Today I want to share an important topic with you, are homemade vinegar cleaners safe for all surfaces?
Making your own cleaner is so easy to do, and cheap too! Plus, it eliminates many harmful unnecessary chemicals typically found in store-bought cleaners.
Can’t go wrong with that, right?
Actually, you can!
As a chemist, I am constantly experimenting with everything. Homemade cleaners, making your own plant food, removing rust in a crazy way, and making crazy concoctions for my body. I am also notoriously creating dangerous things that can ruin something in the house or practically blow something up.
Since I learn things the hard way and research everything I can, I want to share it with you. That way, you don’t have to learn the hard way!
First, a quick story before we dive in. In college, I took this hard class called organic qualitative analysis. It was hard, but one of my favorite classes ever! It was like what a forensic chemist would do back in the day before fancy technology. We were given some random unknown substance that was only about a teaspoon worth. The goal was to figure out what that substance was through various testing methods. Chemical testing, physical testing (like burning and freezing), and instrumental testing.
When you get a bunch of chemists in a lab trying to figure things out any way possible, disasters can happen. More times than not, we set off ventilation system alarms due to smoking out the lab with acids. Many people got burns from mixing up dangerous chemicals unknowingly. So, I learned A LOT about trial and error, investigating, and researching in that class.
I practice those lessons today when I create homemade chemist solutions to share with you.
Which leads me to today’s post…
Pin This ⇓ Are homemade vinegar cleaners safe for all surfaces?
Vinegar is chemically known as acetic acid. It is made through alcohol fermentation and is highly acidic, which is what makes it an awesome cleaning agent. I use it in so many homemade solutions. It is effective, cheap, and safe around humans and pets.
Since it is an acid though, there are a few things you need to watch out for.
Do not use vinegar on natural stone or marble.
Vinegar can eat away at stone and marble surfaces overtime. Stone tiles, travertine, granite, marble, or anything in that family should not have vinegar as a cleaner!
Some grouts found in ceramic tiles or that’s been sealed is okay, but if you have grout unsealed in stone tile, it can eat away at that. Strong acids in general should not be used for this.
Wood floors or furniture.
Vinegar can damage the wood and any stain on hardwood floors. In fact, vinegar is a common wood distressing technique, so it can remove stain and damage your natural hard wood.
This goes for waxed wood furniture too. It can damage the coating on the wood. If you have fake wood floors, vinegar is fine to use.
Don’t mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in a bottle!
I see solutions all over the internet that have the combination of vinegar and peroxide in a bottle. Combined, vinegar and peroxide form peracetic acid. This is a very strong acid that can be dangerous when breathed in or on the skin. It can cause asthma too! You can see how toxic it is on this MSDS.
You may notice that I use vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together in some of my solutions! Here’s the thing, using them separate is safe and is effective too. For instance, in this homemade carpet cleaner, I use baking soda, then vinegar for the part one. Then I follow up by spraying the hydrogen peroxide. I never bottle them up together! That is the key.
Certain food stains.
It is best not to clean up egg or anything greasy with vinegar. I’ve accidentally used some homemade cleaner on an egg spill, and it just formed this hard coagulant, making it impossible to get off. Always use something alkaline, like a dish soap!
So, what can you use vinegar on?
Vinegar is still incredibly effective for cleaning surfaces like carpet, plastic, glass, fabrics, stainless steel, and more!
Ask a chemist! If you aren’t sure, feel free to ask me via email.
If you want more fun cleaning solutions and information, follow me on social media and subscribe to the newsletter. And be on the lookout for the Chemistry Hacks for home and garden book!