Some of our favorite tips in the kitchen are for getting it sparkling clean; these are their stories.
The fruit fly one is interesting. …Not that I have a need for it… 😉
How/why does this work? What does the vinegar do?
Vinegar is about 90% water, and about 5-10% acetic acid. Most scented molecules contain a functional group like an amine (putrescine, for example, one of the rotting smells), a thiol (ethanethiol, i.e. skunk smell), or other non-carbon molecules. Acetic acid can bind these to form molecules that your nose can not detect, thus eliminating the odor. Even if it’s not forming an actual chemical bond, it can still coordinate (i.e. form hydrogen bonds, which are pretty strong themselves. It’s analogous to dissolving.) thus removing the scented molecules from the air, woodwork, carpet, etc.