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STOP! Before You Clean With Vinegar

This kitchen staple is handy around the house — just not in these spots

 

We’re huge fans of having vinegar in our cleaning arsenal. It’s great at lifting stains, freshening laundry, cleaning windows, and much more. Plus, it’s inexpensive and all-natural. But vinegar is also acidic, which means that you can’t quite use it everywhere. Skip it on these spots:

1. Granite and marble countertops
“The acid in vinegar can etch natural stone,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the Home Appliances and Cleaning Products lab at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. Use a mild liquid dish detergent and warm water instead.

2. Stone floor tiles
Just like countertops, the natural stone in your bathroom doesn’t take kindly to acidic cleaners, like vinegar and lemon. Avoid ammonia, too, and stick to cleaning with special stone soap, or dish detergent and water.

3. An egg stain or spill
If you drop an egg on the floor (or find that your house or car has been the victim of some rambunctious teens), don’t reach for the vinegar to help clean up. Just like when you poach an egg, the acidity can cause it to coagulate, making the egg more difficult to remove.

4. Your iron
“Vinegar can damage the internal parts of an iron,” says Forte. “So don’t pour it through to freshen and clean it out. To keep irons from clogging, empty them completely after use, and follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.”

5. Hardwood floors
The jury’s still out on this one: Some homeowners find that vinegar solutions cleans their sealed hardwoods beautifully, but others report that it damages the finish. Our advice? Use a cleaner specifically formulated for hardwood (we recommend Bona). But if you want to try vinegar, always dilute with water and test it on an inconspicuous spot before you tackle an entire room.

6. Certain stubborn stains
Blot, sponge, and try as you might, grass stains, ink, ice cream, and blood won’t come out with vinegar alone, says Forte. They tend to set into the fabric quickly or just don’t respond to acid, so treat them with a prewash stain remover like Shout Advanced Gel, and launder with a detergent with enzymes (check the package — most stain-fighting detergents have them).

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