Cleaning ‘hacks’ have been rising in popularity since Covid hit and we were all forced to spend much more time at home. A good portion of these hacks are catered towards people who want to avoid harsh chemicals as much as possible and take a more natural approach in the everyday cleaning routine. Many seemingly mundane household items are becoming increasingly popular for cleaning – one of which is vinegar.
Vinegar, along with other products, has become a staple in the cleaning arsenal of many homes and is often touted to have almost miracle-like properties when it comes to removing stubborn grime. Although vinegar can be used in many instances and may have a varying degree of effect on certain surfaces, it can also cause damage, sometimes irreparable, within your home.
To ensure you don’t make any mistakes in your mission to maintain a clean home, we have made a list of 5 things you should NEVER clean with vinegar, to avoid damage to your surfaces and household items.
Granite and marble countertops
Vinegar and your beautiful granite or marble countertop should not mix. The acidity of the vinegar can actually wear away at the protective film covering the counter. This film helps to prevent stains in the stone caused by spills. Vinegar can render this film useless, allowing stains, as well as bacteria to infiltrate the stone itself. Vinegar can also cause nasty etching in the stone. When cleaning the countertop, use a mild liquid dish detergent and warm water instead to ensure you don’t accidentally damage your countertop!
Stone floor tiles
Much like your benchtop, stone floor tiles do not take kindly to acidic cleaners like vinegar or even lemon. Also, try to avoid ammonia-based cleaners as they can have a similar, damaging effect on the tiles. Instead, use the same mild liquid dish soap and water as your bench (with a different bucket and cleaning utensil, of course), or a specialised stone floor cleaner that doesn’t contain acidic ingredients.
Egg stains or spills
Oops! You’ve accidentally dropped an egg on the floor whilst cooking up a storm for breakfast, or your home has become the victim of an egging! The last thing you want to be reaching for is the vinegar to clean up that sticky mess. Due to the acidic nature of vinegar, the egg will coagulate, much like when you poach an egg and use vinegar to keep its form while it’s swirling in the boiling water. This coagulation can make it difficult to clean up and remove the egg, often causing it to stick further to the surface its attached to.
Vinegar can cause damage to the delicate, internal parts of your clothes iron. Pouring vinegar through your iron is definitely not the best method to clean it out or freshen it up. Instead of using vinegar, flush your iron regularly with water to avoid clogging and ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly clean the iron – you’ll generally be provided with these when you purchase the iron, or can easily look them up online.
Well, the jury is still out on this one. Some people report that vinegar beautifully cleans the hardwood floors in their home, however others say that it has caused a massive amount of damage to the finish. If you are worried about what to clean your hardwood floors with, try using a cleaner that is specifically formulated for hardwood floors. Alternatively, if you are wishing to use vinegar, dilute it with water and try it on a small, inconspicuous area of your hardwood floor to ensure that you do not damage the flooring in an entire room!
That’s our 5 tips on what you should not clean with vinegar. Although vinegar is a great tool for adding flavour in the kitchen, it’s often not the right option for household cleaning. In saying that, if you do insist on using vinegar to freshen up your home, Google can be your friend to ensure you do not accidentally damage or ruin surfaces in your home, as well as appliances and furniture. It’s also important to make sure you do your research when cleaning to ensure you haven’t accidentally mixed chemicals or used cleaning products in the wrong fashion. Hopefully these tips can spare you the heartache of a well-meaning clean with vinegar ruining items in your home!