15 Things You Should Never, Ever Clean With Vinegar (2023)

Multipurpose, but not all-purpose


15 Things You Should Never, Ever Clean With Vinegar (1)

Countless bloggers and glossy magazines tout vinegar as a disinfecting powerhouse, and indeed, when diluted with water vinegar is an effective cleaning solution for plenty of spots around the house. Yet, while vinegar is great for certain cleaning tasks, such as descaling coffee makers, it’s not good at dealing with hard-set grime, and it can even damage some surfaces. Read on to find out what you should never clean with vinegar.

But first, a note of caution: Some people believe that mixing vinegar with other cleaning products will boost its cleaning power, but that's rarely the case. In fact, mixing vinegar with certain products—for instance, bleach—can produce dangerous gases. Don't mix cleaning products indiscriminately, and always exercise caution when you're using multiple cleaning products at the same time.


1. Knives


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Cleaning your set of fancy kitchen knives with vinegar is a bad idea. The acid can corrode the metal and dull knife edges. Instead, wash your knives with soap and warm water, and always dry them thoroughly before putting them away.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Kitchen Knife Brands


2. Marble


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Stick to wiping down marble countertops with mild soap and a damp cloth. Vinegar will react with natural marble and cause defects in the surface, turning your high-end Carrara marble countertop into a pitted, lackluster mess. Avoid cleaning marble with bleach and other harsh chemicals as well.


3. Granite


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Granite is another natural stone surface that reacts poorly with vinegar. Spraying your granite countertops with a vinegar solution can make them dull and cause them to lose their shine over time. Also, despite granite's durability, acidic substances—even acidic foods—can leave behind marks known as etching that require sanding and polishing to remove.

RELATED: How to Clean Granite Countertops


4. Ceramic tiles


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It's important to clean up splatters and dirt on ceramic tiles promptly, whether on floors, walls, or backsplash, so stains don’t have a chance to set or harden. When you're rushing to clean up a spill, avoid the vinegar and instead reach for hot water and gentle dish soap. While most tile can probably stand up to vinegar, the acidic liquid can eat into grout and dissolve the finish on tiles. Before using any soap or detergent, it’s best to read the manufacturer's guidelines to find out if the product is recommended for tile.


5. Eggy spills


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If you drop an egg or two while baking or making breakfast, hold off on spraying the sloppy mess with vinegar, which can cause the eggy goo to thicken and harden. Instead, use salt to help you pick up the spill.

RELATED: Our Favorite Kitchen Gadgets for Faster Mornings


6. Wood furniture


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Never soak wood furniture in any of the numerous water-based cleaning solutions you can buy online. Ace Handyman Services discourages the use of undiluted vinegar on wood, which can leave streaks and eat away at some finishes. Instead, use a 50-50 mixture of oil and vinegar to polish finished wood furniture.


7. Dishwasher


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While vinegar may not destroy your dishwasher, it’s not an effective alternative to dishwasher cleaners. The acidic liquid might also react with some parts of the appliance and can, over time, cause rubber gaskets and hoses to deteriorate. Although vinegar is often suggested as a rinse aid, stick with products specifically designed for this purpose. If vinegar mixes with salty residue during the cycle, it can discolor metal dishware and utensils.

RELATED: How to Clean a Dishwasher


8. Phone and computer screens


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Vinegar can strip off the protective coating from your phone’s screen, and it's not a good idea to use it on your computer’s screen, either. Instead, wipe the screens of your electronic devices with gentle microfiber cloths to get rid of dust and other particles. Isopropyl alcohol is effective at wiping out germs and nasty microbes, but always check manufacturers’ instructions for phone cleaning and maintenance first.

RELATED: The Best Phone Cleaners for Germ-Free Devices


9. Rubber


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Rubber parts aren’t just for the dishwasher: There are also rubber gaskets and hoses in your refrigerator and other appliances throughout the house. As a general rule, wherever you find rubber, keep the vinegar away. The vinegar’s acid can eat away at rubber just as it does natural stone. Soap and water or a solution of soap and baking soda are the best grime busters for rubber parts.


