Cleaning with Vinegar
Some cleaners are so confident in the versatility and cleaning power of Vinegar, they use it in place of almost every other product when cleaning houses. In our opinion, it is a very useful cleaning product, but we would not recommend it for everything. First, let’s view the areas where it can be of great use and later we’ll see some of vinegar's limitation.
How Does Vinegar Work?
Vinegar's acidity is what makes it such a good cleaner. Acetic acid isn't the only compound in vinegar, but it's the one that makes vinegar acidic. In fact, with a pH of 2.4, distilled white vinegar is a pretty strong acid, more acidic than coffee or orange juice. Because vinegar is so acidic, it can eliminate a number of surface buildups around the house.
White vinegar is usually made of laboratory-produced acetic acid combined with water. White vinegar is the most acidic, which can make it a potent cleaner, but it can also make it too strong for some types of cleaning, in which case you can dilute it with water — or go with something milder, like apple cider vinegar. It can dissolve away soap scum, brine left by hard water, and glue left behind by stickers. It will also work well to eliminate most mineral buildup around the toilet or other ceramic surfaces.
In some cases, when vinegar is not strong enough to remove buildup around toilets, sinks or faucet, it may be necessary to use a strong toilet boil cleaner around the toilet or other liquids designed specifically to remove calcium and mineral buildup. In severe cases where these products will not remove the dark ring around the toilet, a pumice stick may be used as a last resort.
Vinegar is also great for giving windows and mirrors (use a combination of vinegar and water and wipe with a squeegee instead of a paper towel to avoid lint residue), no-wax floors, and wood paneling or cabinets an extra-clean shine. Vinegar can even get cat or dog urine out of carpets or other cloths and, bonus, that pungent smell can keep pets away from places you don't want them to go.
When is vinegar of limited use?
Make sure you or your house cleaner do not use vinegar on natural stone like granite or marble. It can actually scratch these types of surfaces at a microscopic level. It may not be visible to the average person, but to a well trained eye it will become apparent after just a few passes. This can lead to unnecessary and costly resurfacing of the stone surface. This brings another topic, make sure your house cleaner has some kind of service bond in case they damage the surface of your granite or other similar surface, they can at least pay to have it resorted to its original condition.
Some people use vinegar as a disinfectant.
Vinegar is not approved for this purpose by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because there's no evidence that vinegar can get rid of some of the most harmful pathogens that lurk on surfaces, like salmonella. For a more complete disinfection of certain areas, such as bathroom toilets, kitchen counters, and door handles we’d highly recommend using a commercial grade disinfectant that contains Benzalkonium Chloride, Alkyl C12-16 Dimethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride or something of similar strength to kill 99.9% of harmful pathogens.
Although vinegar can be useful in cleaning areas with small amounts of grease, such as a microwave, it will be almost useless to properly degrease the inside of an oven, stove top, or kitchen cabinets with cooking grease buildup. For heavy removing areas with heavy grease buildup be sure you or your house cleaner use a product that contains Ethanolamine, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, or something similar.
About the only other characteristic about vinegar that some people may find a bit annoying is the scent it leaves behind. Although the scent will dissipate after just a day or so after a house cleaning, it may annoy some people enough to request it not be used at all, or that it be used in a limited manner. Other than that, most people will appreciate the cleaning results left behind by a qualified house cleaner and vinegar.