Should You Buy Cleaning Vinegar For Homemade Cleaners?

I’ve become convinced over the course of the last few years that vinegar makes a great all-purpose household cleaner.  In fact part of me feels kind of silly that it took me so many years to figure this out.  I think using vinegar as a cleaner was one of those strategies that a few generations ago was common knowledge, but then we all kind of got collective amnesia and slowly forgot how great it worked.

But I’ve gone back to the old fashioned ways and nowadays at my house, we rely first on a basic 50/50 mix of vinegar and water for all kinds of cleaning jobs.  It’s worked great and has saved us a bunch of money compared to what I used to spend on cleaners.

A few weeks ago, however, another product came on my radar that made me stop and think again.  Did you know there’s a product out there called cleaning vinegar?

It was news to me.

What’s the deal with cleaning vinegar anyway?  Is it a better choice when you make your own cleaners?

Let’s take a closer look at the debate about cleaning vinegar vs white vinegar:

regular vinegar vs cleaning vinegar

Cleaning Vinegar vs. White Vinegar

When I use vinegar to make my favorite all-purpose homemade cleaner, I’ve always used the white distilled vinegar sold in the gallon size at my local Meijer grocery store.  This vinegar has 5% acidity.  It sells for $2.49 a gallon which makes it .019 per ounce (so just a little less than 2 cents per ounce).

NOW – on a recent trip to Walmart I also saw these gallons of Heinz Cleaning Vinegar being sold on a food aisle by the other vinegars.  The cost was $3.28 a gallon which makes it .025 per ounce (just a little more than 2 cents per ounce).   The Heinz website says this product has a 6% acidity and that it’s “safe for cooking and perfect for cleaning”.

cleaning vinegar on store shelf

But wait – there’s more!  Over on the cleaning aisle in Walmart there was yet another vinegar labeled as Cleaning Vinegar.  This was $1.64 for a 2 quart bottle bringing it to the same per ounce price of .025.  This one, however, did not give any indication of the acidity but did state it was “Not For Food Consumption.”    Some vinegars (like this Industrial Strength Cleaning Vinegar) are still 5% but aren’t refined or purified to be food quality.

cleaning vinegar on store shelf

So the differences between the products are:

– A 5% acidity product that can be used for both cooking and cleaning with a low price

– A 6% acidity product that can be used for both cooking and cleaning with a slightly higher price

– A product of unknown acidity (but probably 5%) with a higher price that can only be used for cleaning

Which one should I buy ??

My Vinegar Cleaning Choice

After making these comparisons,  I bet some of you can already guess what my final decision was. Yup, I decided to just stick with my regular white distilled vinegar.  The cleaning vinegar really didn’t seem necessary.  Here’s what made sense to me:

~~ I like multi-purpose products.  If I’m going to keep vinegar in the house, I want to just have one jug that’s good for both cooking and cleaning.

~~ The 5% acidity vinegar I’ve been using has always worked for me.  I didn’t see the need to pay more for an additional 1% of acidity.  Perhaps if we made more heavy duty messes around here I would feel differently.

~~ Part of me thinks Heinz is just looking to get in on the popularity of homemakers who want natural cleaning.  I’m not convinced that the 1% of extra acidity warrants the higher price tag and that maybe they’re just trying to cash in on a trend at our expense.

I guess the bottom line for me was – If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.  I’m super happy with my current vinegar/water mixture for cleaning and it works great.  I didn’t see the need to spend more money, nor did I see the need to keep a second bottle of cleaning vinegar around the house that wasn’t food grade quality.

homemade cleaner made with vinegar and water

What’s Your Cleaning Vinegar Choice?

How about you?  Is cleaning vinegar a product you think you would buy?  If you’ve bought and used cleaning vinegar, was it worth it?

I’d love to hear what you think!  Feel free to leave me a comment below.

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  1. Thank you! Exactly the information suspected & you verified !!!!
    I am using a 50/50 mixture of vinegar & Dawn to clean the bathtub: heating the vinegar & adding the Dawn. Shake, spray & leave on for an hour. No scrubbing. Trying for the 1st time today & crossing my fingers.
    Thank you again 💓

  2. I find a great difference between5% and 6% acidity. They have up to 9%. I have incontinence due to cancer and nothings quite takes out the urine odor. It’s definitely worth it!

  3. I also found out about vinegar only recently (I’m 69 years old). But I buy it at Dollar Tree for $1.00 for a half gallon.

  4. What you say you are guessing is right is obviously exactly right. If you wish to have a stronger solution, all you have to do is add more food grade white vinegar to the mixture. Since our skin absorbs 90% of whatever we put on it, we should strive to have only food grade substances touch it, and the same principle applies to vapors we might breathe because of what we spray as glass cleaner also. Since the multi-purpose food grade white vinegar we’ve always known, is also such a great cleaner, that’s obviously the way to go. The simplicity of having the one type that’s perfect for so many uses is a no-brainer. I usually keep a clean 32 oz yogurt container full of straight white vinegar to soak fruit & vegetables just before using, for a couple minutes before rubbing them off with a clean paper towel, or rinsing them off, (Only about a 10 second soak for strawberries), because even organic produce has a coating to preserve them until consumption, that must be rinsed off. I use the same vinegar many times before replacing, as vinegar does not spoil. It’s a great preservative in foods. What could be a better produce cleaner than regular food grade vinegar?

    1. Valerie, I agree with what you say except that we absorb 90% of what we put on our skin. That is confusing. Do you mean we absorb 90% of the different thing we put on our skin or that if we put a thing on our skin we absorb 90%? I don’t believe either is true.

  5. Look at the vinegar concentrates at various strengths. 30% 45% 70% see those choices at amazon online. I do buy the stronger versions and use less with water for a variety of purposes. Homemade weed killer, for example is good with higher strength product (with salt and dishwashing liquid ~ for areas where grass or plants won’t be sprayed).

  6. I didn’t buy the cleaning vinegar, but a friend did and washed the floor with it.
    The cats all threw up and I had to rince the floor.

  7. I didn’t buy it but some one did and washed my floor with it and my kitty cat thru up and meowed all night, Co-incidence?

  8. I just bought some Great Value Cleaning Vinegar from the local Wal-Mart. I called customer service as I didn’t want to use it without knowing the % of acetic acid. The rep did a bit of searching and said it is 7.14%.

  9. Hui: In Ontario Canada I get 2.5 liters of 10% acid Allans White Cleaning Vinegar for aroubnd $3.00 (its food grade). i mostly just spray on and wipe off after letting it sit a bit. It also works wonders on stuck on and even baked on food. Can be hard on hands, so use gloves if doing lots of cleaning. A friend dilutes her’s to 5% to clean.

  10. As white vinegar is only 5% acetic acid and the rest water, why do you need to dilute it further in a spray bottle? Thanks

  11. Cleaning vinegar has been around for as long as I can remember (and I’m certain I’m older than you!). It’s not something I’ve ever used often, but it seems to be less readily available than it used to be. Also, it used to be less expensive than regular vinegar.
    Like you, I prefer multi-use products. Jugs of vinegar take up so much space, I always figured one was plenty.

  12. After reading your research I’d not buy the industrial strength. I have dogs and lots of messes and since you can cook and clean with the 6% I’d at least try it because 1% can in my opinion make a difference when dealing with a small percentage to begin with. It may be worth the extra money. Won’t know until I try it:)

  13. Just started using cleaning vinegar and it’s great. I have a ninety pound puppy that likes to jump. I use it where she hits the wall with her paws. It works great . It’s cheap enough that i decided to stick with it.

  14. Sir
    It was nice to read your views and experiment done to come to conclusion to stick to food grade white vinegar.
    But in covid time is it possible to use diluted solution to rinse(wash ) hands?

    1. Yes! Since white vinegar kills germs, I mix Ajax natural lemon scented dish washing liquid half and half with regular food grade white vinegar, and use it both for washing hands and washing dishes. It would probably be great to include aloe vera gel in your hand soap bottle (with wide foam sprayer hole is the best), it works well in an empty Dawn power spray bottle for spraying dishes, (& many other things like cleaning the floor). You can keep a push top bottle of clear aloe vera next to hand cleaner to apply to hands after washing to protect skin.

  15. Belle Chemical
    75% Pure Vinegar – Concentrated Industrial Grade 32oz
    Average Rating:
    out of 5 stars27 ratings, based on27reviews
    Belle Chemical
    This product will make 2 gallons of weed killer strength vinegar. This product should not be confused with household vinegar. This product is concentrated (75% acetic acid) to deliver the highest possible concentration to consumers. This product is intended to be diluted prior to use. Caution must be used when opening, pouring and using any dilution of this product. This product is provided in a quart size so the consumer has a long-lasting supply at a high concentration so they may dilute as needed rather than buying multiple concentrations for different purposes. One product, one solution, many dilutions. Makes 2 Gallons of concentrated weed killer.

  16. When marketing dept gets inspired consumers get so called better produc5. Profit increases can be very inspiring. Years ago Bosch & Lomb did this with contact lens cleaner. Kept marketing the cleaning solution but began marketing another solution as being of superior quality at much higher price. Both products were chemically identical.

  17. I recently purchased 5% shop rite vinegar, but it has no odor nor have a vinegar taste. Did I purchase wrong one? I use it to clean washing machine and some storage containers in my house. Wanted to use it to take odor out of my chest of drawers where I placed camphor in. What should I have purchased?

  18. i bought allens cleaning vinegar at 10percent was cleaning a new trailer mat6tress the was musty in smell a cleaning buddy did not want to shame poo it for me but said to use cleanibg vinager never heard of it but he said i get best6 result from it so followed his instruction to clean matteress wow he was right it worked like a charm i mixed it 80 vin 20 wat sprayed matress with fine pump bgottle spray let dry in sun sprayed one more time all over let dry in sunlight wow what a difference the musty mil oder was gone after 2 days was like mattres was brand new thaqn gave it a nice coating of fabrize a couple of times let dry was amazing worked perfect took a perfectly good matrees that seemed destined for garbage made it just like new try it it works

  19. That 1% is 20% stronger. It allows you to use less and in my opinion, less smell.
    Cleaning vinegar is by standard 6% and is not usda monitored for consumption.
    The Heinz one you saw, is really an exception. It state so though.
    At one point you referred to (Industrial Vinegar) in reference to a picture? None was shown. It is not 5% and cannot be bought in store. It is usually around 20% and often used to kill weeds and such. It requires proper gloves to handle.

  20. I recently found 1/2 gallon cleaning vinegar bottles at the dollar store. Like you I assumed that it was just another way to market regular vinegar. Wrong! There are several other ingredients in this product, and it works better than any other cleaner I have used! Of course now that I’m dependent on it, especially for my laundry, I can’t find this product anywhere. Not even on the manufactures website!!

  21. Hi Bev,
    I did a little research after hearing about cleaning vinegar. A couple of articles said the extra 1% acid makes it 20% stronger for cleaning. Not sure how that works. Since I live in the country and am on a well with high iron content I will buy a gallon of the cleaning vinegar and see if it does any better. I need all the help I can get!!

        1. The absolute value does not become 20%, but the change is a 20% increase..

          6%/5% =1.2, a 20% increase (in this case a 20 percent increase in percentage.. tricky)

          Math is hard

    1. My understanding is it can kill grass or other surrounding plants too. It has to be a careful application of vinegar if you don’t want too much of the surrounding vegetation affected.

