Vinegar is regarded as one of the top multipurpose, natural cleaning agents. Because it works just as well, many people prefer to clean with it over store bought cleaning products that have harsh chemicals. However, there are several types of vinegar available at your local grocery store, including balsamic, red wine, apple cider, white and cleaning. For home cleaning purposes, the only two options are white vinegar and cleaning vinegar.
Is Cleaning Vinegar the Same as White Vinegar?
White vinegar and cleaning vinegar are essentially the same with one key difference. Cleaning vinegar is more concentrated, making it better suited for tough jobs around the house. More specifically, cleaning vinegar is more acidic, so it should not be consumed. It is made by fermenting distilled alcohol and fermenting acetic acid.
Comparatively, white vinegar has an acetic acid content of approximately 5-7% while the content in cleaning vinegar may be as high as 8%. Because it is more acidic, cleaning vinegar is more effective at cleaning grime and grease. When selecting a cleaning vinegar product at the store, read the label. Some of these products may contain chemicals to enhance their capabilities.
Using Cleaning Vinegar for Laundry
Cleaning vinegar can be used to remove odors and stains on clothing, upholstery and carpet. It is also a great fabric softener. To address stains and odors, combine a tablespoon of laundry detergent with a tablespoon of cleaning vinegar. Put this on the affected area, and allow it to rest for an hour. You can then rinse and blot the area before washing it as usual.
How to Use Cleaning Vinegar for Cleaning
Because cleaning vinegar is very acidic, it may be advisable to dilute it slightly before using it. Even when diluted with clean water, cleaning vinegar is a more effective cleaning agent than white vinegar. Diluting it may prevent damage to some surfaces around the house. Before using pure or diluted white vinegar, always test a discreet area to ensure that the surface will not be damaged.
To dilute cleaning vinegar, use one part vinegar and two parts clean water. This mixture can be used on soap scum on showerheads, shower doors and tile surrounds. To clean the floor with a mop, add a half-cup vinegar to a gallon of water. Use rubber gloves when using cleaning vinegar to protect your skin and nails from irritation caused by its strong acetic acid.
When Not to Use Cleaning Vinegar
Even when cleaning vinegar is diluted, it can damage some surfaces. For example, the acidic content in cleaning vinegar can erode natural stone and marble counters. You should also not use vinegar to clean wood cabinets and flooring, cast iron and stainless steel cookware and appliances, electronics and any porous surfaces.
Is Cleaning Vinegar Safe to Consume?
While the difference in acetic acid concentration between white vinegar and cleaning vinegar is roughly 1%, this means that cleaning vinegar is 20% more concentrated. While white vinegar can be consumed in various food products and dishes, cleaning vinegar cannot. Doing so may cause damage to the intestines and esophagus.
Does Cleaning Vinegar Kill Mold?
Cleaning vinegar can be used to clean many types of mold. Because it is safer to use than bleach, vinegar is a preferred method to tackle mold and mildew around the house.
Can You Mix Vinegar and Baking Soda for Cleaning?
If you are faced with tough messes and stains around the house, combining vinegar with baking soda can add a punch to your cleaning efforts. When vinegar comes in contact with baking soda, the acetic acid starts a chemical reaction that ultimately releases carbon dioxide. This chemical reaction enhances the cleaning and stain-lifting capabilities of the vinegar.
Caution: Don’t mix different cleaners, like store-bought ones and homemade ones with vinegar, because it can create harmful fumes. Never mix vinegar with bleach.
How Can I Clean with Vinegar and Avoid the Smell?
While cleaning vinegar is an effective natural cleaning product, the smell is intense. It may take several hours for this smell to dissipate after cleaning with vinegar. To minimize the smell, you can add a tablespoon of lemon juice to your diluted mixture of cleaning vinegar and water. As an alternative to lemon juice, you can add a few drops of your preferred essential oil to the mixture.
Can Vinegar Damage Any Materials?
Because of its acidic nature, white vinegar can damage numerous surfaces. These include wood, grout, stainless steel, cast iron, rubber hoses and gaskets, natural stone and electronics.
How Long Does Vinegar Need to Sit on a Surface to Be Effective?
If you are using vinegar to kill bacteria on countertops and other surfaces, it should remain wet on the surface for at least a half hour. If you are using vinegar to tackle mineral scaling and soap scum, it may only need to sit for a few minutes.
The actual length of time, however, is dependent on how thick the scaling or soap scum is. If the grime remains after your first cleaning attempt, simply repeat the process. You can also repeat the process with the addition of baking soda and use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the surface.
Determining which cleaning products work best on different surfaces and stains is a challenge. The last thing that you want is to cause irreversible damage, but you also don’t want to live in a dirty home. With Boston house cleaning service from Cleanzen, you can eliminate the stress and uncertainty that comes with cleaning tough stains by putting our housekeepers to work. Contact our cleaners today for a consultation.