If you’re into green cleaning like me, you probably think of vinegar as a magical elixir that will easily and cheaply clean anything in your home. Not quite. Don’t despair, vinegar is still a home care star, but there are a few places where you shouldn’t be using the tangy stuff.
Sealed hardwood should only be cleaned with either soap and water or dry dusted to polish them up. Vinegar will erode the sealant and cause your floors to look dingy, not shiny and clean.
Acids don’t mix with natural stones like granite, marble and soapstone. It can cause pitting and make them lose their shine so stick to a regular old weak soap and water solution to wipe off grease and grime.
Washing machine or dishwasher
Using vinegar in a wash cycle is common advice, but it’s a gamble. Vinegar may get the metal parts of your appliances sparkling, but apparently it’s murder on the rubber hoses and connectors that make your machines function. So what should you use instead? According to this Garden Web forum, liquid fabric softener is the surprising answer but we haven’t tried this one so test at your own risk.
If your expensive knife blades are made of carbon steel then they shouldn’t be exposed to an acid like vinegar but instead cleaned with soap and water and oiled to prevent rust. Note: some people want to encourage a patina on their blades as protection (read more about that at Sur la Table) and specifically use vinegar to cause the black color to emerge, but if you want to keep your knife like new, acids are to be avoided.
Are you still loving vinegar or have you experienced a vinegar fail? Tell us!
Re-edited from a post originally published 7.29.2015 – TW