Making Cleaning Eco-Friendly with Vinegar (2023)

Many cleaning products on the market right now are super effective against germs and bacteria but aren’t considered to be eco-friendly. Why sacrifice having a clean and germ-free home when you can’t use a product that is safe to use around your kids and pets? The answer is, you don’t have to, because there is already a super effective and safe product within your pantry: distilled white vinegar. If you’re wondering just what this product can do for you and your home, allow us to give you a few examples.

Why Clean with Vinegar?

White vinegar is an effective and powerful natural cleaner, degreaser, and even disinfectant. If you’re wondering how this super common household product could possibly be any kind of “miracle cleaner”, then sit tight because it’s time for some science. Vinegar is made from about 4-5% acetic acid, otherwise called ethanoic acid. Acetic acid is produced both naturally, by bacteria found in both food and water, as well as synthetically, like what is found in vinegar.

The acetic acid in vinegar is what gives it that pungent smell and makes it such an effective cleaning product. It can break down and dissolve most dirt, oil, grease, and grime. In fact, we recommend cleaning with vinegar to almost all of our clients. It works best for general household cleaning purposes on surfaces that can handle acidic products, so make sure you test small areas before cleaning if you aren’t sure.

Using Vinegar Around the House

Below, you’ll find a list of ways you can start to implement vinegar into your regular cleaning and disinfecting schedule. Plus, we’ll even explain what makes vinegar so effective and remind you why it’s such an incredible cleaning product to have on hand at all times. If you’re curious to see how you can start using vinegar around your home, keep reading!

1. Mop Linoleum & Tile Floors

When cleaning up around the house, you can never forget the floors. If you’re looking to clean and freshen up your floors in a more eco-friendly way, you can create a highly effective solution of a gallon of water and about ½ cup of white vinegar. Just keep in mind that this particular mix should only be used on ceramic tile and no-wax linoleum flooring, not wood or natural stone.

2. Leave Windows & Mirrors Streak-Free

Making Cleaning Eco-Friendly with Vinegar (1)

Streaky windows and mirrors can be the bane of our existence, this is almost a universal experience. Fortunately, we have just the solution to this problem. You can mix together a 2-to-1 solution of white vinegar and water to make the ultimate glass cleaner. You can also add a couple of drops of dish soap for extra cleaning power and a streak-free finish every time.

3. Clean & Deodorize Refrigerators

When it comes time to clean out your refrigerator and toss all those forgotten leftovers that got pushed to the very back, remember to be thorough. Use some vinegar when cleaning shelves and drawers and wiping up spills. You can even sprinkle a bit of baking soda to really scrub and deodorize while you clean. Vinegar is far safer to use around any food whether open or contained than most chemical cleaning products.

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4. Freshen Dishwashers

Dishwashers can become overridden with musty odors after a while, especially if the filter hasn’t been cleaned out for a while. It happens to the best of us, so of course we have a solution for you. Simply add a cup of vinegar to the bottom of your dishwasher and run a regular cleaning cycle. The vinegar can double as a cleaner and a deodorizer to leave your dishwasher fresh and ready for another round.

5. Create an Eco-Friendly Air Freshener

Looking for a more natural and safe alternative to chemical air fresheners? We’ve got you covered. Mix half a teaspoon of vinegar with distilled water, plus a few drops of your favorite essential oil, in a spray bottle. Our favorite essential oils are lemon, eucalyptus, or tea tree but every home is different so tell us what kind of blends you come up with in the comments!

6. Clean & Disinfect Showers & Tubs

Making Cleaning Eco-Friendly with Vinegar (2)

Tubs and showers tend to catch and hold soap scum and hard water stains, plus they always need regular cleaning and disinfecting. To combat those pesky stains you can mix together water and vinegar, and maybe add a few drops of dish soap. Spray or wipe that mixture on the walls of your shower or tub and leave it to work for about 15 minutes then clean it away for a fresh start.

7. Descale Faucets & Showerheads

Sink faucets and showerheads can become clogged and lose their pressure over time thanks to mineral deposits and hard water build-up. You can fix this by adding some white vinegar into a plastic bag and then securing it with a rubber band. Be sure to add enough vinegar to cover the bottom of the faucet or showerhead completely. Leave the bag on for a few hours or overnight, then remove it and let the water run.

