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8 Ways Not to Use Vinegar

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

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2:33PM PDT on Jun 17, 2015

Thank you for sharing.

7:04AM PDT on May 18, 2015

Like the thought of using this as a weedkiller since I have my cat and dog and do not use chemicals on my lawn.

9:02PM PDT on May 12, 2015

Certainly the tip about not using vinegar for cleaning one's computer is a very useful one, thankfully, I have not been tempted to ever try out that one. Vinegar has so many splendid applications, but for some things, obviously, it is to be avoided at all costs.

8:38AM PDT on May 2, 2015

oops, I ran long. this continues from my "next" comment:


regular vinegar in not strong enough to kill weeds. get vinegar concentrate or horticultural vinegar. the same stuff is also good on mold, though yes, you will probably have to deal with the water feeding the mold. this could be leaky pipes, rain or groundwater intrusion, or even condensation. drywall doesn't really rot, well maybe the surface paper, if it is the kind with paper, and it isn't the *source* of a mold problem. what you are probably seeing is just the drywall dissolving.

8:28AM PDT on May 2, 2015

stoneware is a type of ceramic, it is not made of stone. vinegar is fine on most glazed ceramics (might be absorbed by unglazed, which may or may not be a problem, depending on its use) and vinegar is fine on most types of stone used in kitchens and baths, just not marble. been using it on granite for years with no adverse results.

vinegar is great for cast iron anytime it needs an aggressive cleaning, which isn't very often, but when it does you want something edible because part of your cleaner will stay behind in the seasoning. it's particularly helpful if an old pan has been out of use a while and has an off smell or, combined with salt or baking-soda, to remove any burnt on build up. it won't hurt the pan, the worst you can do is remove a bit of seasoning, which will be replenished next time you fry. I don't much use aluminum but think that even if cleaning with vinegar removes the surface there will be plenty of pan left, the worry is cooking very vinegary (or otherwise acidic) things in aluminum, not cleaning. vinegar is also great for cleaning pyrex and other glass cookware, and most ceramic cookware, give or take some unglazed ceramic bakeware. I can't think of any cookware that I don't clean with vinegar, though I do not use "nonstick cookware" I suspect it can take vinegar or else you wouldn't be able to cook tomatoes in it.

yes, #6 is wrong, and the person who got sick cleaning a small unventilated bathroom could have been due to some other chemical re

5:37AM PDT on Apr 29, 2015


5:36AM PDT on Apr 29, 2015


7:28AM PDT on Apr 26, 2015

I do not believe that I have ever used vinegar in these ways.

10:58PM PDT on Apr 21, 2015


6:30PM PDT on Apr 11, 2015

I use vinegar to strip wax and as cleaner. I use bleach for the deeper cleaner.. Borax as a good cleanser. I use murphy oil soap on my wood chairs and and end tables. Almost all of my cleaning supplies are natural and work well for me. And yes I do the cleaning as my wife arthritis is such that movement is painful.

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people are talking

Looks like we will have to have another go at keeping a Peace Lily alive!

Thanks for the helpful article!

I don't know if the writer actually makes compost, but eggs do not compost. Same as hair and nails.

thank you for sharing this


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