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Does Vinegar Disinfect Kitchen Counters? What You NEED to Know

Are you looking for a more natural way to keep your kitchen shiny and clean? Many people are tired of using the same old commercial cleaners that can be toxic to their home and environment. Instead, they want to use something more cost-effective that can be equally powerful for combatting their bacteria buildup and toughest messes. This leads most people to consider vinegar. The question is, does vinegar disinfect kitchen counters?

If you have been wondering how to disinfect countertops with vinegar, then here is everything you need to know to make your own cleaner and get started today.

Does Vinegar Disinfect Kitchen Counters?

Many people want to turn to natural products in their kitchens and homes instead of harsh commercial cleaners. Not only are they better for the environment, but they often cost less for someone who cleans often. Cleaning vinegar is one of the first choices they turn to, but does vinegar disinfect kitchen counters?

There are a few things you should know about vinegar before you start scrubbing your kitchen clean. First, you should know that vinegar is acetic acid and does have the potential to destroy bacteria. Because of this property, it is an excellent cleaner to keep on hand for your toughest messes. However, you must keep in mind that it has to be used properly to be effective.

Studies have demonstrated that vinegar is essential to killing bacteria all around the kitchen. Many people use it for food preparation. Reductions and dressings that contain vinegar are proven to reduce bacteria on food, including salmonella, when used for at least fifteen minutes. In another study, plain six percent distilled white vinegar was proven to decrease the presence of staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.

While it does pull its weight when it comes to food preparation, you may still want to use some caution when using it to clean surfaces in your home. There still needs to be more research on what types of vinegar and what percentages are likely to kill the most bacteria on your countertops.

Vinegar Cleaner in a Spray Bottle

Vinegar Cleaner Recipe

While you can purchase premade cleaning vinegar solutions (and one is included in the ranking below), you might want to try your hand at a simple vinegar cleaner recipe. It doesn’t take much to make your own vinegar cleaning solution. All you need is a little bit of vinegar, some water, and an empty spray bottle or a bucket.

The question is, what type of vinegar should you use for your solution? Experts typically recommend using white vinegar because it tends to be the most acidic. It contains anywhere from four to seven percent vinegar unless you purchase a more concentrated form. On the other hand, varieties like cider and wine vinegar contain amounts closer to five to six percent. It may seem like a small difference but it is notable when it comes to cleaning your kitchen.

Another reason to use white vinegar is that it does not have any coloring agents like balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar can have. This helps to prevent staining.

Once you have your vinegar handy, all you have to do is combine the vinegar and water to finish out your vinegar cleaner recipe. Mix them in a one to one ratio, and you are ready to get cleaning!

Keep in mind that vinegar should never be combined with bleach or hydrogen peroxide. If you are tempted to clean with those two substances, leave the vinegar in the pantry or under the sink. When combined, they can create toxic vapors that are harmful to your health.

Does Vinegar Disinfect Kitchen Counters? How Essential Oils Can Help

Do you already use essential oils in other aspects of your life? Many people turn to essential oils for their health benefits or for the wonderful aroma they leave in your house when diffused. However, they can also enhance your vinegar disinfectant while leaving your house smelling fresh and clean.

The particular bacteria that each essential oil can fight will vary. You may want to do some research on your own to see what essential oil is the right fit for your kitchen. Although you may want to remember that many people make their decision based solely on the fragrance of the oil. This alone has powerful benefits.

Add five to ten drops of any of these essential oils to your homemade vinegar cleaner for an extra benefit.

Cinnamon, clove, and rosemary were found by a recent study to be highly effective at combatting bacteria including Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Among these three oils, clove essential oil is the most effective.

Similarly, lemon essential oil and tea tree (melaleuca) essential oil are both have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

If you want something that is going to smell wonderful and help your home to feel more relaxing, consider adding a few drops of lavender. It is antibacterial, but most people associate this floral fragrance with a day at the spa.

How to Disinfect Countertops with Vinegar

Once you have your solution mixed up, you want to know how to disinfect countertops with vinegar. The best way to clean your countertops with vinegar is relatively simple. All you have to do is spray them down and wipe the vinegar away with a warm, damp rag. The cleaning solution should not leave behind any residue that needs to be scrubbed away.

If you have a particularly tough mess or you are trying to take extra precautions because you prepared raw meats on your countertops, then you might want to enhance your solution with some dish detergent. Add a few drops of dish soap to your homemade vinegar solution. Then, follow the same directions.

Keep in mind that you do not want to rinse the mixture too much. You want to have some vinegar remain on the countertops so that it can work hard to kill bacteria. It can take up to thirty minutes for the vinegar to work its magic.

In the next section, you will learn more about what you cannot clean with vinegar. Note that granite and marble countertops cannot handle vinegar. You should only apply this solution if you have laminate countertops, Corian countertops, or anything other than natural stones.

If you have a granite countertop, you can read our article: What is the Best Cleaner for Granite Countertops?

If you have a quartz countertop, you can read our article: How to Take Care of Quartz Countertops

Woman Cleaning Granite Countertop

What Not to Clean with Vinegar

Many homeowners love using cleaning vinegar in their homes because it is affordable, safe, and non-toxic. The potential reasons to love vinegar are almost endless, but there are a few things that you want to steer clear of when using your beloved distilled white vinegar. Cleaning these items with vinegar can cause damage to your home.

