On top of nearly everyone’s list of green cleaning products is vinegar. In fact many will tout it as the ultimate cleaner, a panacea for anyone wanting a non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaner. The fact that it is an inexpensive commodity makes it all the more desirable as the answer for green spring- cleaning.
Who does not want the best ecofriendly solution available? After all as Wendell Berry, naturalist and writer, stated, “The earth is the only thing we have in common.”
Vinegar the Wonder Cleaner
Common household vinegar is one of those miracle wonder products for which new uses are being discovered. Not so fast. Many times the reason why vinegar is seen as effective is that in reality it is coupled with good old fashioned “elbow grease”.
As a wonder product, people are always discovering new uses for it. 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.
Damage Vinegar Causes
Unfortunately vinegar can be harmful. As CleansGreen® researches and shares the science of green cleaning, there are times when it is important to NOT use vinegar because of the harm it causes. Green Cleaning Products LLC has already answered the question “Is Vinegar the Answer to Everything?” as it Unveils the Damage It Causes.
Some other of the top most injurious applications of vinegar are:
- To clean sensitive screens of favorite electronic gadgets. Smartphone screens and laptop monitors generally have a thin layer of oleophobic coating to limit fingerprints and smudges. Never use vinegar as the acidic solution can strip this off causing permanent damage to the device.
- As an insecticide if used incorrectly. Spraying vinegar directly on bug-infested plants can damage them since it is also a weed-killer.
- On porous surfaces like marble, stone and unsealed grout, or hardwood floors. Vinegar is an acid, over time the vinegar will etch, pit, corrode, thus dull the surface (including the “seal”) with age and repeated use.
- Mixing with bleach. While both bleach and vinegar are each powerful cleaners, when mixed together they make a powerful chemical weapon. Chlorine gas is the result when bleach is mixed with any acidic substance. (FYI – It was chlorine gas that was used to clear the trenches in World War I!)
- Cast iron and aluminum pots and pans since these will react and be damaged by vinegar. If you insist on using vinegar for cleaning pots and pans, stick to enameled cast iron and stainless steel cookware.
- With eggs, if you are the victim of an egging. Vinegar causes the proteins in the egg to coagulate. As such vinegar produces a gluey substance that is even harder to clean.
- Any waxed surface. Vinegar strips the wax causing a dulling the sheen created, such as on a car.
Additional Vinegar Concerns
Vinegar is considered the all-purpose cleaner and often becomes the cleaner of choice, unfortunately, it does not lift grease. Since grease is a common component to anything that needs cleaning, vinegar is not effective. In these cases, use any common alkaline based cleaner, such as soap, multi-purpose cleaner, or dish detergent.
Vinegar (and bleach) is touted as a great way to remove mildew and mold, but it does not. Vinegar only makes it look better since only the surface mold is “whitened.” The most effective method is to go to the source to remove and remediate the moisture source.
Summarizing 7 Concerns
Just because there are a million Pinterest pins touting how magical it is, doesn’t actually make a good cleaner for your green home.