What Vinegar Can You Clean With?

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Cleaning with vinegar is one of the most cost-efficient ways of cleaning your home. While vinegar does not have a lemony-fresh scent like other commercial products, this cleaning solution is versatile and cheap. The biggest question, though, is what vinegar can you clean with?

Of all types of vinegar in the world, there are four common types normally used for cleaning. They are distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, industrial vinegar, and cleaning vinegar. Any other kinds, however, are usually used for consumption.

This post will focus on the four main types of vinegar used for cleaning, their composition, and how you can use them to clean surfaces or any part of your house.

What Types of Vinegar Are There for Cleaning?

The market offers a plethora of vinegar, but not all are ideal for cleaning. As mentioned, the common types of vinegar used for cleaning are distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, industrial vinegar, and cleaning vinegar.

Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar, also known as white vinegar, is made from sugar cane or grain alcohol like vodka. It is a versatile cleaning agent because of its effectiveness, affordability, and safety. Like other types of vinegar used for cleaning, white vinegar is environmentally friendly and widely available in grocery stores.

White vinegar can clean toilets, glass, and tile floors. It can clean stains and kill bacteria and molds. To use this solution, this should be diluted by mixing equal parts vinegar and water.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is primarily for consumption but also works for cleaning and skin care. It is made from fermented apples and contains the same acid properties as white vinegar. However, unlike other types of vinegar, this one has a more pleasant smell because of the apples it is fermented from.

When using apple cider vinegar to clean, dilute it with water. It can clean almost anything, like white vinegar.

Industrial Vinegar

If you’re looking for vinegar with more acetic properties, go for industrial vinegar. It is the most potent vinegar available in the market, with 20 to 30% acetic acid and around 70% water. Due to its acetic content, it is not advisable to use it at home. This type of vinegar is usually for outdoor cleaning (i.e., commercial buildings).

While industrial vinegar is available for cleaners, handle with extreme care. And use this type of vinegar only for intense cleaning projects. Cleaners should wear gloves and eye protection when using them.

Cleaning Vinegar

Cleaning vinegar is a white vinegar distilled from full-strength vinegar. It contains around 6% to 7% acetic content and 93% to 94% water. Due to its high acid properties, you should only use this solution for cleaning, unlike white vinegar and apple cider vinegar which can also be consumed.

When mixed with baking soda, this cleaning agent can be a powerful sink, toilet, and tub cleaner and unclogger. It can also cut through grease and grime easily. However, it would be best if you never used this type of vinegar to clean finished wood surfaces, electronic gadgets, metal surfaces, and glass surfaces.

What Type of Vinegar is the Best for Cleaning?

Among all types of vinegar used for cleaning, the winner is white vinegar. It is versatile, cheap, widely available, and doesn’t contain a coloring agent. Stains usually happen when one uses colored vinegar. 

White vinegar only contains 5% acid content, making it safe for consumption and cleaning. It has more power for cleaning soap scum, breaking down hard water minerals, and removing dirt and stains. Most of all, it has a less vinegary smell.

What Should I Use Industrial Vinegar For?


So why is there industrial vinegar in the market when it’s unsafe to use inside the house? Industrial vinegar, otherwise known as agricultural vinegar, kills weeds or plants. This type of vinegar is helpful if you have a garden or patio at home.

Many consumers use this solution to clean tough stains in the bathroom and kitchen. However, it contains around 20% acetic acid, making it dangerous for indoor cleaning, especially if you have kids at home. 

Can You Use Balsamic Vinegar to Clean?

Yes, you can use balsamic vinegar to clean surfaces or any part of the house that needs cleaning. It has the same amount of acidic properties as white vinegar, so this solution is safe for cleaning and consumption.  

However, the reason why balsamic vinegar is not popular among cleaners is that it is very dark. After all, it comes from grapes. So even though it can clean dirt and grease, the color and darkness make it unsuitable for cleaning because it can stain surfaces and fabrics you want to clean.

