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"Will Vinegar Damage Any of My Furniture or Fabrics if Used As a Household Cleaner?"

This article was written as a response to the question: Can I use vinegar to remove stains on delicate furniture?
How to use vinegar for household cleaning.

Vinegar is not harmful when in contact with the skin, furniture, fabrics, and most surfaces (except marble, as it can erode). It can be used safely, especially around children and pets, and can even be consumed when diluted with water or oil. It can be consumed in small quantities undiluted, but excessive consumption can induce gastric problems. Its strong odor is non-toxic and will eventually fade after exposure to air. The only time vinegar poses a health risk is when mixed with store-bought cleaners or other chemicals, because the resulting fumes are deadly. Never mix vinegar with bleach or ammonia!

Multi-purpose vinegar

As the product of fermented ethanol, vinegar has been used throughout history among all cultures. The Greeks prescribed it as a health tonic, the Egyptians created colored glass using its acidic properties, and Romans used it in their foods. The Bible also contains mention of vinegar, or sour wine, which was given to Jesus upon the cross.

In recent years, there have been claims of vinegar being useful for holistic purposes, such as with weight loss, diet, and disease prevention. There have been several vinegar products on the market for those purposes, but they have since been taken off the shelf. Instead, vinegar has now been widely touted as a “green” product, safe for the environment and the home as an alternative to store-bought cleaners. Therefore, it is a cost-effective household cleaner because it is just as useful if diluted with water or not, where you can really get your money’s worth.  A gallon can be found at most grocery stores for under $3 and has a long shelf life of several years, depending on the type of vinegar, with white vinegar being the most widely used variety. Others most commonly used in cooking include malt vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and rice vinegar.

Using vinegar around the house

There are many uses for vinegar around the house, including:

Surfaces

  • Cleaning a coffee maker

  • Disinfecting counters

  • Final rinse in the dishwasher for sparkling dishes and a cleaner dishwasher

  • Final rinse on linoleum floors

  • Spraying on mirrors or windows for a streak-free shine

  • Deodorizing and removing build-up from the microwave

  • Polishing wooden or wicker furniture

  • Polishing leather

  • In place of (or in addition to) fabric softener to whiten or soften laundry and keep washing machine clean

 

Cooking

  • Tenderizing meats

  • Pickling cucumbers, onions, garlic, and other vegetables

  • Salad dressings or dipping oil for breads

  • Play dough when mixed with flour, water, and salt

  • Keeping eggs from cracking while hard-boiling

 

Body

  • Adding shine to hair when used as a final rinse in the shower

  • Pain reliever as a warm compress

  • Soothing itching skin by adding to bathwater

  • Disinfecting wounds

 

Useful Resources

Related keywords: vinegar mould removal
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Comments (4)

Wow, I thought the acidity in vinegar could be harmful to wood varnish and furniture, but I was wrong! When you use vinegar to clean, do you have to dilute it with water first or do you can you use it straight out of the bottle?

You can dilute it with water if you want, and add more vinegar as you go, if you find that you need more cleaning power. The only time vinegar is not good on surfaces would be on tv or computer screens (because I don't trust anything other than special cleaners for that, my preference) and marble countertops or floors.

Vinegar is awesome to clean with, a really great multi-purpose product love it and these ideas!

Ranked #56 in Home Cleaning

I use vinegar all the time in my home, including in my chairs where the cats and dogs have sat. It has been diluted and used straight on various furniture and doesn't seem to harm anything. Love the stuff - hate the smell. A diluted solution of vinegar is a better cleaning agent, as it doesn't take as long for the smell to dissipate. Informative article. Nice!

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