    2. Harris 30% Cleaning Vinegar Concentrate is 6X more powerful than standard vinegar for ultra cleaning and horticultural power. Use either full strength for tough jobs or dilute with up to 5 parts of water. The vinegar is good to use all around your home and garden, clean your home, appliances, carpets, furniture, seats, drain lines, patios, driveways and eliminates odors from laundry. It is safe to use, non-toxic, chemical-free and environmentally friendly.

      30% cleaning vinegar concentrate is 6X more powerful than standard vinegar
      Use full strength for horticultural applications
      Good to use all around your home and garden
      Helps clean your home, appliances, carpets, furniture, seats, drain lines, patios, driveways and eliminates odors from laundry
      Safe to use, non-toxic, chemical free and environmentally friendly

  22. Hello and thank you for your article. I’ve been doing research, as I read an article a out how to get rid of stains/soap scum easily. It said to mix Cleaning Vinegar with Original Dawn Dush Soap in a spray bottle, spray it on and let it sit an hour, then rinse it off. I have to find the article again, because silly me forgot to make note of the vinegar to Dawn ratio.

    Here’s a quick rundown:
    WHITE VINEGAR is used mainly in cooking. It’s processed for cooking, so it’s safe. You can also mix w/water to clean with. It has 5% acidity, 95% water. (DISTILLED VINEGAR is not recommended for cleaning)

    CLEANING VINEGAR is NOT for consumption. It has 6% acidity which makes it 20% more effective as a cleaner. Professional cleaners use it.

    INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH VINEGAR: I’ll leave the link to the article but you don’t want to use this for cleaning.

    The article also indicates what surfaces you shouldn’t clean with vinegar. Thanks again!,20%25%20stronger%20than%20white%20vinegar.&text=Distilled%20vinegar%20is%20milder%20than,not%20be%20effective%20for%20cleaning.

  23. Came across this blog while doing research on Vinegar which contains acetic acid.
    After reading comments hear I felt a little fearful that some people don’t understand the big picture with this product, so here is my attempt to clarify.
    – Edible vinegar is made by fermentation of plant based product. It is the distilled to get the proper properties the vendor wants. I.e. acetic acid content and taste.
    – Vinegar and acetic acid are NOT the same thing.
    -Acetic acid can be manufactured a few different ways (Cheaply), some of which leave trace elements that are vey toxic to humans. Most of this production is used in industry to make other chemicals. However nothing is stopping someone in say China from putting various industrial grades of acetic acid in a jug with water and callIng it vinegar. Heck they might even put the acetic strength on the bottle as x% to give the illusion the product is distilled food grade product.
    – Any vinegar made in US or Canada and packaged as a food product will most likely be safe and under 12% acetic acid. The cost goes up on food grade product as the acetic acid content goes up because it requires more distillation.
    -Anything above 12% (U.S. Canada) is likely not distilled and therefore and unknown quantity which should NEVER be ingested. Even if you dilute it, poisonous products could still be present. And above 10% (either product) can cause burns to humans and will attack a lot of metals+ (your spryer quit working, probably has a metal part in it)
    Bottom line, chemistry is complex and needs to be understood when making and using your own products! Acetic acid is NOT vinegar, Vinegar is made from food grade fermented plant material and then distilled to increase the acetic acid content.
    P.S. many countries make distilled safe to eat vinegar that contains well above 10% Acetic acid.

    1. I’d like to know what way of manufacturing vinegar that’s economical could introduce toxic substances. The cheapest way is still to ferment sugar — as in wine — to an alcohol solution, and then bacterially further oxidize it to an acetic acid solution. If the wine wasn’t toxic, the vinegar won’t be. The only way I could see toxicants being introduced is if it were then distilled in an apparatus made of toxic material such as lead, but there being no advantage to doing so on an industrial scale, the scenario seems far fetched. We’re not talking moonshiners, here, but manufacture of a product that’s not taxed like liquor.

  24. I can’t handle fragrance too, so I’m glad to hear this! Ever since brain surgery 20+ years ago, I’ve evidently retained the acute sense of smell! Some things just smell way too strong; others I actually react too (and always had, even before the surgery).

  25. Thank you for useful information.

    Hope I am not too late in asking/ commenting. Love to hear an answer to the following.

    One blog post mentioned using white vinegar to dissolve Aluminium foil melt-stuck to the bottom of an electric oven, but the one White Vinegar I bought contains only 3% acid, so is useless. It seems from further study, that I need at least 20% ACETIC ACID to be equivalent to 9% HCL but all the things I checked/ tried, they dont say nowadays, and it seems environmental regulations have dictated them all so that none of them display exact % of ACID, and none are showing the effects that past users reported on dissolving or dislodging the Aluminium foil/ film. CLR, Easy Off, lime-scale removers. Naval Jelly and The Works are not found or available in the stores I checked in Canada here.

    Any ideas or products/ brands to try that would have 9 to 12% HCL or higher/ suitable level of ACETIC ACID ?

    1. All of those products are available in Canada? Every bottle of Allen’s vinegar I’ve seen has the strength on the bottle. Buy the Allens cleaning vinegar It is 10% Be careful as toxic fumes are released acid/aluminum, Especially a strong acid like Hydrochloric acid!!

  26. I’ve used both for cleaning and the cleaning vinegar seems to cut hard water just a little bit better and had a lower oder that white vinegar. By the way I also work as a custodian and use a mixture of 50/50 vinegar, water, and a teaspoon or two of dawn soap for vinyl and other surfaces that need delicate care.

  27. I purchased a pump up sray bottle from Princes Auto to srapy Industrial Vinegar on glass shower door and surround panels to get rid of the hard water stains (the IV works great and the bottle worked great without me having to wear out my hand/wrist squeezing the trigger a hundred times!) but the second time I went to use it and pumped it up to presurize it (I released the pressure before putting it away after the first use) vinegar shot up throught the pump shaft! Turns out the bottom valve (like a rubber flap disc) was all swollen and disfigured so as to not form a seal any more. So lesson learned, apparently IV will react with whatever the seal was made of (rubber? silicone?) Perhaps the same material is in your spray bottle.

  28. I use the $ Tree Awesome Brand Cleaning Vinegar (diluted) with baking soda and it cleans well without the smell of vinegar. I love it

  29. I was looking for a cleaning vinegar that I could use in a DIY weed killer. Evidently, the 1% difference is what kills the weeds?

  30. Despite what most people think, water is the universal solvent. Soaps, surfactants, and more assist water in cleaning things. On their own they may specialize in certain things. However, more soap does not make things More Clean!
    Also, clean doesn’t have a smell or fragrance. Clean is an adjective and a verb. It is not a noun. Clean doesn’t exist on its own.
    Wake up America, and the globe. Don’t mask the odors of bacteria and more by adding more odors.
    Thanks again for the article. I just had to add my two cents in here after reading comments and listening to the furor due to CoVid19.
    Most folks need to worry about everything else but CoVid19. Just saying.
    _I’m a disabled/retired supervisor over Maintenance/Housekeeping for the Department of Health in X9w&4ic0 State. My wife is disabled with Fibromyalgia and suffers radical intolerance to particular man-made chemicals (including most of which is in cheap cologne-perfume, all versions of soap, “air-fresheners”, etc.) Yeah, it’s personal this time.

  31. Well, if a person was to wish for a stronger vinegar acidic base they could just adjust the water to vinegar ratio to hardly any water. The point is that vinegar is a great cleaner. So is baking soda. So is ammonia. So is soapberries from the soapberry tree. Depends on what you’re looking for and be sure not to mix the wrong chemicals. Chemicals exist in nature, they are not all man-made.

    Thanks for your article. I’m ecstatic and will apply what you’ve written to my cleaning procedures. I’d used it for deodorizing, washing windows, removing soap from laundry in the rinse cycle to avoid dryer sheets, etc.

    Cool beans.

  32. I have black mould in my bath room, when i googled it the answer was non diluted vinegar yet you say 50% vinegar /water, why do you dilute it?

  33. I have the $ Tree cleaning vinegar too, bc they don’t sell regular white vinegar at the $ Tree stores near me, but have been cautious about using it bc I don’t know the acidity. Do you reckon I could safely use it for cleaning plastic bins? I’ve so far only used for drains, laundry odors & the tub. I’d like to use it for much more! One dollar per half gallon is my kind of price! LOL

    1. I think that you could use the cleaning vinegar from Dollar Tree for cleaning plastic bins. However I would dilute it with water first (use equal parts vinegar and water) to make a cleaning solution.

  34. I think cleaning vinegar is a marketing hoax ! Don’t fall for it ! But mathematically, 6 % (in cleaning vinegar) and 5 % (in regular white vinegar) is quite a big difference: The 6 % acidic level in cleaning vinegar is actually 20 % greater than the 5 % acidic level in regular white vinegar. But as I indicated at the beginning, we don t really need to spend the extra money (in some cases the companies are charging a lot more) for cleaning vinegar, at least not for general household purposes. Band together consumers, and don’t fall for marketing ploys designed to take our money !

  35. I look for higher acid level because it makes a great weed and grass killer. Just add salt and Dawn detergent it’s pet safe and it works

  36. If you live in Canada you can get Allen’s Cleaning Vinegar almost anywhere. It’s 10% so you can spray less and it does more. Also great for drain clogs in combo with baking soda. Mix a few spoons of soda with enough water to make it slightly runny, put it down the drain, wait a minute or two for it to get to the elbow or blockage, then add a bit of vinegar. Great for smells in drains too.

  37. According to something I read recently, that extra 1% equals a 20% increase in acidity. I use 5% vinegar all the time, but I’ve been thinking about getting something stronger for certain projects – like cleaning cages, but still debating.

  38. I use the 6% vinegar in my laundry instead of bleach or other antibacterials.. Can I tell the difference? No. I justt thought if 5% is good for cleaning then the 6% would be an improvement. I still use the 5% for cooking.

  39. Will vinegar cause a plastic spray bottle to fail?
    I bought what I thought was a good spray bottle (HDX) from Home Depot.
    After storing my vinegar and water solution for a while, the trigger is stuck and won’t pull.
    I’ve had bottles that you can squeeze and not work but I’ve never had one that just won’t let you squeeze it.

    1. I have never had a spray bottle fail from using a vinegar cleaner. Do you have any borax in your mixtures? I had some sprayers fail after awhile when I was using borax which I decided was crystallizing in the mixture if not dissolved thoroughly and which would then clog my spray tubes. (the solution for me on that was just to use less borax in my mixtures).

      So I’m thinking perhaps it was just a bad bottle. It’s frustrating when you pay a little more and still experience poor quality. I doubt that the vinegar caused the problem.

    2. I haven’t had vinegar cause a spray bottle to fail, either. The models that work best for me are the garden ones from Walmart. Maybe it’s just the type of spray bottle

  40. So I moved to Florida from Michigan never really had a problem with ants till I moved here. I did the regular vinegar with all types of other things combined with it to stop these damn ants. So one day my boyfriend brought a cleaning vinegar home and said here do u think u can use this I said well. I do clean alot of things with vinegar. Well I procrastinated on it cus it said cleaning. Well I used it to clean my mailbox and it worked real good so I poured the rest in an extra squirt bottle I had. Well one day sitting at my dinning room table I saw all these ants and I saw that bottle squirted the heck out of them and I finally noticed that that was not coming in that spot no more. So depending on what u need it for I have came to love the cleaning one too. Just my opinion .

