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Natural Cleaning Solutions:
DIY Cleaning Products: Vinegar’s Surprising Drawbacks

Grandma was right – vinegar is a pretty amazing multi-tasker.  What else can remove grass stains and dissolve glue, as well as make meringue fluffier and prevent cheese from molding? Lots of parents are using vinegar to make DIY cleaning products too, because they’re so concerned about toxic chemicals around their children and pets.  However, for cleaning around the home, vinegar does have some surprising drawbacks to keep in mind.

DIY Cleaning Products With Vinegar: The Drawbacks

1. Vinegar isn’t as effective as we think

Vinegar is not the hero grandma thought it was when it comes to killing bacteria.  It’s not registered as an effective disinfectant with the EPA, which means that it doesn’t kill 99.99% of germs.  It can’t kill nasty staphylococcus like MRSA and Salmonella.

2. It can’t kill the germs that make families sick

DIY cleaning products with vinegar leave behind 20% of the molds and viruses that make families sick because it’s not potent enough to kill all of them.  A great example is rhinovirus, a group viruses responsible for more than half of all colds. If you’re trying to reduce the chances your family gets taken down by a nasty cold or flu, you really need a disinfectant that can kill 99.99% of flus, molds, and viruses.

3. It’s not as safe as we think

Yes it’s absolutely safer than bleach or ammonia, but vinegar contains acetic acid, which can burn the esophagus, stomach and eyes.  You definitely need to be careful using it around your little ones because it can damage eye tissue and cause caustic burns to the esophagus and stomach.

4. It requires you to rinse it off

DIY cleaning products with vinegar can corrode some surfaces over time, for example window seals, dishwasher gaskets and unsealed grout, so you have to take the extra step of rinsing those surfaces with water.

5. It can damage some of the surfaces in your home

Vinegar cannot be used on many of the surfaces in a typical home.  For example, you should never use vinegar on stone surfaces like granite, marble, limestone, onyx or travertine because it will dull the surface.  A better option is Force of Nature, which can be used to clean any of these stone surfaces without the risk of dulling their shine.

6. It can be harmful to plants

Vinegar has a very low pH level which means it’s very acidic. If it is used on or near certain plants, it can cause them to grow slower or even kill them. Force of Nature, however, is safe to use on or around plants without any worries. In fact, you can even spray it on flowers to make them last longer.

7. It smells like vinegar!

Most people who turn to DIY cleaning products with vinegar complain about the awful smell that seems to linger.  Force of Nature has no added fragrances, just a light clean smell that means you can keep those windows closed when you clean if you want to! With zero harmful chemicals,  you can use it around children with asthma and allergies.

6. It’s surprisingly expensive

Vinegar is typically $.08 an ounce or more, which given the drawbacks we’ve mentioned, doesn’t seem like the best deal.  A better value is Force of Nature, which costs only $.07 an ounce, and is much more effective than vinegar.

The Bottom Line

Dear Grandma, we want you to know that we are not “anti-vinegar” by any means. We really do love it! After all, it’s a key ingredient in our own product. When used combined with salt, water and electricity in the Force of Nature appliance,  vinegar helps you create two powerful yet gentle cleaning ingredients:

  1. Sodium hydroxide: Powerful enough to clean grease, grime and soap scum. Contains a safe concentration of just 0.0000003%, yet cleans as well as major brands.
  1. Hypocholorous acid: a natural cleaner & deodorizer that’s as effective as bleach but without any dangerous chemicals or fumes.

We hope you can forgive us for questioning your advice on vinegar, Grandma, but we promise to always wear our coats when it’s below 65 degrees.

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