7 Things You Should Never Clean With Vinegar

7 Things You Should Never Clean With Vinegar

From descaling coffee makers to getting rid of grime and water stains, vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent. Distilled white vinegar is a versatile cleaner in the non-toxic cleaning world, but multi-purpose does not mean it is all-purpose. When it comes to cleaning with vinegar, there are household items that can easily damage if you clean them with vinegar. Additionally, if you mix vinegar with other cleaning agents, especially bleach, the acid in vinegar can create dangerous chemical reactions.

People like vinegar because it is both inexpensive and non-toxic. Even though it is readily available, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution for every cleaning obstacle you face. You don’t want to ruin wood finish or damage your stone countertop. For these reasons, we’ve highlighted seven things that you should never clean with vinegar.


If you have unsealed or damaged grout, do not clean it with vinegar. Over time, vinegar can wear grout away and cause it to deteriorate. If you have sealed grout, however, you can clean it with vinegar, but you should still use non-acidic cleaners to avoid ruining your grout. 

Cast Iron

Don’t let any cast iron lovers ever see you soak your cast iron pans in vinegar. There is a specific set of rules to follow when it comes to seasoning and cleaning your cast iron pans. The seasoning process slowly builds up a coat of oil that helps keep cast iron non-stick. The reason that you should not use vinegar to clean your cast iron is because it cuts through that film, in addition to reacting with cast iron and causing it to rust.

Hardwood Floors

Tile floors can take a beating, but hardwood floors are a little more sensitive. People have mixed feelings about completely avoiding vinegar on hardwood floors or using a diluted vinegar solution to clean them. Most flooring manufacturers recommend that you do not clean floors with vinegar because the strong acid can eat away at the finish, causing it to dull over time. 

Rubber Gaskets And Hoses

If you repeatedly expose rubber gaskets and hoses to vinegar, they will disintegrate over time. Make sure that you check the manufacturer’s instructions before you clean household appliances with vinegar. Dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators may contain rubber that can easily disintegrate when exposed to vinegar. 

Pet Messes

If you have a pet, especially a new one, they will most likely pee or poop in the house. Vinegar is not an ideal cleaning agent for surfaces like mattresses, upholstered furniture, or carpeting. The Humane Society of the United States does not recommend the use of vinegar on pet messes. The reason for this is because the strong chemical odors may encourage your pet to reinforce the urine scent mark in that area. Ideally, use an enzyme-based cleaning agent for pet messes. 

Your Phone Or Tablet

Maybe you are following a recipe and dirty the screen of your phone or tablet. Whatever you do, don’t clean the screen with vinegar. Additionally, if you are making dressing or something that calls for vinegar, avoid splashing vinegar on the screen. The screen has a fingerprint-resistant coating that vinegar can damage. Should you need to clean your screen, use a microfiber cloth dampened with water. 

Natural Stone Surfaces

Marble, granite, and other natural stone surfaces, such as slate, should not be cleaned with vinegar. That means don’t use vinegar on home furnishes like countertops, floors, or shower walls, or household goods like tabletops or serving pieces. The acid in vinegar can etch stone or cause pitting that you cannot undo.

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