Aug 232019
Which Vinegar is Used for Cleaning – Natural Cleaning

Which vinegar is used for cleaning? There are so many varieties of vinegar available to buy today. There is a range of different colors. Some are clear, brown, green or even red.

Did you know that although some kinds of vinegar, such as malt vinegar, are generally bad for us, other vinegar such as balsamic vinegar is really good for us?

There is a whole world of vinegar to explore, taste and enjoy. But have you ever heard of using vinegar to clean?

Vinegar is an effective natural alternative to your everyday household cleaning products which can be extremely toxic and dangerous.

In this post, you will discover which vinegar is used for household cleaning. Read on!


What Is Vinegar?

Vinegar is a liquid substance made from acetic acid and small amounts of other chemicals. Sometimes it is made from different flavorings too.

The acetic acid is derived from the fermentation of sugars or ethanol from fruits or grains. It is formed by 5-20% acetic acid and the rest is water.

Although the acidity percentage varies depending on the type of vinegar, we can usually see this percentage on the product label.

There are multiple types of organic and non-organic kinds of vinegar such as white distilled vinegar, wine, champagne, balsamic, sherry, cider or apple, port, etc.


The type of vinegar will depend on what it is made from.

It is now used for a variety of purposes, but is well known for its benefits in the kitchen – pickling, cooking ingredient, flavoring in sauces, health benefits, etc.

It is the easiest form of a mild acid to produce and therefore it also has a history of domestic and industrial uses, e.g. cleaning.


Wine and Vinegar?

Have you ever tasted a wine that has turned? Let me save you the trouble, it tastes very sour and similar to a bottle of vinegar that you might find in your pantry.


When making wine, sugar is turned into alcohol through the process of fermentation.

When wine is then exposed to oxygen, ethanol is converted into acetic acid and the wine turns into vinegar.



Why is Vinegar Used for Cleaning?

Acetic acid is what makes vinegar acidic.

This acidity is what makes vinegar an ideal natural cleaning alternative. It can kill many gems, break down grease, dissolve soap scums and tackle a variety of stains.

The lower the pH level, the more acidic the vinegar is and the better it is for cleaning.

Distilled white vinegar is the most acidic vinegar and usually has a pH of around 2.4. It is a strong acid, making it a potent cleaner.

Many stores stock ‘cleaning vinegar‘ which is a stronger form of distilled white vinegar.

It is important to note here that when doing household cleaning, apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar will be effective for general-purpose too and it is less harmful to the environment because of the lower levels of acidity.

When I am tackling a more challenging cleaning task, I will use cleaning vinegar.




Difference Between Cleaning Vinegar & Distilled Vinegar

The difference between the two is the strength. Cleaning vinegar is stronger than distilled vinegar.

Ordinary white vinegar usually has 5% acidity content and distilled white cleaning vinegar usually has a 6% acidity content.

What appears to be a small difference, one percent, actually makes the cleaning vinegar a staggering 20% stronger!

So when I get I asked for vinegar recommendations regarding cleaning, I always recommend purchasing the cleaning type as it will be more effective.

When cleaning most people will want the stronger option as it will perform better, for example, it is better at breaking down builds ups, killing germs, etc.

For a more detailed look at this, watch the following video:


Why Switch?

Did you know that regular household cleaning supplies are constructed from some of the most powerful bacteria killers around?

They are expertly engineered to annihilate nearly every single organism they come into contact with.

Knowing this, it is no surprise that these man-made poisons are extremely harmful to our health and the health of our environment.

Many of these products have toxic effects on our bodies, and animal life and plant life once they enter our waterway.


The reality is that there are very few scenarios when these harsh chemicals are needed.

Vinegar is a biodegradable, safer option for our environment and own personal health.


Does Vinegar Clean?

I am personally cleaning with vinegar every day.

The cupboard under my sink has a variety of homemade vinegar-based cleaning products: all-purpose, window cleaner, dusting spray, wood polish, wood floor cleaner, shower spray, oven cleaner, etc.

It s simple, basic and is more organized and healthy space. It is not jam-packed with toxic chemicals.

Do you find it strange that many people choose to store these dangerous chemicals in the same space where they prepare food? I know I do!


Vinegar acidity makes it a very diverse cleaner and a good alternative to bleach.

It dissolves mineral deposits, soap marks, grass stains, glues, mildew, wax build-up, removes sticky stains, sweat stains, hard water stains, polishes many metals, cleans brick and stone and deodorizes.

However, be always cautious when using vinegar for the first time. It can be too strong for some types of delicate fabrics and stone surfaces, therefore it may need diluting with water first.

I often dilute and test a small area first if I am concerned about how the two materials may react.



Is Vinegar a Disinfectant?

Many people use vinegar as a disinfectant as it kills the majority of bacteria.


However, it is not a registered disinfectant and is not approved for this use by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This is because it doesn’t kill some dangerous bacteria such as staphylococcus or salmonella.

