You Can Use Cleaning Vinegar to Clean Almost Everything—Except These 6 Things

Cleaning vinegar is a natural substance that can be used to clean many things and surfaces around the house. There are many kinds of vinegar used in cooking and salad dressings, such as red, white, champagne, balsamic, rice, and apple cider. On the other hand, cleaning vinegar is made for cleaning and should never be eaten. If you want to stop using cleaning products full of chemicals, this could be a good alternative. Here’s everything you need to know about cleaning vinegar and how to use it all over the house, as well as a few things you should never clean with vinegar.

What Does Cleaning Vinegar Do?


All kinds of vinegar have acid in them, which makes foods taste brighter or helps keep food fresh. White vinegar that has been distilled is often used to clean because it is clear and has about 5% acetic acid in it.

Cleaning vinegar and distilled white vinegar are both made by fermenting corn or grain alcohols that have been distilled. Bacteria break down the alcohol into acetic acid and water, which is what vinegar is made of. Cleaning vinegar is about 20 percent stronger than distilled white vinegar because it has about 6 percent acid.

In grocery stores, you can find cleaning vinegar in the aisle with other cleaning supplies. Wear gloves when cleaning with vinegar that hasn’t been diluted to keep your hands from getting irritated. Cleaning vinegar is not the same as industrial vinegar. Industrial vinegar has 20% acetic acid, gives off strong fumes, and can damage floors and kitchen counters in a way that can’t be fixed.

Cleaning vinegar can be mixed with some other cleaners, like dishwashing liquid, but you should never mix cleaning vinegar with chemical cleaners. When cleaning vinegar and chlorine bleach are mixed together, they make toxic fumes.

How to Make a Cleaner with Dawn and Vinegar


When you mix the surfactants in dishwashing liquid with cleaning vinegar, you get an all-purpose cleaner that can cut through dirt and grease. You can use the solution to clean the kitchen, wash the windows, and get rid of soap scum in the bathroom by cleaning the recipe. Wear gloves when using these cleaning solutions.

What You Need to Know

  • Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • Cleaning vinegar
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spray bottles
  • Labels


To make a cleaner that can be used on windows, counters, and kitchen appliances: In a spray bottle, mix together 1/4 cup cleaning vinegar and 2 1/2 cups water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Shake the bottle well to mix, and then label it. To use, lightly spray the dirty areas and wipe them clean with a cloth that doesn’t have lint on it.

To make a bathroom cleaner that gets rid of soap scum: In a spray bottle, mix equal amounts of cleaning vinegar, dish soap, and water. Shake well to mix, and put a label on the bottle. Start spraying the solution at the top of the shower stall or glass doors. Give it at least a minute to work, and then use a soft-bristled nylon brush to scrub. Rinse with clean water and pat dry with a towel that doesn’t have lint.

How to Use Vinegar to cleaning Floors

Cleaning vinegar can also be used on floors, including most wood floors, luxury vinyl tile, and laminate wood floors. Pour 1 gallon of warm water and 1/2 cup of cleaning vinegar into a bucket. Use a sponge or microfiber mop and squeeze it well to keep the floor from getting too wet. Frequently rinse the mop head. You don’t have to rinse, because the solution won’t leave behind any residue or streaks.

How to Clean Pipes with Cleaning Vinegar

Cleaning vinegar and baking soda work well together to clean slow drains in the kitchen or bathroom quickly. Even though they won’t get rid of hair clogs, the two together are very good at getting rid of smells, soap scum, and grease that can build up in pipes. This is a great way to get rid of smells from garbage disposal.

Pour 4 cups of hot water down the drain. Pour 1 cup of dry baking soda down the drain. Pour in 1 cup of vinegar for cleaning. There will be bubbling and fizzing, so plug the drain to keep as much of the action as possible in the pipes. When the bubbling stops, pour more hot water down the drain to clear it. A monthly cleaning will keep drains smelling good and working well (including shower drains).

