Vinegar is a great natural cleaner and alternative to many other harsh chemicals. About eight years ago, we switched to using vinegar in our home for cleaning just about everything. From kitchen countertops, bathrooms, and windows to the insides of our washing machine, metal furniture, and car dashboards.
There are, however, several areas where you shouldn’t use vinegar to clean. Vinegar is very acidic and can damage things like rugs and grout if used incorrectly. Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t clean with vinegar.
If you have a pet that has an occassional accident on your carpet, do not use vinegar to clean the carpet. I learned this one the hard way. Pet urine is very acidic. Mixing that acid with another acid (vinegar) will result in a discolored carpet and one that continues to smell like the acidic urine.
Instead, use a carpet cleaner and, if you have a pet, use a carpet cleaner that’s specifically made for pet stains. Resolve Pet Carpet cleaner is a great option.
HARDWOOD & NO-WAX FLOORS
Vinegar can, over time, diminish the protective urethane finish on hardwood and flooring designated as ‘no-wax’. “No-wax” refers to vinyl surfaces to which a clear acrylic or urethane topcoat has been applied by the manufacturer. In either case, the high-acidity of vinegar can diminish that clear protective coat.
Instead, clean hardwood floors with a product specifically designed for hardwood floors, like Orange Glo. No-wax floors just need to be damp-mopped (very little water on your mop) with a mild detergent like Dawn in warm water.
Natural stone surfaces like granite can also be damaged by vinegar. Instead, choose a natural cleaner specifically designated for granite countertops for occassional cleaning. Choose a cleaner formulated with a neutral pH. Harsher chemicals can scratch, pit, or etch the surface permanently. For regular cleaning, simply dust the granite with a microfiber cloth or wash with water.
Grout that hasn’t been sealed or that may need to be re-sealed due to age, can be damaged by full-strength vinegar. The acid gets into the air spaces in the grout and can deteriorate it over time. If you choose to use vinegar on a tiled countertop or in the bath, place just a small amount in a spray bottle and dilute it with water. A better, natural alternative to clean grout is baking soda. You’ll find that Mr. Clean Magic Erasers really do work like magic to remove soap scum from tile.
Vinegar is a great all-natural cleaner, but while its acidity is a great disinfectant, it can be damaging to the above-mentioned surfaces.
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