8 Ways Not to Use Vinegar

By Adam Verwymeren, Networx

Common household vinegar is one of those wonder products that people are always discovering new uses for. Whether you want to drive away dandruff, eradicate mildew, or keep bugs at bay, vinegar has been proposed as a solution to just about every problem under the sun.

But while it has a number of uses, vinegar isn’t always the solution, and on occasion it can be downright dangerous. Here are the top 8 ways not to put this miracle substance to work in your home.

1. While vinegar is good at cleaning many things, you shouldn’t confuse it with soap. Alkaline cleaners like dish detergent are ideally suited for lifting grease, whereas vinegar will have little effect on it. If you have a greasy cleaning job, reach for regular soap and leave the vinegar on the shelf.

2. You should never use vinegar on waxed surfaces. The vinegar will only strip the wax off, dulling the sheen on your nicely shined car. However, vinegar is a great option if you’re looking to remove an old coat of wax before you put down a fresh layer of polish.

3. Do not use vinegar on marble countertops or other stoneware, as it can cause the stone to pit and corrode, according to the Marble Institute.

4. Your smartphone and laptop monitor probably have a thin layer of oleophobic coating that limits fingerprints and smudges. Acidic vinegar can strip this off, so you should never use it to clean sensitive screens.

5. Cast iron and aluminum are reactive surfaces. If you want to use vinegar to clean pots and pans, use it exclusively on stainless steel and enameled cast iron cookware.

6. While both bleach and vinegar are powerful cleaning agents, when mixed together they make a powerful chemical weapon. Chlorine gas, the stuff used to clear the trenches in World War I, results when bleach is mixed with an acidic substance, so never mix them together.

7. While vinegar can be useful as an insecticide, you shouldn’t spray it directly on bug-infested plants as it can damage them. However, you can use vinegar’s plant-killing effect to your advantage by using it as a weed killer, as suggested by several people on Hometalk.

8. If you’re the victim of an egging, do not try to dissolve the remnants of this prank away with vinegar. Vinegar will cause the proteins in the egg to coagulate, creating a gluey substance that is even more impossible to clean up, says Popular Mechanics.

I also feel obligated to say that although vinegar is touted as a great way to remove mildew and mold, like bleach it only kills surface mold. Most mold problems are deeper than what you see on the surface, and your best bet is to kill them at their source (which is usually leaks and rotting drywall).

Image: Chaya Kurtz for Networx.com

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen7 days ago

Thank you

Erika Acosta
Erika Acosta16 days ago


QA W.18 days ago


Barbara Stuckel
Barbara Stuckel18 days ago

Glad to know vinegar isn't good on marble counter tops. I assume it is bad for granite as well. I use it in my laundry and rinse for towels so I can line them dry without them becoming brittle and scratchy.

Ali Shee
Ali Shee22 days ago


Anon E.
Anon E.29 days ago


Jennifer Manzi
Jennifer Manzi1 months ago

Sometimes I use rubbing alcohol on my screens. Wonder if this is bad too

Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell1 months ago

Thank you

L. P.
L. P1 months ago

Thanks for this info. Just when I think I know pretty much everything about vinegar, I learn something new.

SJ A.1 months ago

Good reminder.