Can You Use Wine Vinegar to Clean?

From removing carpet spots and scrubbing away stains on the kitchen counters, wine vinegar is a perfect alternative to harsh store-bought chemicals. It is a natural cleaner and disinfectant, so it’s ideal for removing grime and killing bacteria.

But while wine vinegar is an effective cleaner, they are only sometimes used as such. This is because wine vinegar is a lot more expensive than white vinegar. Hence, cleaners would instead use the most inexpensive option as it cleans the same but without spending much money.

What is the Difference Between Cleaning Vinegar and White Vinegar?

Contrary to people’s belief, cleaning and white vinegar is not the same. Cleaning vinegar may sound like the perfect cleaning agent because it is labeled as “cleaning” vinegar. While there’s truth to that, cleaning vinegar may contain impurities you can’t find in white vinegar.

Cleaning vinegar has more acetic properties than white vinegar. So the latter is more cost-efficient because you can use it for cooking and cleaning. Cleaning vinegar, however, is strictly for cleaning alone because it’s high acetic components are dangerous.

What Should You Not Clean Vinegar With?


Just because vinegar is natural does not mean you can use it on every cleaning project. Some types of vinegar, like industrial vinegar, will significantly damage most objects at home. Don’t use vinegar to clean the following:


Do not clean countertops made from marble, granite, and limestone with vinegar. The acid content of vinegar will damage the natural stones of these materials. Vinegar will cause these types of countertops to lose their shine or break down their sealer. Instead, wipe down the countertops with a sponge or clean towel dipped in mild detergent.

Electronic Devices

It would be best if you never used vinegar to clean electronic devices such as cellphones, TVs, stereos, computer screens, etc. This solution will damage the device’s anti-glare properties or touchscreen response. Clean these devices with a gentle cleaner that doesn’t contain acid instead.


If you have hardwood floors, don’t dare clean them with vinegar. Some manufacturers will void your warranty if there are signs of vinegar on the flooring. Vinegar will dissolve the finish of the wood, and the flooring will look dull, cloudy, and scratched. Follow the manufacturer’s guide when cleaning hardwood floors.

Small Appliances

Vinegar is safe on the glass and plastic surfaces of coffee makers, blenders, and toasters. However, it can harm some small appliances’ rubber and metal parts. When in doubt, use mild dishwashing soap to clean these items.


Although vinegar wouldn’t necessarily damage ranges or cooktops, it will never solve a greasy mess. Acid solutions are lousy degreasers. Use baking soda, Borax, or any alkaline cleaner to clean ranges.

Where Can You Buy Vinegar for Cleaning?

Now that you know which type of vinegar is best for cleaning, it’s time to find out where you can buy them. Go to these places if you want to stock your home with a variety of vinegar for cleaning.

Grocery or Retail Stores

Almost all vinegar types (if not all) can be found in grocery stores or retail stores. They are typically in the food or cleaning section area.

Garden Centers

Garden Centers sell industrial vinegar. After all, this type of vinegar is typically used on plants.


Vinegar with high acetic properties can be found on Amazon. This is also the best place to buy any vinegar. Take note, though, that vinegar comes in bottles or gallons, so they are heavy. This means that buying them online means extra shipping charges.


Overall, a majority of vinegar available in the market can be used for cleaning. But not all of them are useful for some cleaning chores. This solution, however, is inexpensive, effective, and environmentally friendly.

Apple cider vinegar is almost the same as white vinegar, but because of its color, it is not suitable for cleaning white or light materials or surfaces. Meanwhile, industrial and cleaning vinegar is a powerful cleaner, but because of its high acetic properties, it is not for consumption.

When looking for the safest cleaner, go for white vinegar. It is the best choice among all types of vinegar as it will meet almost all your cleaning needs at a friendly price.

To learn more about cleaning with vinegar, read our article – Does Vinegar Clean Tile Floors?