Tips on Cleaning With Vinegar

Updated February 21, 2017

Vinegar is made from various fruits, grain or wood. The most common types are made from fermented apples for apple cider vinegar or fermented grain alcohol for white vinegar. Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar have different applications and properties in cleaning your homes. Handled properly, both apple cider and white vinegar are useful as natural cleaning and disinfecting materials.

Vinegar Use

Use apple cider vinegar to clean lime deposits and bathroom scum that builds up in toilet bowls, ceramic tiles, windows and sinks. Do not use apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or any type of acid, however, to clean marble because vinegar it will pit the calcium carbonate in the marble. White vinegar cleans and kills bacteria, mould and germs. Use this to deodorise drains, disposals and septic systems. You can also use white vinegar to whiten clothes and to clean windows. White vinegar is an all-purpose cleaner that you can use around the house to clean things that range from shining shoes, polishing wood, removing stains from clothes, preventing lint from sticking to clothes and getting rid of pet odours. Remember, however, that you should dilute white vinegar with water according to the material being cleaned.

Safe Handling

Wear rubber gloves when handling either apple cider or white vinegar. Vinegar of any composition is a mild acid and will possibly damage sensitive skin. Wear non-latex gloves if you have an allergy to latex and rubber gloves.

Safe Storage

Keep all chemicals including vinegar out of the reach of pets and children. While there are medicinal applications of vinegar you can pursue under the care of a physician, such as moderating glucose in Type 2 diabetics, ingesting undiluted vinegar can cause burns to the oesophagus.

Chemical Dangers

Do not mix vinegar with bleach. Vinegar combined with bleach can create chlorine gas that will irritate mucous membranes such as the eyes, the throat and nose. This can cause coughing and breathing problems, burning sensation and watering in the eye. Higher levels of exposure can cause symptoms such as severe breathing difficulties, vomiting, and very high levels can cause death.

Test Corners

Test a small, inconspicuous corner of the fabric or area before you clean with vinegar. This practice will help you determine if there the dye is fast on the clothing after cleaning with the vinegar or if the area that you choose to clean will not show staining.

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About the Author

Anne Cagle has been writing ever since she was a toddler who could scribble with crayons. Her first published article, at age 12, was in a teachers' newsletter. She was published in "Optical Prism" magazine and has worked as a reviewer for the Webby Awards. She holds a degree in English from the University of Oregon.