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Spring cleaning tip: Don’t use vinegar on some items


Since I avoid the use of harsh, toxic chemicals in cleaning, I often use vinegar in cleaning. However, Consumer Reports says it shouldn’t be used in nine cases:

  1. Clothes irons. Vinegar could damage the inside of the iron.
  1. Countertops: Vinegar is an acid, and it can etch and dull natural stone such as marble and limestone. For granite, it can break down sealers.
  1. Dishwashers: Vinegar can eat away at the rubber parts of dishwashers.
  1. Electronic screens: Vinegar can damage the anti-glare properties on screens and make touchscreens less responsive.
  1. Flooring: Diluted vinegar can dissolve the finish that protects hardwood floors and for stone tile flooring, it can damage it as was described in the “Countertops” section above.
  1. Knives: Vinegar can damage the finish on knives and leave the edge pitted.
  1. Ranges: Vinegar won’t clean up a greasy mess.
  1. Small appliances: Don’t clean the rubber parts or metal that vinegar could erode on blenders, toasters, and coffee makers. This includes lower grades of stainless steel often found on these appliances.
  1. Washing machines. Vinegar can damage the rubber seals and hoses in some washing machines causing leaks.

See Consumer Reports’ article “9 Things You Should Never Clean With Vinegar” to see what you should use instead.

On the other hand, you can use vinegar to clean windows, ovens, toilets and bathtubs (with baking soda), showerheads, rusty tools, carpet stains, venetian blinds, and plastic cutting boards.

Best wishes with spring cleaning. It’s not one of my favorite things, but I decided it’s important when I found mold behind a bookshelf at my mom’s.


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Carol Cassara

I'd add colored glass to that. An entire design came off old drinking glasses when my husband used vinegar.

Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski

I almost used some in the dishwasher so I'm glad I saw this. My coffee maker instructions say to clean it with vinegar and water but right now I'm not using it.


If the coffee maker instructions say to use vinegar, then try it. The Consumer Reports article said some small appliances are made out of less expensive stainless steel, so that's when the problem occurrs.


My favorite thing to do with vinegar is to keep drains clear.


Yes, vinegar, along with baking soda, works to unclog drains.

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