10. Washing machine


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Just as it does in a dishwasher, vinegar can harm rubber parts inside a washing machine, which will eventually lead to leaks. Though laundering your clothes with vinegar is a cost-effective, natural way to soften and deodorize fabrics, avoid using it in your washer too frequently. There are other products for removing stubborn stains and odors out there that won’t mess up your appliance's parts.

RELATED: 11 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Clean in Your Washing Machine


11. Clothes iron


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Filling your clothes iron with vinegar to clean it can irreparably damage the small appliance. While some iron manufacturers recommend using a vinegar solution to get rid of scale, it’s best to check the instruction manual for your iron to make sure the acid won’t damage its metal components. To cut down on future scale buildup, use only distilled water in the reservoir and empty it out after every use.

RELATED: How to Clean an Iron


12. Waxed hardwood flooring


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Some people swear by diluted vinegar for sanitizing and de-griming hardwood floors, while others are adamant that vinegar can damage a wax finish even when it’s diluted. Don’t take any chances. Choose a cleaning product that’s specially formulated for waxed wood floors. Avoid all-purpose cleaners unless they specifically say they can be used on wood surfaces.


13. Stone floors


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Don’t use vinegar on natural stone floors, such as slate, sandstone, and travertine. Acid cleaners can damage and discolor stone surfaces. Instead, be sure to sweep or vacuum regularly, and for deeper cleaning use either warm water and mild dish soap or cleansers specifically formulated for natural stone flooring.

RELATED: 7 Things All Homeowners Should Know About Travertine Tile


14. Unsealed or damaged grout


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Because vinegar is such a gifted multitasker, it’s tempting to grab it whenever you need a little extra oomph—for instance, when you’re scrubbing the bathroom grout. While vinegar is effective at cleaning mold and mildew, it can damage unsealed or damaged grout. Your best bet is to reach for less acidic alternatives, such as hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach.

RELATED: 20 Handy Household Uses for Vinegar


15. Mirrors


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Avoid vinegar and other acids when you’re cleaning the bathroom mirror. The liquid can seep behind the glass and corrode the metal beneath that gives the mirror its reflective quality. Over time, this leads to unsightly dark spots and streaks along the edge of the mirror. Even with less acidic cleaners, don’t get too much moisture on the mirror, spray cleaning products on the cloth rather than the glass, and always turn on the exhaust fan when the shower is running.


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What should not be cleaned with vinegar? ›

  1. When to Avoid Cleaning With Vinegar. Below, we highlight nine instances when you should skip the vinegar and grab a different cleaning agent for the job. ...
  2. Clothes Iron. ...
  3. Countertops. ...
  4. Dishwasher. ...
  5. Electronic Screens. ...
  6. Flooring. ...
  7. Knives. ...
  8. Range.
Mar 22, 2023

What can I mix with vinegar to clean? ›

All-purpose cleaner: Mix one cup vinegar, two teaspoons of borax, four cups hot water, five drops liquid dish soap, 10 drops tea tree oil, and 10 drops your favorite essential oil (optional).

Is it safe to put vinegar in the washing machine? ›

Using vinegar in laundry will whiten, brighten, reduce odors, and soften clothes without harsh chemicals. Vinegar is inexpensive, and it's safe to use in both standard and high-efficiency washers.

Is baking soda and white vinegar good for cleaning? ›

Separately, both vinegar and baking soda work well for cleaning. Alone, baking soda can dissolve grease and dirt, while distilled white vinegar breaks down minerals without adding any coloring to stain surfaces (as apple cider vinegar might).

Will vinegar damage electronics? ›

Modern batteries are alkaline based- therefore the acid in the vinegar will neutralize the muck. Be sure not to leave it in too long, eventually the acid can eat away at your circuit traces.

Do you have to rinse after cleaning with vinegar? ›

Do You Have to Rinse after Cleaning with Vinegar? Rinsing is not necessary! If you're simply using a vinegar and water solution to wipe and disinfect, you won't need to rinse. However, if there's also plenty of dirt and grime you're wiping away, you may also want to rinse with some extra water.