  41. I just discovered cleaning vinegar. We moved out an old fridge and there was filth underneath of course. So I used the dollar tree cleaning vinegar. 1$ a half gallon. I bought this stuff by mistake so it sat in my cabinet for a while, but I thought, I’ll use this and get rid of it. I mopped that area and noticed it was a different color. So I cleaned my mop water and mopped the rest of my kitchen. That stuff brought up dirt I never even knew was there! Mind you, I have small dogs so I mop my kitchen several times a week.And I use a variety of cleabers, but always use a disinfectant cleaner. That stuff is amazing. It wasn’t the Heinz brand. Like I said, it’s from the Dollar Tree. I’m putting it on the payroll!

  42. Mine is 1/3 Water 1/3 Vinegar 1/3 Alcohol plus 3 to 5 drops of Dish Detergent . Works well on my laminate floors

  43. Girl, I have been looking into this because alot of tips call for 9% acidity for cleaning!! But 9% sells for like $24 a gallon vs like $3.50 a gallonnof 5%… So Ive been really looking into how to make my own strong version, or how to make store bought 5% stronger. Cuz I refuse to pay an extra $20 ♡

  44. I use vinegar on everything from cleaning spray solution, drain clog remover (baking soda poured in drain and vinegar poured over it), pet stain remover (same baking soda mix) and shoe odor removal, shoe cleaning, its honestly the best way to go, even flea and tick repellent, the chemical cleaners are packed full of carcinogens and flat out are harmful to you and environment! Vinegar is the best way possible!

  45. Thanks so much for posting this amazing tidbit! We have a Myers Lemon tree that yields much more than our neighbors and we can possibly use in a season (in Florida) and this recipe will be a fantastic addition to our home cleaning & protection arsenal of products! I cannot wait to share this news with others!

  46. I use cheap 5% white vinegar to kill weeds and it works fine, just takes a little longer. Add 1 cup table salt and a spoonful of dish washing soap to a gallon of vinegar. This recipe is also online so it is well proved out, going over the weeds twice guarantees the kill. I use a pressure sprayer.

  47. 6% acidity is 20% percent stronger than 5% vinegar. The difference lies in strength. 5% does not clean as well.

  48. You can add a cpl drops of essential oil to regular distilled white vinegar to avoid the markup for ‘specialty retail brands’. That’s the only extra ingredient in one I bought (Lavender scented) so I tried it myself & it’s exactly the same. Initially smells a tad of vinegar, but mostly lavender & stays smelling a tiny bit like lavender afterwards. Not overwhelming- just a hint. & not at all like vinegar afterward application. My husband can’t stand the smell of vinegar either & he was happy with it.

  49. What about higher acidity vinegar like 10, 20, or even 30%? I read that it can be used as a grass killer. I’m looking to clean the vinyl siding on a house. What are your thoughts?

  50. I’m thinking about usin industrial 30%strenth vinegar to see if it cleans better, with 5% vinegar, the job doesn’t quite do the trick, lots of calcuum in our H20

  51. Cleaning vinegars not only contain vinegar, but also contains chemicals such as alcohol, citrus oil, and butyl carbitol… a form of ether.
    The cleaning vinegars that contains these ingredients are the ones labeled for cleaning purposes only. ….I would imagine. Hope this helps someone before they decide to ingest it anyway.

  52. Like you, I’d never heard there were different vinegar strengths. I do use regular white vinegar to clean my floors but in looking for something to kill weeds, I found a 20% acidity vinegar. Have purchased and as soon as the days become sunny, will mix it with a few drops of Dawn and begin spraying! To kill everything, add 2 cups of salt.

  53. I have a cleaning company and after finding the “Cleaning Vinegar” a natural alternative, I use it on almost all of our jobs. My suggestion is to make certain that you dilute per the instructions based on the strength that is needed and use as your all purpose cleaner. I can basically use it on anything and everything without worry that we will damgage any surface or not get the clean that we want. It is safe for children and pets. And is amazing for people with allergies. It just doesn’t give that flowery scent. Most of our customers are super happy with the results when using this product. Now, our Staff always make certain that they have the “Cleaning Vinegar” in their kits when going on calls.

  54. I use vinegar both as a cleaner, a deodorizer, and a fabric softener. I had switched to using Heinz Cleaning Vinegar and can’t say I noticed any real difference. But 2 weeks ago, I saw a bottle of store brand cleaning vinegar in my local grocery store, so I grabbed it.

    HUGE mistake. The thing has some kind of odor to it that lingers and lingers.

    I was having a friend sleep over 2 weeks ago. My family room has a sofa bed. I decided to deodorize it. So, I filled a spray bottle with vinegar and sprayed down the couch with it. When I have done this in the past, the vinegar smell lingers for about 15 minutes and then whatever I spray just smells normal again. If it had any kind of odd odor, that odor is gone. Well, not in this case. The odor lingered ALL DAY, and it did not smell like vinegar. It was awful. 3 days ago, I was cleaning up an old cart in my garage that had some rust on it. I scrubbed the rust with this cleaning vinegar, and, 3 days later, the rags I used have a hideous smell to them.

    The bottle says it’s just vinegar diluted to 6% acidity. But it’s not food grade. So, there is some awful impurity in it.

    I’m going to put it away till the spring and then use it to kill some weeds.

  55. I buy Awesome brand “cleaning” vinegar at Dollar Tree. One dollar for a half gallon (64 ounces). Label says “For cleaning purposes only”.

  56. Could not find Walmart’s brand (or any for that matter) which we use to clean up after our cats. I did find their Great Value Cleaning Vinegar with “Not a Food Product” on the label. That label seems to have given the liberty to not have an ingredient list. Is there a way it can be hazardous?? Most information I found on Google was done by Heinz, which is only a portion of the brands available.

  57. I don’t like the smell of vinegar all over the house. Is there a white vinegar that does not smell like vinegar?
    Thanks for your reply.

    1. There is a brand called Four Monks Cleaning Vinegar that is supposed to be scented so there isn’t a vinegar smell. I think Walmart carries it, and it can also be ordered online.

  58. In Canada 4 liters (a liter is about an American quart) of 5% acetic white vinegar costs ~ $2.00, 3 liters of 10% acetic white vinegar costs $4.59 for 3 liters. So you are paying for 5% vinegar about 50 cents per liter (qt.) and for 10% acetic vinegar $1.53 per liter(qt.)! In the USA 10% acetic vinegar is easier to find than in Canada AND cheaper.

  59. It is possible to buy a concentrated vinegar for cleaning at around 20% acetic acid. This is extremely concentrated. You’d want to use protective gloves to handle it and the fumes are very difficult to deal with. But for some heavy-duty cleaning situations it can be a real champ. It can of course be diluted down for more basic cleaning. As for weed control, this will allow you to make a very strong solution. Of course, you would never use this for cooking and while it is almost certainly better for the environment than other commercial cleaning agents, there may be some residues in it.

  60. It’s misleading to use the “1% stronger”. When a 1% increase here gives you about 20% stronger cleaner. Most folks are confused by “percent increase”.
    And cleaning vinegars sold in my area are around 8% acetic acid.

    Where I live the cleaning vinegar is usually 8% and table vinegar is ~4%. I buy the 8% cleaning vinegar and convert a small amount of it to use as table vinegar by cutting it about half and half with water. I use the rest for cleaning.

    While they both probably provide an equal amount of aesthetic clean, for those who are concerned about pathogens (immune compromised) even a jump from 5 to 6 % provides 20% more effectiveness. It’s quite possible 8% is even beyond what anyone actually needs for anti-microbial action, though.

  61. I just bought a gallon of Cleaning Vinegar at the Dollar Tree to clean the green off my deck, prepping it for another coat of oil. The brand they carry is “LA’s Totally Awesome”. It has soapy component that I wasn’t expecting – I hope I can get it rinsed off enough! It’s contents: water, acetic acid (no indication of what percent), alcohol ethoxylate, butyl carbitol, citrus oil, preservative. It also has the warning: “Do not dispose of degreasing rinseates into or near drains, oceans, lakes or streams.” Definitely would not want that in my food.
    Wish I had paid more attention when I bought it. I too will be sticking to regular vinegar from now on!

  62. I use regular white vinegar and water for the everyday cleaning. I also have a bottle of citrus vinegar for tough cleaning jobs. I put a mess of citrus peels in a a glass jar (whatever I have at the time (oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, limes, etc.), fill the rest of the way with white vinegar, and let steep for a few weeks, shaking every couple of days. If you don’t have a lot of peels to start, just start with a few and leave space in the jar to add peels as you can. When it’s ready, strain and dilute as needed. No better cleaner.

  63. My first thought was – If you are diluting it, why not just use a bit less water to start with – sorry cant help with the math but if you use 50/50 then do 60/40 to get a stronger mix. does still cost more in the long run though so – Ugg more math!!!!

  64. Thanks Karen for this explanation. It really helped in making the decision on when and where to use varies types of vinegar.

  65. I have seen all three vinegars as you did. I am a “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ person as well. I am sticking with the tried and true 5% white vinegar. Thank you for the info! Sometimes the old ways are the best ways! Happy cleaning! Connie D. Kentucky

  66. That 1% difference makes it 20% stronger. I use the cleaining one for weed control or cleaning, not so uch for cooking.

    1. The 5% vinegar has a ph value of 3. The 6% vinegar has a ph value of 2. For each whole ph value there is 10 times a change in value. If your vinegar had an even higher ph you could get 20 times a change in value. Either way I’m with you. It’s much stronger and I use as a herbicide and for cleaning. 5% is not strong enough to take on the weeds at my home.

  67. It’s weird… 20% vinegar is available everywhere in my home country and it is used for food… (Excellent washing machine cleaner.)

  68. Five percent works just fine for regular cleaning. I use 6% vinegar for the long soak required to remove built-up hard water plaque on plumbing porcelain (sinks, bathtubs and commodes). Very effective and much less elbow grease.

  69. WOW! I also use vinegar recipes from cleaning to lawn care and was curious but never looked into the differences. Thank you for your incite! I appreciate your opinion and will also continue to purchase the regular vinegar as well.


  70. Just saw this cleaning vinegar at Walmart and decided that if I couldn’t see the acidity labeling, I didn’t need the product! Shame on them!

  71. I just became aware of cleaning vinegar yesterday at a dollar for 64 ounces. Could not make decision until I read this article. Have been tryi g to get rod of weeds with vinegar, salt and dish detergent. Cleaning cinegar will be less expensive. Great article.

  72. I just read that Regular white vinegar is 5% acidity and cleaning vinegar is 6% acidity. The one percent actually makes it 20% stronger. Cleaning vinegar is not to be used for cooking. The fresh scent of cleaning vinegar smells exactly the same as white vinegar.May 22, 2016

    1. I think it would be more a matter of the taste being off because it would be a “stronger” vinegar taste. It would probably still be “safe” but would not taste as good. However if you had accidentally used the much stronger vinegar (I think it’s 20% for gardening) then I would say you would want to toss that food out and not eat it.

    2. I read an article that said some cleaning vinegar is not distilled. I imagine that’s why it’s not safe for human consumption. However, Heinz vinegar is distilled so it is safe for human consumption.

  73. Try 30% acidity vinegar. Cleans hard water spots like nothing else. Expensive cost but you use a fraction of 5% quantity. It’s awesome.

  74. The author doesn’t see reason for the cost difference between 5% acetic acid and 6% acidic acid; she also doesn’t see how that 1% difference in cost so much more.
    This is where chemistry is a factor(indeed, for many it destroyed your GPA? Cleaning vinegar, it’s not 1% stronger than cooking vinegar; because it is 20% stronger than cooking vinegar!
    I won’t present a chemistry lesson, but the concentration term were using here is called normality; research the following URL …

    1. You’re exactly right about this vinegar being 20% stronger than cooking vinegar, and here’s the reason from math class (to add to your explanation from chemestry class): (6-5)/5 = 20%.