8. Disinfect & Deodorize Mattresses

If you’ve noticed a strange smell or a random stain on your mattress while changing the sheets, we have just the fix. Just mix vinegar, a little rubbing alcohol, and some tea tree essential oil in a spray bottle and spritz this on your mattress. This solution helps combat dust mites, mildew, and general odors. If you find your mattress needs some deeper deodorizing, sprinkle some baking soda on top of the spray. Let the spray settle and dry, and then vacuum the mattress surface.

9. Descale Coffee Makers & Kettles

If you’re anything like us, you can barely function without your daily caffeine fix. The only problem is the state of your coffee maker, when was the last time you cleaned that? The solution? Pour an even mix of water and vinegar directly into the kettle and run it through the coffee maker or simply boil the water in the kettle then rinse thoroughly with water. If you have an automatic coffee maker, you can run plain water through a few times to get the smell and taste of vinegar out..

10. Disinfect Countertops

Making Cleaning Eco-Friendly with Vinegar (3)

(Video) How to Make a Vinegar Cleaning Solution

Kitchen and bathroom countertops are high-traffic surfaces that require regular cleaning and disinfecting. When cleaning surfaces like kitchen counters, you need to make sure to use food-safe and eco-friendly cleaning products as using chemicals can risk contaminating future food preparations. Luckily, vinegar is the best solution to this particular problem as all you’ll need to do is dilute a spray bottle of vinegar with some water. You can use this specific mixture on most countertops, however, you should avoid using vinegar to clean marble and granite.

11. Clean & Degrease Cookware

Cooking mishaps happen to everyone and can leave even our most durable pots and pans with baked-on messes. The best course of action to save your cookware is with vinegar of course. Simply fill the offending cookware with a half-and-half solution of water and vinegar and then bring it to a boil on the stove. Allow this mix to boil for a few minutes before allowing it to cool and follow with a good scrub.

12. Clean & Disinfect Plastic Cutting Boards

If you’ve prepared any kind of raw meat within the last few days, hopefully, you did so on a plastic cutting board. Even if you haven’t been preparing meat, when was the last time you deep cleaned and disinfected your go-to cutting board? Take a moment to spray and wipe both sides thoroughly with an even mixture of vinegar and water and then wash the board before letting it air dry and putting it away.

13. Degreasing Ovens

Much like our beloved cookware, ovens and stovetops can accumulate grease and oil with regular use throughout the week. The best way to cut through this greasy grimey mess is, of course, with vinegar. Mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the solution around the surface of the cooktop. Give it 10 minutes to cut through all that stubborn grease and then wipe it away with some warm water and a sponge.

14. Boost & Deodorize Laundry

Our final tip to share is by far one of our favorites. Everyone loves the feeling of freshly washed and warm laundry, and it turns out vinegar is the key. Adding half a cup of vinegar to your next load can both preserve and brighten the colors of the laundry. You can also toss in a full cup of vinegar to a rinse cycle to be a more eco-friendly and effective fabric softener and static reducer. We’ve tried this and can promise that you’ll notice the difference and you’ll love the results!

15. Clear Cloudy Glasses

Making Cleaning Eco-Friendly with Vinegar (4)

Glassware can develop a cloudy appearance with time, even after running them through the dishwasher. This is almost always due to hard water deposits, or frequent wine drinking (we don’t judge!), but it can be easily remedied with a little bit of white vinegar. All your cloudy glassware needs is a brief soak in a tub of vinegar followed by a quick wash and buff with a soft microfiber cloth.

What to Avoid When Cleaning with Vinegar

While vinegar can be an incredible cleaning product to have on hand, there are a few things you should keep in mind before going after your whole house:

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  • Vinegar can cause pitting on stainless steel, so we don’t recommend using it on kitchen knives or appliances without diluting it.
  • You should also avoid using vinegar when cleaning marble, granite, and other natural stone countertops or floors because it can very easily damage the finish and or leave the surface looking dull or scratched.
  • It’s also a good idea to avoid using vinegar to clean any electronic screens because it can damage the protective coating on devices and screens and make touch screens less effective.
  • Be careful cleaning any wood countertops and or untreated or unfinished hardwood floors as undiluted vinegar can damage these beyond repair.
  • As long as you keep these tips in mind, your home is well on its way to looking and smelling great.


