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Can Vinegar Clean Anything and Everything?

I love vinegar. Don’t get me wrong. It’s as close to a miracle cleaner as anything I’ve ever found. I use vinegar for cleaning surfaces, mopping, in the laundry, as a stain treatment, for cleaning trash cans, in bathroom cleaning, for cleaning walls, for some dishes, as a fabric softener, and for many other purposes. But sometimes, people go a little far in their expectations of vinegar’s abilities. Believe it or not, there are a few things that you should not use vinegar to clean.

Diluted vinegar works great on a lot of surfaces. It’s an amazing cleaner. But here are some things that you shouldn’t use vinegar to clean…

Hardwood Floors

Vinegar, being acidic, can dull and damage the finish on hardwood floors. Instead, opt for a hardwood floor cleaner that will enhance and protect the shine and surface of your floor. Remember that using too much water or any cleaner when mopping is a big mistake for hardwood floors. Excess moisture can warp them or damage the surface. Many people find that trying to make their hardwood floors shine can be one of the biggest challenges. Over time, vinegar can cause your floors to lose their shine.

No Wax Floors

Just as with hardwood floors, vinegar’s acidity will remove the shine and sheen on these floors. No-wax floors require their own type of cleaner. I prefer using a sponge mop on no-wax vinyl floors because it can push the cleaner into grooves and pull out dirt.

Using vinegar won’t provide the light, sudsy action needed to clean no-wax vinyl effectively. Additionally, vinegar can damage the top surface of the floors, causing them to dim and darken with age and repeated use.

Carpet Odors

Often, people suggest using vinegar to clean pet stains on carpets, but it doesn’t work as effectively as an enzymatic carpet cleaner.

Vinegar might mask the odor, but it won’t eliminate the cause of the odor. To truly address the problem, you need to use a pet-specific carpet cleaner. These carpet cleaners can break down the stain so that your pet won’t smell their past mistake and repeat it in the same spot. You can find enzymatic carpet cleaners in grocery stores or any place where you purchase cleaning supplies.

Unsealed Grout

Grout that hasn’t been sealed or needs resealing should not undergo vinegar usage. With time, vinegar can deteriorate the condition of your grout. It penetrates into the air spaces within the grout and weakens them, causing the grout to etch or wear away over time. However, if you have regularly sealed your grout, vinegar won’t pose a problem. Check your grout annually to determine if it’s time to reseal the tile.

Stone Surfaces

Vinegar can etch and damage stone surfaces. For optimal results, consult your stone supplier for advice on vinegar and the most suitable cleaners. Often, all you need is water and a soft cloth to maintain the appearance of your stone. When it comes to granite countertops, many people suggest using a dedicated stone cleaner, and it performs effectively.

However, plain water and a microfiber cleaning cloth usually suffice for both regular and even deep cleaning.

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