    2. I would like to make a homemade all purpose cleaner, the recipe calls for 1 cup of vinegar with 5% acetic acid content and a 1 cup of water. I only have vinegar with 9% acetic acid. How many milliliters of 9% acetic acid vinegar do I have to mix with a cup of water to get the same concentration as if using vinegar with 5% acetic acid content?

      1. The equation for changing concentrations: C1*V1 = C2*V2 , where C1 is your original concentration, V1 is your original volume, C2 is your final concentration, and V2 is your final volume. If you want to end up with 1 cup of 5% vinegar (putting aside for now the additional cup of water the recipe requires), then…

        .09*V1 = .05*1, solving for V1 = .55555. So pour a little over 1/2 cup of your 9% vinegar into a measuring cup and then add water until it reaches the 1 cup mark. Voila.

  75. I have been using regular vinegar for cleaning, laundry and cooking. I too thought o ge wiz, a cleaning vinegar, I should try it. Sometimes regular is (out of stock) at Walmart, as it was the two weeks in a row I tried to buy. But, now what about my laundry can I use 6% acidity there?

    1. I think you could still use it in laundry Barbara, but I would probably use a little less than you usually do if you are using a type with more acidity.

      1. I used it NOT realizing it was different it even said fresh scent I had a friend pour it in a smaller bottle I had before that was a regular distilled. I had not looked at the label closely and I had not bough it at the store someone else did,
        I poured it into the washer then added the All free and clear mighty pac as I put my sheets in I was overwhelmed with the smell I still feel like my throat is burned, Plus my sheets are scratchy. feel like the sheets need t be all rewashed and I hope my throat calms down, distilled white regular is the wat to go

  76. I’m not sure where you’re located, but I went to Dollar Tree and found a half gallon of Cleaning Vinegar for $1 and it works great for cleaning and laundry!!

    1. Thanks for sharing that info Casey! That could be a frugal solution for those that want to give cleaning vinegar a try. I’m going to take a look for it the next time I’m at my local Dollar Tree because now you have me curious if they stock it in my area.

  77. I use regular vinegar and pour (spray) it on dollarweed which is almost impossible to kill. One tiny white root left and its back again. There is a 30% vinegar available which 1 gallon dilutes into 6 gallons if you leave it undiluted. Victoria

  78. I took a few pictures from the Heinz site but can’t post them… I could email them to you. The actual difference from 5% to 6% acidity is 20% in acedic acid chemistry language for White Vinegar somehow lol. I have not tried it myself. Somehow my mom grabbed me a bottle of 9% extra strength white vinegar from my usual store for just under $3. SWEET right?!

  79. Hi all, I’m on here bc I was trying to figure out the difference and Google search brought me to this forum. I always get the gallon jug of great value vinegar from walmart and the other day they were out of it and i really needed it, i use it in every wash whwn i do laundry it gets the aourness out of washcloths and whatnot and I also use it for cooking, so I got the Heinz cleaning vinegar and see on it the acidity is only 1% more so I feel like it isn’t going to be much if at all different than what I already had been using, I agree it’s a marketing scam. But alot of products are that way, for instance I went to buy legos for my kids and they have a cardboard box of them for $25 with 583pcs, and a plastic tote of them for $28 with 484, you pay that extra $3 to get 99 less legos just to get the tote. Same concept. So I say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but if you have a similar issue like I did I don’t see why one time of getting the 6% would make a difference besides the higher price.

  80. Agreed! Just saw the “cleaning vinegar” at Walmart. Came home and looked it up. Sticking with my regular ole run of the mill vinegar. Marketing ploy? I think so. I’m using a Holiday blend natural oil in my spray bottle. So nice! Love that little touch of cedar and peppermint.

  81. Omg I’m so jealous of America, in Singapore the biggest distilled vinegar is about 750ml , it’s troublesome to buy a a few bottles at a time just for my cleaning

      1. Wow, 5 dollars, that’s a rip off. In the US a gallon of white distilled vinegar is less than $1.50 (one dollar and 50 cents plus your 10% sales tax here in Alabama which is ridiculous. Another thing to note is that some cleaning vinegar have Hydrochloric acid and can not be used for food consumption.

  82. Using cleaning vinegar right now to clean a heavy buildup of lime deposit. It melts the lime right away. Very impressed!

    1. Our apartment has extremely heard water causing a lime ring around the toilets that sometimes looks mildewy. Do you think emptying the water from bowl and soaking paper towels in cleaning vinegar would help? I’ve cleaned it off a couple times with pumice stone. But that friction and stone were hard on my fingers

      1. I would try hydrogen Peroxide, I use it mostly for cleaning and as a disinfectant especially in the kitchen and bathroom along with a cleaning steamer. I also use the cleaning vinegar, but not together, the cleaning vinegar has hydrochloric acid and can not be used for food consumption.

  83. Cleaning vinegar has 20% more acid than regular vineagar, but the cleaning vinegar costs 31.7% more.

    In each 8 oz cup of regular, there is 0.40 ounce of acid, and the cleaning has 0.48 ounce. The 0.08 difference is probably not significant.

  84. If you use the 6% stuff (which doesn’t sound much stronger, but very much is) and do a 1 part vinegar 2 parts water ratio instead of a 50/50, it will actually save you money and still be as effective.

  85. Used the last of my cleaning vinegar on my vinyl siding works amazingly well. Then used reg old white vinegar & saw no difference!

  86. If you have very hard water, then the extra acidity does matter. Where I live, we have extremely hard water and it leaves calcium scale on everything. Also, if you are making homemade pickles it is good to have the higher level of acidity, because some vinegar that are labeled at 5% acidity have been tested and they weren’t a true 5%, which is necessary for the formation of Lactic acid to kill all of the bacteria in the pickling process.

  87. Just an FYI (kind of related) Southern States Coop in my area is starting to carry a 15% vinegar, all natural weed killer! Please don’t use for anything else…it’s strong stuff!

  88. Did I read in a comment that vinegar is used in a floor steam cleaner? I have done that for several years, actually pouring about 3 tablespoons in the tank with water. Now my steamer is not working so well. I thought maybe I should not be adding the vinegar. The guy that put in my tile floors said to only use vinegar and water to clean. But, maybe that was in a bucket. Steamer is SO easy. Anyone know?

  89. The Cleaning Vinegar just recently appeared on the shelves of Our stores here on Vancouver Island. The Cleaning Vinegar at 6% is amazing for aging wood for craft projects etc., when steel wool sheets are torn and soaked in this Vinegar it rusts(when left overnight to soak) and will create stunning effects on raw wood and metals!!
    Other than that I agree as a Cleaner I prefer to use homemade cleaners as the commercial products are too strong for most of My Senior clients. It also saves time, money, and is so much better for the environment!!
    So, whether You are cleaning or crafting with these Vinegars have fun and know You are much better off without all those harmful chemicals polluting Your Homes.
    Funny isn’t it how as We age the simpler ways are usually the Healthier and more economical options…….AND, Yes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!! Coz there’s always something that requires a little work!! I am beginning to think it’s Me that is in need of a little work……little….that word is a bit misleading………..haha.
    I thank You for Your time and energy and wish You a bright shiny day!!

    PS Sense of humour necessary.

  90. I purchased a 64-oz/ 1.89L/ 2qt) Walmart product called “Cleaning Vinegar” (yes that is all the bottle says). It was much cheaper than the other choices available Heinz, etc. However it has no acetic% on the label; it only states it is acetic acid and water. It is not for food consumption. The directions say to always dilute a gallon of water with with 1/2 cup of the vinegar. In other words this means I would pour 1/4 cup vinegar in my 2qt/half gallon bottle. It seems to me that ratio of vinegar to water (2:64 ounces) is either too small to make a difference or this vinegar is VERY acetic.
    Your thoughts? Answers?

    Also, vinegar should not be used on granite or marble, but is it OK on granite (I have both in my home)?

    Can this be used on “natural” tile?

    1. Yes, that dilution seems very low to me too. I tried to do a little research on this product and my educated guess is it appears to be a generic of Top Job Cleaning Vinegar which is 5% acidic. So I don’t think the Walmart Cleaning vinegar is very, very acidic either. I usually do a 50/50 dilution (which would be 4 cups of vinegar in your 2 qt container) but you could maybe dial that down to 2 cups. But I think 1/4 cup in a 2 qt container would not do much. Also it’s best not to use vinegar on granite. I substitute rubbing alcohol for the vinegar in mixtures that will be used on granite.

  91. We had a problem with mold. We were told that 6% vinegar or higher would kill the mold.
    This makes life better for those of us that can not have bleach in their homes. I have even added orange peals to my vinegar. This makes a wonderful all-purpose cleaner.
    We have also added vinegar to laundry in place of dryer sheets. Love the inexpensive options.

  92. Today I was tempted to buy a large bottle of “Industrial Strength” vinegar but discovered it was only 5%.
    I can buy Pickling Vinegar in any supermarket which is 7%. That’s what I use to de-scale items like humidifier plates.

  93. I’ve been using wht vinegar for cleaning 3 yrs. Love it….I only use vinegar to wash my bath towels, no soap or fabric softener! They come out fluffy and fresh smelling!!! Before my towels started getting scratchy and stiff even with fabric softener. My husband even noticed the difference. Will try the cleaning vinegar if you use less then cheaper.

  94. I’m a little late to the game here, but I use 20% acetic acid vinegar for cleaning. The Heinz 6% is a massive waste of money, however, there is 20% and 30% available on Amazon and this stuff is all natural but in no way shape or form food safe, it is POWERFUL! I use it in all my cleaners and it’s zapped the toilet scunge better than any commercial cleaner I’ve tried. It’s also an amazing alternative to RoundUp for weeds in the yard. It makes the Dawn DIY shower cleaner even more effective. I warn you though the smell can be overwhelming and can burn the skin if it lands on a more sensitive area like the top of hands rather than the palms, it’s definitely an acid so care should be taken when using it. It’s worth every extra penny as far as I’m concerned. Hubs even soaks his foot in a diluted solution when he has an athlete’s foot flare up, knocks it out better and faster than any commercial anti-fungal product he’s tried and that would be all of them. I don’t know use regular white vinegar in the house since it’s typically made from grain and as a celiac, that’s a risk I’m not willing to take. This may be too, but I’m not eating it so I’m unconcerned, so since we always have apple cider vinegar for cooking/skin care we always have two kinds in the house anyway, simplifying the pantry by using the same for cleaning and eating is not an option.

  95. I wanted to read your page, it looks informative…stupid social media buttons on the side are ruining my experience and i’m not using your page. Thought you should know.

    1. Sorry the technology was acting up Mike! I made a switch today to fix that problem and hopefully that will stop happening.

  96. Thank you for the clarification, I didn’t think there would be much, if any difference, other than price. I’ll stick with my plain old white vinegar.

  97. I bought some cleaning vinegar at the Dollar tree. Didn’t notice it was cleaning vinegar. Dumped some in my coffee maker; let it run through; after it run through I poured it back through several times. I noticed it was sudsy, that’s when I picked up the jug and noticed it said cleaning vinegar. I had to run numerous pits of water through my coffee maker to get rid of all the suds; and while my coffee may run through a little faster than it was it wasn’t a significant difference not like the regular vinegar I had used other times. I don’t recommend using it in your coffee maker. Today I took some of it and put it in a pan to see if I could get some spots off my carpet. Sodas are hard to get out. You think you’ve got it and a few days later it returns. So the verdict is still out on how well the Sosa and the spots where the cats cough up hairballs and leave a stain on the carpet. I hope it takes it out as it might be an idea versus the expensive carpet shampoos. Do you know about using vinegar(s) on carpet to clean them. This is the first time I used any.