Can you use vinegar to clean everything? ›

Vinegar isn't only for cooking. It's also an eco-friendly and inexpensive household cleaner. And in most cases, you only need to mix vinegar with water. Although, you can add salt and baking soda to create a more abrasive cleaner or a few drops of essential oil for a lighter scent.

Why you should put a rag with vinegar in your toilet? ›

Vinegar is a great toilet cleaning solution. Not only is it free of chemicals and naturally antibacterial, it's also an acid, so it will remove minor lime and calcium deposits. All you need to do is pour a couple cups of vinegar in your tank and let it sit for an hour or so, then scrub and flush to rinse.

What does soaking in vinegar do for females? ›

Soothe the skin

It's especially beneficial to people who suffer from eczema, dry skin, dandruff, and athlete's foot. Its antibacterial properties can also work to knock out zits. Dab some on your face while in the bath to help with acne. Apple cider vinegar is also recommended for urinary tract infections.

What is the difference between cleaning vinegar and regular vinegar? ›

The only difference between cleaning vinegar and the distilled white vinegar is their levels of acidity. White vinegar is usually 95 percent water and 5 percent acid. By contrast, cleaning vinegar contains up to six percent acid and is around 20 percent stronger than regular white vinegar.

Is it safe to mix vinegar and Dawn dish soap? ›

First, both ingredients are excellent at dissolving tough grime. However, vinegar alone will simply run off of most surfaces, while dish soap is too thick to use as a spray. But when you mix them together, you get an effective, sprayable cleaner that sticks to any surface!

What happens when you mix vinegar and dish soap? ›

“Vinegar is a good cleaner because it's acidic, but when you add dishwashing liquid/dish soap to it (which is a base or neutral) - you neutralise the vinegar. You take away the very thing that makes it work well. “The dishwashing liquid works that well on its own.

Can you mix peroxide with vinegar? ›

Don't mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together in the same mixture. This can create peracetic acid, which may be toxic and can irritate your throat and lungs, eyes and skin. You can, however, alternate spraying hydrogen peroxide and vinegar on a surface. Just make sure to wipe the surface between sprays.

How do hotels keep their towels so white? ›

Most hotels use peroxide-based laundry detergents to keep their sheets and towels bright. While these compounds are extremely successful at preventing white linens from greying or yellowing, they do necessitate some amount of knowledge. When used incorrectly, they might cause damage to your linens.

Is distilled vinegar the same as white vinegar? ›

White vinegar, also known as distilled vinegar or spirit vinegar, is made by fermenting grain alcohol (ethanol) which then turns into acetic acid. Water is then added to the vinegar, so white vinegar is made of five to ten percent acetic acid and ninety to ninety-five percent water.

Can you soak clothes in vinegar to get rid of smell? ›

Using white vinegar to get rid of odors

Karen recommends creating a mixture of 1/4 of white vinegar and 3/4 of cold water before soaking your clothes in the solution overnight. In the morning, the items are ready to go and 'rendered scentless.

How long do you leave baking soda and vinegar in toilet? ›

Sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda onto the stain, and then pour another cup of vinegar over the baking soda. Watch the acid vs. base fizz up and let it sit for 15 minutes. Scrub the mixture into stains with a toilet brush.

Can you leave baking soda and vinegar in drain overnight? ›

If it's still clogged, pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar down the drain, followed by two cups of boiling water. Let it work overnight to clear the drain.

What happens if you mix bleach and vinegar? ›

Mixing bleach and vinegar creates potentially lethal chlorine gas. If you notice a pungent smell after mixing household cleaners, you should immediately leave the area and try to breathe in fresh air.

Is it okay to soak clothes in vinegar overnight? ›

The Benefits of Using Vinegar in Laundry

To use it, soak the stained item for 30 minutes up to overnight in a solution of white vinegar and 1 Tbsp. liquid laundry detergent prior to laundering. Mold and Mildew Removal: Distilled white vinegar is also a powerful agent for removing mold or mildew from fabrics.

