Is Vinegar a good natural cleaner?
That's the question I sent out to answer when researching for this guide on vinegar.
We all know that vinegar is a common household staple used for everything from a laundry booster to a condiment to a pickling agent.
Vinegar can be a safe natural cleaner with some precautions and care.
So what is vinegar exactly?
If you’ve ever tasted vinegar, you know it as a sour-tasting liquid. It is comprised mainly of acetic acid and water. It’s made by fermenting alcoholic liquids such as wine, cider or beer which produces 3-9% acetic acid. Vinegar has a low pH ranging between 1.8-2.5
For simplicity’s sake, we’ll discuss only white vinegar in this article. This is the most commonly used household vinegar type and is widely available.
Is it safe?
White Vinegar, comprised of 6-9% acetic Acid and water is not classified as a hazardous substance. It is approved by the FDA as a food additive or cleaning product.
However, there are a few things you should know in case of prolonged contact to vinegar.
- Prolonged inhalation of the vapors can irritate your respiratory tract.
- Skin irritation can occur in some people. If this happens, use cleaning gloves.
- If you get vinegar in your eyes, flush them immediately with water
- While vinegar is safe to consume in small amounts, large amounts may irritate your stomach as it is an acidic compound. Drink large amounts of water to flush your system.
We conclude that Vinegar is a safe ingredient to use around the house. Especially when you compare these small safety measures to the large ones you should be taking when cleaning with Bleach or chemicals in the standard cleaning products you’ll find on the super-store shelves.
When NOT to Use Vinegar
Never mix Vinegar with Bleach. These two substances mixed together will produce toxic chlorine gas.
Avoid using vinegar on these surfaces:
- Natural Stone Tiles
- Granite Countertops
- Marble Countertops
- Hardwood Floors
The acidic nature of vinegar means that it can etch the natural stone in your home or the finish on your hardwood floors. Choose gentler cleaners for cleaning these surfaces. We use a diluted solution of Thieves Household Cleaner to clean all the surfaces in our home.
Avoid using vinegar on these cleaning jobs:
Egg Stains or Spills
Vinegar will react with the egg and cause it to coagulate, making it difficult to remove. Instead, wipe up the spill first. We like using Thieves Household Cleaner to make sure the surface is clean after spilling an egg or getting egg on our clothing.
Never put vinegar inside of your iron along with water because it can damage the internal parts. Instead always use Distilled water in your iron to avoid the hard water buildup and/or other problems caused by the chemicals in our tap water.
Vinegar alone is generally not enough to get out a stubborn stain as they tend to disregard acid. Again, we use a diluted solution of Thieves Concentrated Cleaner to get out stubborn stains.
Our Favorite Uses of Vinegar
Vinegar is a great all around ingredient as it is both edible and biodegradable. It disinfects, deodorizes and cuts grease. Here are a few of our favorite ways to naturally clean with vinegar around the home:
Around the house
Natural glass cleaner
Simply mix a solution of 20% vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray on your windows and mirrors. We like to add Citrus Fresh Essential Oil Blend to the vinegar before adding the water. The Citrus Fresh blend adds a clean, uplifting scent to the house and introduces the powerful cleaning power of essential oils. Use a glass spray bottle when you clean with citrus oils.
Is vinegar a good natural cleaner for dusting jobs?
Mix up a quick batch of dusting spray using this natural cleaning recipe. It will add a nice shine to your furniture, try this simple DIY we use on all of our wood products. This isn’t great for electronics. On electronics simply use a dry microfiber dusting cloth to pick up the dust.
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 15 drops of Young Living Lemon essential oil in a glass spray bottle
- Shake thoroughly and then add 1 cup of Distilled Water
- Spray on a clean cloth and dust away!
What about on slow drains? Is vinegar a good natural cleaner for this job?
We use a vinegar/baking soda solution regularly in our drains to keep them clog-free and deodorized.
You’ll need boiling water, baking soda and vinegar for this job.
- First, bring 8 cups of water to boil and dump it down your drain.
- Sprinkle about ½ cup of baking soda into the drain and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Put your pan of water back on to boil while the baking soda does it work.
- Mix 1 cup of hot water and 1 cup of vinegar and slowly pour down the drain. You will hear and see it fizzing and popping as the baking soda reacts with the vinegar.
- Let it sit for 10-15 minutes while you are waiting for your water to boil.
- Finally, pour the boiling water down the drain!
This works great on slow-running drains or to prevent problems. We do this in our showers as we have a house full of females with long hair and shower drains tend to clog.
Fruits & Vegetables:
Is vinegar a good natural cleaner for fruits & veggies?
For a fruit & vegetable wash, fill your sink with cool water. In a small glass, mix 2 drops of Thieves Essential Oil with 1 Tablespoon vinegar. Stir. Pour this solution into your sink and mix. Let your produce soak for 3-5 minutes in this solution, then rinse with pure water.
Insects, parasites, and some pesticide residues will wash right away.
Want an even easier solution?
Check out the Thieves Fruit & Veggie Wash combo pack. Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak is a concentrated formula infused with Thieves, DiGize and Purification Essential Oil blends. Thieves Fruit & Veggie Spray is small and portable for convenient use at home, school, work and even in the air! You get a concentrated & powerful solution for at home and on the go.
In the Dishwasher
Is vinegar a good natural cleaner in the dishwasher? Vinegar makes a great, non-toxic rinse aid in the dishwasher. First, read your user manual to make sure there are no warnings about vinegar. If you are in the clear, simply add straight vinegar to the rinse agent area of your dishwasher.
To De-Scale Coffee Makers or a Keurig
Is vinegar a good natural cleaner for descaling? Use one part white vinegar to one part water to descale a Keurig or Coffee Maker. You can also use 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water for a gentler cleaning. Simply fill the water reservoir with your vinegar-water solution and run through the machine.
Then rinse the machine by running 3-4 cycles of pure distilled water.
Tip: Some instructables include allowing the vinegar solution to sit inside the machine for 3-4 hours. We haven’t found this necessary but if you’ve owned the machine for years without descaling this may be something you would like to try. We clean our Keurig and full sized coffee maker about 2 times per year.
Bonus: Another thing vinegar is great for is jellyfish stings. Vinegar stops nematocysts from releasing their toxins. This is really helpful for those who live near the coast and enjoys the beach!
So, is vinegar a good natural cleaner? I conclude that it is. We would love to hear from you. Post your favorite uses for vinegar in the comments section.
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