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.
Regular Vinegar vs. Cleaning 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”.
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.
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.
What’s Your 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.