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Why Is Vinegar Such a Good Cleaner For, Well, Everything?

A woman use vinegar to clean a sink.
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When it comes to must-have cleaning tools, vinegar tops the list for many. The reason is that it works so well on so many surfaces. Have you ever wondered why?

Vinegar’s acidity is what makes it so effective, but there are still some things you need to know about how this common DIY cleaner works.

White vinegar is the most common type used in DIY cleaners because it contains acetic acid, and it’s the most potent vinegar (in comparison to apple cider or red wine). Because it’s so strong, it can dissolve stuck-on debris and grime that the others can’t. This includes soap scum, hard water stains, and even sticker glue.

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Most often, you’ll need to dilute your vinegar with a bit of water or a combination of water and dish soap. This prevents it from causing damage to any delicate surface.

As a general rule, though, you’ll want to consider the things in your home can corrode. The very thing that makes vinegar a powerful cleaner (the acid) can harm items like rubber seals, the finish on wood floors, and even some grades of stainless steel. For plastic and glass, though, vinegar is perfect.

Whether you’re looking to have a spotless bathroom or need to get a peculiar smell out of your laundry, vinegar is probably the answer. Now, you know how it works.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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