Will cleaning with vinegar leave a smell?

The bad news is that, yes, cleaning with vinegar can smell up your space, but the good news is that the smell of vinegar naturally dissipates after a few hours. In order to mask, or at least lessen the effects, of vinegar, we suggest both diluting it with water as well as adding a few drops of an essential oil like lemon or eucalyptus.

Can vinegar be used on all surfaces?

While safe to use on many surfaces to kill bacteria and clean, vinegar is not safe to use on natural stone, waxed wood, cast iron, or aluminum. This is because vinegar is about 5% acetic acid, which can harm some surfaces, so it is always recommended that you test it in an inconspicuous area before cleaning any surface.

How effective is vinegar against bacteria?

In most cases, vinegar does work as an effective disinfectant to some degree. However, it is not as effective against bacteria as bleach or other commercial cleaners. If you are looking to combat germs as effectively as possible, there may be other solutions you should try before reaching for vinegar.

Making Cleaning Eco-Friendly with Vinegar (5)

We hope you were able to learn more about the natural and eco-friendly cleaning and disinfecting capabilities of vinegar. Even if you just picked up a few new tips and tricks for cleaning around the house. Was there anything you knew already and use in your home? What other cleaning tips and tricks using vinegar have you tried around your home and become obsessed with? Tell us all about it in the comments below, we love hearing from you!

If you’re looking for some extra time and attention to detail around your home, but don’t want to sacrifice the desire for eco-friendly products, we’ve got you covered! We’re proud to offer eco-friendly products and services as the best house cleaners in Philadelphia. If you’re curious, check out our website and see for yourself. Contact us today and find out how we can help you keep your home looking and feeling amazing!

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Making Cleaning Eco-Friendly with Vinegar (6)

Author: Cindy Roberts

Most frequently made from cow's milk, butter can also be manufactured from the milk of other mammals, including sheep, goats, buffalo, and yaks. It is made by churning milk or cream to separate the fat globules from the buttermilk. Salt was added to butter from antiquity to help to preserve it, particularly when being transported; salt may still play a preservation role but is less important today as the entire supply chain is usually refrigerated.View all posts by Cindy Roberts

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What do you mix with vinegar to make a cleaning solution? ›

The most common vinegar cleaning solution contains one cup of vinegar mixed with one cup of warm water. Warm water helps to dissolve grease and hard water spots more quickly. People who are filling a spray bottle that they will use over time may want to mix the vinegar with distilled water, not tap water.

How do you use vinegar as a cleaning solution? ›

Use a 1:1 ratio of diluted vinegar and water and store it in a spray bottle. Then you can spritz and disinfect your kitchen sink, counters, or any other spots that you'd normally use bleach but want to be food-safe. To counteract the vinegar smell, you can use soapy water to rinse the sink afterward.

Is cleaning vinegar eco-friendly? ›

Vinegar, on the other hand, is nontoxic and eco-friendly, making it the ultimate multipurpose cleaning solution. And the best part, it's super cheap. Keep reading to learn what types of vinegar to use, along with nine ways vinegar can be used to clean and disinfect your home.

What is the ratio of white vinegar to water for cleaning? ›

For use around the home, combine vinegar with water in a 1:1 solution to clean and freshen many surfaces. Use this solution on glass, windows, walls, cupboards, floors, sinks, stovetops and coffee makers.

What is the mixture of vinegar and dawn for cleaning? ›

Dish soap and vinegar work wonders for that extra smudge-cutting and cleaning mixture. Mix in a spray bottle 1/4 cup of white vinegar with 2 1/2 cups of water, plus 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap.

What happens when you mix baking soda with vinegar? ›

The mixture quickly foams up with carbon dioxide gas. If enough vinegar is used, all of the baking soda can be made to react and disappear into the vinegar solution. The reaction is: Sodium bicarbonate and acetic acid reacts to carbon dioxide, water and sodium acetate.

