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When to Not Clean With Vinegar

Distilled vinegar is a common household product that is sometimes used to replace harsh chemicals when cleaning your home. Although white vinegar can be a great solution for many cleaning tasks, there are some places that you should avoid using it due to its acidic nature.

How it works

The acidity in vinegar is what makes it such a good natural household cleaner. Vinegar is great for counteracting tough build-up on surfaces such as soap scum, brines left by hard water, or even glue left behind by stickers.

Vinegar is also great for getting rid of stubborn stains, however, remember to use it with caution as the acidity of the vinegar can sometimes have an adverse reaction (Diluting a vinegar solution 1:1 will help prevent this!).

Here are a few places you should avoid using vinegar:

Marble and Granite Countertops

We touched on this in an earlier blog article, however, it's an important reminder to avoid using vinegar on marble and granite countertops as the acid in the vinegar can, over time, etch the top of the marble/granite surface.

Unsealed Grout

Unsealed grout and grout that has deteriorated over time can be broken down even faster when vinegar is used to clean it.

Cast Iron

Cast iron pans are great for cooking because of their non-stick properties, however, they should never be cleaned using vinegar as it can destroy the finish and cause your pans to rust.

Waxed Furniture

Vinegar has the ability to strip the wax from the surface of your furniture leaving it looking dull. Your best bet for cleaning waxed furniture is to use furniture polish.

Hardwood Floors

It's highly debated as to whether or not it's okay to use vinegar to clean your hardwood floors. If you choose to try it out, always be sure to dilute the vinegar solution 1:1 and test it out in a small inconspicuous spot prior to using it all over your floors.

Stone Floor Tiles

Stone floor tiles can be sensitive to the acidity of distilled vinegar and can, with continued use become damaged.


Pearls in general are rather sensitive and the acidic nature of vinegar can compromise your jewelry. Instead, try cleaning your pearls using a solution of lukewarm water mixed with a small amount of mild dish detergent.

Kitchen Knives

Knives are also best cleaned using a mild dish detergent rather than vinegar as the acid in the vinegar can, over time, corrode the metal of the knives.


Much like many other metal items, vinegar can damage the surface of aluminum pots and pans. The vinegar reacts with the aluminum surfaces which can cause oxidization and create unsightly spots.


Distilled vinegar should never be used on an iron as it can corrode the internal parts, permanently damaging it.

Greasy Surfaces

The acids in vinegar make it one of the least effective cleaners when it comes to removing grease from different surfaces. Instead, try using a mild dish detergent on a damp washcloth.

Clothing Stains

Clothing stains such as ice cream, blood, and grass will often not be able to be removed using white vinegar. To best remove, these stains use a pre-wash stain remover then continue to launder your clothes using a detergent containing enzymes.


Unfortunately, one of the worst cleaners you can use to clean up a cracked egg is vinegar, as vinegar causes the yolk to coagulate leaving you with an even bigger mess to clean.

Do you have any tips on cleaning with vinegar? Leave them in the comments below!
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