When I am concerned about dangerous bacteria lurking in my household, I add a little (less than 3%) of hydrogen peroxide (a natural disinfectant or bleach) to my homemade all-purpose cleaner.

I especially like doing this when one of my three kids has the lurgy!

I also use hydrogen peroxide when cleaning my toilet as a natural alternative to bleach.

Tip: Cleaning Red Wine Stains on Carpet


Make up a paste using 2 tbsp. Of cleaning vinegar and ¼ cup of baking soda.

After blotting up wine with a cloth, rub the paste into the carpet and then allow it time to dry.

Then finish by vacuuming up whatever may be leftover.


The Environmental Working Group


Their Mission:

“To empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.”

This is a non-profit organization that provides information to help people better understand how they can protect themselves and the environment.

They cover a range of topics from household cleaning products, drinking water to choosing healthier mattresses.

They have a fantastic reference guide to assist people when choosing natural cleaning products. They have an app called ‘EWG’s Healthy Living’ too.

Follow this link to install the app now.


Baking Soda

Baking soda cleans well, especially when used in combination with vinegar. This is because a chemical reaction takes place when the two are combined.

You know it is working because you will see and hear the fizzing.

I like to use the Arm and Hammer brand as they are well trusted. They also receive an ‘A’ rating with The Environmental Working Group.



Challenge: Read ‘The Dirt on Cleaning Product Companies’

Read this review about how well five leading cleaning product manufacturers are rated on toxic chemicals and consumer right-to-known issues.

It is called ‘The Dirt on Cleaning Product Companies’, by Woman’s Voices for the Earth (WVE).

The Dirt on Cleaning Product Companies

Which Vinegar is Used for Cleaning? The Final Verdict!

There are many different types of vinegar on the market. How do you choose which one to use when cleaning?

This comes down to personal preference. If you want to best protect the environment I would use a more gentle vinegar such as apple cider vinegar as an all-purpose day to day cleaner.

When you need something stronger, because there are germs in the house, you have difficult dirt to tackle then up the ante a little bit and opt for a distilled white vinegar or cleaning vinegar.

You can even add in a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide as a natural alternative to bleach.

I prefer to use the Heinz All Natural Cleaning Vinegar. They also receive an ‘A’ rating with The Environmental Working Group.


A Few Final Thoughts

If you ever need a helping hand or have any questions on this product or want to leave a comment or a review of your own, please do so in the space provided below.

I will be more than happy to answer them as best to my knowledge and would enjoy hearing from you.

Click here to receive my free ebook – ‘How to Take the First Step: Understanding of Impact’.

If you want to join me on this journey, please use the social links below.

All the best,


Please follow, like, share and subscribe!

Reader Comments

  1. Hi Catherine! Lovely post regarding the overlooked household product~ My mum has taught me since I was young that vinegar is a great helper in terms of cleaning as well as washing clothes. Although I did not enjoy the smell at all, it really does the job well! =)

    1. Hi there Hans,

      I am pleased to hear that you are already aware of this wonderful natural product.
      You make a very valid point about the smell. The most common mistake people make here is the quantities they use in their solutions.
      Also using pure essential oils which also have valuable cleaning properties, such as lemon, will really help with that too.

      I hope this has been useful to you!

      Have a green day!

  2. Interesting article. My wife uses vinegar in the laundry along with the regular detergent, etc.. Whether she does it for cleaning or odor control, I don’t know, but it seems to work for her.

    1. Hello Elden,

      Thank you for stopping by. Yes, that is a fantastic way to use vinegar. I use it for cleaning nearly everything.
      Yes, it has very good cleaning properties, on surfaces and in the air.
      I tend to use pure essential essentials to mask the smell of the vinegar, diluting it with water helps too.

  3. Hello Catherine, I like your post! I heard that vinegar is a good household product for cleaning and I think that my mom used vinegar a couple of times before.

    Which other cleaning products do you recommend?

    1. Hello Scott,

      I am pleased to hear that your family likes using vinegar. I would also recommend Hydrogen Peroxide as a natural alternative to bleach and pure essential oils (preferably organic). Watch this space for more posts on this.

      All the best.

  4. Thank you such an informative post. I never realised there is such a thing as cleaning vinegar! I hate using some of those powerful cleaners due to toxic chemicals. I buy alternatives such as ecover, but now I’m going to try some of your tips. Also, I didn’t realise hydrogen peroxide can be used as an alternative to bleach. I love the idea of creating your own disinfectant.

    1. Yes, bleach is just awful! I usually feel light-headed after using it and this just demonstrates its dangers.
      I use hydrogen to clean all kinds of things, but mostly my toilet. What I have learned from my research is that there are very few scenarios when you would need a pure chemical such as hydrogen peroxide. If my loved ones are unwell, I usually add a small amount to my all-purpose spray. Best of luck with it – delighted to hear you are going to try something new after reading.