How to Use Cleaning Vinegar to Clean a Keurig

Clean your single-serve coffee makers, drip coffee makers, and tea kettles once a month with cleaning vinegar to get rid of limescale, bacteria, and oils that can go bad. This will make your coffee and tea taste better. Every three to six months, use cleaning vinegar to remove the scale from your coffee machine. Unplug the gadget. Make sure the machine doesn’t have any coffee pods in it.

Put vinegar for cleaning where the water fill line is. Put the appliance away and let the vinegar work for at least four hours.

After soaking, turn the coffee maker on by plugging it in and pressing the “on” button (be sure to have a coffee mug in place). Do not put a K-cup in. Let the machine do its thing with the vinegar.

If your Keurig has a reservoir, keep “making coffee” and throwing away the mug contents as needed until the reservoir is empty.

Fill the appliance with fresh water and do this again and again until the water in the reservoir is gone. This will make sure that the next cup of coffee you drink doesn’t taste like vinegar.

How Cleaning Vinegar Can Be Used to Clean a Microwave

Cleaning vinegar does a great job of making a crusty, splattered microwave look like new.

What You Need to Know

  • Cleaning vinegar
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Sponge


Put 2 cups of water and 1/4 cup of cleaning vinegar in a bowl that can go in the microwave. Put the bowl in the microwave and heat it on high for one to two minutes, or until the mixture boils and steam fills the microwave.

Leave the door closed for about 15 minutes so the steam can get the splatters off the inside of the microwave. Use your all-purpose cleaning vinegar and Dawn solution to clean the outside of the microwave while the steam is working. Lightly spray the surfaces and dry them with a cloth that doesn’t have fibers in it.

When the steam has stopped coming out of the microwave, open the door and carefully take out the bowl and glass turntable. Use a sponge to clean the inside and inside of the door of the microwave. You can wash the turntable by hand with the all-purpose cleaner or put it in the dishwasher.

To clean the gasket around the door and any greasy spots, dip the sponge in the water and clean the vinegar solution for an extra cleaning boost. Use a lint-free cloth to dry the inside, then put the glass turntable back in place.

There are 6 things you should never use vinegar to clean.


Even though cleaning vinegar and white vinegar that has been distilled are great for cleaning, their acidity could damage some surfaces.

Electronics: While vinegar works well to clean windows, it will damage the anti-glare coating on the screens of TVs, cell phones, and computer monitors.

Natural Stone Countertops and Floors: You shouldn’t use vinegar to clean granite, marble, or limestone, even if your beautiful natural stone countertops and floors are sealed. The acid level, especially in cleaning vinegar, is too high for the material and can damage the sealant if it sits on the surface for a long time.

Cast Iron: Vinegar makes pits and rust on cast iron surfaces because it gets rid of the oils that keep the iron from rusting. Don’t let the vinegar sit on the cast iron for a long time.

Stainless Steel Knives and Appliances: If you let full-strength cleaning vinegar sit on stainless steel knife blades or appliance finishes for a long time, it can cause pitting.

Waxed and unfinished wood surfaces: Cleaning vinegar can be used to clean polyurethane-coated floors and cabinets when it is diluted. However, full-strength cleaning vinegar will stain waxed or unfinished wood surfaces.

Rubber Gaskets and Hoses: Cleaning vinegar that hasn’t been diluted is too strong to use on some small appliances, dishwashers, and washing machines’ rubber gaskets and hoses. Some kinds of rubber can break down when put in vinegar. Before using vinegar to clean the inside or outside of your appliance, check the manual and dilute the vinegar as directed.

Can you cook with vinegar for cleaning?

You should never cook with cleaning vinegar or eat it. Most cleaning vinegar comes with a label that tells you not to use too much. Unlike cooking vinegar, it may not be tested for harmful impurities. To keep from getting confused or having an accident, store your cleaning vinegar with other cleaning supplies and not with your food. Make sure that cleaning vinegar and cleaning vinegar solutions are always clearly labeled so that everyone in your home knows what’s in the bottle.