If you have read any articles that present methods of cleaning carpets, clothes or other items with household products, you will be very familiar with the cleaning properties of vinegar. In fact, vinegar has earned a reputation for being one of the most reliable household products for cleaning just about any surface or stain. As well deserved as this reputation is, it should be noted that vinegar is not a cure all. In fact, there are certain surfaces and stains that will react badly to vinegar. This article will present a few things that should almost never be cleaned with vinegar.
Stains that don’t react to acid
What makes vinegar so effective as a cleaner is its acidic properties. As an acid, vinegar can break down many compounds, virtually lifting the stains from the very fibers of carpet or fabric. Unfortunately, not every stain will react the same way to an acidic formula. Grass stains, and even ink stains, may actually not respond at all to the use of vinegar. Most articles will recommend that vinegar be used with another ingredient in these cases, so be sure to use it exactly as recommended, or you may simply waste your time. Worst still, if not used properly, vinegar can add to the problem rather than fixing it. Thus, for any hard set stain, or any stain renowned for being difficult to remove, avoid using vinegar if possible.
This is an issue that has people debating equally on both sides. Many people claim that vinegar is a safe and effective product for cleaning hardwood floors, whilst others claim that it is damaging to hardwood finishes. The truth of the matter is that both sides might actually be right. While vinegar won’t harm wood itself, it can have a negative reaction on certain waxes or other finishing agents. Thus, before you go to clean a hardwood floor with vinegar, try a little bit in an obscure corner to test the results. If it damages the finish on that area, then at least you will know without damaging the floor as a whole. Alternatively, if the small test area is unharmed, then you know that you can clean the whole floor with confidence.
Whether you are dealing with egg residue, or an egg stain, NEVER use vinegar to clean up the mess. The acidity in vinegar will actually have a similar effect to cooking the egg, causing it to solidify and bind to any fibrous material. Using vinegar on eggs is basically choosing to keep the mess or stain forever. Don’t do it!
Apart from eggs, the use of vinegar on a spill or stain is usually a safe bet. For any situation where the outcome is uncertain, always be sure to test a small area before committing entirely to the project. This way any damage will be minimal, and you will be spared from unnecessary pain and suffering.