In recent years there has been a turn towards more organic surface and household cleaners because of the plethora of harmful chemicals included in commercial cleaners. Distilled and white vinegar are two excellent cleaning choices that are both extremely safe (have no allergen elements) and cost-effective. However, as with any product, there are ways to use it that yield the best results.
Is Distilled Vinegar The Same As White Vinegar For Cleaning
In general, the major difference one can find between white vinegar and distilled vinegar is the level of purification the vinegar has been put through and distilled vinegar is the more purified variety. Other than purification the acetic acid content is the major difference as it determines the strength the vinegar can exercise when it is being used for cleaning (scrubbing grime, removing mold, or disinfecting). The lower the acetic acid content the less effective the vinegar will be.
White vinegar can be expected to have anywhere from 5% all the way to over 20% acetic acid making it a fairly potent natural cleaner for most daily household chores. Distilled vinegar rates much lower and may only have a maximum of 8% acetic acid which means it will not get out grime or disinfect effectively. In light of this difference, both these kinds of vinegar may seem similar but perform differently and distilled vinegar is preferred for baking and cooking rather than cleaning, although mild cleaning tasks like disinfecting a phone screen can be done with a distilled vinegar solution.
The other reason both these kinds of vinegar are different is because they are typically sourced differently. White vinegar is made almost exclusively from a fermentation process of sugarcane juice and distilled vinegar can be made from sugarcane but also can be made from absolutely any other kind of vinegar out there such as apple cider. The processing difference affects the acetic acid component which is responsible for the effectiveness of vinegar as a cleaner.
Distilled vinegar can be made from a large variety of sources without impacting the end quality. Distilled vinegar is distilled from its ethanol state and can be made from any kind of existing vinegar such as apple cider, rice, fruit, malt, balsamic, honey, raisin, cane, coconut, kombucha, and many others. The end vinegar typically has 5% to 8% acetic acid which makes it a gentler alternative to plain white vinegar.
White vinegar is also known as spirit vinegar and it has a clear, colorless appearance and is created when sugarcane extract is put through an acid fermentation process. As the liquid undergoes oxidation it increases in acidity thus yielding white vinegar. Certain types of white vinegar however are created in large amounts by simply combining water with acetic acid (a compound found in every type of vinegar.)
In white vinegar formulations that are marketed as cleaning products; there typically is a much higher concentration of acetic acid than varieties commonly used in food preparation. There can be upwards of 15% or 20% acetic acid in some vinegar solutions which are meant to be used solely for cleaning rather than ingestion.
Which Vinegar Used For Cleaning
Vinegar has a long history (more than a thousand years) of being used as an antibacterial, antiseptic, cleaning, and disinfecting agent. Nowadays however using it in your home contributes to a safer environment for the inhabitants; lessens pathogens and does not adversely affect the air quality as store-bought cleaners are known to do. Both types of vinegar however are widely used for meat preservation, lab uses, in medicines as well as for cooking and baking.
In a nutshell, the ideal or preferred choice for household cleaning would be white vinegar simply because it boasts higher acetic acid content. White vinegar cuts through dirt, kill bacteria, and brings a shine to many surfaces including some tiles and steel appliances. It is an especially useful choice if you have small children or pets in the house as white vinegar can be used to clean and disinfect baby chairs, toys as well as litter boxes, and pet houses. White vinegar is also devoid of ammonia which makes it safer to be used around children.
Is Vinegar Good For Cleaning
Vinegar is a safe cleaning alternative but it is not effective against every strain of bacteria. For general daily use however it can’t be beaten in terms of safety, price, and effectiveness all rolled into one. Scientific research shows that it works well against bacteria that reside in food preparation areas and surfaces like Salmonella and E.Coli. Poison control centers in recent years have remarked on the rise of poisoning cases (sometimes fatal) arising from the use of commercial household cleaners which makes vinegar a very viable alternative.
Vinegar may not be enough according to research to disinfect after you’ve had a cold or a virus has been spread in the house. In that case, a diluted version of a commercial cleaner like Lysol is more effective for a deep clean. For daily wiping of the counters or cleaning out the sink, vinegar is a great solution. Many people also put vinegar and water solutions in spray bottles to continually disinfect items they repeatedly touch like television remotes, phones, or doorknobs.
What Can You Not Clean With Vinegar
Vinegar is not an all-rounder cleaning and disinfecting solution. Certain items and surfaces can be damaged or may lose their luster if they are cleaned with vinegar solutions as opposed to specialized cleaning agents designed for that surface.
- Never use white or distilled vinegar on appliances or electronic devices like a flat iron’s ceramic plates, or a clothes iron.
- Unless you have inexpensive tiling installed do not use vinegar on marble or granite countertops or surfaces as it will reduce their luster. The same applies to marble or laminate flooring.
- Knives, cooking ranges as well as steel refrigerator doors are a big no when it comes to vinegar so always use specialized steelware cleaners.
- Washing machines and dishwashers are also not the places to use vinegar for cleaning as it won’t do a good enough job of breaking down the grime that can accumulate.