First and foremost, does vinegar disinfect kitchen counters? While the short answer to the question is a resounding yes, you do have to be careful depending on what type of counters you have. Avoid using vinegar on stones like granite, marble, and soapstone. The acidic nature of vinegar can cause pitting in the stone and take away from the luster of your countertops.

You should not clean knives with plain vinegar. Acids can prematurely age your knives, so you want to use plain dish soap and water on them instead.

Wood furniture is another item that you may not want to clean with plain vinegar. The acidic nature of the vinegar can eat away at the finish as well as leave watermarks on the surface. On the other hand, it could be great if you want to polish the wood. All you have to do is mix it with equal parts of white vinegar and olive oil. Then, buff it into the surface of the wood for a shiny new luster.

In the same vein as wood furniture, you may want to take considerable caution when cleaning your hardwood floors. A small amount of vinegar mixed with water may be great for cleaning your floors but take care to ensure that you do not add too much. Too much vinegar will eat away at the finish. The same applies to stone floors and grout between the tiles in your kitchen.

Top 3 Store-bought Vinegar Cleaners

If you want a ready-made cleaner instead of making one from the vinegar yourself, you can try these three options that are meant for cleaning.

1. Calyptus 45% Pure Vinegar

Calyptus 45% Pure VinegarIf you want to learn how to disinfect with vinegar, this Calyptus 45% Pure Vinegar is going to be one of your top choices. Unlike many other popular household cleaning vinegars, this one contains a more concentrated version of plain distilled white vinegar. Whereas most cleaning solutions are only 30 percent, this gallon-sized container is the equivalent of 1.5 gallons of the ordinary 30 percent variety.

The concentrated vinegar in this solution is up to nine times stronger than vinegar alone. Use it straight from the bottle to tackle industrial jobs or particularly tricky messes. Otherwise, you can dilute it with plain water in a 1:8 ratio.

This product is formed from 450 grain all-natural vinegar that comes from corn grown in the United States. They promise that all their products are safe, natural, and effective. They ensure your satisfaction with a full refund if their products do not meet your expectations.

2. Green Gobbler 40% Vinegar Concentrate

Green Gobbler 40% Vinegar ConcentrateWhile it is not quite as powerful as the Calyptus variety, the Green Gobbler 40% Vinegar Concentrate still helps you to tackle those stubborn messes. Made right here in the United States, it boasts cleaning power that is eight times stronger than plain distilled white vinegar.

It can clean any number of surfaces around your kitchen including the floors, countertops, sinks, tile, and so much more. This product is also excellent for eliminating tough buildup around heavy-use areas of your kitchen. You can use it to remove stubborn grease, grime, soap scum, and spills.

The best part about this particular cleaning vinegar is its commitment to being eco-friendly. All of their home and garden vinegar is free of:

  • Glyphosate
  • VOCs
  • Additives
  • Dyes
  • Other chemicals

Much like the Calyptus products, they also offer a full refund if you do not experience satisfaction with the product within thirty days of your original purchase. This is a great way to test out cleaning vinegar for making your kitchen shiny and clean without taking the risk of expensive cleaning products.

3. Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegar

Aunt Fannie's Cleaning VinegarIf you are more concerned about how your cleaning vinegar is going to make your home smell, then you might like this natural alternative. Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegar presents a multipurpose non-toxic spray that is already premixed inside of the bottle. You won’t have to dilute it to get the most use out of it. It already comes in a convenient 16.9 fluid ounce bottle.

The formula itself is safe for use around both kids and pets. Once you spray it on the surface, all you have to do is wipe it clean. The vinegar requires no rinsing and it simply wipes clean.

One of the main reasons why people love Aunt Fannie’s cleaning vinegar is the scent. You can purchase this spray in either sweet mandarin or lime mint. Both are made with essential oils and food-based ingredients, granting them the highest health and safety rating by the all-important Environmental Working Group.

If you want a product that is even easier to use, Aunt Fannie also has a line of cleaning vinegar wipes that are safe for food contact surfaces. They are biodegradable and compostable, as well as maintaining the highest health and safety ratings. This is a quick way to tackle stubborn dirt and grime in your kitchen.

Does Vinegar Disinfect Kitchen Counters?

The short answer is that kitchen counters can easily be disinfected using natural materials like vinegar. However, you do have to be careful about when and how you use it. Avoid using this type of cleaner with natural stone countertops like granite and marble. If you have a different surface that constantly has a tough-to-tackle mess, then vinegar might be just what you need!

FAQ

 

Is vinegar antibacterial?

Many scientific studies show that vinegar can kill certain bacteria and viruses.

How long should vinegar sit to disinfect counters?

Experts recommend giving it fifteen to thirty minutes to kill the most bacteria.

What can I do about the smell of vinegar?

If the smell of straight vinegar bothers you, you may want to try adding a few drops of essential oil to the mixture. This can also help to boost the antibacterial nature of the cleaner depending on what essential oil you select.

What type of vinegar should I use?

Distilled white vinegar is usually the best to use because it contains the most acid.

Shiny Clean Kitchen
Our blog is designed to take some of the hassle away from figuring out how to clean your kitchen the right way. We provide you with convenient hacks that keep everything from your stone kitchen countertops to those greasy drip pans on your stove shining. With our help and advice, you can clean smarter instead of harder. You’ll end up with a freshly cleaned kitchen that took you a fraction of the time compared to your friends.