    1. Went into my local Dollar Tree, Came across the cleaning vinegar and decided to purchase it, as I was only going to use the distilled to clean with anyway.

      I really could not squabble over 64 ounces of A—S cleaning vinegar for $1.09 (tax included) when organic or plain distilled vinegar whenever I was going to be able to find it was going to cost me a lot more (seems to be a shortage of any type of vinegar in the area I was shopping that day and driving an extra 5 miles for just a bottle of vinegar that may or may not have been available was not time or cost effective in my mind).

      I see articles that say to add a natural liquid detergent to the vinegar or to add D–. If you don’t already have the detergent on hand you will pay dearly for it. Nothing less than $3.99 for a small container unless you find the item on sale,

      I have been watching prices of “natural” cleaning products for a few years now, even dipped my toe into the forming waters of natural product purchasing, but here In California at most major grocery stores natural or healthy products come with a hefty cost.

      The price I mentioned is for a small bottle of natural dish washing liquid I have come to enjoy that rarely is on sale. If I choose the more famous and aromatic liquids (which can cause me major health problems) I can get those for much much less and more often because they are frequently on sale.

      Don’t even look at the natural washing detergents and natural bleaches, ouch! They are $12.99 and more for common purchased sizes unless they are on sale and even then the savings is not too great, unless maybe you can afford to shop at a mass retailer like Costco or Sam’s Club – all equating to spending more money that quickly adds up and consumes any saving you may have seen by DIY endeavors.

      So glad that I was raised by a grandmother that knew the value of a dollar and taught me what I term the old fashion way of cleaning. It’s back to products like castile soap (which can be melted and I can safely use in my alternative washer) baking soda, hydrogen peroxide lemon juice and natural sunlight to clean and brighten my clothes.

      For a family or even a single person on a limited budget the cost of the cheaper priced famous, not necessarily as good for you products will often win out over healthier more costly items (for some reason I have yet to determine, name brand purchasing is like a magnet to the wallet for many).

      Why does choosing to be health conscious have to be costly? The same manufacturers that are making the products many people are finding too toxic and negatively affecting their health are now touting healthier products.

      Why not make EVERY product healthy for EVERYONE and pass the monies saved by producing only one line of healthy product to the customers and watch the profits soar? Everyone could be happy..happy manufactures and happy customers.. Makes sense!

      Back to the subject at hand ;),

      So I cleaned my shower with my mixture of cleaning vinegar, baking soda, “natural” dish washing detergent and some of my favorite essential oils and my shower and tub looks and feels clean and my bathroom smells great, but the greatest part for me was I did not have to suffer with breathing issues, sinus headaches and mucous build up as a result of inhaling toxic fumes.

      Today, I decided to fuse the peels from my Cara Cara oranges with said cleaning vinegar. Instructions I have read says let the mixture sit for 2 weeks. I put everything into a glass mason jar and am waiting to see the end result. Personally I think it will be a favorite with me. Definitely cheaper than using my B—‘s AVC which is by far the best vinegar to ingest since it contains the mother but can be quite expensive since I use it for a variety of purposes.

      Spending a ton pf money for a gallon of organic vinegar(I read on one blog it can cost up to $28 a gallon is not cost effective for me right now. like to keep my space clean, which means I would use it frequently so I can just any savings from DYI projects blowing down the street in the wind.

      In search of a healthier lifestyle, for now I can say I have at least started my journey to a more wholesome way of cleaning. I made small steps along the way for a few years, I have seen improvement in my health and I see where I can save money in many ways including doctor’s visits, medications, sick time and even monies spent to purchase products so I am inclined to do more and at the same time help reduce my carbon footprint. I love getting multiple benefits from choices I make…

      But my next look at the total picture since healthier options for my body and my life is my ultimate goal is to check pricing and affordability of organic vinegar which is non GMO. That’s the point of the natural cleansers, to put less toxins into our homes and bodies right?

      I am seeing articles online however that state that the more affordable vinegar options may not be as good for us as we think due to the fact they are produced from corn which can be toxic.. . That’s reason to pause and ponder. It seems there is always another thing to think about when it comes to the choices we make that affect our health and sadly it looks like this will always be the case…

      For those creating a healthier life and lifestyle, know that you are doing a world of good for yourself, your loved ones and the world.

      If you are in information and pricing overload, start where you can, do not allow anyone to discourage you. It is better to do something than nothing. I am a testimony that baby steps lead to larger steps in the right direction and eventually become as natural as breathing.

      You can and will evolve into wiser and healthier choices in life as you learn from your own experience and do your own personal research which is readily available on the internet.

      The main point I guess is to be open to change but take it one step at a time with the target goal being the the “complete” picture.

      Happy New Year!

  98. I accidentally used cleaning vinegar in my cucumber, mayo, vinegar mixture. Tasted a bit off and couldn’t figure out why. After eating several bites I noticed the bottle said cleaning vinegar. Uh oh!!! Hope I’ll be OK

  99. Thanks for solving a mystery for me! I’ve been buying the “cleaning” vinegar but am going back to white distilled. I use a cup in laundry rinse cycle (in Bounce Ball)as fabric softener and to boost detergent action. Love it!

  100. FYI, the difference between concentration of 5% and 6% acidity is not 1%, it is 1 percentage point. The actual difference is that the 6% is 20% more acidic.

    1. Sorry Sara, I do not currently have any pets so I can’t give any first hand experience on if vinegar is effective with pet odors. However when I did a quick google search it appears that many people do use a vinegar/water mixture on pet odors so I think it would be worth a try.

  101. non food grade vinegar don’t exist. All vinegar is edible. the problem is that some people cannot read and follow instructions. More concentrated vinegar is for smart people and reducing the waste. People in Europe using vinegar no weaker than 6%. Any stronger vinegar you can dilute to your needs . stronger do not cost more per 1 ounce percentage.

  102. In my opinion Cleaning vinegar smells stronger.

    When we bought our house it came with granite countertops & marble floors. Sadly I can’t benefit from great cleaning that vinegar does as it is not recommended for use on granite or marble. ☹️. Perhaps someone else has opinions. Would diluted vinegar be safe to use?

    1. No, I would stay away from vinegar if you have granite. Instead try a mixture of 1-3/4 cups water, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, and a small squirt of dish soap. That will be safer for granite!

  103. I plan to use vinegar for cleaning Rusty metal parts I was looking on YouTube and they were cleaning metal Parts with 60% vinegar 40% water and I have used it for cleaning windows I’ll leave it set a minute dirt and grime just comes right off it’s a great all-around product multi-purpose another item that cleans rust is molasses and water put a mix in a tub soak your purse and the rest comes right off I plan on using yet to clean my chrome rims on my truck

  104. I am wondering where the other popular vinegar comes into play with these. I am talking about Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar. I believe the acidity level is the same as the white but in my home where I grew up we kept the Apple Cider for using in foods and the Distilled for Cleaning. Never knew the cheaper cleaning only kind not usable for foods even existed. But the article never mentioned the Apple Cider type which I think tastes better than the distilled.

  105. I clean with plain white vinegar all the time, by itself and with baking soda. The baking soda is a good scrubber and to rinse it off effectively leaving no grittiness behind I rinse with vinegar. I boil vinegar on the stove to clean grease (the hotter the better – just don’t breathe deeply over the pot! lol!) and I soak the Rubbermaid drainboard under my dish-rack with boiling vinegar to get rid of the hard water residue which builds up.

    I chuckled at the “cleaning vinegar” since I’ve never seen it before. I think it’s a gimmick. Especially since pickling vinegar is 7% acidic, which is even higher than the so-called “cleaning vinegar’s” acidity, plus has the added advantage of being food grade. I also buy food grade 35% hydrogen peroxide, which disinfects and cleans like a wonder. Kind of expensive, but a 4L jug lasts me months. I use it diluted in my dishwater and for wiping down and disinfecting everything – counters, sinks, bathtubs, floors, toilets – sky’s the limit really. Since I’m chemically sensitive these options for cleaning green have been a life saver for me. 🙂

  106. I’ve used 5% acidity vinegar for years and I’m pretty old! My fav is in the washer to rinse towels; pour it directly into the fabric softener dispenser and your towels will be soft and more absorbent. I agree with NOT purchasing two products with little difference. I have thought about boiling the vinegar down for tough outside cleaning and will do that today to clean the patio.

    1. I am currently using different concentration of acetic acid for various home use, and I think it’s a massively, cheap, untapped resource.

      Ditch all that chemical sh1t! That crazy cocktail.

      In the past two years I have toyed with different acetic acid solutions, and we have progressively phased out chemical products for a lot of uses.

      I buy 99.99% acetic acid from ebay / amazon, and I dilute it myself. ACETIC ACID 99% IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and must be handled with the right equipment. Anyway a set of gloves, mask and apron will set you off £10 max.

      0) 0% acetic acid.
      1) 25% acetic acid. This is my storage, and I rarely use this directly. This is so that I don’t have to go deal with 100% acetic acid on a frequent basis. At 25% is rather safe to store. It’s also easy to prepare, as it’s a 1-4 ratio when you mix. I keep this in a 3L plastic container in the shed – YMMV.
      2) 12.5% acetic acid. This is for spraying particularly smelly laundry items before washing them, so that the washing machine cycle can be easier. Very effective with smell. It can be used for a zilliion other situations in the house. However 12.5 is considered already “dangerous” concentration (anything above 10% is; see wikipedia article). Also I use a cupful of this in place of fabric softener.
      3) 6.25% acetic acid. This is for everything else. One spray bottle is next to the sink, for anything – dishes and surfaces or anything else really. And another identical spray bottle in the bathroom – you can get this at the poundshop if you don’t have any existing products whose spray bottle you can reuse.

      I have also completely stopped using any shower gel or soaps shampoo etc. I wash with strong hot water only, every day. But unfortunately I tend to sweat and smell under my arms, so I have resorted to using a small spray bottle of 6.25 concentration, immediately after I shower. Note I do use oils at times after I shower, but this doesn’t really help stopping later sweat / smell situations.

      The 6.25 neutralises the problem very well, and I can always have a very small spray bottle with me for emergencies, and I can smell normal throughout partying.

      The initial vinegar smell is only temporary, and the final net effect is to kill all other smells.

      All this in the confidence my children can lick all surfaces of the house without really me having to worry. And they’ve been known to do it.

      1L Glacial Acetic acid = £15 – (lasts me 6 months, with a 2 bedroom)
      25% 1L = £3.75
      12.5% 1L = £1.875
      6.25% 1L = < £1

      A spray bottle is usually 500Ml, so this is much cheaper than products from the shop, infinitively safer, and "adjustable potency".

      And of course less packaging, less travelling of the products etc. etc. but I have kept this out of the discussion as secondary to the benefits above.


      1. Dear Mario Rivera, thank you for interesting article. I would like to ask you what do you use for washing machine. Somewhere you wrote – soap nuts, what is that?Thank you.

  107. Thanks for the article! Might I suggest adding some orange or lemon peels to your water/vinegar mix for a more pleasant smell and the lemon adds a little boost to your cleaning power naturally!!

  108. I landed here after Googling ” difference between Vinegar and cleaning Vinegar”. They have the gallons jugs of cleaning vinegar at my local Dollar Tree! I have a home remedy book that deals a lot with vinegar… So since they are basically the same.. And using it for cleaning is my purpose… Looks like I’ll be going back to Dollar Tree tomorrow :). Thanks ladies!

