaned out and the person who'd used it before hadn't thought to mention that he'd been using it to remove acetic acid from his samples. When I opened the trap I made the mistake of happening to inhale exactly as it opened. Warm high concentration acetic acid vapor is very painful to inhale. Apparently these human bodies we inhabit were designed to have a strong response to inhaling acetic acid and it made me essentially throw myself away from the lyophilizer and across the room while hyperventilating. Damn did it hurt.

So, since I seemed to be breathing and not falling over, I called poison control who were awesome - they suggested a trip to the ER but also said that if I wasn't turning blue or fainting that I could stay at work with someone watching me to make sure I didn't turn blue or faint. The weirdest thing was being able to feel the entire outline of the major tubes of my lungs which persisted for about a week and a half.

So the moral of the story is go glacial or go home or just have burning lungs for a week and a half. And don't inhale over the lyophilizer when you open it to clean out the traps.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:16 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Thread needs more Vinegar Tits
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:18 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Well, if you rub a dilute solution of vinegar on a crabby person, it may cheer them up

Apply using vinegar strokes.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:22 AM on February 11


We used lots of acetic acid in a preparative thin-layer chromatography process to purify lipids. It surprised me at first how quickly the acetic acid would evaporate - it's almost as volatile as water (this was in a fume hood naturally). The lipids were radioactive so we got to scrape up sections of the dried TLC plates to collect precious radioactive powder.
posted by exogenous at 6:22 AM on February 11


This is my favorite use of vinegar. I am not at all kidding, it is the best shower/tub cleaner I have ever used.
posted by zoetrope at 8:44 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


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