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7 things you should never clean with white vinegar

White vinegar
White vinegar (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you look up any cleaning hack, you’re bound to see white vinegar as one of the magic ingredients. From removing stubborn stains to getting rid of grime and deodorizing, white vinegar seems to be the solution to every problem when knowing how to clean every room of your home. Remember, you should only use one type of vinegar when cleaning though.

What’s more, white vinegar is a natural product that can easily be found in our kitchen cupboards, saving us the hassle of buying chemical-laden cleaning products. And together with baking soda (its partner in crime), these household items make the ideal cleaning combo to tackle our chores.

But did you know that there are certain things you should never clean with white vinegar? In fact, these need to be avoided as white vinegar will cause more damage than good (on this occasion!) 

Despite its cleaning powers, white vinegar is highly acidic, which doesn’t bode well with certain surfaces. To avoid damage (and costs), these are the top things experts warn you to never clean with white vinegar. Just don’t even think about it! 

Once you've reviewed this advice be sure to check out our 7 things you should never clean with bleach guide.

If you want to use vinegar, but hate the smell, here's how to clean with vinegar without the smell

1.  Marble and granite countertops/tiles 

Marble kitchen worktop

Marble kitchen worktop (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The acidity of vinegar can etch or wear away at natural stone surfaces. This can cause discoloration to the finish, and ruin its smooth and shiny appearance. What’s more, marble, granite or any other natural stone are expensive materials, so repairing any damage can be costly. 

The best way to keep your marble and granite tops sparkling is to use dish soap and warm water. You can’t go wrong!

2.  Waxed furniture 

Cleaning waxed furniture

Cleaning waxed furniture (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Similarly, if you often use white vinegar to clean waxed or varnished furniture, it will wear away the shiny surface. Although many cleaning hacks suggest vinegar to clean furniture and dining tables, just be mindful of the type of surface. If in doubt, you can buy a formulated wood cleaner like this Therapy Furniture Polish & Wood Cleaner Kit ($16, Amazon) to get your furniture in top form.

3. Hardwood floors 

Cleaning hardwood floor

Cleaning hardwood floor (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The acidity in white vinegar can cause damage to hardwood floors, and strip the shiny surface. Instead, use a gentle cleaner like warm soapy water to maintain your beautiful hardwood flooring. Remember not to soak the floor or leave too much moisture on hardwood as this can warp the floor over time. Alternatively, use a specific hardwood floor cleaner such as Rejuvenate Professional Wood Floor Restorer and Polish ($21, Amazon) to protect your flooring. If you don't want to do the work yourself, check out our picks for the best robot mops.

4. Kitchen knives 

Kitchen knives

Kitchen knives (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have stains on your fancy set of knives, avoid using white vinegar to clean them. The acidic content can corrode the metal blades and dull knife edges. The best way to maintain your kitchen knives is to simply wash with soap and warm water before thoroughly drying.

5.  Egg stains 

Egg spilled on floor

Egg spilled on floor (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Although white vinegar is given much credit for removing tough stains, egg stains isn’t one of them. The acidity of the vinegar will only stiffen the egg (much like adding vinegar to water to poach eggs), making it more difficult to remove. 

The best way to safely remove an egg stain is to mix a solution of two teaspoons of liquid dish soap in two cups of cool water. Then, dip a sponge, white cloth or soft-bristled brush in the solution and work into the stain. Once the stain is lifted out, blot with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel.  

6. Computer and phone screens 

Cleaning laptop screen

Cleaning laptop screen (Image credit: Shutterstock)

While it may be tempting to use white vinegar to get a shiny and mark-free screen, it’s a bad idea. Vinegar will only strip off the protective coating of the screen and should not be used on electronic devices. Instead, use microfiber cloths to wipe away any dust particles or dirt. You can also buy specially formulated cleaners such as Eveo Screen Cleaner Spray ($20, Amazon) for spotless screens.

7. Rubber items 

Rubber inside washing machine

Rubber inside washing machine (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether it’s the rubber found inside your washing  machine, fridge or any other item, avoid cleaning with white vinegar. The strong acidity of white vinegar can wear down the rubber, causing the material to degrade over time. Instead, the safest way to deep clean or deodorize rubber is simply soapy water or a solution of warm water and baking soda. 

If any of this surprises you, here are 10 things you didn’t know you could clean with baking soda for a spotless home. 

Cynthia Lawrence

Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 


Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.


With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!