Unveiling the Secret Agent: The Reason Vinegar is a Thrifty and Effective Cleaning Agent

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Home » Blog » Natural & Non-Toxic » Unveiling the Secret Agent: The Reason Vinegar is a Thrifty and Effective Cleaning Agent

Vinegar is a product that’s cheap and easy to buy. And most homes have a bottle of it. Most of the time it’s found with the marinades at your local grocery store but did you know it also possesses cleaning properties? So, is vinegar a cleaning agent?

Yes, according to the US National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), the acidity in vinegar is potent, making it an excellent cleaning agent. It is effective for stains and surfaces and is a cleanser. 

So, if you’re wondering why vinegar would make a helpful cleaning agent, here’s the science behind it!

What Makes Vinegar a Cleaning Agent?

First things first, vinegar consists of an organic compound called acetic acid. Due to this primary ingredient, vinegar makes a powerful cleaning agent.

The acid in vinegar is effective at removing dirt, grime, soap scum, grease, and mineral deposits. Vinegar can also kill some bacteria and counterattack icky build-ups.

What is the Difference Between Distilled and Undistilled Vinegar?

The main difference between distilled and undistilled vinegar is the acid content level. Distilled vinegar has around 5% to 8% acetic acid.

On the other hand, regular or undistilled vinegar has an acetic acid of about 5% to 20%. On top of everything, the main ingredients of undistilled vinegar are apples, cider, grapes, and sugar cane.

However, distilled vinegar uses malt and maize. For everyday use, people use undistilled vinegar for cleaning, cooking, and gardening. Distilled vinegar is best for preparing industrial food and producing herbal medicine.

Why is Vinegar an Excellent Cleaning Agent?

The power of vinegar as a cleaning agent is all thanks to its natural acetic acid. Vinegar is also versatile because it doesn’t only clean surfaces, but removes stains from clothes, calcium deposits from faucets, and blockages from drains.

So, the next time you might ask why vinegar is such a fantastic cleaner. It all boils down to one thing. Vinegar’s acidity can easily break down grime, grease, and dirt.

What Can You Clean with Vinegar?


Every area of your humble home can benefit from vinegar as a cleaning agent. However, while vinegar proves to be very effective, it can damage other surfaces too. Here are the common areas in your home where you can clean safely using vinegar.

Is Vinegar a Cleaning Agent for Faucets?

The faucet is a great spot where you can use vinegar. When cleaning, mixing two teaspoons of vinegar with one teaspoon of salt is best. Trust me. This solution can wipe away calcium deposits on fixtures and faucets. If you spot a stubborn stain, try spraying the faucet with vinegar, tie a bag full of vinegar around the faucet, and let it stay overnight.

Read our article – Does Vinegar Clean Calcium Deposits? Make Your Faucets and Fixtures New Again to learn how to use vinegar to clean away calcium deposits.

Is Vinegar a Cleaning Agent for Floors?

Vinegar can make an effective floor cleaner. Add around ½ cup of vinegar with ½ gallon of water for practical use. However, if you’re cleaning a ceramic tile, pour ½ cup of vinegar into a gallon of water.

Before you use vinegar on the floor, spot-test it. Avoid using vinegar on waxed and wood floors.

To learn more about how to clean tile floors with vinegar, read our article – Does Vinegar Clean Tile Floors?

Is Vinegar a Cleaning Agent for Toilets?

If you’re looking for a cleaning solution for toilets with disinfectant and deodorizing features, vinegar must be on your list!

Add around 2 to 3 cups of vinegar inside the toilet bowl. Then, let it stay for at least 3 hours. And voila, you’ll find the bowl sparkling and germ-free!

Is Vinegar a Cleaning Agent for Appliances?

You can utilize vinegar to clean the ins and outs of your home appliances, plus stainless steel. For a start, make an equal mix of water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Afterward, spray the appliance with the solution and wipe it using a microfiber cloth.

When cleaning your appliances avoid using abrasive pads so you don’t scratch the surface of your favorite home appliances.

Is Vinegar a Cleaning Agent for Windows?

You may find your windows have built-up dirt. But with vinegar and water, you can make windows sparkle effortlessly.