What not to clean with vinegar? ›

  • When to Avoid Cleaning With Vinegar. Below, we highlight nine instances when you should skip the vinegar and grab a different cleaning agent for the job. ...
  • Clothes Iron. ...
  • Countertops. ...
  • Dishwasher. ...
  • Electronic Screens. ...
  • Flooring. ...
  • Knives. ...
  • Range.
Mar 22, 2023

What not to mix with white vinegar? ›

3 Cleaning Products That You Should Not Mix With Vinegar
  • Bleach And Vinegar. Bleach and vinegar might seem like they would be a powerful disinfectant combination. ...
  • Hydrogen Peroxide And Vinegar. ...
  • Baking Soda And Vinegar.
Jun 17, 2021

What happens when you mix vinegar and dish soap? ›

“Vinegar is a good cleaner because it's acidic, but when you add dishwashing liquid/dish soap to it (which is a base or neutral) - you neutralise the vinegar. You take away the very thing that makes it work well. “The dishwashing liquid works that well on its own.

What is the most eco-friendly vinegar? ›

The most commonly used vinegar in green cleaning is distilled white vinegar. The organic variety is definitely more earth-friendly because it is made with grains that aren't genetically modified or treated with pesticides or fertilizers.

What's the difference between distilled vinegar and white vinegar? ›

White and distilled are types of vinegar. They differ fundamentally in their acetic acid content. White, also known as spirit vinegar, has 5% to 20% acetic acid. This is generally higher as compared to distilled vinegar's 5%-8%.

What is better than vinegar for cleaning? ›

What can you use instead of white vinegar?
  • Baking soda. Like vinegar, baking soda is a kitchen staple that you can use for your cleaning chores. ...
  • Liquid dish soap. When it comes to cleaning dirty surfaces in your home, there are few things as effective as soapy water. ...
  • Hydrogen peroxide. ...
  • Other types of vinegar.
Mar 14, 2022

What is the best vinegar water mixture? ›

You can create an all-purpose vinegar spray by mixing one part vinegar with one part water, adding in a few drops of essential oils as desired for a more pleasant aroma. A vinegar cleaning solution can be used for cleaning counters, wiping down mirrors, polishing fixtures, and much more.

Is cleaning vinegar and white vinegar the same? ›

The only difference between cleaning vinegar and the distilled white vinegar is their levels of acidity. White vinegar is usually 95 percent water and 5 percent acid. By contrast, cleaning vinegar contains up to six percent acid and is around 20 percent stronger than regular white vinegar.

How much white vinegar to water for mold? ›

Anecdotally, many recommend diluting vinegar with a 1:1 ratio of water.

How do you make natural all-purpose cleaner? ›

The go-to all-purpose cleaner is a mixture of vinegar and water, says Peterson. To make it, combine half a cup of distilled white vinegar with 2 cups of water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or a squeeze of lemon for scent; since these are in low concentrations, they'll be safe for more surfaces.

How do you make all natural cleaner? ›

Mix together 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup bicarbonate of soda, a squeeze of castile (or any liquid) soap, and 2 cups of water. Give it a good shake and keep in a spray bottle to use whenever you have a tough stain on your clothes or the carpet.

Is it safe to mix white vinegar and Dawn dish soap? ›

First, both ingredients are excellent at dissolving tough grime. However, vinegar alone will simply run off of most surfaces, while dish soap is too thick to use as a spray. But when you mix them together, you get an effective, sprayable cleaner that sticks to any surface!

Why baking soda and vinegar should not be mixed? ›

Baking Soda + Vinegar

"Baking soda is basic and vinegar is acidic," says Bock. "When you put them together you get mostly water and sodium acetate. But really, just mostly water." Plus, vinegar causes baking soda to foam up. If stored in a closed container, the mixture can explode.

Why you should never use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain? ›

While the baking soda and vinegar solution is effective in breaking down a clog, it will also cause your drain to become more damaged. The baking soda's abrasive nature will wear down your drain over time. This is why you should avoid using baking soda and vinegar solution for cleaning out your drain.

Can you mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide? ›

Don't mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together in the same mixture. This can create peracetic acid, which may be toxic and can irritate your throat and lungs, eyes and skin. You can, however, alternate spraying hydrogen peroxide and vinegar on a surface. Just make sure to wipe the surface between sprays.

