5 On Your Side

5 On Your Side: Be careful cleaning with vinegar

Posted January 22, 2021 5:12 p.m. EST
Updated January 23, 2021 2:20 p.m. EST

— Vinegar is often touted as a natural, less expensive way to clean.

It’s great on windows and in your shower.

There is a specific cleaning vinegar, but you can also use distilled white vinegar to clean, it’s just not as effective.

5 On Your Side’s Monica Laliberte says whichever you use, vinegar can not help with COVID, and in some cases it can cause damage.

“Vinegar can eat away at certain synthetic rubbers and it could corrode different grades of stainless steel, especially if there’s already scratches or chips on it,” says Perry Santanachote, Consumer Reports’ Home Editor.

CR says don’t use it in your washing machine.

Vinegar can eat away at rubber parts and other mechanisms, causing issues down the road.

Don’t pour it in the tank of your clothes iron, or use it on wood or stone surfaces.

“The acid in vinegar can pit, scar, etch and dull the surfaces of natural stone counter tops,” Santanachote said.

Vinegar can also damage the fine edge on sharp knives, and it’s not good at tackling grease, either.

And CR says using it in your dishwasher will NOT help reduce hard water stains.

So where can you use it?

Yes, windows, also coffee pots and vinegar can help remove build-up on shower heads and shower doors.

For basic sanitizing of areas where you might otherwise use bleach, use a one to one ratio of diluted vinegar and water and store it in a spray bottle.

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