When it comes to cleaning, vinegar is a solid workhorse. Vinegar can clean vinyl floors, laminate countertops, and ceramic sinks and toilets—but it can't clean everything. Avoid using vinegar as a cleaning agent on these five places in the household, as there are other solutions that are either less risky or more effective.
Vinegar is highly acidic and can, therefore, dull or damage the finish on hardwood floors. For many people, trying to get hardwood floors to shine can be one of the toughest issues to tackle, but over time, vinegar can make your floors shine less.
Opt instead for a hardwood floor cleaner that will enhance and protect the shine and surface of your floor. Remember, mopping with too much water or any cleaner is a big mistake for hardwood floors—they can warp or have the surface damaged when left wet.
Like with hardwood floors, vinegar's acidity will take away the shine and sheen of a no-wax floor, which need a specialized cleaner. Using vinegar won't give you the light sudsy action that you need to get no wax vinyl clean. Additionally, the vinegar can damage the top surface of the floors, dimming and darkening them with age and repeated use. Use a sponge mop on no-wax vinyl floors; it is able to push the cleaner into grooves and pull the dirt out.
Some suggest using vinegar on pet stains on the carpet, but it doesn't work as well as an enzymatic carpet cleaner. Vinegar might mask the odor, but it won't eliminate the reason for the odor.
To really get the problem dealt with, you need to get a pet-specific carpet cleaner. These carpet cleaners can help to break down the stain, so your pet won't smell their past mistake and repeat it again in the same spot. Enzymatic carpet cleaners can be found in grocery stores or anywhere where you buy cleaning supplies.
Grout that hasn't been sealed or needs to be resealed should not be cleaned with vinegar. The vinegar penetrates into the spaces for air in the grout and weakens them. Over time, vinegar will deteriorate the condition of the grout by etching or wearing away. If, however, you have sealed your grout on a regular basis, the vinegar won't be an issue. Check your grout yearly to see if it is time to seal the tile again.
Stone surfaces, such as granite or quartz countertops, can be etched and damaged by the use of vinegar. For best results, check with your stone supplier for guidance on vinegar and the best cleaners—often, all that is needed is water and a soft cloth to keep your stone looking great.
For granite countertops, a lot of people recommend a dedicated stone cleaner, but plain water and a microfiber cleaning cloth is usually all you need to get the stone to shine.