Cleaning with Vinegar

Posted by Katie Richardson on 5/8/2019 to Appliance Maintenance

Vinegar is an item that is nearly always on hand. It is cheap, made of natural and non-toxic properties, and has such a variety of uses. Cooking, cleaning, random household tasks- vinegar can do it all. It can be used as an alternative to harsh chemicals to clean a lot of surfaces in your home, but there are also a few things that vinegar should NOT be used for. Keep reading for some tips on what you SHOULD and SHOULD NOT clean with vinegar!

Things to clean with vinegar:

Appliances- Your dishwasher, washer, microwave, coffee maker, and more can all be cleaned with vinegar. A mixture of vinegar and hot water can be used to safely clean the outer and inner surfaces of your appliances. For most appliances, vinegar can be run through for an empty load or cycle instead of water, to freshen the unit and help remove stubborn smells and gunk. Vinegar can even be run through the coffee pot once a month to get rid of stuck on grime and give you a better cup of coffee!

Drains- Have a stubborn clog in your sink, garbage disposal, or tub drain? Pour a pot of boiling water down the clogged drain. Dump a half cup of baking soda down the drain, and let it sit for a couple minutes. Follow it up with a cup of vinegar. Immediately follow that up with another pot of very hot water. This vinegar and baking soda solution should break down and get rid of whatever is stuck in the drain.

Windows- A mixture of two tablespoons of vinegar in one gallon of water, put into a spray bottle, gives you an effective window cleaner. Just squirt on the glass surface and wipe off with a dry cloth for streak-free clarity.

Bathroom surfaces- A straight or slightly diluted vinegar solution can be used for stain and odor removal on most bathroom surfaces. For areas that need more intensive cleaning, such as the tub and toilet, baking soda and vinegar can be used together to deep clean and really break down stubborn grime.

Germy surfaces- Use a half and half vinegar-water mix to wipe down telephones, doorknobs, faucet handles, and other frequently handled surfaces that are breeding grounds for germs in your home.

Things to NOT clean with vinegar:

Marble, soapstone, or quartz counter tops- Acidic substances can cause all natural stones to lose their shine, and cause them to etch and pit. This is also the case for natural floor tiles. A mild cleaning mixture that is specifically meant for these surface types is a better option to clean these surfaces.

Hardwood floors- Some use vinegar to clean hardwood, and as long as it is properly sealed, it is most likely fine. However, as with the natural stones, hardwood is more susceptible to pitting and becoming scraped from highly acidic solutions. Particularly if the hardwood is not finished or if it is old flooring, you will be better off using a cleaner specifically meant for hardwoods. It is a good idea to check with a professional whether you should or not, and always test out any mixture in a small, inconspicuous area first.

Wooden fixtures- The wooden furniture in your home should never be cleaned with pure vinegar, as the acid can quickly leave spots and eat away at certain finishes. Wood should be taken care of with wood-specific cleaning agents for the best results. A little vinegar mixed with olive oil can be used as a wood buffer, but the ratio should always be less vinegar than oil.

Metal utensils- Vinegar will dull knives in particular and make them look older quicker than other cleaners. It effectively cleans them, but the acid wears them out faster than other options. Instead, use dish soap and hot water.

Egg related messes- Vinegar quickly coagulates egg material, so if eggs are spilled on a surface in your home, vinegar will actually make it more difficult to clean up. Opt to use soap or a chemical-based cleaner instead.

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