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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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Read more: Basics, Crafts & Design, Crafts & Hobbies, Food, Home, Household Hints, Materials & Architecture, Non-Toxic Cleaning,

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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.

2:15PM PDT on Mar 28, 2015

#6 ~ thank you for listing that dangerous, noxious combination of mixing vinegar, ammonia and/or bleach. i've had several colleagues who've fallen quite ill from just a few moments of trying to do Saturday cleaning in an unventilated bathroom.

Recently [after the city's sewage water decided to put 4" of water into our basement] i decided to add about 1/4 of water into the laundry: the vinegar acts like a booster, and is much more price friendly and safer on colored clothing than the so-called color-safe boosting agents. i just add the soap and vinegar into the tub of water before adding the clothes. Thanks for a well written, well-timed article.

5:08PM PDT on Mar 23, 2015

Good to know, thanks.

5:51AM PDT on Mar 21, 2015

Thanks for sharing

7:01AM PDT on Mar 18, 2015

got it, thanks.

7:33PM PDT on Mar 13, 2015

I believe #6 is incorrect. Bleach and ammonia will result in a poisonous gas. I've removed the slick feeling of bleach on my hands by applying vinegar with immediate results and without passing out. In HS chemistry we learned that bleach is basic and vinegar is acid, and a basic substance will neutralize an acidic substance resulting in a salt and water.

To rid a dog of that doggie smell, use a good splash of vinegar in a gallon bucket of warm water. Wipe entire body back and forth with a sopping cloth. Then dip feet into bucket. I had 3 dogs and no doggie smell when you walked into my house. If you have short-haired dogs, you'll rarely have to bathe them.

8:51AM PDT on Mar 11, 2015

Thanks for these do not do tips. I use a cup of white vinegar once a month in my rinse cycle to remove built-up detergent. Towels are so much fluffier and clothes feel better. Vinegar rules.

4:48PM PST on Mar 5, 2015

After serious testing by a well known gardener, number 7 is wrong. It was found that you would need industrial strength vinegar to make any real difference to weeds .. that was worth the effort of applying it !

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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