Add vinegar, hot water, and liquid soap in equal portions. Once mixed, this solution can wipe out visible streaks quickly. For a pro tip, use a wet sponge to rub the grease and grime away.

You can also substitute regular vinegar with apple cider vinegar. Read our post – Can Apple Cider Vinegar Clean Windows? – Discover What ACV Can Do to learn how to clean your windows with apple cider vinegar.

What Should You Not Clean with Vinegar?

Without a doubt, vinegar is a top-notch cleaning ingredient. But to set things straight, this natural cleaner can cause serious damage to other household items and appliances.

While the vinegar hype is understandable, this cleaning agent is not a clean-all ingredient. To help you, here’s a list of stuff you should not clean with vinegar.


Keep your knives away from other stainless-steel grades like kitchen knives. Tools with exposed edges are pretty vulnerable. Vinegar can ruin the knife’s finish and leave its edge pitted.

In addition, don’t use vinegar in washing other kitchen metals, including copper and aluminum. It’s better to opt for warm water and dishwashing liquid.

Small Kitchen Appliances

Vinegar is a safe cleaner for small kitchen appliances like toasters, blenders, and coffee makers. But it’s best to prevent getting any vinegar on the metal or rubber. Often, small appliances are more prone to rust, and acid can ruin them. So, for small appliances, go for diluted dishwashing soap.

Electronic Screens

While vinegar can be perfect in making windows spot-free, never use it to clean the electronic screens of smartphones, laptops, desktop computers, tablets, and TVs. Because of its potent formula, vinegar can make the touchscreen feature less responsive and ruin the screen’s properties.

Stone Countertops

Avoid vinegar when maintaining the beautiful look of your stone countertops. The acetic acid might etch and dull your marble or limestone countertop.

Vinegar can dissolve the sealers of granite plus lose its shininess. Wiping the countertops with a dish towel or sponge soaked in mild detergent is a great option.

How to Make a Vinegar Cleaning Solution

Now, let’s head to the practical tips on making an effective vinegar-cleaning solution. Cheers to making your home shining and sparkling! So, here are they.

Step 1: Add water and vinegar to a spray bottle.

Step 2: Add lemon juice to level up the vinegar-cleaning solution with disinfecting properties.

Step 3: If there’s a persisting stain and you feel like water and vinegar are not working, add one teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid inside the spray bottle.

Step 4: Mix rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and glass cleaner for an excellent cleaning solution for glass surfaces.

What are the Types of Cleaning Vinegar?


There are main types of vinegar used for cleaning. Not all vinegar is suited or even practical for cleaning purposes. So, the next time you want to use vinegar, here are the details you must know.

Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar has vodka and fermented cane sugar. This type of vinegar is hailed as the most effective household cleaner because it’s multi-purpose, cheap, and safe. When mixed with baking soda, it’s a perfect grease remover.

Apple Cider Vinegar

No list of cleaning vinegar would be complete without including apple cider vinegar. This second type is made with fermented apples and eliminates water stains. Expect it to be a fantastic deodorizer too!

Industrial Vinegar

Known as the most robust vinegar available in the store, industrial vinegar is best used for outdoor cleaning. This third type is often used in cleaning commercial premises. However one must handle this solution with extreme care to avoid irritation and skin burn exposure.

Cleaning Vinegar

This type of vinegar is obviously great for cleaning (hence the name) but also effectively kills mold. Do not use this type of vinegar for cooking or marinating.

Learn more about the types of vinegar you can clean with when you read our article – What Vinegar Can You Clean With?

Or watch the video below.


After all that has been said, we hope we have answered your question: “Is vinegar a cleaning agent?” Indeed, vinegar is versatile, powerful, and cost-effective for cleaning.

It’s all due to its acetic acid content which helps clean various items in your house such as faucets, floors, toilets, appliances, and windows.

But it doesn’t clean everything and can ruin items such as knives, screens, stone countertops, and small appliances.

Remember, there are four types of vinegar you can use to clean: distilled, apple cider, industrial, and cleaning.

If you’re interested in learning more about vinegar, check out our article – Why Vinegar is the Ultimate Cleaning Agent You Need in Your Home