The Cons of Using DIY Cleaning Products with Vinegar

Vinegar is an everyday household item that can be used for hundreds of purposes around the house – from relieving itching from insect bites and soothing sunburns, to making pie crust flakier, pickling vegetables, and even helping to prevent your cheese from getting mouldy.

It's environmentally-friendly and inexpensive, and can be delicious if used in the right recipe. But lately, the trend of making DIY cleaning products seems to be abundant across the internet and social media, and vinegar is usually the star ingredient in these products.

It’s understandable why people seek out homemade cleaning products: they want to control the ingredients used in their homes and around their families – and the harsh reality is that most conventional cleaning products are packed with toxins and mystery ingredients.

However, vinegar does have some surprising drawbacks to keep in mind when it comes to cleaning. Before we get to those, let’s talk a little bit more about vinegar. 


Vinegar is a pantry staple for most families and has become so ubiquitous and essential in our lives that it's surprising that when asked, very few of us can answer the basic question: What is vinegar?

Basically, vinegar is ethanol that’s been left out to mix with oxygen and create bacterial fermentation.

Vinegar typically contains 95% water and 5% acetic acid by volume. Usually, the acetic acid is produced by the fermentation of ethanol or sugars by acetic acid bacteria.

Acetic acid is what gives vinegar that classic pungent smell and sour taste, itself a colourless liquid. 

Vinegar was discovered independently by many cultures across the world. Its original use was to pickle or preserve foods. Storing the food in the vinegar kept it from going bad, which meant it could be consumed much later. But it also had an additional benefit: vinegar changed the flavour of food, giving it that fresh, sour twist we’ve come to know and love.


  • Vinegar does not effectively kill germs. 
  • While homemade products using vinegar can be used to clean by physically removing dirt and debris, when you’re cleaning to eliminate the germs that cause illness, you won’t want to use vinegar.

    Vinegar is not an EPA-registered disinfectant and is not potent enough to kill dangerous bacteria like staphylococcus, MRSA, STAPH, and other nasty pathogens that can lurk on surfaces and make your family sick.

    The bottom line: You can rely on your vinegar if your goal is to clean, but because vinegar does not disinfect or sanitize, so you can’t count on vinegar to effectively kill germs.

    If you’re trying to protect your family against illness, shelve the vinegar and instead opt for a sanitizer or disinfectant that can eradicate 99.9% of germs, such as Vital Oxide, which is EPA-registered and approved to kill bacteria and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. 

  • Vinegar can harm plants. 
  • Vinegar can make an effective weed killer with almost immediate results, thanks to its acidic nature. Unfortunately, it means that it can also harm valued garden and houseplants. 

  • Vinegar is corrosive. 
  • If you use vinegar to clean, you should always rinse it off after applying.

    Vinegar has a very low pH level which means it’s very acidic, so it can corrode some surfaces over time.

    For example, using vinegar on natural stone like granite or marble can dull and scratch the surface and it can corrode surfaces like unsealed grout, window seals, and fridge and dishwasher gaskets.

    Vinegar can also burn the esophagus, stomach, eyes and damage eye tissue, so you want to be cautious when using it around little kids and pets.

    The better choice? Vital Oxide. It’s gentle on surfaces and safe to use on virtually any surface that can get wet. Vital Oxide works great on countertops, floors, toys, furniture, carpeting, or anything really! 

  • Vinegar smells… like vinegar! 
  • It’s likely that you turned up your nose just now as you read that statement. Vinegar’s unforgettable strong, lingering odour is no doubt one of its biggest drawbacks.


    While we do love vinegar, it’s probably best left in the kitchen.

    When it comes to cleaning and disinfecting, reach for Vital Oxide instead. Vital Oxide can be safely used on just about any surface and kills 99.999% of germs when used as directed.

    Vital Oxide’s star ingredient, chlorine dioxide, is a tried-and-tested disinfectant that’s been used to disinfect drinking water at public water treatment facilities and by the food & beverage industry to wash fresh fruits and vegetables. 

    Vital Oxide is extremely versatile and environmentally-friendly. This all-in-one product replaces conventional bathroom, kitchen, glass cleaners, deodorizers, sanitizers, and disinfectants.

    Vital Oxide is colourless, odourless, and free from any harsh chemicals. It’s powerful, yet gentle on surfaces and safe to use around kids, pets, plants, and family members with allergies and asthma. 

    If you have any questions, please get in touch - we're here to help!