White vinegar cleaning products concept. Spay bottle with cleaning solution, lot of copy space.
Helin Loik-Tomson/istockphoto

10 Things You Should Never Clean With Vinegar

View Slideshow
Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more
White vinegar cleaning products concept. Spay bottle with cleaning solution, lot of copy space.
Helin Loik-Tomson/istockphoto

When to Avoid Vinegar

For years, people everywhere have recommended vinegar for several different cleaning hacks. While it might be tried and true in some areas, there are a handful of things around your home that you should refrain from cleaning with vinegar. Here’s a list of some common things you’ll want to opt out of using vinegar to clean, despite what your grandma might have told you.


Related: Cleaning Myths That Will Ruin Your Things

Woman ironing clothes
sestovic/istockphoto

Steam Irons

Most steam irons contain a protective coating inside the water chamber, but the coating isn’t meant to stand up against vinegar, so you should avoid adding vinegar to the tank. The acid can eat away at the lining and the metal parts. Check your iron’s instruction manual to find out specific cleaning instructions, or if your iron has a self-cleaning function, the only thing you should need to add to the tank is water to get the job done.


For more great household tipsplease sign up for our free newsletters.

Business desk
Ridofranz/istockphoto

Tech Devices

Think twice before you grab a microfiber cloth and a little bit of vinegar to get the smudges off your screen. Laptop, phone, TV, and tablet screens have a special coating that can be ruined by vinegar. Device screens should be treated delicately, using only a microfiber cloth or wipes formulated specifically for tech screens to clean them.


Related: Things You Should Never Clean With Disinfecting Wipes

Woman cutting spring onion for salad
Prostock-Studio/istockphoto

Knives

Some people soak their knives in vinegar to remove rust spots, but you should avoid using vinegar on knives frequently to maintain their integrity. Vinegar can damage the finish on kitchen knives and cause them to become dull. The best way to clean kitchen knives is with soapy water soon after using them.

White kitchen design in new luxurious home
irina88w/istockphoto

Countertops

Depending on what material your countertops are, you might want to steer clear of vinegar as a cleaner. Vinegar should never be used to clean natural stone surfaces, so if you have marble or granite counters, using vinegar to clean them can eat away at the surface and make the stone appear more dull.


Related: 25 Spring Cleaning Mistakes You Keep Making Every Year

Full dishwasher
Vesnaandjic/istockphoto

Dishwashers

There are plenty of cleaning hacks swirling around the internet that suggest using vinegar to clean your dishwasher. While it might be fine to do every once in a while, it definitely should not be used too frequently since the acid in vinegar can cause the rubber seals and components of the dishwasher to deteriorate. Instead, there are cleaners formulated specifically for cleaning dishwashers that won’t compromise the integrity of the appliance.

Interior architecture Luxury Foyer with beautiful hardwood floors house
akurtz/istockphoto

Wood Flooring and Furniture

Plenty of people swear by using vinegar to clean their hardwood floors and furniture, but it should be avoided. The acidic composition of vinegar can dissolve the wax coating on wood floors and furniture, causing it to appear dull, cloudy, or scuffed. 


Related: Spring Cleaning Tips From People Who Clean and Organize for a Living

Grouting ceramic tiles.
yunava1/istockphoto

Ceramic Tile

Splatters and spills on ceramic tiles should be cleaned promptly so they don’t have time to stain or harden, but stay away from vinegar to clean ceramic surfaces. The acid in vinegar might not harm the actual tile, but it can eat away at the grout and finish, so it’s best to stick with hot water and soap.

Lunch being made in modern kitchen
nd3000/istockphoto

Small Kitchen Appliances

Vinegar is safe to use on any plastic and glass parts on toasters, blenders, and coffee parts, but it can corrode any of the parts made of stainless steel, metal, and rubber. 


Related: 13 Cleaning Hacks Using Essential Oils

Rear View of Kitten Watching Owner Cleaning Floor - stock photo
CasarsaGuru/istockphoto

Pet Accidents

While vinegar is an excellent deodorizer and can effectively tackle all sorts of odors, it should not be used to clean up pet messes. Vinegar can remove the odors that people smell, pets will still be able to smell them and will more than likely revisit the area to mark the spot again. When it comes to pet urine, stick to enzymatic cleaners since they remove odors thoroughly, even the ones detectable to only your pet.

Modern Master Bathroom Light And Dark Grey Home Interior Real Estate Listing Straight On View Staged
Brandon Ruckman/istockphoto

Mirrors

DIY glass cleaners often include vinegar, but when cleaning mirrors, it’s best to leave the DIY stuff on the shelf. While it might make the surface of your mirror shine, vinegar can seep beneath the thin coating and harm the silver backing of the mirror.


Related: 20 Cleaning Products That Are a Complete Waste of Money