Can vinegar damage washing machine? ›

Washing machine

Just as it does in a dishwasher, vinegar can harm rubber parts inside a washing machine, which will eventually lead to leaks. Though laundering your clothes with vinegar is a cost-effective, natural way to soften and deodorize fabrics, avoid using it in your washer too frequently.

Is it good to clean mirrors with vinegar? ›

Mix one-part vinegar with four parts water and pour it into the spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the cotton cloth or directly onto the mirror. Before the spray dries, wipe the mirror from side to side or up and down with the cotton cloth. Never wipe the mirror in circles.

Does vinegar damage grout? ›

Grout that hasn't been sealed, needs to be resealed, or is in poor shape should not be cleaned with vinegar. The vinegar penetrates into the pores of the grout, further weakening the material. Over time, vinegar will deteriorate the condition of the grout by etching or wearing it away.

What happens if you mix white vinegar and laundry detergent? ›

Before going further, we have to warn you: adding vinegar or baking soda to the wash along with your laundry detergent increases the risk of poorer cleaning performance, as detergents are optimized for a specific pH level, which is altered by the presence of these two household additives in the wash.

Can you mix Dawn and vinegar and baking soda? ›

Tired of stinky, retail cleaners? Try this: Vinegar Cleaner: 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp Dawn dish soap 1 tbsp white vinegar Directions: Fill spray bottle with water. Add Dawn. Add baking soda.

Why put Dawn in toilet at night? ›

It's pretty simple — just like they do on food particles that are stuck to your dishes in the sink, the combination of hot water and dish soap help to dissolve and break up whatever it may be that is lodged in the toilet, causing a clog. This handy tip is great should you find yourself in a pinch.

Can vinegar keep mosquitoes away? ›

Vinegar as a bug repellent. Vinegar is one of the best ingredients to make a pest control spray. Vinegar is one of the best ingredients to make a pest control spray. It is effective in repelling ants, mosquitoes, fruit flies, and many others.

Why does blue Dawn and vinegar work? ›

The reason? Dawn contains petroleum. It sounds counterintuitive, but it works. Vinegar removes residue and imparts shine.

What grows in old vinegar? ›

Once opened and exposed to air, however, harmless “vinegar bacteria” may start to grow. This bacteria causes the formation of a cloudy sediment that is nothing more than harmless cellulose, a complex carbohydrate that does not affect the quality of the vinegar or its flavor.

What scent overpowers vinegar? ›

Drop-in some essential oils: Lavender, peppermint, rosemary — whatever you've got! It'll disguise the harsh smell of vinegar instantly. Add around 30 drops per gallon of vinegar. That should do the trick.

Can any bacteria grow in vinegar? ›

The species most frequently reported in vinegar production comprise Acetobacter aceti, Acetobacter cerevisiae, Acetobacter malorum, Acetobacter oeni, Acetobacter pasteurianus, Acetobacter pomorum, Gluconacetobacter entanii, Gluconacetobacter liquefaciens, Gluconobacter oxydans, Komagataeibacter europaeus, ...

Does cleaning vinegar need to be diluted? ›

Cleaning vinegar can be used undiluted or mixed with water, depending on the job. For tough stains on fabric furniture or clothes, use it alone on a sponge or rag to wipe away the spot.

Which is stronger cleaning vinegar or white vinegar? ›

Microorganisms (bacteria) process the alcohol into acetic acid and water, or vinegar. Cleaning vinegar contains around 6 percent acid, which actually makes it 20 percent stronger than distilled white vinegar.

Which is stronger cleaning vinegar or distilled vinegar? ›

That doesn't sound like much of a difference, but cleaning vinegar is 20 percent stronger than white distilled vinegar for tackling cleaning chores. While you can use distilled white vinegar for cleaning, do not use cleaning vinegar for salad dressings or making pickles.

Is vinegar better than baking soda for cleaning? ›

For instance, vinegar is potent at fighting mold while baking soda is great at fighting wine and coffee stains. The former is a better disinfectant but the latter is a phenomenal deodorizer.

Is hydrogen peroxide or vinegar a better cleaner? ›

Vinegar and peroxide work well in tandem because they both kill germs but in different ways. They make a good one-two punch because vinegar is good at killing some germs and hydrogen peroxide is better at killing others.