  109. Thanks for that info Linda. I also was perplexed at Kmart regarding the difference of these strengths. I make my own weed killer which is effective , but needs to te- applied often. 1 gallon vinegar, 1/4c Dawn dishwashing liquid, 2c Epsom salts. In this scenario, do u think the stronger vinegar would be better?

  110. I’ve used vinegar as a cleaner for a very long time!!! I buy both!!!!
    Tub & shower cleaner…… Mix equal parts 1.5 cups of warm cleaning Vinegar & 1.5 cups of blue Dawn dish det. in a spray bottle, shake well! It’s excellent tub & shower cleaner!
    We have very hard water in our town so we get calcium build up that cause our shower heads, kitchen sink sprayers, dish washers, etc to not perform as efficient as when new! For these jobs you have to use straight vinegar!!! I did soak them in regular vinegar but it really takes a long time! If I don’t let them soak at least 24 hrs in straight reg vinegar, then I have to use a tooth brush with the vinegar to scrub the white calcium build up off! I can soak them in the cleaning vinegar that I started buying a long time back first at Lowe’s, Home Depot & several other stores around Nashville. I’ve never paid more for cleaning vinegar infact I’ve gotten it cheaper most of the time!! I like the cleaning vinegar to soak all listed above plus the little tray that sits in the door of our refrig. under the ice & water dispenser, the metal screw connector ends on my washing machine hoses, that connect my washing machine to the water supply!
    For Windows & Mirrors…..In a large spray bottle I mix 2 cups warm water, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup 91% alcohol, put spray top on bottle then repeatedly turn upside down & back up to mix well! (I use a large enough spray bottle to make a double batch at a time)! It’s wonderful to clean windows, mirrors, the glass in picture frames, car windows inside, etc!!

  111. thank you, I was confused at this too. I was pretty sure it was just a gimmick to get people used to buying manufactured cleaning products to go with the cleaning option and hike up the price. This little article at least confirmed Im not the only one who thinks this.

  112. If you are the hard core, industrial strength sort you can get true industrial strength vinegar (30% acidic) at for $29.99 + free shipping.
    Is it effective and worth the price: TBD.
    (This is not an advertisement.)

  113. Hi! I just happened across your blog. I find it interesting that in the US the vinegar is only 5% for food grade. I live in France, and here the food grade vinegar is 8%

  114. Thank you!…I have question…Why don’t you use stainless steel…Is it the Alzheimer’s connection…I think I read something like that…maybe not…I have a problem with absorbing&retaining iron,but feared that I was losing my mind…I’ve had 2strokes!…so this is high on concerns list!…I am really interested in this…Thank you for your insight…

  115. I shop at the military commissary and that is where I first saw the cleaning vinegar. There it is actually a dollar cheaper than the regular vinegar. I wonder if it went down in price since you first saw it or is it just the commissary? I know new products generally make their start in the cheap end and then raise their price but sometimes well known companies get a little cocky and start out high then lower the price later. It makes me want to go price check out in town to see. Anyway. To answer your question, I obviously use the cleaning one bc it is cheaper. But to me it cleans the same.

  116. Pure acetic acid can be purchased at a photography store. It is called glacial acetic acid & is used in developing old fashioned camera film negatives & prints (pictures), like from the 1900 to 1980 or so. It was given the name glacial because pure acetic acid will crystallize if you bump it. The crystals or liquid can be diluted to make a cleaning solution as described in the article. 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) diluted in 19 ounces of water makes 20 ounces of a 5% solution of vinegar. Diluted in 39 ounces of water makes 40 ounces of a 2.5% solution of vinegar. THIS IS NOT FOR FOOD PREPARATION OR IN ANY WAY BE CONSUMED BY HUMANS OR ANIMALS. IT IS NOT A FOOD GRADE PRODUCT. GLACIAL ACETIC ACID MUST BE HANDLED CAREFULLY. It is however less expensive than grocery store products and does allow you to make a stronger vinegar for use in areas that have very hard water or a large build up of hard water minerals encrusting faucets, drains, shower heads, hose nozzles, kitchen sink sprayers, etc..

  117. I bought “cleaning vinegar” thinking it was a stronger acidity. I wanted it to kill weeds along my walks in the front and back yard. I noticed there wasn’t an acidity per cent recorded on the label so I thought I should check the internet to see what I could find. Thank you for your article and opinion. I will go back to my original vinegar at Walmart’s.

  118. I accidentally added HDX Cleaning Vinegar to some sloppy joes I was making (grabbed instead of regular white vinegar). Most was absorbed by the brown sugar I had just added, and I got it out. But of course some would have gotten into the meat. Question is, is it safe to use with the Cleaning Vinegar in it??

  119. I buy household vinegar at Lowe’s it’s around $1.64 for 2 qts. Regular vinegar seems to be going up in price, even in the $ store. I am going to buy some Horticultural vinegar for weeds, as I have always used Round Up and would rather not. I understand it kills weeks quickly. Vinegar kills them, but not quickly

    1. Hi Charlotte, check out my post on Nov. 14, 2015 for the recipe for homemade Round Up/Weed-B-Gone, Worked on tough weeds in 24 hours!

  120. I have used 6% industrial strength vinegar to permanently kill weeds in my driveway. It will not hurt the environment or animals. I tried the 5%, but it was not nearly as effective.

  121. I simply add a little splash of CV to my regular household cleaner…makes for a nice shine. Works great along with your favorite car wash liquid as well.

  122. Professional plumbers say the cleaning vinegar is better than CLR for removing lime, calcium, or hard water buildup on faucets.

    1. I bought Allen’s 10% double strength cleaning vinegar from Real Canadian Super Store and I agree it works even better than CLR on hard water deposits in the hottub and elsewhere. It fizzes a little on the heavy deposits, and you know it’s the good stuff!

  123. Sadly vinegar is not recommended for marble floors & granite counter tops. I wish it was because it’s such a handy cleaner to have on hand.

  124. Has anyone used cleaning vinegar to strip rejuvenate cleaner from laminate flooring? I was told by a sales lady at home hardware to try it. Was wandering if anybody might have used it for this.

  125. I posted a recipe for homemade Weed-B-Gone on November 14, 2015 in this thread. I’ll be making it again for this growing season – highly recommended!!

  126. I was looking for “safe” weed-killers and 30% acetic vinegar (300 grain) is considering industrial strength and it kills weeds. However, it costs on average $30 a gallon!! it can be diluted, of course, to less potent strengths for various chores. Have you ever worked with this?

    1. I haven’t ever bought the higher acid vinegars nor used them as a weed killer. Here’s a link to an article I saved a while back that evaluated different natural weed killer methods. The straight vinegar (20%) was said to be “OK” at killing weeds but also warned that it would kill any other plants or grass it came in touch with and said maybe even to paint it on with a paintbrush to be careful what leaves it was on!

      So at this point I haven’t tried any vinegar as a weed killer, and have just been sticking with the regular 5% acid vinegar I can buy in the grocery store.

    2. If y’all want “the good stuff” and you promise to be very careful: seriously, wear good gloves, such as nitrile, and splash goggles for your eyes, long pants/sleeves, what you can get is “glacial acetic acid.” One source today is Duda Diesel. They have 99.85% (yes, almost 100%!) Food Grade for $9.50 per liter. You could dilute that to 5% at $1.79/gal., or anything in between for e.g. weed killing. DO take the safety warning to heart–I’m a trained chemist, was on the Chemical Review (incl. safety) Council at HP.

  127. When I decided I wanted to use a more natural cleaning spray for my kitchen counter tops I mixed up 50/50 water and vinegar mix in a spray bottle . It smelled bad so I had a bottle of peppermint spirits someone gave me and I added a few drop into the mix. For the 5 years I’ve lived in my house I’ve battled a terrible ant problem in the spring and summer. I sprayed the foundation …used every ant killer I could find. Nothing worked. When I used my vinegar mix to clean the counters for the first time…The Ants were gone ! If someone cleaned the counters with anything else…the ants come back. I’ve used it in my dads house when he had carpenter ants and they are gone now too. It works for roaches too !

  128. Here in Texas at HEB we get a 10% vinager. The bottle just says extra strength and that it is perfect for canning and pickling. It’s about the same price as the normal vinegar for the gallon, so I buy it and dilute as needed.

  129. Product labels change more often than the products themselves, and it seems that I read “cleaning” on a label at some point but dismissed it as a marketing ploy (ala “prunes” -vs- “dried plums”). Having used vinegar for a while I by-habit just grab a bottle from the grocer shelf. Then the veggies in our crock-pot beef, carrots and potatoes recipe turned out noticeably more “vinegary” than usual. Whatever degree of difference it makes to the cleaning ability of vinegar, an additional one percent in acid is surely noticeable to a potato.
    I was unaware that “cleaning vinegar” existed as a separate product until reading your article above. Thank you.
    Yes, I checked – I used the same Heinz 6% stuff you mentioned.

  130. I live in Australia and have looked for Blur Dawn washing up liquid but not able to find it. Is there another product here that works as well. Agree with the principal ‘if it ain’t broken then don’t fix it”. Will stick with my all purpose V.

    1. The Dawn blue dishwashing liquid is often a favorite because it cuts grease so well. If you can’t find Dawn where you live, I would recommend looking for another brand that says on the label that it is good at cutting grease (although maybe lots of dish soaps like to claim that!)

  131. Hi Bev, I’m currently in a college Microbiology class. We did an experiment with cleaners that I thought you’d find interesting. We placed 3 drops of Bacillus (as in strep throat) bacteria into 9 different test tubes with broth and 5 drops of Staph bacteria into another separate 9 test tubes. The test tubes were then treated. 1. boil 30 minutes 2. Listerine 3. Mr. Clean 4. Ammonia 5. Vinegar 10% 6. Lysol 7. Bleach 10% 8. Virex We then loosed the caps and came back 1 week later. As for Bacillus, all containers but the Vinegar and Virex were still alive, and multiplied 100 fold. For the Staph bacteria boiling killed it after 2 minutes, and all containers but Listerine, Vinegar, and Virex were alive. So, my conclusion is, Vinegar is the best cleaner. If you want to use it effectively for disinfecting purposes, it must be 10% or higher-NO dilution. It might stink up your house a bit but….oh well.

      1. I wish you had a tube with 5 or 6% vinegar. You said it had to be 10% or higher but you didn’t test for lower. Great experiment tho. Thanks.

  132. So, I read many of the comments below and none address the use of “UNdistilled vinegar” as required in the Keurig de-scaling instructions. I keep the “distilled white vinegar” in stock for various uses, including cleaning the Keurig. It solved the problem but can’t help but wonder if it’s just a ploy to get people to buy “specialty products” at a “ridiculous price”.

    1. I did some quick searching online and it looks like there are several tutorials that say to just use regular white vinegar with water to clean a Keurig. I don’t think “undistilled” is necessary for this either!

  133. Let me get this straight: 5% – 6% acidity is an issue, yet you dilute the 5% vinegar with water to about 2.5%?? Why would you dilute 5% vinegar which is weak already?? What would be the object of buying 6% cleaning vinegar only to dilute it to 3% or so?? This makes no sense to me. Use any vinegar full strength and be done with it.

    1. 5% does sound weak but it’s not. Remember, vinegar is still an acid. It will eat through things. Think about it. If people can dilute it and it still eat through calcium build up on the tub then that’s strong stuff.