Will vinegar damage vinyl floors? ›

Distilled white vinegar is a natural degreaser, disinfectant, and cleaner that is safe to use on all kinds of surfaces, including vinyl floors. The acidic compounds in white vinegar break down buildup and remove dirt without harming your floor's finish.

What does vinegar do to wood? ›

Because vinegar is acidic, it can corrode wood and stone, it can destroy wax, kill plants, and cause other damage.

What happens if you don't dilute vinegar for cleaning? ›

A word of warning, though – undiluted vinegar can damage natural stone and wood, so always check – or dilute really well – before using vinegar for cleaning. ' Here are our top cleaning tips for using vinegar to get a sparkle back in your home.

How long do you let vinegar sit to clean? ›

“Also, vinegar needs to sit on a surface for up to 30 minutes in order to reduce bacteria. You can't just spray it and wipe.”

Does vinegar disinfect bathrooms? ›

The high acidity level of vinegar helps loosen mineral deposits (such as lime & rust) and dissolve soap scum, making it perfect for bathroom cleaning! And because it is so acidic, it creates a “hostile” environment for many microorganisms, making it a powerful disinfectant as well.

How do you clean a toilet with vinegar? ›

To clean your toilet with vinegar, pour a cup of vinegar in the toilet bowl and let sit overnight. The next morning, sprinkle a little baking soda into the bowl, scrub, and then flush clean.

How do you clean mold with vinegar? ›

Pour enough undiluted white vinegar into the empty spray bottle to cover the area of mold growth. Spray the mold directly, fully saturating it with the vinegar, and allow the vinegar to sit for at least an hour. Don't be tempted to scrub or rinse; the mold needs time to completely absorb the vinegar.

What happens when you put baking soda and vinegar in toilet? ›

Baking soda and vinegar, when mixed together, can form a chemical reaction that looks sort of like an eruption. This chemical reaction can help clear your toilet and any pipe clogs that you might have.

Does white vinegar disinfect poop? ›

To be used on surfaces contaminated with feces, vomit, urine or blood. Slowly add ½ cup (125 ml) of bleach to 4 ½ cups (1125 ml) of water. (e.g., environmental cleaning, body fluids, etc.). Acetic acid (vinegar) is not a disinfectant.

What happens to your body when you drink apple cider vinegar everyday? ›

However, aside from the aforementioned tooth enamel damage you could experience if you regularly drink it undiluted, large amounts of apple cider vinegar could cause nausea and indigestion in some people. It's also been linked with low potassium levels when taken for a long time in large quantities.

What happens when you soak your feet in apple cider vinegar? ›

Not many people know that soaking feet in apple cider vinegar has many benefits. It can help control infections, neutralize bad odors, soften the skin, hydrate feet, and calm itching. Apple cider vinegar is rich in acids and antifungal ingredients that can help regulate the pH balance of our skin.

Can I use vinegar to mop the floor? ›

Create a mopping solution of ½ cup of vinegar and one gallon of warm water. Proper dilution is important, since vinegar's acidic, abrasive properties can have a stronger effect on some materials than others—tile being one of those. When mopping, less is more; make sure to wring out your mop thoroughly after each dip.

Which is better for cleaning white vinegar or apple cider vinegar? ›

Is apple cider vinegar or white vinegar better for cleaning? Both ACV and white vinegar are effective natural cleaners. ACV doesn't smell as harsh as white vinegar, but since white vinegar is slightly more acidic than ACV, it's a stronger cleaning agent.

Which vinegar is stronger for cleaning? ›

Acetic Acid Makes the Difference in Vinegar for Cleaning

That extra 1 percent of acid in undiluted cleaning vinegar amplifies its power and makes it 20 percent stronger than white vinegar. So, while cleaning vinegar has a stronger concentration for cleaning, it also means one should never consume cleaning vinegar.

