7 Things You Should Never Clean with Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar is often a good thing—but not always.

Vinegar might seem like the answer to every cleaning conundrum, especially since it's found in several of our favorite homemade cleaning solutions. But it's not always the best choice. Vinegar is a fantastic multi-purpose cleaner, but it's not a miracle solvent that works on every type of stain or messy situation. And while cleaning with vinegar is affordable, eco-friendly, and relatively safe, there are still some surfaces and materials that it can damage. Save yourself from cleaning regrets—never clean these seven things with vinegar.

01 of 07

Granite and Marble Surfaces

Things You Should Never Clean With Vinegar
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Over time, the acid in vinegar can wear away at the finishes on your countertop. While these surfaces are known for their durability, they're also expensive, so you want to keep them looking new for as long as possible. Repeatedly using a vinegar-based, all-purpose cleaner can slowly fade that smooth shine. The easiest way to keep stone clean is to wipe it down with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Easy, right?

02 of 07

Tech Devices

It might be tempting to grab a microfiber cloth and some vinegar to scrub away those smudges on your touchscreen devices. But it can ruin the coating on the screen. Since tech screens can be fickle, experts recommend using the cleaning formula specifically formulated for your laptop, phone, or tablet. Wiping down the device with a clean, dry microfiber will often do the trick.

RELATED: How to Deep Clean a Germy Cell Phone (Without Destroying It)

03 of 07

Anything with Bleach

It's generally best to avoid mixing chemicals, which is serious business and can be unsafe. Bleach and ammonia can create a toxic gas, and the same goes for vinegar–an acid that releases toxic chlorine vapors when mixed with bleach. Separating your cleaning products will keep your home clean and safe.

04 of 07

Waxed Furniture and Flooring

As with stone countertops, using vinegar repeatedly on waxed wooden surfaces can cause the finish to wear over time. While some pros recommend using vinegar to clean floors and remove grime from furniture, exercise caution. Consider your specific items and avoid leaving water or moisture on wooden surfaces. Be careful when cleaning any finished wood surface and start with the least harmful method first.

05 of 07

Certain Parts of the Dishwasher

Vinegar is known for its cleaning and deodorizing properties, so adding a cup of white vinegar to the top rack is a popular tip for cleaning a dishwasher. However, the acid in vinegar can break down the rubber seal of a dishwasher and other appliances over time. Check your appliance's manual to see if it's made with natural rubber, which can handle vinegar. If not, try a more diluted vinegar solution and run a normal cycle so the vinegar never sits on the rubber parts.

06 of 07

Pet Messes

While vinegar is a great deodorizer, you don't want to use it to clean up pet accidents. While it might remove the odors you smell, pets will still be able to sniff out past accidents and continue to mark these spots again and again. Instead of vinegar, use an enzymatic cleaner. It will kill the odors you smell and the ones only detectable by your pet.

07 of 07

Deteriorating Grout

While you can probably get away with using vinegar to clean your grout every now and then, it's best to avoid it. Over time, caustic cleaners like vinegar and bleach can wear away the seal on grout and tile, causing them to age and deteriorate more quickly. For the safest way to clean grout, start with the mildest cleaning method and work your way up from there.

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