  5. Hi Catherine,

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. My wife uses vinegar for come of the cleaning around the house, but it seems like there are more uses. I will share that with her.

    God bless,

    1. Thank you for reading Jusoo. There are. I use it for cleaning nearly everything and find it to be very effective.
      I am pleased that she is already using it in some scenarios and you are right to share as there is always something else we can be doing to help protect our environment.

  6. I’m all for cleaning with vinegar as it’s better than polluting the earth with toxic chemicals. But I couldn’t bear the smell it leaves around the house. Is there any way to neutralize its scent? It’s like my last resort for natural cleaning solutions.

    1. Yes, there certainly is, so please don’t give up yet!

      Ensure that you are diluting the vinegar with water. I find 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water effective. You can use this ratio to fill up a spray bottle. Then add about 10 drops of 100% pure lemon essential oil and shake well. Lemmon essential oil has antibacterial properties.
      This makes a fantastic all-purpose cleaner.

      I hope this works for you. I cant smell when I use vinegar like this.
      Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear how you get on.

  7. I love Vinegar but I have learnt a lot from your post, I never realised it was such a good and flexible household cleaner.

    My love of Vinegar stems from cleaning dirty old brass lamps and removing heavy and overbearing tarnish from Brass and Copper, it works brilliantly.

    Thank you for the additional information.

    Regards Mike

    1. Hi there Mike,

      I was like you too and had only heard of people using for removing stains. I did some research and experimented and found it to be quite flexible indeed. Glad you enjoyed it. See you again soon I hope.

  8. I actually use apple cider vinegar to clean pretty much everything! I hate the smell of it sooo much, though! I find that it goes away quick enough. I love how it has no chemicals and is all natural. I can also get it in bulk in my glass refillable jar. So not only are we avoiding chemicals, we are reducing the amount of plastic waste.

    1. Hello Jordan,

      I hadn’t considered using apple cider vinegar before – what a fantastic idea! I use a glass spray bottle for two reasons. A. Glass protects the essential oils I use in my homemade cleaning products B. I can use it time and time. You are right about us considering the amount of waste we produce in our households.

      Thank you for stopping by and I hope to hear from you in the future.

  9. Hi Catherine, I have heard of using vinegar for cleaning before, but I have never had anyone explain why, until I read your post.

    I can see the benefit of ditching the normal house cleaning products, but won’t the house stink of vinegar after you used it for cleaning?

    Just asking, as it is not one of my favourite smells. Does the cleaning vinegar have a nice smell added to it?

    Thanks for the info in your post,


    P.S. All wine tastes like vinegar to me, but I think that is just a personal thing.

    1. Hi there, it will smell of vinegar if you don’t dilute it with water. I tend to add some lemon essential oil too as this has antibacterial properties. Some people prefer to use apple cider vinegar but my preference for cleaning vinegar. Vinegar is made from wine. It is the reaction that takes place between the wine and the air that creates vinegar!
      I hope this answers your questions. If you have any more, just reach out.

  10. Hey Catherine

    I cleared my drains recently with vinegar and baking soda – what a win it was! So much more cost-effective than those nasty chemical-filled drain cleaners available on the market.

    I did not know that you can use vinegar so extensively as you have described here. Thank you for sharing all of this information. I truly believe that people will do better once they know better. Your website will help with that transformation.


    1. Louise, how are you today?

      You make a very valid point – natural alternatives are so much cheaper and this is something that many people don’t realise.
      Vinegar can be used to clean almost anything. There are very few times where I feel it would be necessary to use anything else – chemical spills perhaps.

      Blessing to you also!

  11. Hi Eco_Catherine,

    In the past year I started eliminating commercial household cleaners from my house and switching to everyday household products (baking soda, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, and vinegar).

    Vinegar is also a great for cleaning up mold. I also throw some into every load of laundry I wash.

    I stopped using Windex and other window cleaners and now only use vinegar to clean glass. Works great for any type of glass.

    I wasn’t aware of the difference in acidity between the regular vinegar and cleaning vinegar.

    Thanks for the info.!


    1. Hi Justin Crowley,

      I am so happy to hear that you made steps to move away from commercial cleaners about a year ago now.
      Vinegar really is amazing stuff. You use vinegar for all kinds of different cleaning – well done you!
      Yes, cleaning vinegar is stronger, but it just comes down to your own personal preference. I know some people prefer to use apple cider vinegar because they prefer the smell.

      Thanks again and I hope to hear from you again soon.

  12. Very cool post!
    I learned a lot about vinegar and it’s cleaning potential. I did not realize how healthy vinegar could be for cleaning and I will definitely start using it in my cleaning routine.
    Thank you for tons of great information!

  13. Hi Catherine,

    Great post. I was introduced to cleaning using vinegar about 3 years ago by my neighbor and never looked back. I used to mix it with bleach but you gave a better alternative of Hydrogen Peroxide.

    Keep up the good work.


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Like the post? Share with your friends