  134. I love vinegar in my laundry; running a deli leaves my clothes smelling like meat and grease. I tried the special “Cleaning Vinegar” (barf- on the name, btw) and found zero difference in the amount needed to cut the grime. I wish that the brand I purchased would at least give an acidity percent, so I know if what I’m buying is anything different. I will happily stick to the gallon jug of multi purpose 5% vinegar from now on.

    1. Thanks for sharing how it’s worked for you Candice. I agree that I wish all vinegars would include the acidity percent on their labels.

  135. I suspect the Price First Cleaning Vinegar I bought at Walmart (in the laundry soap area) (I live in Western Mass) is a 10% solution – I used it in homemade Weed Be Gone, and it was completely successful in getting rid of Dandelions and English Plantain!! Both are invasive and really hard to control, but they were gone in 24 hours!

    I think the 5% vinegar would be great if I were spraying easier weeds like Chickweed or Creeping Charlie,

    HOMEMADE (and biodegradable!) WEED BE GONE

    1 gallon cleaning vinegar
    2 cups Epsom salts
    1/4 cup blue Dawn (so it sticks)

    Put in sprayer, undiluted, and spray in AM. Next time, I would put sprayer nozzle on center of plants before spraying, as I managed to kill some grass, too, with the overspray.

    Pass the word!

    P.S. Price First is distributed by Walmart, but made in Canada.

  136. I used cooking vinegar (cant remember brand) and got great cleaning results but didn’t know to check for acidic content. Cleaned cabinets, inside drawers, windows, stainless steel appliances – I went nuts it was so efficient. Later, I used “cleaning” vinegar with lemon flavor, Kroger brand, 6% acidic and it is not doing the job. Next time I’ll check it out with another brand.

  137. Cleans calcium deposits from your dishwasher too! I live in Central Texas where our water has a high concentration of calcium. Purchased a home and the dishwasher, while fairly new, had deposits in the sprayer arms and the screen/filter in the bottom clogging holes. Nothing worked! Read about the vinegar solution on-line, got a gallon jug of vinegar, poured the whole bottle into the dishwasher and ran it through a cycle. That first time I had to do this twice but all the calcium was gone!! I now do this as maintenance every 3 months.

    I also read in a book by Cook’s Illustrated “The Science of Good Cooking” that the best anti-bacterial vegetable and fruit wash was a mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. I don’t have my book handy, but I believe it was a 50/50 ratio and they tested it against other products made specifically to wash produce.

    1. I over-bought vinegar (both white and apple-cider) years ago. Is there a “true” expiration date if a bottle has been stored in the dark basement (no light exposure) and what about an opened bottle? Thank you.

      1. I don’t think vinegar has an expiration date. I think it will always have its acidic content which is what helps in cleaning.

      2. The way to tell if anything, e.g. some “superbug”, has grown in your vinegar would be to see if it has become cloudy. Conceivably some kind of bacteria could grow–VERY UNLIKELY. Don’t have to be concerned with viruses, no other organisms to act as hosts. 🙂

  138. We get calcium deposits in our toilet sink and tub that we couldn’t get ou with conventional cleaners or distiller vinegar. I would scrub and scrub and it would be rock hard and not budge. When I used the cleaning vinegar thes rock hard deposits almost instantly softened and I was able to wipe them out in just a few minutes. I used the 6% food grade cleaning vinegar and it by far outdid the regular vinegar. Also it worked wonders on my old dingy carpet. I used it hot in my steam cleaner and it has been this clean soft or odor free since we moved in. I will only use the cleaning vinegar now because it has made cleaning my bathroom effortless.

    1. When I am curious about the ph of a cleaning product I always see if I can find a Material Safety Data Sheet online. Manufacturers are supposed to publish them for these types of products. I found this link to a MSDS for what was simply called “cleaning vinegar”. I did not recognize the manufacturer name. That data sheet (in section 9) shows the ph for cleaning vinegar as “approx 2.0”. This would make it slightly more acidic that the regular vinegar at 2.4 ph.

  139. I love using homemade cleaners and white distilled vinegar around the house to clean glass/windows and tubs. I was wondering the difference between white distilled vs. cleaning vinegar so I was glad to come across this site. I will probably stick with what I have been using thus far as it works for me! I will probably now investigate % acidity and cost when out shopping though.

    One of my other favorite homemade cleaners is water, rubbing alcohol, and a dab of dish soap in a spray bottle. Shines granite countertops up nicely as I was told not to use vinegar on granite.

    Happy cleaning!

      1. Just so you know, The lower the Ph the more acidic= better clean. 0 to 14. water is about 7. toilet cleaners about 1. lemons about 2. 14 = very alkaline. adding water just brings it closer to 7.

  140. oh thank you thank you. I was driving myself wild thinking that I wasn’t get the best out of vinegar cleaning but not finding it when I went shopping and I’m so glad I didn’t.

  141. I also clean with vinegar some, but for kitchen and baths I use a bleach solution. I do this because vinegar is NOT a germicide, it is a herbicide. Your kitchen and bath should be the two cleanest rooms in your house and vinegar just doesn’t cut it for me when it comes to the two rooms with the most germs.

  142. Well I guess all one needs to do to give their cleaning solution the power of the 6% instead of 50/50 solution, you use 60/40 (60 on the vinegar of course). Or your could dump your gallon of 5% into a pan & evaporate off some of the water, which is all they are doing to make it stronger, the more you boil it off the stronger it gets, but I wouldn’t boil too much off, you may regret it.

    1. Yes, I believe because all vinegars are acidic (vinegar is Acetic Acid) that this acidic property would always work the same as it relates to being a disinfectant/anti-bacterial.

  143. I have used white vinegar to remove calcium buildup from water now the white vinegar does not work.will try the cleaning vinegar

  144. Here is something you may not know….the cleaning vinegar can be sprayed full-strength on weeds and unwanted grass. It works overnight on most of them. At the price of weed and grass killers, and their being unsafe for the environment, people, pets, insects, using the cleaning vinegar is both cheaper and safer. You do not want to get it on wanted plants….it will definitely kill them!

  145. I am inclined to stick with what I can purchase like you. It makes good sense for me to not go out and buy something extra and it will not make that much difference in this case.

  146. Thanks or the good information on vinegar. I didn’t find cleaning vinegar in our local stores so looked it up on the web and glad I did. I will continue using white vinegar.

  147. thanks for the tutorial. i just found a homemade ‘cleaner’ recipe on Facebook, and it consisted of cleaning vinegar and dish soap, i think it was equal parts…i am going to try it for my dirty kitchen walls. i made the same decision as you did, on the regular white vinegar too

  148. I have no idea if you will receive this post but wanted to tell you that I saw on a video to use cleaning vinegar for cleaning hard stained toilets. I have been looking for quite a while to find something that would really work so am giving it a try. However, the video said that cleaning vinegar is 15% strength not 5%. However, that said, the bottle which I purchased at Lowes Home Improvement center says nothing about strength or ingredients on the bottle.

    1. Yes, I receive and look at all my comments Cheryl – but sometimes I fall behind on replying! There are some stronger vinegars (15% to 20% vinegar) that are sold for gardening purposes so perhaps that’s what they were referring to in the video as a cleaning vinegar. I hope if you try vinegar for cleaning your toilet that it does the trick.

  149. When I saw “cleaning vinegar” in a solution recipe it was something I’d never heard of, and the more I thought about it, I doubted that it wasanything other than a gimmick with financial motives. I wasn’t sure so I did a search and found this info that confirms what I thought.

  150. How did you determine the acidity level of the cleaning vinegar? I just bought some at Wal-Mart under the label price first. There is no acidity info, but it says to always dilute 1 cup of cleaning vinegar in a gallon of water…

    1. Some cleaning vinegars don’t have the acidity percentage on the label, so I would then just make an educated guess based on the common acidity amount that cleaning vinegars that DO have it on the label, say their acidity percentage is.

  151. Plain old white vinegar is essential in my home! I use it to deodorize the fridge, to soften my clothes instead of laundry sheets (I used it in diaper pails with all my kids, especially since softeners caused diaper rash). I use it in my rinse water to shine my drinking glasses and silverware. It works great to take the itch out of bug bites……..I could go on for ever! “cleaning vinegar”is plain old vinegar and water at a higher price.

  152. I prefer the Heinz cleaning vinegar for carpet cleaner. It is stronger smelling and the vinegar smell does not disipate as fast but to me seems to be more effective for my purpose(doggie odor).

    1. Thanks for sharing Donna – interesting to hear your experience with cleaning vinegar and pet odors.

  153. Thanks for the information. I wanted to know what the difference was & you answered that for me very concisely. I also agree with you. I’m sticking with the tried & true.

  154. Thank you for your help and insight into this. I just read about the cleaning vinegar today and was planning to do some research. You have saved me some time and provided a very helpful comparison. I appreciate your comments!

  155. I couldn’t find cleaning vinegar at walmart so I bought regular figuring I’ll use it anyway. Went on line to find out the difference – negligible – so I’ll stick with the regular. Thank you.

  156. I am a very literal, go by the recipe only person so I was duped! Just bought the cleaning vinegar yesterday for higher price than regular. My husband asked what the difference was, so I checked the bottles then came to the internet. No difference! I feel like an idiot but lesson learned!! Will do my research before buying next time!!

    1. Don’t feel too bad Nancy! There is a small difference in that the cleaning vinegar should have slightly higher acidity. The question for most of us is if that little bit of higher acidity truly makes enough of a difference to justify spending more.

    2. Nancy,
      There’s nothing to feel bad about. I’ve read all the comments, and you are one of the very few that actually conducted a scientific comparison, research, and have real evidence. Even the article was based on cost analysis and gut feeling only – no data on effectiveness of both products. Your literacy paid off.

  157. I am with you on this. I am sure that there is no reason to buy ‘cleaning vinegar’. I, like you, suspect it is an attempt to convince people they need two different vinegars. If they can sell two when one used to do the job they are way ahead in money.

  158. I loVe using regular white vinegar in the water I mop the floor with. It leaves the floor clean, with no Residue, and it smells fresh!

  159. Most of the time, the new name and new purpose on the label are just marketing. It’s like Clorox making a “Green” product or Johnson and Johnson making a “natural” line of baby products. Usually contain the same ingredients, often the same proportions, but with different packaging and a fancier name. They’ll do anything to get our attention and our few extra pennies that add up to dollars for them. Having worked in advertising for manufacturers, I’ve seen it for years!

  160. Just thinking… Like people said, the 6% is 20% more acidity, but more importantly, you’re cutting it 50/50 with water… They’re already cutting it with water to get it to 5 or 6%. So now your cleaning solution is 2.5% acid. If you got the 6% and cut it like that it’d be 3%. So you could just use less water in your mix… Or use 5% straight and it be more than cutting the 6%. Or do more math to find out the cost per acidity!!! Haha

  161. Thanks for the insight! I was tempted to go buy the cleaning vinegar, because of your research I, like you, will stick with the old vinegar. Thanks again

  162. using vinegar and water all the time for the kitchen and bathroom counters. Works great. I spray the same thing on fruits and veggies as soon as I bring them home and rinse. NO smell after a couple minutes

  163. I am not changing to cleaning vinegar. When I saw it I immediately thought…marketing strategy. We use vinegar with isopropyl alcohol and water. My daughter has eczema and it doesn’t cause breakouts

    1. Hey Vicki, Judy here. My Hubby has eczema really bad sometimes. what cleaner are you making by putting the alchol in it?

