What do you clean with at home? Do you use bleach, ammonia or do you prefer something more natural and non-toxic?

Vinegar is a versatile cleaner that’s effective and inexpensive. It’s safe for kids and pets. It really is a great product – on and off food! But let’s start with a cautionary tale.

What NOT to Clean with Vinegar

Much like lemon, vinegar is acidic, which helps make it a great cleaner. But not all surfaces are created equal. Some surfaces (and usually the expensive ones) prefer a more basic cleaner, meaning something with far less acidity.

Stone Surfaces

The acid in vinegar can damage stone surfaces such as granite, quartz and marble. Always check the manufacturer recommendations for cleaning your stone counters. There are great tips and products out there to clean and protect your stone surfaces. But don’t use vinegar.


Wood floors, wood furniture and other wood surfaces may be damaged by the acidity of vinegar. Most wood has a finish and vinegar can break down that finish, dulling and damaging the wood surface. These negative effects can be mitigated by severely diluting the vinegar with water, but why take the chance? Stick with this advice for cleaning hardwood floors and wood furniture.


Because vinegar is acidic, it doesn’t work well on greasy messes. Alkaline, or basic solutions work much better to cut through grease. Simple hot water and soap cut through grease with ease compared to vinegar.

What To Clean with Vinegar

Windows. Mix vinegar and water one-to-one and apply to windows with a sponge. Squeegee off and your good to go.

Coffee Makers. We’ve all struggled keeping our automatic coffee makers clean. But fear not morning Joe drinker, vinegar is perfect for penetrating those hard to get recesses. Fill up the coffee maker reservoir with white distilled vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Follow it up with a full reservoir of water and that should do the trick. Feel free to run two batches of water if you want to be sure your coffee is vinegar-free.

Microwave. Mix ¼ cup white distilled vinegar with one cup water and boil in the microwave until steam forms on the window. Now just wipe away the inside steam and residue and voila, clean microwave.

Bathtub. Bathtubs get that soapy film build up and vinegar is the perfect solution (get it?). Wipe down your bathtub with white distilled vinegar followed by baking soda. Finally, rinse it away with water.

Refrigerator. Use one part white vinegar and two parts hot water. Spray or wipe down your refrigerator surfaces to remove food and odors. Feel free to add in a few drops of lemon juice to help clean and freshen up your fridge.

There are hundreds of uses for vinegar so if you’re still curious and want to read ALL about cleaning with vinegar, check out this guide to cleaning with vinegar.

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