What to never clean with white vinegar – 7 items and one is silicone sealants

is probably the number one natural solution for most situations, from removing and to fixing stiff and crunchy towels, it does it all.

White vinegar comprises of water, acetic acid and trace amounts of vitamins and minerals – there are no hidden nasties. Despite the liquid’s many uses, white vinegar is not designed to be used in all areas of the home. 

Due to the acidic nature of white vinegar, it can cause some serious damage to certain areas of your home, some of which you wouldn’t expect.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, cleaning expert and director at Extreme Cleaning Baqir Khan has shared seven items that white vinegar should “never be used on”.

He said: “While white vinegar is a versatile and effective cleaning agent for many surfaces, there are some objects which you should avoid cleaning with it to avoid damage.”

1. Carpet stains

can be something of a common occurrence, but can be tackled naturally – just not with white vinegar.

Baqir warned that white vinegar may “set certain stains” on carpets or “affect the colour”. 

is a great natural cleaning agent that can help clean carpets when combined with water. Simply mix one part baking soda with three parts water and leave it to sit on the stain until it dries before hoovering up.

Instead of the natural route, the professional cleaner recommends households use a carpet cleaner or follow manufacturer recommendations for stain removal.

2. Painted surfaces

Just like it can strip carpets of their colour, white vinegar may “strip ” from walls. 

Try cleaning with a gentle soapy water solution or a cleaner suitable for painted surfaces, suggested Baqir.

3. Silicone sealants

You might see white vinegar and bleach recommended as cleaning solutions for silicone sealant elsewhere. However, although these products may work to some degree, they have the potential to damage the sealant.

The expert said: “Vinegar can degrade and damage silicone over time. Instead, use a gentle soapy water solution for cleaning silicone sealant.”

4. Grout

Similar to silicone sealants, white vinegar can “break down and damage the grout”, causing it to “deteriorate”.

Instead, Baqir recommends cleaning the area with a mixture of baking soda and water or using a commercial grout cleaner.

5. Plastic containers

Rather than inflicting damage on plastic containers, white vinegar can affect the taste of the food stored in them.

The cleaning pro warned: “Vinegar’s strong smell may linger in plastic, affecting the taste of food stored in the containers.”

Alternatively, it is suggested to try washing them with a mixture of baking soda and water or a mild dish soap.

6. Electronic devices – coffee machines, kettles, washing machines etc.

White vinegar can “damage sensitive internal components and rubber seals” so follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.

Baqir claimed that this often involves using a mixture of water and citric acid or specific descaling solutions.”

7. Gold-plated items

The last thing to avoid cleaning with white vinegar is gold-plated items as the acid can “wear away” the thin layer of gold on plated items. Clean gently with a soft cloth and mild soapy water instead.

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