    2. And the combo with isopropyl alcohol is similar to one we used to clean analytical glassware in the lab where no residue was allowed: hydrochloric acid (reagent or better grade, not technical like pool muriatic acid) and an alcohol plus water. Distilled vinegar also should leave no residue, but not as aggressive! The former would NOT be good on stainless steel.

  164. Vinegar also kills weeds by stripping the protective, waxy coating off the leaves. Although I usually just pull weeds, this is good to use when you don’t want to touch the weed, as in poison ivy. As with any weed killer, protect other nearby plants.

    1. I’ve noticed too that many of the higher percentage vinegars are marketed for gardening purposes.

  165. Combine a half of a cup of Heinz Cleaning Vinegar and one gallon of hot water to clean tile and linoleum to a beautiful shine without any leftover residue. I keep a spray bottle of this mixture in the bathroom at all times and spray the shower, sinks, and countertops every few days. For tough stains, you can simply use undiluted Cleaning Vinegar directly on the surface and wipe off.

    1. Vingar is not recommended for granite counter tops as it strips off the finish. I was told to not let acidly liquids sit on my granite such as pickle juice, ketsup, tomato sauce, etc. when it was installed. So, I’d be careful.

  166. The 1% isn’t just 1%..the 6% is 20% stronger than the 5% not 1% stronger..just thought that needed to be said to help make a more informed decision…

    1. OK, so couldn’t you just bring your 5% vinegar to a boil for a little while & increase the acidity?

      1. Recheck your math. 1 is indeed 20% of 5 (the math is: 5 x 0.2 = 1), so 1% represents 20% of 5%. No, they’re not crazy, just smart. 😉

  167. thank you for this research on Vinegar distilled vs cleaning. I will go back to buying the distilled only in the kitchen but may continue with cleaning for floors and bathrooms. Walmart should label their cleaning vinegar with the notice that it is not for human consumption if in fact it isn’t.

  168. The higher acid content along with a micro fiber cloth make it the PERFECT cleaning pair for removing any & all marks from my stainless steel appliances. The regular vinegar & cloth don’t work. I am recovered from pancreatic cancer with no chemo, radiation, surgery or drugs so it is imperative for me to AVOID chemicals at all cost. So I make all of my home cleaning supplies & after trying this cleaning vinegar…it’s on my shelf!

    1. Interesting! I don’t have any stainless steel appliances so I like to hear what homemade cleaners work for those who do have stainless steel.

      1. WD40 on a soft rag will get rid of hard water streaks and handprints on stainless steel. It just take a little bit and works miracles!

      1. He is talking about the chemical lists you can find in conventional cleaning products – i.e. the washing up soap I’ve seen mentioned above mixed with acetic acid. I don’t think there is any need for it.

        Going through the list and reading what the effects of those chemicals are on us and the environment around us is a good exercise which I recommend. It’s rather easy to check nowadays, the information is just a few clicks away.

        Considering acetic acid is something we can ingest in rather important quantities without significant problems, I can’t think of a better ingredient to clean around us.

        Of course baking soda is there for all your scrubbing needs. And I also have a jar of borax waiting in the pantry, for the whites and the laundry in general I was told, but I haven’t used it yet, the soap nuts are doing a good job in the washing machine.


  169. I use regular vinegar to make my own windows cleaner and I don’t know why people think that these “special” cleaning vinegars will bring better results. Thanks for the interesting article! East Dulwich Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

  170. Has anyone here tried apple cider vinegar to clean with? I hear great things about it too…like its a natural weed killer, deer & rabbit deterrent… Anyone else?

    1. I used vinegar, soap and small amount of oil to spray waxy weeds on the edge of the bank. Also,, you can add salt but I opted not to. Found recipe on line. It took a while to work but it is environmentally safe for the water critters

  171. I have used the regular white vinegar and am very satisfied with it, will not be trying the new versions, like you said if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I use vinegar for practically everything, clean with it, iron with it, makes great pleats or removes hem lines, I keep a small spray bottle underneath the sink for getting rid of ants on the counter or to spray on burn splatters when I’m frying, mopping, cleaning the bathroom tiles etc. love it, so many uses……

  172. I just came across your article because I was looking into this exact question of whether the 6% vinegar is better than regular 5% vinegar. And though I tend to agree that the lower, cheaper vinegar is probably sufficient, I think it’s important to note that while the acidity level of the cleaning vinegar is labeled just 1% higher, that actually translate into 20% more acidity (6 / 5 = 20%). So it may just offer a boost to its cleaning/disinfecting power, though I’m not convinced yet the multiplier effect goes so high with its effectiveness. Thanks!


    1. Thank you. I was wondering about that remembering something similar relative to the 1% vs. 2% milk, for example, being less similar than it appears.

  173. i just saw that in walmart cleaning asile. i laughed when i saw it. i just bought a gallon of reg white vinegar. i just use the white vinegar and only have half a gallon left. i use alot of vinegar in the house.

  174. I love using vinegar for kitchen cleanups! I put it in a spray bottle full strength. When you get a really yucky glass dish or metal pan (such as something you used to cook pork chops, casserole, or spaghetti) spray it well with vinegar. Let it sit 5 minutes or so. Wipe it out with a paper towel. Most of the greasy crud will come out. May have to do it a second time if it’s really bad. Then it can easily either be washed by hand, or can be finished off by putting it in the dishwasher. Vinegar breaks down grease. That’s what makes it so great for kitchen cleanups.

  175. I agree with Beverly. I think it’s a gimmick making customers think they are getting more for their money, but they’re not.

    I’m sticking with plain vinegar for cleaning and cooking.

  176. I am perfectly happy using regular white vinegar, especially since I use it in cooking too, and don’t see a need for two different gallons lurking in my pantry. It is so easy to mix in with water, dish soap, and some essential oil. It cleans well too. Inexpensive, easy, and safe way to clean!

  177. I also just rediscovered vinegar. I remember my dad telling me about all of its wonderful uses but I clearly forgot. I now use a 50/50 mix of vinegar and a cheap dish washing liquid. Works like a charm. Honestly, I don’t think I could stand the additional 1% acidity. The current mix has my eyes watering when I clean the bathroom.

    1. I tried a combo of warm vinegar with dish soap in a spray bottle once and it had my eyes watering too! So I agree that the regular vinegar seems to be potent enough for the cleaning I want to do.

  178. Hi,
    Have you tried the sink/drain freshener of 1/2 bk. soda & 1 cup vinegar? Put the bk soda in first then pour the vinegar in, (best part…) watch it bubble like a grade school science project. Let it stand for several min. then rinse w/ hot water.
    Really like your ideas, thanks.

      1. It works I have used this method for years and also to unstop drains. However, I only have distilled white vinegar. Grandma used apple cider vinegar.

    1. I’ve done that nearly all my life and I’m 73. I have used the packaged drain cleaners, but the fumes are too strong for my asthma. PLUS, a plumber told he he would not work on pipes that had the caustic elements but would on pipes that only had baking soda and vinegar.

    2. It works for kitchen sinks….not if a kid has stiffed something in one that you can’t reach and is swollen with water (like a stuffed toy) I have had great results with grease and other kitchen items.

  179. I’m with you. I think Cleaning Vinegar is just repackaging. Perhaps the companies are trying to inspire more people to use vinegar to clean with.

  180. I did the same as you when I first saw the Cleaning vinegar. Decided it wasn’t worth the additional money. They add less water & charge you more. Don’t think so.

        1. I live in Canada and can not seem to find any vinegar more concentrated than 6%. I called various gardening supply stores as well has home depot and nobody seems to carry it. Where can I get 10% to 20% vinegar from in Canada?

          1. There are some 10% and 20% vinegar products available on Amazon that might be an option for you if those suppliers ship to Canada. The down side, however, is you will probably end up paying more for that option.

          2. I buy my 10% cleaning vinegar at my Metro grocery store. It’s $2.99 for a 2.5 litre bottle and the brand is Allen. I’ve also found it at Home Hardware but it’s double the price so will stick with Metro as my source. The smell is quite strong so I don’t use a lot but I find it works better than the 5%. I’ve sprayed my fibreglass bathtub and surround, let it sit for about 5 minutes or so and wipe it down. The 10% quite effectively cleans up the soap scum etc. In addition, the bottle also says that it’s antibacterial and that’s nice to know when cleaning the bathroom and kitchen.

          3. I was told to try this for cleaning up and shinning up bathtubs and shower stalls. Take 1 cup of white cleaning vinegar – warm it up and put it in a spray bottle. Then take a cup of BLUE Dawn dish soap and add it to the vinegar. Make sure you have a good sprayer bottle as the mixture is a little thick.Shake up the bottle and spray it on the tub. Let it sit for 1 hour and then rinse. Absolutely NO SCRUBBING is involved. The tub looks brand new and shiny. Truly works.

          4. I want to point out that it can be cheaper to buy cleaning vinegar if it has a higher acidity (more than 6% though), because you need to mix it with water at a different ratio (usually 1/4 or 1/3 vinegar and the rest water) to avoid staining surfaces and such. If you can double your vinegar use for a minimal difference in price it makes sense to go for that option, so consider that when you’re making your decision, as well.

          5. March 2016 – Just bought 10% cleaning vinegar at Home Hardware, Summerside PEI. Very Impressed….does a super job on stainless steel appliances & also the glass shower doors.

      1. I used cleaning vinegar from Walmart mart. I put in my coffee maker( bad mistake) like to never got the foam out. Run pits of water and more pits of water through it. The cleaning vinegar did not work. But when I put regular white vinegar through it. ( I just dumped the same vinegar back through it two or three times and now it works like a new one. I don’t remember the percentage, but why would we want to use one with a percentage init when we can use the full fledge product? I wasn’t impressed at all.

    1. I have used the non-food grade vinegar, i’m not sure of the acidity. I found it perfect for cleaning pot and pans without scrubbing, in particular stainless steel. I respond because just today I tried cleaning a stainless steel pan with regular white distilled vinegar and it does not work. I would rather pay a few cents extra to get the job done quick and easy. The non-food grade vinegar just shines it right up in a matter of minutes, you just pour enough to cover the area that needs cleaning and wa-la like magic it’gone.

        1. I use Barkeepers Friend on my Stainless Steel Cookware. It is amazing!!! By it a Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes and many grocery stores. It is very inexpensive as well. I also use it to get the knife/steel marks off my Mikasa stoneware dishes. Works better than anything I’ve ever tried and does no damage to the dishes.

      1. I am worried about what contamination might be in the non-foodsafe vinegar. Lead? Mercury? *Why* isn’t it foodsafe? Should I worry about using it on cooking implements?

        1. My understanding is the “food safe” designation is more about the level of acidity in the vinegar. The acetic acid must be diluted to a certain level to be safe for food consumption.

        2. I just opened a new bottle of cleaning vinegar and I also have the regular white vinegar, both are Kroger’s store brand. The only difference it shows is the acidity strength. My cleaning V is 6% and my reg. white V is 5%. There are no crazy ingredients added, or any other ingredients at all. And the bottle on the cleaning V does have DO NOT USE FOR COOKING on the label. I, like many other ppl have said on here, didn’t buy the cleaning vinegar when I first starting noticing it available. I checked it out and thought aboutbit, but come to pretty much the same conclusion as the writer. I wondered how big of a difference could 1% really make? But after reading many ppl talking about using it warmed up mixed with dawn in the tub/shower, I had to give it a shot. I’ve only done it once but I really like the results. Granted I have no clue if or how different it would have been with just white vinegar. I am sorry this comment seems hella long, I was just trying to give the best details I could for anyone wanting to know.
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