Which is best for cleaning vinegar or baking soda? ›

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and a fine abrasive, which makes it excellent at scrubbing as well as absorbing odours. As a mild acid, vinegar is able to dissolve mineral deposits, dirt, grease, and grime.

What is it called when you mix water and vinegar? ›

Vinegar is a polar substance, and its molecules are attracted to water molecules (called "hydrophilic"). Therefore, it is able to be mixed with water. It does not technically dissolve; rather, it forms a homogeneous solution with water.

Does vinegar disinfect laundry? ›

White vinegar is an amazing disinfectant, and laundry is no exception. It contains acetic acid, which kills viruses and bacteria; plus, white vinegar works as a disinfectant and a deodorizer.

Do you have to rinse after cleaning with vinegar? ›

Do You Have to Rinse after Cleaning with Vinegar? Rinsing is not necessary! If you're simply using a vinegar and water solution to wipe and disinfect, you won't need to rinse. However, if there's also plenty of dirt and grime you're wiping away, you may also want to rinse with some extra water.

Can you soak your feet in cleaning vinegar? ›

Because vinegar is antimicrobial, soaking the feet in a vinegar bath for 10 to 20 minutes may help to kill the bacteria or fungi contributing towards foot odor. Clean the feet with a regular, soft soap before and after soaking.

How do you make a vinegar cleaning solution? ›

The most common vinegar cleaning solution contains one cup of vinegar mixed with one cup of warm water. Warm water helps to dissolve grease and hard water spots more quickly. People who are filling a spray bottle that they will use over time may want to mix the vinegar with distilled water, not tap water.

Can I leave white vinegar on mold overnight? ›

To safely and effectively clean a small area of mold, ServiceMaster advises the following: Add full-strength white distilled vinegar to a spray bottle and spray it on the mold. Let it sit for at least an hour before wiping away mold.

Can mold survive vinegar? ›

Does Vinegar Kill Mold? Yes, vinegar is a mild acid that kills 82% of mold species. It's often used as a natural and nontoxic alternative to cleaning chemicals when it comes to killing household mold.

What kills black mold? ›

For a natural solution for getting rid of black mold, combine one part baking soda with five parts distilled white vinegar and five parts water in a spray bottle. Alternatively, you can use a chemical-based mold and mildew remover, all-purpose cleaners, bleach or dish soap.

How do you make homemade disinfectant with vinegar? ›

To make your own disinfecting spray that can be safely used on a variety of surfaces around your home, just combine the following ingredients in a large glass spray bottle: 1 cup water, 1 cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol, 20 drops lemon essential oil, 20 drops tea tree essential oil.

How do you make multi purpose cleaner with vinegar? ›

To create an all-purpose cleaner for windows, counters, and kitchen fixtures: Combine 1/4 cup cleaning vinegar and 2 1/2 cups water in a spray bottle. Add 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid. Shake well to mix and label the bottle. To use, lightly spray the soiled surfaces and wipe away grime with a lint-free cloth.

What is the best homemade cleaner and disinfectant? ›

Combine ½ cup of bleach per gallon of water or 2 tablespoons of bleach per quart of water. Combine ⅓ cup of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. Notes about using bleach: Solutions at stronger concentration are more effective at killing pathogens and require less contact time.

What's the difference between cleaning vinegar and regular vinegar? ›

The only difference between cleaning vinegar and the distilled white vinegar is their levels of acidity. White vinegar is usually 95 percent water and 5 percent acid. By contrast, cleaning vinegar contains up to six percent acid and is around 20 percent stronger than regular white vinegar.

Can you mix Dawn and vinegar? ›

This match made in heaven has been a household staple for a long time and I make sure to keep it handy. To make the solution is simple and easy on the wallet! Pour equal parts of vinegar and Dawn into a spray bottle. Gently shake, then spray liberally onto the surface to be cleaned.

What happens when you mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together? ›

Hydrogen peroxide + vinegar

“Combining these two creates peracetic acid or corrosive acid, an irritant that, in high concentrations, can harm the skin, eyes, throat, nose, and lungs,” says Bock.


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