What can't you mix with vinegar? ›

3 Cleaning Products That You Should Not Mix With Vinegar
  • Bleach And Vinegar. Bleach and vinegar might seem like they would be a powerful disinfectant combination. ...
  • Hydrogen Peroxide And Vinegar. ...
  • Baking Soda And Vinegar.
Jun 17, 2021

What not to clean with vinegar? ›

  • When to Avoid Cleaning With Vinegar. Below, we highlight nine instances when you should skip the vinegar and grab a different cleaning agent for the job. ...
  • Clothes Iron. ...
  • Countertops. ...
  • Dishwasher. ...
  • Electronic Screens. ...
  • Flooring. ...
  • Knives. ...
  • Range.
Mar 22, 2023

Why does blue Dawn and vinegar work? ›

The reason? Dawn contains petroleum. It sounds counterintuitive, but it works. Vinegar removes residue and imparts shine.

Can you mix Dawn dish soap with vinegar and baking soda? ›

Diy Cleaning Hacks. Tired of stinky, retail cleaners? Try this: Vinegar Cleaner: 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp Dawn dish soap 1 tbsp white vinegar Directions: Fill spray bottle with water. Add Dawn.

What is the best cleaning solution with vinegar and dish soap? ›

Dish soap and vinegar work wonders for that extra smudge-cutting and cleaning mixture. Mix in a spray bottle 1/4 cup of white vinegar with 2 1/2 cups of water, plus 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap.

What is homemade all purpose cleaner? ›

The go-to all-purpose cleaner is a mixture of vinegar and water, says Peterson. To make it, combine half a cup of distilled white vinegar with 2 cups of water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or a squeeze of lemon for scent; since these are in low concentrations, they'll be safe for more surfaces.

Why do hospitals clean with vinegar? ›

“Vinegar is acetic acid, which has the ability to destroy bacteria and viruses." But, Dr. Taege notes, "many commercial disinfectants would likely be more effective." (More on that in a minute.)

Why not to use hydrogen peroxide? ›

Hydrogen peroxide also kills normal cells within the wound — including healthy skin cells and immune cells — and slows blood vessel formation, all of which are important for wound healing.

How long does vinegar need to stay on a surface to disinfect? ›

“Vinegar can kill some bacteria, but it's not a disinfectant. If you want to disinfect a surface where you've had, say, raw chicken, you need to use something like bleach,” Gayman says. “Also, vinegar needs to sit on a surface for up to 30 minutes in order to reduce bacteria.

Does cleaning with vinegar damage grout? ›

The vinegar penetrates into the pores of the grout, further weakening the material. Over time, vinegar will deteriorate the condition of the grout by etching or wearing it away. If, however, you have sealed your grout on a regular basis, the vinegar won't be an issue.

What is the best natural cleaner for vinyl floors? ›

One of the best cleansers for vinyl flooring is apple cider vinegar. The acidity in the vinegar helps remove dirt and grime without leaving a buildup of soap or wax. Simply mix one cup of cider vinegar with a gallon of hot water and use a damp mop to clean, rinsing the mop frequently with hot water.

Can you use WD-40 to clean vinyl floors? ›

Remove scuff marks from vinyl floors with WD-40

Offbeat Bros recommended attacking the scuff with the WD-40 lubricant, and then buffing it away with a soft cloth. Not only does WD-40 displace water and prevent rust, but it also breaks down dirt and grime effectively, making it a handy cleaning tool.

What happens if you mix vinegar and Dawn dish soap? ›

“Vinegar is a good cleaner because it's acidic, but when you add dishwashing liquid/dish soap to it (which is a base or neutral) - you neutralise the vinegar. You take away the very thing that makes it work well. “The dishwashing liquid works that well on its own.

What not to mix with white vinegar? ›

3 Cleaning Products That You Should Not Mix With Vinegar
  • Bleach And Vinegar. Bleach and vinegar might seem like they would be a powerful disinfectant combination. ...
  • Hydrogen Peroxide And Vinegar. ...
  • Baking Soda And Vinegar.
Jun 17, 2021

Can I leave vinegar on grout overnight? ›

For stubborn dirt, you can make a paste of baking soda and white vinegar to leave on the grout overnight, and then remove with a spray of water.


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